Guide for Making Forced Subtitles for Apocalypto (and others)

Forced Subtitles
or, How I came to Know( a little) and Love the IFO file

Several of us have been discussing this in relation to “Apocalypto” and how to force the subtitles on without having to use remotes, buttons or other selectors. Here is an easy way to do it specifically for “Apocalypto”, but the same techniques can be applied for other titles as well. You can also use this technique to force any of the subtitle streams (such as Greek, kostas:) ). I hope you find it useful.

First, since the task requires manipulation of the IFO files:eek: , you’ll need to download IFOEdit (free), which is available here: I used DVDFab and WinDVD to identify which subpicture stream contained the English subtitles (it’s the second one in Apocalypto, but this differs). You’ll also need to identify the VOB files that contain the main movie, which in the case of Apocalypto are VTS_04_01 through 06 and the all important IFO file VTS_04_0.IFO.

Next, use DVDFab to make a Full Disc backup of Apocalypto to a folder on your hard drive. We’ll burn it after the changes are made. When this completes, use windows explorer to open the VIDEO_TS folder and find the file named VTS_04_0.IFO. Right click on it and select the COPY function and paste it somewhere safe, such as your desktop, as illustrated here.

Now, open IFOEdit and complete the steps below in order: when the Edit screen comes up (1) click Open to bring up the navigation box. Find your recently made folder of Apocalypto and open the VIDEO_TS folder and (2) select VTS_04_0.IFO for processing and click “Open”.

The screen will now populate with the data from the IFO file, which gives the player instructions for playing the video and other components of the movie. We are going to change one of these components, one of the attributes of the subpicture stream for the standard subtitles. Look down the list of “Titleset (Movie) Attributes” until you see (3) the second subpicture stream and double click on it. This will bring up the “Subpicture/Subtitle Attributes” box where you will select the bottom drop down, marked “Coding Caption” (4) and scroll down until “Forced Caption” is highlighted. Now release to make the selection. The bottom window should now say “Forced Caption”.

Click “OK”. Then click (5) “Save”. A location selection box will come up that should be the same location from which the file was opened; just click “Save”. A new box will open asking if you want to write the BUP file as well; just click “Yes”. And it’s over! All that’s left is to burn with DVDFab

and play the disc to see if it worked:

mmmmm that’s good eatin’:slight_smile:

This technique was empirically derived, which means I guessed at most of it and these precise steps may not work for every movie since there are different authoring techniques used for subtitles on different films. But maybe this will get you started and remove some of the IFO phobia that I know I suffered from. Note that it can also be used (with the same drop down in IFOEdit) to produce large-text captions for the visually impaired. Hope it works for you.

Does this method really work for you? Have you tested this on various software players and standalones? I tested in various software players and it doesn’t work.

AFAIK, this is not the right way to force subtitles on. The Coding caption is really just an attribute, or rather a description, of a subtitle stream. It does not turn it on. As a test, do the method for the first subtitle stream, then try playing the DVD in IfoEdit and you’ll see. Only when you manually select the subtitle or through the menu will it turn on.

The term “Forced” subtitle really means the subtitles are always on for the current active stream and you cannot turn it off by any means. A good example is subtitle showing when a foreign language is spoken. To always turn it on, you can use DvdSubEdit to do that by changing the Start command to “Forced start”. But to have the wanted subtitle stream turn on by default and the ability to turn it off by remote at any time, generally a SetSTN command is needed. In some cases, a mere change of GPRM (General Purpose/Parameter Registers) value is enough. This is the part that can get complicated. There are guides for it that either makes use of IfoEdit or PgcEdit, but PgcEdit is the better one.

If you’re doing movie only, DVDFab can turn the selected subtitle stream on automatically using the small green arrow. If in Full disc mode, it will be difficult for DVDFab to do it reliably as it has to intelligently analyze the whole disc navigation. The blunt way is to have a SetSTN command in the pre-command of the movie PGC, but this will override any selection you make in the audio/subtitle menu depending on where the SetSTN command is placed. So this is not reliable. In fact, I don’t think any software is able to do this.

EDIT: I just realize you have DVDFab in Customize mode with no menus, so I guess it’s OK.

It made them play in Apocalypto using WinDVD (see the screen capture) when they wouldn’t before. See the empirically derived disclaimer. Haven’t tried in my standalone yet. The subtitle checkmark in WinDVD was at “Disable” when the screen capture was made. They were absent (even when ripped using customize/no menus/green arrow) without this procedure. Never claimed it was the best way or even right, just that it worked.

From what I understand about the green arrow when in Customize and Main Movie mode, or any other modes, with no menus involved, DVDFab should turn the selected audio and/or subtitle on by using the SetSTN command. You can double-check the DVDFab output with IfoEdit or PgcEdit to see if such command is inserted. There’s no need to change Coding caption to “forced caption”.

Would you mind check if your method works in standalones after you have verified that there’s no SetSTN command from DVDFab output.

n/m delete

So, how do you back-up main movie ipod mode w/out subtitles? I keep getting subtitles even when I uncheck subpicture etc. on the lower right hand quad.