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May 21, 2024

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What Subtitle Format is Right for You?

The alphabet soup that is subtitle file formats can be confusing and exhausting. The right choice depends on where you are displaying your video, be it television or different online streaming platforms. Here, we’ve compiled ORCA’s recommendations for the best subtitle formats for your various multilingual video projects.

  • Windows Media (srt)

    • SRT is the subtitling golden standard. It can be used for most players.

  • VLC (WebVTT or ssa)

    • WebVTT is based on SRT and allows you to edit color and font. Sub Station Alpha (.ssa) allows for more advanced subtitles and is common for anime.

  • YouTube (WebVTT)

    • Using WebVTT on YouTube enables all formatting to appear.

  • Facebook (srt)

    • Facebook has limited subtitling capabilities. It does not support special characters, formatting, or positioning.

  • Vimeo (WebVTT)

    • WebVTT enables all formatting to show.

  • Other (srt)

    • For basic media players, SRT is often the only supported format.

Different Subtitle Applications

Hardcoded subtitles

These subtitles cannot be turned off by viewers. The text is permanently burned into the original video, so no extra software is needed to display them.

Pre-rendered subtitles

Typically used on DVD, pre-rendered subtitles are a bitmap overlaid on a video. With pre-rendered subtitles, users can disable subtitling or switch between languages. Here, subtitles are encoded as images and can be modified as soft subtitles.

Soft subtitles

These subtitles are usually better quality for viewing than pre-rendered subtitles and are marked with timestamps when shown during playback. However, soft subtitles require certain player support. They are easy to make, modify, and switch on and off or between languages.

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