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The default settings for ffmpeg are very low quality, and since you don't specify any codec or quality parameters it's just using the defaults (I don't know why the devs don't fix that because it generates a lot of questions on forums everywhere). Try adding -c:v libx264 -crf 20 -preset slow to the command. -c:v libx264 tells it to use the libx264 ...


The only way to do it with literally zero mathematical quality loss is to make a gigantic output file with a lossless codec. (e.g. utvideo, FFV1, or x264 in lossless mode (--qp 0). A better solutions that would achieve the same thing is: mux the subtitle file into the mkv, with mkvmerge. You set a flag so it either plays by default or doesn't. Then you'd ...

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