Breaking Eggs And Making Omelettes

Topics On Multimedia Technology and Reverse Engineering


Alternate Subtitles

May 18th, 2008 by Multimedia Mike

Kostya recently lamented the matter of subtitle quality. I admit that subtitles are not a topic that I have traditionally cared very deeply about, popular though they may be in the multimedia scene. All the media I care about is generally already in English. Apparently, I’m one of the rare geeks who absolutely detests anime, so I have no reason to care about fansubs for media “imported,” one way or another, from certain Pacific islands.

However, some time ago, I suddenly found a reason to care about subtitles. It turns out that subtitles don’t have to contain bad translations. I’m a huge fan of the old TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000 (a.k.a. MST3K). In a nutshell, the silhouettes of a guy and his 2 robot puppets make fun of rotten movies. They crack an incredibly wide variety of jokes and it’s unlikely anyone can understand every one of them. Leave it to a collaboration of internet geeks to develop an annotation project where users can submit quotes and annotations corresponding to particular timecodes in the lousy movies. These annotations go into a database where they can be downloaded as plaintext .srt subtitle files.

VLC playing MST3K 0904 (Werewolf) with subtitle annotations

“Now what we’re doin’ here, Bob, is gettin’ killed by a werewolf.”

Pictured is an annotation I added for episode 0904 – Werewolf. This is nothing new in the context of DVDs — I remember watching a popup trivia subtitle track on the Spider-Man DVD. But I’m wondering if there are other annotation projects like this one out there on the net for other niche areas of interest.

Posted in General | 2 Comments »

2 Responses

  1. Kostya Says:

    Well, my primary interest in video production from certain Pacific islands is films by Akira Kurosawa and not certain type of drawn/rendered things. And not in colour too.

    And Russian translator Goblin is known for creatively redubbing movies, so the story may be altered radically. Sometimes visual effects are added too (I remember Star Wars I where they drew clay steam train amongst spaceships and some funny signs too).

  2. astrange Says:

    You didn’t like “Angel Cop”?