Scripting DVD Subtitles

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the July, 2009, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Matt Ferguson writes:

I ran across some of your posts on DVD Studio Pro and I thought you might be able to help me with an issue I am having.


I am creating a DVD with two subtitles. I am trying to make the DVD as similar in authoring as a previously released DVD that was created in Scenarist.


The issue I am having is that when the end user presses the subtitle button while playing a track on the previously released DVD it cycles through the two subtitle streams, then shows an “off” selection. In DVDSP the only way I have found to create an “off” state is to create a “dummy” subtitle track (stream 3). This is not going to work in this project.


Is there any way to emulate the previous DVD and have a subtitle OFF state without creating a new subtitle track? Thanks for any input you have.

Larry replies: You can easily do this, but it takes a script. Subtitles have two states: one which determines which subtitle track to use and a second to turn the display on or off.

You can toggle this manually by selecting the name of your DVD in the Outline menu of DVD STudio Pro, then turn View on or off. View determines when subtitles are displayed. This checkbox also exists in the Simulator. The pop-up menu next to it determines which subtitle track is displayed.

However, it is much easier to do this with a script and tie it to a menu to toggle subtitles on or off. What I do is create a button to select a subtitle language, then another button to turn subtitles on or off.

To do this, you need to determine the value of SPRM 2. For instance, if subtitle track 1 is selected this has a value of 0, if the track is both selected and visible, SPRM 2 has a value of 64. You can query and change the value of this variable using a simple 4 line script. The DVD Studio Pro manual describes how to do this in the chapter on scripting.

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2 Responses to Scripting DVD Subtitles

  1. Casey says:

    I’d really love to find out the way todo it with scripts. I have a client that has 3 subtitles, 2 different languages and each language has 2 audio stream choices: 5.1 or 2.0? You have any material that could help me script that out?

    • Larry says:


      The scripting I refer to in this article is a part of DVD Studio Pro. If you still have this application running on your system, this article explains what you need to do.

      If you don’t, there’s no Mac-based DVD creation tool that I know of that will replicate what DVD Studio Pro can do. They exist on Windows, but not Mac.


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