Ripping the subtitles OFF a DVD movie


By the King of Smut ‘95



Alright, as an avid fan of Japanese anime, I would much rather watch a foreign movie in its original language with subtitles turned on.   However, when you have a DVD that has subtitles, and you wish to copy it to something else that is not a DVD;  then you better be prepared for a big  head ache.     My personal recommendation on this topic is to throw away this FAQ and not bother converting the DVD.   Just rip and copy the entire DVD to another DVD the way it is and that’s it.   It will be few buttons click, click and 20-30 minutes your are done.  Please refer to my FAQ on copying a DVD.



But just in case you are a Masochist , or you are a loser who keeps your movies in non-standardized  DIVX and XVID format,  or you need to subtitle file for evil purposes like editing them before reinserting them back into the movie…

Then you may proceed on with the torture.






Getting Started


I will assume you have already ripped the DVD on to your hard drive using a ripper like Smart Ripper or DVD Decryptor.   If not, go and read my FAQ on how to rip a DVD to the hard drive.




Ripping subtitles off a DVD VOB file ...



There are TWO popular ways to rip the subtitles off a DVD’s VOB file. 


The first way is to use the technique of  OCR (Optical Character Recognition). This means that the video strip that holds the subtitles is being matched up with a symbol pattern library, and then cross referenced to a ASC text character that corresponds to that symbol.   This technique is used in a lot of scanners and fax software.  The draw back behind this method is that the OCR often misinterprets symbols that look close to being the same, like  “!”, “I” , “:”,  “;”  or “1”.   So you will have to proof read the converted text over for these types of mistakes.


The second way of ripping is actually more accurate, by simply copying

these video strips to hard disk the way they are.    This is good because it will always be exactly as it was on the DVD and there won’t be any mistakes due to misreading the titles.   Also good for other languages other than English since the graphic image of Japanese and Chinese lettering will be preserved.   The disadvantage of this is that you won’t be able to edit the subtitles very easily.


So I will begin with the process.






METHOD 1:   Ripping DVD subtitles to an ASC file using OCR technique

Tool:  Subrip 0.98


Well, the first thing you might want to try is to go to the internet and see if anyone has already ripped the subtitles for the movie that you are doing because most of the work will already be done if somebody else already has.


But assuming not, or you really are a masochist…  let’s continue.


Ok, lets start up Subrip.  This window will appear:




Ok, we need to select which DVD  VOB files with the subtitles we want to convert.   Click on the “File” word on the top left, and Select the option "Open Vob(s)" from the "File" menu that appears.


 This “VOB dialog” window will open:




Click on the button located top centre labeled  "Open IFO".   If you didn’t rip the entire DVD using SmartRipper or DVDDecryptor, then go back to that FAQ and do that first.  

Side note:  Reason you are selecting this option is so the program can identify what what name of the language is rather than “subtitle #1”.  If by chance you didn’t rip the entire DVD and you want to load VOB files then you need to select “open Dir”.   But since this FAQ is for beginners, you can just ignore this side note, and continue.



In the first box, you will now see what language options you have.  Select the "Language Stream" you wish to rip (in this example, we selected "3 - Dutch" as shown by the leftmost arrow).


Now look at the VOB files list and make sure that the required VOBs are checked.  Once all those are checked off, then you hit that “Start” button at the centre bottom of the screen.





SubRip will now start  scanning the VOB files looking for the first subtitle image.   You will see  the time code digits changing and going up (as shown above).  Ahh, before you get too comfortable or before you decide to walk away from your computer,   You are not done….   The fun has JUST begun.  (ho ho ho)


You see, SubRip needs to be taught what each of the symbols represents.   So it needs to be told what a capital “J” looks like, and what a lower case “u” looks like and so on and so on and so on for every letter of the alphabet, in upper and lower case and in italic and in bold.   Ahh…  yes the fun has just only begun…





After a short wait, the SubRip will come across the first subtitle.  A “Font Color Selection” dialogue box will appear.   SubRip needs to be told what is the proper colour sheme for the subtitles.   I have taken some examples of what a bad color is:



You don’t want any of these because it will be a pain in the ass to read them afterwards.   The way you want it should look like this:  (solid characters on a black background).




Once you gotten the colour scheme looking like this,  then click on the "OK" button to continue.   If you noticed this is the wrong language,  go back to the beginning to start again.




Next the OCR function will popup asking you to type the first

character of the first unknown character.  Type in, on the line,  what  the text the subtitles highlighted say,  then press the  “OK”  Button".     So in the example, you would have to type in “J”  (capital J). 




And so, you go on adding these letters till you are done the entire file.   The subtitle timer will still keep going up until that end time has been reached.





After spending all this time converting the stuff, I am sure you want to save the results as soon as possible.    Choose “File” in the top left corner of the window, select “Save As” and then save it as a SubRip  (*.SRT) file.  This format saves all the details and is very useful for making time corrections, and also making dialogue corrections.


Tip: If you, for whatever reason or accidentally, closed SubRip, then just restart SubRip and click the "text" button, top open the subtitle window,




where you can load ("File" - "Open") the SubRip file again.





Well, now you have essentially a word processor compatible file, you can now edit the script and timing as you please.  There are a few common things to look for in your SRT file.  

a)     the OCR can make a lot of mistakes with letters that look the same.

b)    The timing bar might get corrupted so watch out for titles that disappear too quickly.

c)     the subtitles begin too fast or too  slow




Optional Conversion  : Ripping the subtitles to a SUB file for Subviewer



SubViewer format is something SubRip can export!  So we go to subtitles top bar and select   “Output Format”.



Then pick "Set output format" and this dialog appears:



As you can see, there are lots of different formats that this program can convert to.    In our example,  we want SubViewer format or  *.SUB  file format.  So click on the SubViewer tab  and click on the green “Convert To This Format”  button.


After the computer has finished converting it, you can then use the “file” ;  “Save As”  to put the SUB file to the hard drive.  These subtitles can then be used in

SubViewer,  which blends in the subtitles during playback of a movie.







METHOD 2 :  Ripping DVD subtitles using VOBSub



Alright, this is by far the most easiest and most common way to rip the subtitles off a DVD.   It is fast, simple, it grabs ALL the subtitle tracks, and it is accurate.  The major pain about this format is if you want to make a VCD or SVCD of the movie.   The other major flaw is that you can’t edit the subtitles at all using this method.  So with that introduction,  lets begin.



Depending on the VobSub version you have installed, a shortcut might be available in the Windows START menu (START - PROGRAMS - VOBSUB - VobSub Configure). Start this "VobSub Configure" application.




Click the "Open..." button located at the bottom left, to load your VOB file to be converted.  A file dialog will now open.



Go to the bottom of this dialog window and set the "Files of type" to "IFO and VOBS, for creating IDX/SUB (*.IFO)".   This will now allow you to see and search for your directory where you have all the ripped files.  Assuming you ripped the entire DVD, there should only be one IFO file.   Select this one IFO file and click “Open”.


VobSub will now ask you where to store the results.  You can store it anywhere you want but I recommend making a new folder say “ripped_subtitles” or something so you know where it is.   Click "OK" once you are satisfied with the selected directory.


Now another popup appears, asking you to select a PGC (ProGram Chain).  For beginners, you can leave all the settings alone so just  Click "OK" to continue.



After that, VobSub start indexing the subtitles. 


OK,  Phase 1 complete.   Now on to Phase 2,  Creating the Subtitle Files.



Click the "OK" button shown in the image above, this window now appears:





First , we must select the language you wish to rip.  There is a drop down list box indicated in the screen shot above, with a red arrow.


For beginners, you can leave all the other settings alone.

Click "OK" to start the copying process.   Once finished, the VobSub window disappears.


VobSub will have created 3 new files in the directory you indicated before. These files are named like your ifo file, for instance in our case:






Note: The IFO  file is not always included!


Rename these 2 or 3 files so that they have the same name as your AVI file.

 For example, say you AVI file is called “Spiderman2.AVI”,  then you must rename the 2 or 3 files to:






Now copy these 2 or 3 files into the same directory as you AVI file and test the movie to see if the subtitles display OK. It does make sense to watch the entire movie, as using Fast Forward in a DivX movie might cause the subs to either stop or run out of sync.