Transparent subtitles at DVD (via Handbrake)

I have ripped a DVD with DVDFab and converted to MKV with Handbrake. Plays fine with VLC, but when viewed with Live the subtitles are transparent … only the black edge remains … Other titles play fine in Live (even from the same series).

Any ideas?


Wow.  Never heard of THAT before.  

Which mode of DVDFab are you using DVD->DVD, set to DVD9, I hope.

Anyway, DVDFab is notorious about corrupting rips if there are disc errors, that’s the one thing about it that drives me nuts.   (Did the disk rip slowly?  Like, less than 3mb per second?)

Then, depending on the error, HandBrake won’t care.   It almost sounds like the VobSub pallet got screwed up, but that wouldn’t explain why VLC would like it…

I am pretty sure the rip is fine. Took abouit 25 minutes and the MKV plays fine at the pc. Using DVDFab 7, Full Disk, 100% (DVD9).

But it seems like there is some kind of flag, setting the white color form the subtitles to transparent, that the Live respects (and VLC does not). I have a suspicion about a minor bug in Handbrake, which I am testing for right now.


Nope, my suspicion was wrong. The subtitles remain transparent. I assume it is a bug in the Live (don’t know what triggers it, though – it might get back to it some day, when I learn to inspect subtitle track contents). It affects both parts of the middle movie of a series of 3, it’ll be interesting if the 3rd movie has same “feature”.

As a workaround I must use the “burn” option in Handbrake, it works (and I will probably keep the subs on all the time).


As expected this is a known bug with the Live where the idx/subs palette colors are messed up on display (since most DVDs have different palettes it won’t happen with all of them). That bug was fixed with the first firmware update but only for external subs. Options:

  • convert to SRT

  • use external subs

  • change idx/sub color palette to something the WD hopefully renders better (good luck with that)

  • bug WD to finally fix this bug too (good luck with that)

I have tried playing the original DVD file structure from Live, subtitles are fine. Is there a way to make sup or sub+ifx  from MKV files or from the original DVD files? I am looking into finding the difference between when it works and when it doesn’t …


I wrote above when it works and when it doesn’t. Use VSrip or Subrip to extract idx/sub or SRT.

Techflaws wrote:

I wrote above when it works and when it doesn’t.

Yeah, but I would like to know which DVD works and which DVD doesn’t before I convert to MKV – i.e. I would like to analyze the DVD beforehand and say “this one gives transparent subs, so I’ll have to burn them in or use another workflow”.

I will look into your tools for ripping te subtitles for an alternative to burn-in though. Tnx.


I have tried this approach:

1. Getting the sub/idx files from the DVD imafe with VSRip.

2a. Loaded these files in BDSup2Sub and reexported with the Create new palette option.

  1. Merged the sub/idx files with the MKV file with mkvmerge.

Well, now the subtitles are white, but the dark shadows are missing. Only a pale gray frame remains. I does NOT look nice.

I have tried a couple of variants, with a changed step 2:

2b. As above, but threshold values are adjusted to reflect the actual color values in the “correct” subtitle images.

  • No change, dark shadows still missing.

2c. Loaded these files in BDSup2Sub and reexported with the Keep existing palette option.

  • Transparent subtitles as with the simple workflow.

I should add, that out of 9 DVDs so far, 4 have the transparent subtitle problem :frowning:


It might be easier to keep idx/sub as external files to your MKVs till WD fixes this problem. Unless of course you have the time to test several palettes in Subtitle Creator to see which combination works fine when muxed into MKV. Problem is that not only the palette matters but also the colors used in the bitmaps which are mapped for some reason to those colors you actually see on the screen.

Hi Tech,

Thanks, that’s what I found out too … just finished some testing with this, and it seems that my subtitle workflow now is:

  1. Convert from DVD to sub/idx with VSRip

  2. Load sub/idx in BDSup2Sub and export with Keep palette (this removes all the empty subtitle tracks)

  3. Include with MKV file (which of course is without subtitles).

This seems to give correct results, and my initial fear that it would loose sync when FF/REW’ind was not a problem (VLC seems to NOT like jumping around in the move with external subs).

This leads me to one final (?) question in this thread: What about my long movies, made from 2 DVDs? I have subtitles from those embedded in the (concatenated) MKV files, is there any way to extract sub/idx files from an MKV? I can’t find a tool (tried mkv…, BDSup2sub, tsMuxeR, …)?

Alternatively, when I have extracted the 2 sub/idx filesets from the 2 DVDs, how can I concatenate these to one sub/idx set?


Use mkvextract from MKVToolnix to get certain streams and Vobsub Joiner from Vobsub to join. But I’m not sure I’m getting you workflow. Apart from being able to strip unwanted streams with Vobsubstrip (which isn’t necessary when you don’t rip them with VSrip in the first place) why are they looking fine on the Live when you keep the original palette?

They work, because I keep the subtitles as external sub/idx files (when I write “include with” I mean keep together, not merge) – as you wote, the bug is fixed when subs are externals (and I have confirmed that it works). The reason I “Keep currenct palette” is only that I don’t wanna change if it isn’t necessary (it probably doesn’t change anything, but I am bit tired of testing now :slight_smile: ).

I found out that the same problem exists with Bluray, I just didn’t notice that the shadows were wrong. Using external subs with BD is easier though, as the final merge step can be omitted.

I’ll take a look at mkvextract/Vobsub tool to check if it solves my remaining (minor) multi-disk problem.


Success! I am able to make subtitles for single and double part movies using VobSub Joiner. Of some weird reason, all subtitles seem to need a delay of 500ms, don’t know why, but it seems rather consistent.

Tech, I’ll mark your post as the solution, but this does not remove the need for a fix of the original bug of course. Tnx