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Question about MakeMKV, XBMC, and forced subtitles

2141 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  captain_video
I wanted to post this over at the MakeMKV forums but I haven't received my account activation e-mail after several days so I thought I'd try here instead. I recently converted an iso image of a Blu-Ray with forced subtitles using MakeMKV. I have the default option to select the audio language and subtitles in English so they're already checked by default. Both the English subs and the forced subs are checked. However, when I play the movie in XBMC, the forced subtitles are not displayed. If I turn on the subtitles, I end up with standard subtitles as well as the forced subs. If I uncheck the English subtitles and just have the forced subs checked in MakeMKV, they are not ripped along with the movie.

Am I missing a setting somewhere that allows the forced subs to come through without having to view the regular subs along with them?
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Welcome to the world of Blu-ray subtitles. I just dealt with getting forced subs in the Star Wars Saga Blu-rays and ended up having to follow some forum post that figured it out by trial and error. As an example one of the films' forced subtitles where the sixth English full subtitle and not the one marked forced.

I don't know what to say to solve your problem, but I'd search for "movie name forced subtitles" on Google and hope for the best.
First I would play the MKV on VLC to verify that there are indeed 2 subtitle tracks (English and forced only) and if there is a forced track then I would use MKVMerge to strip out the main English subtitle track so that when you play it through XBMC it defaults to the forced subs as the only track available.

The link below is a good resource to check ahead of ripping whether a movie has a forced or separate subtitle track. If I'm not confident it's accurate though then I save all sub tracks + forced and test w/VLC before I save it to my server. FYI though, if a movie only lists 1 main English subtitle track then you can ignore that one and select the forced track only.

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I checked the movie in VLC and found that it actually had three subtitle tracks. The first was the English subtitles. The second was a commentary track, also in English. The third was the forced subtitles. I downloaded and installed the MKVToolnix package with the MKVMerge GUI. I made some basic settings and unchecked the first two subtitle tracks in the list. Hopefully they are the ones I don't want. I'm running MKVMerge as I'm writing this so I'll let you know how it turns out.

Update: I just checked the muxed file in VLC and it now shows only the forced subs. Thanks for the tip.
Captain wished I had dropped in earlier - could have saved you sometime and a re-mux.

Open MKVMerge\file\Header Editor, load the file and identify the apporpriate sub stream (No3 in this case) and change the header to 'forced' and save., Voila, no need for a remux.

MakeMKV has a habit of not setting the 'forced' flag'. I always double check.

EDIT - also be aware that if you are using Nightly builds in xbmc, then forced subtitles are broken.
Thanks for the info. I'm actually using an older version of XBMC with the HD audio patch. I never got around to upgrading to the current version, but I plan on doing so at some point. I think I'm using Eden at the moment. I just noticed that I can pick and choose which subs to use in XBMC when I enable them. I'm watching Elysium right now that has forced subs and all I had to do was pick the right one from the list. No need to use MKVMerge at all.

MakeMKV has always set the forced flag for subs when I use it, but I check it anyway to be sure. I always select the English subs and the corresponding forced subs regardless of whether the title contains them or not.
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