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[whatwg] Captions, Subtitles and the Video Element

From: Jeff Walden <jwalden+whatwg@MIT.EDU>
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 2009 22:21:04 -0700
Message-ID: <4A600A40.60504@mit.edu>
On 15.7.09 17:56, Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Thu, 19 Feb 2009, Ian Fette wrote:
>> However, there's a lot of uses for subtitles / captions that cannot be
>> met with subrip. No styling (beyond the bare basics), no karaoke
>> commands, no alpha, no nice handling for collisions, margins, shadow
>> colors, specifying encoding, etc.
>
> I disagree that we should have author-controlled styling here. While I
> could maybe be convinced to have something basic like colour and maybe
> positioning, I think it is important that we let the subtitles be under
> the control of the user and the user agent, as they are, for instance, on
> TVs. Providing a way for authors to select different voices would make
> sense, but if we allow arbitrary styling we are going to have all kinds of
> problems, like lacking the ability to take subtitles and convert them to
> braille without losing context, or losing the ability to trivially convert
> subtitles for use in other contexts like TV subtitles.
>
> (For the few authors who really want to go crazy, they can already overlap
> HTML onto their<video>  and do whatever crazy stuff they want to do.)

By way of a use case for at least color and positioning, there's a certain part of the third (?) Austin Powers movie wherein the color and position of foreign-language subtitles plays an important part in the artistic merits (lack thereof, arguably) of the scene.  How would you suggest a movie-viewing site use <video> to display these?  It seems unreasonable to say that the site must include special-case handling for this particular movie clip's subtitles; it's more likely they would be mangled in some manner and the semantic content (lack thereof) would be lost.

By the way, I have no idea how foreign-language translations of the movie handle this scene.  It's possible they simply subtitle the subtitles and avoid the more complicated problems this scene arguably presents.

Jeff
Received on Thursday, 16 July 2009 22:21:04 UTC

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