Your SSA subtitles settings for feature film

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Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:58 pm

Your SSA subtitles settings for feature film

Post by jakub.krolikowski »

Could you please share with me the settings for SSA file you're using for a feature film DCP?
Is there kind of standard for font size, position on screen etc?
This is what I have, for 1998x1080 file:

Code: Select all

[V4 Styles]
Format: Name, Fontname, Fontsize, PrimaryColour, SecondaryColour, TertiaryColour, BackColour, Bold, Italic, BorderStyle, Outline, Shadow, Alignment, MarginL, MarginR, MarginV, AlphaLevel, Encoding
Style: Default,Arial,15,16777215,16711680,65280,0,-1,0,1,1,1,2,30,30,10,0,1

Posts: 1595
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:11 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Your SSA subtitles settings for feature film

Post by Carsten »

I never used SSA - most of the time, I set title properties globally from within DCP-o-matic, importing SRT files. In general, DCP-o-matic follows common conventions when applying default size and position. The SMPTE and common international standard is 5% (picture height) title safe from either top or bottom. Strictly spoken, unlike TV/broadcast, there is no obligation to follow common title safe guidelines in cinema.

5% means - the bottom line of your titles should be placed about 50pixels from the lower frame border for e.g. a flat or 16:9 DCP. Naturally, for two or three liners, the first lines have to move up.

As to size - that is a complicated one. There is no strict rule. Some film makers hate subtitles because they feel the subs destroy their precious image. So if subs are mandatory for e.g. a festival submission, they want them as low and as small as possible. Kind of the ingredients section on your preferred convenience food.

On the other side of the scale - you may think of a movie showing for an older, sight impaired audience, probably sitting in their preferred back of a classic style 'long' auditorium, far from the screen, and, you may really want them to be able to read the subtitles. Then they certainly should be large. Avoid fancy fonts.

In general, choose a white or light grey color, and always use outline, because that helps keeping the title readable over backgrounds of varying brightness.

- Carsten

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