We’ve been cutting into the subtitle topic again lately. Last week, we wrote about The 3 Best Subtitle Sites, in sequel to our How To Add Subtitles To A Movie or TV Series article. I don’t care much to admit it, but I still need my English subtitles to keep up with some movies.
What doesn’t occur to most people, is how tedious the process of finding subtitles to download still is. It’s one of the few things we do almost completely by hand.
But not anymore. In the comments section of our article on subtitle sources, MakeUseOf reader Rahul pointed us to Sublight, an amazing Windows desktop application that handles all your subtitle download needs for you.
Sublight really is an amazing application. Developed by Sublight Labs, this tool can help you to search, download, and watch your videos with subtitles on the fly. Truly, it’s the only thing you’ll ever need, and once you start using it, you’ll wonder why we’ve been doing these things manually for so long.
Being this versatile, we won’t be able to cover all Sublight’s features, but we’ll provide you with a sneak peek, and introduce you to the most prominent features of the application.
You’ll get a chance to specify some of the more important options in the installation dialog. Most important, perhaps, the language. The results can still be filtered while searching, so you don’t necessarily need to make a selection, but it’ll spare you a lot of trouble in the near future.
After specifying your default video player, you’ll also be shown a few default subtitle source plugins. Although it doesn’t hurt having multiple sources, it should be noted that DivxFinland and subdivx are respectively Finnish or Spanish language sources, and that Podnapisi.NET requires registration.
Finally, you’ll be asked for Windows Explorer Integration. If you enable this feature, you’ll be able to (automatically) download subtitles from the file explorer. I would advise to leave out FLV (flash video), unless you regularly download movies from YouTube, DailyMotion, or other streaming sources.
Please note that the Windows Explorer integration does not always work with Windows 7. This will hopefully be resolved in future releases.
To business. Using Sublight to find subtitles is remarkable easy. We’ll discuss the manual and semi-manual searches first. To supply a whole directory with subtitles, check below.
As you can see, you’ve basically got two options; auto search, which takes its info from a video, and manual search. After specifying a video file, Sublight will try to deduct relevant information, like the title, year, season and episode, and fill in the manual search forms. It wisely ignores the release information (often being polluted with forum URLs, or otherwise irrelevant data).
Although all this can be done manually, and without much work, it’s advised not to. Using the auto search will also link video and subtitle files, sparing you another bit of work.
Sometimes, especially with popular releases, you’ll be flooded with unwanted results. If so, you can always further narrow down results by using the filter feature. This will allow you to filter (or revise) the language, rating, publisher and the number of discs.
Once you’ve got your subtitles, you can use the application bar, or right-click to download and deploy your subtitles. If you used the auto-search feature, you can already start to play your video. Other options include rating and verification, preview, properties, or searching for related subtitles.
If you’ve got a lot of video files, providing them all with valid subtitle files can still prove a tedious job. Alternatively, you can scan and index your video folders, and do a batch subtitle download. Eliminating this can occasionally lead to inaccurate subtitles, but overall it’ll save you a whole lot of time.
Aside from these features, you can also use Sublight to correct subtitle timing, or even to publish your own subtitles.
Do you know any alternative software solutions to Sublight? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below!