Auto Gordian Knot: An easier way to add subtitles to your video clips

I was never 100% satisfied with one of my blog posts that explains how to permanently burn subtitles onto video clips

With rare exceptions such as Mozilla Firefox, most open source software aren’t exactly user-friendly or pleasant to use, especially when it deals with something as complex as video processing.  When you are a major computer geek like myself and you have a very difficult time in figuring out how to properly use the software in question, then there is something seriously wrong with the picture.

The shortcoming of my original method
With nearly non-existent documentation and scant internet advice on how to use the combination of the software that I had suggested in the blog post, I was mostly resigned to the fact that I would not be able to apply this method using a free combination of software to long-running video clips.

With this free subtitling method that I hashed out on my own, the resulting AVI video clip with the burnt subtitles was in an uncompressed format and therefore VERY LARGE. The file could barely fit on my computer’s hard drive until I was able to take the additional step of compressing it again to a smaller video file.  While this worked nicely for video clips that were a few minutes or less, it was entirely unfeasible for longer video clips.

The solution: Auto Gordian Knot
That was until I stumbled upon the open sourced and freeware, Auto Gordian Knot.  Ironically, it’s basically made up the the exactly same software packages that I suggested in my original blog post!  The difference is that this master package sets up all the other sub software packages properly so that there was no need to have to deal with the problem of the intermediate uncompressed video clip!  It was much more user-friendly than my original method of burning subtitles.

While testing Auto Gordian Knot, I was able to take the original AVI video file and a separate subtitle file that I created with Subtitle Workshop then produced the final AVI video with subtitles burnt onto the video.  The resulting AVI file with subtitles was of high quality with crisp clear subtitles.

The program isn’t that difficult to use and I used the setup below which should work for most video clips:

  1. Choose the Input file (select the AVI or MPEG video file that you want to subtitle)
  2. Hit CTRL-F8 to show a field for "External subs" and choose the external subtitle file that you created with Subtitle Workshop
  3. Choose the Output file (the default filename is usually good)
  4. Target Quality of 75
  5. select Xivd codec in Advanced Settings
  6. Add Job
  7. Start
  8. Sit back while it encodes another video file with the subtitles burnt onto the video

I used this subtitling method with a 2 hours long video and it worked brilliantly.  The quality of the video and the subtitles were outstanding as well!

If you are thinking about directly adding subtitles to your own video clips, I would highly recommend this approach.  Unfortunately, Mac users are out of luck as the software work only on PCs running Windows.

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