I was asked to subtitle a student movie. I don't care much about which subtitle format to use - I'd probably use vim for typing them, and still it is interesting which formats are most common and what are the benefits for using them.

  • Do you intend to burn the subtitles onto the video or provide them in a sidecar stream or file?
    – Gyan
    Jul 18, 2016 at 9:27
  • What audio and subtitle language? What country will the film be shown in? And just to be certain, you are not doing closed captioning, correct? Jul 19, 2016 at 0:25
  • @Mulvya provide them separately for maximum flexibility, but if format depends on that usage, I would be interested to know that. Jul 21, 2016 at 6:36
  • @MichaelLiebman thanks for the pointer. Subtitles are needed for several languages - Belarussian (native), English. And it would be really awesome to provide subtitles for hearing impaired audience. Jul 21, 2016 at 6:38

1 Answer 1


SBS - Australia's Special Broadcasting Service has an extensive and international reputation for quality subtitles. from http://www.sbs.com.au/aboutus/faqs/index/id/120/h/Subtitles

SBS subtitles the majority of its non-English language programs in-house. The distinctive colour, font and size of subtitles were adopted after extensive research. For the majority of our programs, which are broadcast in colour it was found that yellow letters with thin black borders provide the maximum degree of contrast. For black and white material we use white subtitles with thin black borders.

Madman is an Australian distributor (originally of anime) their subs match SBS:

Most of the time Madman uses Arial, size 36. The yellow is straight-up no frills yellow: R=255, G=255, B=0.

A similar match is these settings (obviously size depends on your video aspect ratio).

  • Font: Verdana, Regular

  • Size: 22

  • Primary Color: Yellow

  • Outline Width: 1

  • Shadow Depth: 1

  • Border Style: Outline + Shadow

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