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Nov 24 13 4:00 PM

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So the topic of subtitle styles came up on KS and I thought I'd start a thread on here about it.

Personally the oversized, fancy, yellow/multi-colored subtitles have always bugged me, though I could sort of see how they might have been helpful in the DVD era with SD resolution video and smaller screen sizes.

However I feel in today's age with HD resolution and screen sizes being much larger on average, readability is much less of an issue. Just take a look at any major movie or TV show on Blu-ray, I think pretty much every single distributor switched over to plain, unobtrusive, white subtitles, like this:
imageimage

So I vote that something similar to the above also be included on the Blu-ray if you insist on making the multi-colored ones the main subtitle track.

Just a plain, thin/smallish, white script, centered along the bottom of the screen, presented in standardized fashion. So no moving the subtitles to different parts on the screen depending on where the character is or different shades for different characters or anything like that. Just a dash in front of the lines if dialog from two different characters is on screen at the same time. Align song/sign subtitles along the top to differentiate from dialog.

It's not only about the colors, but effectively delivering the translation in the least noticeable and obtrusive way possible. Not so small that you have to focus more to be able to read them, and not so big, bright and fancy that they're in-your-face and you take notice of them. For instance in the example screenshot posted on KS I think the subtitles are much too bold.
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#2 [url]

Nov 24 13 6:38 PM

You two need to learn how to read.

From the Kickstarter Home Page:
 Are you going to update the subtitles? You bet! We've revised our subtitles every time we've released any of our titles in a new format, and the UE of BGC will be no different. We will review the translation, retime the titles to precisely match the new 24p transfer, and adjust fonts, sizes and layouts.Furthermore, we intend to provide the subtitles in both our trademark multicolored style and a white/grey variant.

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#4 [url]

Nov 25 13 4:33 AM

I definitely would like to see white (with a black border or shadow), mid-sized subtitles on this set, with song lyrics optional—and when on, stuffed in the upper-left corner of the frame, out of the way of action. I've never liked the rainbow subs of AnimEigo DVDs, nor is it difficult to follow who's saying what when conversations rapidly take place. (Just use the classic hyphens to differentiate instead of multiple colors.)

I also have a bit of a hard time following subtitles that aren't centered.

If Mr. Woodhead wants to do AnimEigo-styled subs along with other options, I'm OK with that, just give us a choice, please.

no sleep. can't sleep. i'm full of apathy.

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#5 [url]

Nov 25 13 4:33 AM

I like Animeigo's subtitles. I don't see any good reason to switch to something different, honestly; good subtitles are good subtitles, and frankly, some people are pushing for subs that are simply unnecessarily small or more difficult to read. Not everyone has the same screen size, viewing distance, or eyesight, so let's keep them reasonable, instead of shrinking them down to the bare minimum.

Edit: That being said, I'm fine with that being an alternate sub track, but don't shrink both of them.

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#6 [url]

Nov 25 13 5:13 AM

While I have no problems providing greyscale titles (and think they are best for B&W movies), the reason most distributors use white titles is that they are the cheapest thing to do.

Same thing goes with the (to me) horrible "dash" style of denoting multiple speakers.

We spend a lot of time when we subtitle working on readability and comprehension. This is particularly important given our translation style, where we avoid adbridgement whenever possible. Almost all of the time, you will never consciously notice them.

BTW, 99% of the time, our title block is centered on the screen,
though we do justify the titles within the block.
The reason why we do this should be obvious to anyone
reading this paragraph :)

Last Edited By: madoverlord Nov 25 13 5:16 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#7 [url]

Nov 25 13 6:00 AM

Am I allowed say that I actually liked the multicoloured sample image emailed out a couple of days ago?

Especially in a situation like that were one of the parties to the conversation may be offscreen, it makes it easier to keep track of who's speaking, without being too distracting.

That said, I do tend towards the dubs more often than not - if one is available and it isn't utterly hideous - simply because it keeps the screen empty.

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#8 [url]

Nov 25 13 6:34 AM

madoverlord wrote:
While I have no problems providing greyscale titles (and think they are best for B&W movies), the reason most distributors use white titles is that they are the cheapest thing to do.
Same thing goes with the (to me) horrible "dash" style of denoting multiple speakers.
We spend a lot of time when we subtitle working on readability and comprehension. This is particularly important given our translation style, where we avoid adbridgement whenever possible. Almost all of the time, you will never consciously notice them.
Because hyphens are too mainstream? Every professional subtitling guide I've read advocates them.

Offscreen/disembodied speech can be indicated with italics. If it happens while there are people talking on screen, it can positioned at the top the while regular speech is at bottom.
For long sentences, it's possible break them down in to multiple (if timing permits) ones to prevent crowding the screen. Avoid three-line subs. Another thing you want to avoid is covering a character's face with text.

And when it comes to the Moriya Shrine... they sure know how to cause more incidents, right?
to
First sub:
And when it comes to the Moriya Shrine...

Next sub:
they sure know how to cause more incidents, right?

(color: pale yellow)

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Last Edited By: psptzjchpksfhtbwdfqvyplltyefn Nov 25 13 7:28 AM. Edited 3 times.

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#9 [url]

Nov 25 13 9:37 AM

My only request is that, for the love of all things holy, please, please, please do NOT USE the same font that ADV... er, I mean, "Sentai, Maiden Japan, etc" use on their Blu Ray releases. Those things are an abomination to form. They basically take the same font they use for the DVDs which looks like ass, then just make them bigger and uglier.

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#10 [url]

Nov 25 13 11:11 AM

@slerch666

See, maybe I'm just not picky about that sort of thing, but I'm fine with Sentai's subtitles. What I DON'T like are subtitles that blend into the background (Funi's old subtitles) or subtitles that are too small (Little Witch Academia, Katanagatari). I've seen too many complaints about 'big', 'ugly' subtitles that seem to want some cosmetic appeal at the expense of readibility; the subs don't need to look pretty, but they do need to do their job well.

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#11 [url]

Nov 25 13 2:36 PM

Most "professional" subtitling guides just parrot the styles that originated back in the days when subtitles were burned onto film with acid. When we started doing anime subtitling 25 years ago, we started with a blank slate, and looked at what we could do with the technology available to us. That's why our subtitles are different.

We had color, so we used it; it's another perceptual channel, it provides information.

We had typography, so we used it. We left-justify our titles and then center the block; it's easier to read.

We had precise control over our timing, so we used it; you will never consciously notice it, but there are tiny tricks with timing that we do to provide subconscious cues. For example, we always have a gap between titles, because that provides two state changes for you to pick up on, not just one. And the gap between two titles by different speakers is 4 frames, but two titles by the same speaker have 2 frame gaps. It's a tiny extra cue about speaker identity.

I am happy to entertain suggestions about font and typography, but the overall structure is going to remain in the AnimEigo house style.

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#13 [url]

Nov 25 13 4:26 PM

madoverlord wrote:
Most "professional" subtitling guides just parrot the styles that originated back in the days when subtitles were burned onto film with acid. When we started doing anime subtitling 25 years ago, we started with a blank slate, and looked at what we could do with the technology available to us. That's why our subtitles are different.
I am happy to entertain suggestions about font and typography, but the overall structure is going to remain in the AnimEigo house style.
Oh, here's a link to a couple of subtitle screenshots from BGC 2, which I'm currently working on: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/dfczc3l86lb2ycs/NE5n1fQGYh
FCC and Ofcom must be wrong then. Just because you have the means, it doesn't mean you have to use it at every whim. Look at today's fansubs. Everyone is trying to outdo eachother with flashy effects and gimmicky fonts. All that made them just harder to read. Talk about missing the point. I'm sure you don't want BGC's subtitles compared to a bad fansub?

Shot 1 (BGC2-HDa): Move the song subtitles above, please. Plenty of free screen estate there. Currently you're close to covering up Nene in the background with a three line-sub assault.

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#14 [url]

Nov 25 13 4:40 PM

ComSR, there's a big difference between today's fansubs and AnimEigo's house style, which at least back in the day was the best in the business for readability.

Minor tweaks for modern screen resolutions? Sure, but if they change more than that I won't be happy.

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#16 [url]

Nov 25 13 6:56 PM

ComSR
madoverlordMost "professional" subtitling guides just parrot the styles that originated back in the days when subtitles were burned onto film with acid. When we started doing anime subtitling 25 years ago, we started with a blank slate, and looked at what we could do with the technology available to us. That's why our subtitles are different.
I am happy to entertain suggestions about font and typography, but the overall structure is going to remain in the AnimEigo house style.
Oh, here's a link to a couple of subtitle screenshots from BGC 2, which I'm currently working on: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/dfczc3l86lb2ycs/NE5n1fQGYh

FCC and Ofcom must be wrong then. Just because you have the means, it doesn't mean you have to use it at every whim. Look at today's fansubs. Everyone is trying to outdo eachother with flashy effects and gimmicky fonts. All that made them just harder to read. Talk about missing the point. I'm sure you don't want BGC's subtitles compared to a bad fansub?

Shot 1 (BGC2-HDa): Move the song subtitles above, please. Plenty of free screen estate there. Currently you're close to covering up Nene in the background with a three line-sub assault.

Are you really trying to equate Animeigo's sub title work w/ that of fansubs? criminy

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#17 [url]

Nov 25 13 9:28 PM

Doc NutronCom has a point about the song lyrics being up top though, style arguments aside.

Yes, especially if someone is speaking, I think music subtitles would best fit on the top of the screen. 

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#18 [url]

Nov 25 13 9:29 PM

I don't think he's totally out of line there. Fansubs often use multiple colors that end up becoming a garish distraction more than something for the sake of readability. AnimEigo subs are better, but they still become a visual element more than just an aide.

It doesn't really matter to me if white subtitles are "cheaper" or whatever the argument is against them: white subs with a black shadow are the most readable, non-distracting, and pleasant subtitles to me. Same goes for hyphens for interjections and rapid dialog: old-hat or not, I believe it works as the most clean and comprehensible.

If the subs will be done in the AnimEigo tradition no matter what and we have no say, *shrugs*, at least the song lyrics are a smaller font. I'm just expressing my opinion that the Froot Loops subs are unpleasant and take away from the art that they're laid over, and I'd be curious to see who prefers what over the other.

no sleep. can't sleep. i'm full of apathy.

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#20 [url]

Nov 25 13 9:31 PM

Song lyrics at the top would definitely be better, I agree—though still in a smaller font. An episode of Hellsing Ultimate had lyrics at the top, I believe sometimes even double-lined, and they really got in the way of the intense action.

But as long as something is done to keep them minimized (and again, a smaller font is a nice touch), I'll be fine.

no sleep. can't sleep. i'm full of apathy.

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