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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:03 pm 
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I want to create mkvs as "tidy" as possible, optionally after a mkvtoolnix run. Here, I am struggling most with the setting of the "default" and "forced" parameters of subtitles, in particular when including several audio tracks of different languages. If in doubt, I am more looking for the theoretically correct option.

Case 1: Two audio tracks with each one forced and one full subtitle track
In this case, every audio track has its forced track, thus, I would mark both forced subtitle tracks as "forced". Do I need to set "default" somewhere? I don't want to see the full subtitles by default but want to have the forced subtitles depending on the selected audio language.

Case 2: Two audio tracks with only one forced subtitle track for one language and each one full subtitle track
In principle, the one forced subtitle for one language is "forced", but I only want to see it when I select the corresponding audio language. For example, there is an English audio track (the "default" one) without any corresponding forced subtitle track. In addition, there is a German audio track with a corresponding forced subtitle track (translations of the texts shown on screen). In my experiments, when I set the "forced" flag of the German forced subtitle, this one is played by default together with the English "default" audio track in VLC. This is obviously not what I want. Is this still the correct approach and is VLC just missing some logic here, or should I choose different settings?

Do you add a "name" to a subtitle track? When?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:46 pm 
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There is no "mostly correct" way subtitles are handled on disks. And, what's worse, is that while there are standardized "flags" for the tracks, they are mostly useless, because few playback devices or programs respect them.

There is a "forced" flag that can be set within a subtitle track to indicate that a particular subtitle should "always" be displayed, usually used for signs and such, and languages that are not dubbed in. I have seen one example of this - Avatar.

There is a "default" flag that can be set for a track, to tell the player this track should be the one shown, unless the user selects something else. I have not seen a program or device that respects this flag, but I'm told they exist. Everything I've used always displays the first track found, regardless of flags, and sometimes regardless of language chosen.

Publishers have "tendencies" with respect to subtitles.

Most of the US-based anime publishers use two subtitle tracks per dubbed language. One contains "everything", the other contains "signs and foreign audio" (aka "forced" subtitles). Which is first or default varies, even with the same publisher. Some vendors only supply one subtitle track, which contains all subtitles. The only choice is "off" or "everything".

In movies, I've seen different play lists for the different languages, which differ in which subtitle and audio tracks are available to select, controlled by software on the player. When you rip them, it's difficult to say what you'll get. To get both English and Japanese on "When Marnie was There", I had to use mkvmerge to select audio tracks from two different MKV files generated by MakeMKV, because no playlist had all languages listed.

My personal recommendation is to tell MakeMKV to rip all tracks within a title, and pick what you want out in post-processing. And make sure the track YOU want as "default" is the FIRST track in the final version. Maybe even set the "default" flag on it, just in case you find a player that respects it.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:39 am 
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nabla wrote:
I don't want to see the full subtitles by default but want to have the forced subtitles depending on the selected audio language.

AFAIK that's not possible with MKV. You cannot make the subtitle change automatically depending on audio stream selected. If you have a Bluray with German and English audio with forced subtitles for someone who is speaking Spanish for example, you will end up with two forced subs flagged as such and only the latter of which will be played back automatically (if the player supports this). So when I rip those kind of BDs I always manually flagg the German sub as forced and the English not which means I'd have to switch manually when watching english/english. Flags would look like this:

- video (default on)
- german audio (default on, forced off)
- english audio (default off, forced off)
- german sub forced (default on, forced on)
- german sub full (default off, forced off)
- english sub forced (default off, forced off)
- english sub full (default off, forced off)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:00 pm 
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Thank you for your input. I think selecting respective subtitle tracks is not an issue with mkv, it's an issue of the player basing the selection on the mkv metadata. In fact, the Matroska specifications say that when there are multiple "forced" tracks, the player should decide on the language of the forced flag or use the default flag if no track matches the use languages. Thus, I think

- video (default on)
- german audio (default on, forced off)
- english audio (default off, forced off)
- german sub forced (default on, forced on)
- german sub full (default off, forced off)
- english sub forced (default off, forced on)
- english sub full (default off, forced off)

would be the correct setting. I opened a ticket with VLC, which behaves strangely, even worse than ignoring the flags completely.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:37 am 
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nabla wrote:
In fact, the Matroska specifications say that when there are multiple "forced" tracks, the player should decide on the language of the forced flag or use the default flag if no track matches the use languages.

Yeah, apparently I misremembered this from my conversation with Mosu (author of MKVToolnix):

hxxp://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?p ... ost1625351

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