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  [ How to extract hardcoded subtitles ]  

AVISubDetector is the best software you can use for extracting subtitles which are hardcoded directly into the movie screen (TVRips, VHSRips, etc.).

This program is for PC only and doesn't require any installation, you can download it here and run it straight away on your computer.

After its launch you'll see this initial window:

At the top of this window make sure you are running "Manual Mode" which detects changes in the screen, creates timings for them, and you will only need to transcribe the text that appears.

Now go to the tab "Settings"

At the bottom of this window you can find the section "Detection Settings".

You need to set values for the items in "Drop Differences Bellow".

The source you're working on is the main and crucial thing. If you're dealing with a really low quality shaky & blurry print you'll save time by simply doing the timing manually.

"Drop Differences Bellow" values depend therefore on the picture quality and the quality of the hardcoded subs:

For high-quality rips with clear and sharp-edged subtitles you could set all three values (Red, Green, Blue) to 60. I've done so for 90% of the movies I've extracted subtitles from.

For low-quality rips (old and grainy) where the subs are badly legible set all three values to something between 30 - 40. You'll see and try from movie to movie.

While you're still in the "Settings" tab open the movie using "Open AVI" button in the upper-left corner of the window.

Now you can verify that the program will detect hardcoded subtitles in the right area of the movie screen. Use the scroll bar at the top of the window and move to the part of the movie screen where the subtitles are displayed. In the "Crop Settings" by using bars "Top" and "Bottom" adjust the best area for subtitle detection.

Now all the necessary settings are set.

I recommend that you save the current detection settings, as you may not always finish the extraction in just one day. And the next time you want to continue you will only need to run the program and reload the suitable settings from the previously saved file.

After saving the settings you can start with extraction itself. At the top of the program window set the time bar to the very beginning of the movie and press the "Start (Full)" button.

The program will go through the entire movie and if it detects any changes in the chosen area of the screen - according to the detection settings - a dialog box pops up.

Basically there're 3 possible cases that can occur:

1) Change is detected in a place where no subtitle is shown. In this case press the "No Subtitle" button.

2) Change is detected in a place where the subtitle is shown. In this case transcribe the text and press the "Accept Text" button.

3) The current subtitle has already been detected, and you've already transcribed and accepted the text, but the program detects a change and opens the dialog box again. In this case press the "Not Changed" button.

In this way the program passes the entire movie. It won't always detect the shown subtitles properly, timings could be detected a bit early or a bit late, sometimes it happens that the program doesn't detect subtitles at all, it heavily depends on the movie picture quality.

Hence it's necessary to play this movie with the extracted subtitles in your usual video player after finishing the whole extraction to make sure that everything's OK or to manually fix and fine-tune the occured errors in the subs file (adjust timing, add missing lines, etc.).

This is just a little advice from my own experience. I strongly recommend you saving your work on the unfinished subs during the extraction in case the program crashes, it'd be not pleasant to lose an hour of work. While running the movie with no detected subtitle press the "Pause" button, and in the menu "File -> Subtitle -> Save" save your current work. Then press "Start (Full)" button again for continuing with extraction process.

One last thing, but quite important. When you plan to stop working on subtitles temporarily and quit the program with the idea to continue on it later, don't forget to make a note of the number in "Current Frame" displayed in the upper-right corner of the program window.

Next time you start the program, load your saved settings and open the movie itself, you just enter this value in the "SET" text field and press the "Start (Full)" button again to start the extraction process from the exact point where you quit last time.

And that's all!

After you finish the whole extraction and manually fix all the errors you can find the desired subtitles file in the selected directory.