PAL to NTSC and Subtitles

If I do not add subtitles to my project, video converts from PAL to NTSC just fine.

When I add a subtitle to my project, and convert from PAL to NTSC, the log tells me that I will get PAL as my Output, regardless of my “Force NTSC” setting in preferences.


Hi there,

0000171: Remove the limitation in pal->ntsc conversion to output the framerate of the .sub/.idx subs were made at.

This has already been confirmed by VSO and to be done in a future version.

I found that it works some of the time. If I use a simple SRT subtitle extension it converts PAL to NTSC. When I use a .IDX, .SUB extensions, with multiple subtitles, it all works but refuses to convert the output to NTSC. I can’t understand all these different subtitle options. Its an alphabet soup of confusion. I doubt any company can handle the tower of Babel of subtitle diversity. All they can do is make a little progress every so often. Even the subtitle freeware for conversion fails to recognize or convert some of my subtitles, which I downloded as auxillary files to a video.

I vaguely remember a thread where a VSO developer said there was a problem with scaling some kinds of subtitles or resetting the timing when converting from NTSC/PAL.

I think the reason why this works sometimes, because there are basically two types of subtitles.

  1. SRT type. These are basically a text file. ConvertX can deal with these pretty easily, rendering into the created VOB file and (maybe) even fiddling with the timings.

  2. SUB type. These are bitmap files, and can’t be easily read. They are basically pictures of text, and to convert them to text, you need to run OCR type programs on them.

There’s two ways you can deal with the issue:

  1. Don’t convert between PAL/NTSC. This is pretty easy in Europe where most eqipment can do PAL and NTSC playback automatically. In the US, equipment tends to be NTSC only.

  2. Convert subs to srt. Use Vobsub’s SubResync to OCR the bitmaps, and then Subtitle Workshop to do any cleaning up and automatic error correction.

Gaius Baltar,

Here I was all set to be the first to report on the same thing you so brilliantly put your finger right on top of, and beat me to the punch.

After Googling and studying Guides on VCDHELP, with some agonizing trial and error, I used VOBSUB to learn the OCR codes followed by a SRT conversion from IDX/SUB format. Then, I used DVD Lab Pro to edit the few errors. I did a CXD conversion from PAL -> NTSC. Then I demuxed the streams created by CXD. I used DVD Lab to use the MPEG, AC3, and Edited Subtitle file, and re-compiled with the subtitles in perfect harmony.

Although I could have compiled the SRT subtitle directly into CXD, I elected to opt for the greater latitude that DVD Lab Pro affords in its cosmetic extensions to subtitle processing.

Hi Gaius,

I like Subtitle Workshop (SW) … but when I used it one time (first time for me) it corrected my Subtitles Freeze problem (overlapping times I guess) … BUT it “Chopped Off” my Subtitles …

Q: Is there a way to prevent SW from chopping off my Subtitles while Fixing my timing problem?