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How to Sync Subtitles

As DVDs have come to dominate home video, it has been accompanied by the availability of subtitles for pretty much any movie in just about any language imaginable. But what do you do when the subtitles you have come from a different source than the video? Maybe your have two different DVDs with the same movie; one with high quality widescreen video and the other with the subtitles you need. Maybe you had to buy a PAL DVD to get the subtitles to add to your NTSC movie.

Whatever the reason, you may need to modify a subtitle file so it syncs up with your movie. We'll be looking at three basic situations. The first will be conversion from NTSC to PAL or PAL to NTSC. The second will be removing the first few seconds (or more) and the final one will be delaying the beginning of the subtitles. If you need to do more than one of these operations on your subtitles it's best to stick to this order. For example, if you need to convert from NTSC to PAL and also

Required Software


VobSub is an extensive collection of tools for ripping, editing, converting, and playing subtitles.

Subtitle Format

In order to use this guide you'll need to have your subtitles in VobSub's native format. This means an IDX file and a SUB file. If your subtitles are in either SubRip (SRT) or SubStation Alpha (SSA) format you'll need to convert them first. Consult the table below to find instructions for the necessary conversion. For SSA subtitles you'll actually need to convert twice; once to get them into SRT format, which can then be converted to IDX and SUB format. The conversion is lossless since it amounts to just 'taking a picture' of the text.

IDX + SUB (VobSub)None
SRT (SubRip)Convert SRT to VobSub using Txt2VobSub

SSA (SubStation Alpha)
Convert SSA to SRT using VobSub

Convert SRT to VobSub using Txt2VobSub

If you prefer (or require) a different format VobSub is capable of converting to many different formats. Just keep in mind that since VobSub uses an image (graphics) based format rather than simple text you may have to correct some of the subtitles after converting back.

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Page 2 - Converting between PAL and NTSC

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Convert to SRT

Some programs don't accept image based subtitles like VobSub rips from DVDs. If your application requires text based subtitles the best solution may be to use our guide for Converting Subtitles from SUB / IDX to SRT.

Convert to SSA

SubStation Alpha, or SSA, is another common subtitle format commonly used for anime fansubs. If you prefer to work in this format you should check out our guide for Converting Subtitles from SRT to SSA.
Written by: Rich Fiscus