Personally, I do feel that dubbed movies always sound and look weird no matter how good the audio synchronizations are. It just doesn’t feel right, and that’s why I always prefer subtitles. What’s more, unlike dubbed movies, the benefit of watching movies with their subtitles is that I can also learn the language.
Subtitles, for most movies, are easy to find. There are plenty subtitle sites out there. There are also some free subtitle finder applications that you can grab if you don’t want doing the search in your browser. Or, if you happen to use VLC player, you can also make use of it to search subtitles without leaving the program.
This capability of searching subtitles, however, isn’t available by default in the player. You need this VLC extension, which is named as VLSub, to make it happens.
How to install VLSub
Download VLSub zip file from here—find and click the [Download ZIP] button on the right sidebar. Extract vlsub.lua file from the archive and then move it to the VLC extension directory (If the extensions folder isn’t existed yet, you can create a new one):
- Windows (all users): %ProgramFiles%\VideoLAN\VLC\lua\extensions\
- Windows (current user): %APPDATA%\vlc\lua\extensions\
- Linux (all users): /usr/lib/vlc/lua/extensions/
- Linux (current user): ~/.local/share/vlc/lua/extensions/
- Mac OS X (all users): /Applications/VLC.app/Contents/MacOS/share/lua/extensions/
- Mac OS X (current user): /Users/%your_name%/Library/Application Support/org.videolan.vlc/lua/extensions/
How to use VLSub to find subtitles
- After the installation, load any movie in the player. Click View on the menu bar and select VLsub 0.9. The View menu can also be accessed by right-clicking on the main screen.
- The name of the movie is automatically detected so you don’t have to type it, including the seasons and episodes if they are TV Shows as long as the titles are properly named, e.g. Primeval New World S01E03.
- Search by name or hash. The hash-based search results in accurate subtitles but sometimes you might get no result whatsoever. If it fails to find subtitles using the hash search, then you have to search by name—it would be great if there is an option to automatically continue the search by title when the hash attempt fails.
- Select any subtitle from the list and click the [Download Selection] button. The subtitle will then be downloaded and automatically loaded without having to restart the player. The subtitle is also automatically renamed to match the movie’s title and saved to the movie’s directory. If the current subtitle doesn’t fit the movie well, then you can select another one and download it. The new subtitle will overwrite the existing one.
You can change the default subtitle language to search so you don’t have to click the drop-down button to choose it over and over again everytime you load new movies. This can be done via the VLSub Configuration window.
Also, if you need to download multiple subtitles in different languages for a movie, I suggest to change its subtitle saving behavior to Manual Download mode to prevent the new subtitle overwriting the existing one. Click the [Show config] button to open the VLSub Configuration window, click the [What to do with subtitles] drop-down button and select “Manual download”.
Under this manual saving mode, the download link of the selected subtitle appears when you click the [Download Selection] button. Click on the link to download the subtitle.
Another thing to note is that it uses only OpenSubtitles.org as its source so sometimes the results might not sufficient. When testing it to find a subtitle for an episode of a TV Show, none of the result was good so I had to google it to find the proper subtitle.
I like it, especially for the fact that the subtitle is automatically loaded without having to do it manually or exit the player. This way you can find out immediately if the subtitle is good or not.