How to Get Rid of Embedded Subtitles on FLV

by Elizabeth Mott

Whether they assist deaf or hard of hearing individuals, make movie action comprehensible in noisy environments or straddle a linguistic barrier without dubbing a film into another language, subtitles increase the accessibility of video content. If you don't need to use them, they can draw your eye away from the action, diminishing your ability to focus on the movie itself. Removing them can be as simple as a preference setting or as complex as a video edit.

Subtitle Formats

Subtitling comprises two basic forms of captioning: those that rely on timed text incorporated into the video itself as metadata, and those that use text burned directly into the video image. Text-file-based formats accept multiple options that can enable you to format their appearance -- typeface, size, color and position, for example -- and to add or replace captions in one language with support for another. Once subtitles become part of the video image itself, however, the task of making them disappear becomes more complicated.

Player Preferences

The video player software you use to view an FLV file on your computer offers preferences that control the display of captioning information. In some players, you can right-click directly on the video image to bring up a menu from which you can turn off subtitles. Some of these applications include global preferences that determine whether they hide or show captioning in videos and movies that include it. These preferences only affect the display of text-based subtitling, also known as soft subtitles.

Embedded Text

Video-editing applications can enable you to access and change the embedded subtitling text formats that display captions, timed to match up with the footage they accompany. Some of these applications can also extract the text of subtitles into a separate file. To create a version of an FLV-format video or movie that lacks captions altogether, edit a copy of the file to remove the subtitling text or save the edited document under a new filename. To alter captions so they present subtitling in another language, embed a new timed-text file into the FLV.

Edited Video

If your FLV file contains subtitles that form part of the pixels that make up the video frames themselves, you can't turn them off in playback software. To eliminate distraction or substitute captioning in another language, you must edit the footage file itself. Place a horizontal black bar over the caption area to serve as the base for new subtitles or, as a last resort, crop the size of the video frame so the caption area disappears altogether.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Mott has been a writer since 1983. Mott has extensive experience writing advertising copy for everything from kitchen appliances and financial services to education and tourism. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from Indiana State University.

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