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The Free and Easy Way to Hardcode Subtitles to Videos

  • Burn-in subtitles to any video files in one click
  • Add and hardcode subtitle files to MP4, MKV, MOV, WMV, etc.
  • Edit subtitle font, color, position, and size and preview in real-time
  • Also extract subtitles from videos, and download subtitles online
  • Free video editing: split, cut, crop, add watermark, change speed
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3 Methods to Hardcode Subtitles to MP4/MKV and Other Video Fast & without Quality Loss

By Cecilia Hwung | Last Update:

Summary: Want to hardcode subtitles to your MP4, MKV or other video files? The post will offer you 3 ways to hardcode SRT to MP4 so that you can enjoy movies and videos with subtitles on different players and devices. To add and burn-in subtitles to any videos, VideoProc Vlogger is a free and easy way.

Hardcode subtitles, also known as, "burned-in subtitles, or forced subtitles", means burning the subtitle stream onto the video, so the subtitles become part of the video which can be viewed without the requirement for subtitle plugins.

Why You Need to Hardcode Subtitles

You can softcode subtitles as extra streams of the media file. By doing this, you can get options to toggle the subtitles on or off, adjust how it appears on the video on the displayed media players. Sounds good? Sadly, there are lots of reasons why you still need to hardcode subtitles to MP4 or other videos:

  • The media player needs to decode and encode the soft subs over the videos while playing softcode subtitles that may blast up your CPU usage. This may render some out-of-sync problems.
  • Some websites, desktop, and mobile media players are incompatible with softcode subtitles, or won't show soft subs correctly. You may experience distorted/missing subtitles issues.
Hardcode Subtitles

That's quite different from the said burn-in subtitles which have no requirement for subtitle plugins and are there for good. Therefore, if you want to enjoy the video with subtitles on computers, mobile phones, TVs, and anywhere freely and keep the subs perfectly and permanently shown on those devices, be sure hardcode subtitles to your videos.

How exactly to add hardcode subtitles to MP4, MKV, and other videos? Here lies the point of this post. Keep reading, you'll learn 3 ways to merge SRT/ASS/SSA subs onto videos by using VideoProc Vlogger, VLC media player, and Handbrake.

How to Hardcode Subtitles with VideoProc Vlogger

Some professional video editing programs can help us easily burn-in subtitles to videos. Here we sincerely recommend VideoProc Vlogger to make this job done easily. VideoProc Vlogger can add subtitle files and hardcode subtitles to MP4/MKV/AVI/MOV videos easily.

VideoProc Vlogger - Hardcode Subtitles into Video Permanently without Quality Loss

  • Simplicity – Hardcode subtitles to MP4, AVI, MOV and other popular video files in a click.
  • Real-time Preview – Drag on the timeline and preview in real-time.
  • Customizable & Real-time Preview – Edit subtitle font, color, position, and size as needed.
  • High-Quality Engine – No visible quality loss after burning subtitles onto videos.
  • Fast Speed – Embed subtitles in MP4 and other video files within minutes thanks to level-3 GPU acceleration tech.
  • Advanced Edit Features – Split, add watermark, change speed, motion crop, add music, edit frame by frame…

5 Steps to Hardcode Subtitles to Any Videos

Step 1. Download and install VideoProc Vlogger on your Windows or Mac. Open the software and set up a new project. Add your media files, including videos, pictures, music and subtitle file(s) into the Media Library.

import videos and subtitles in Media Library

Step 2. Drag the main video to Video Track and make some edits if necessary.

Step 3. Drag the subtitle file to Subtitle Track on the timeline. And you can drag left or right to sync with the video.

add hardcode subtitle in VideoProc Vlogger

Step 4. Hit Export. On the pop-up window, you can set File Name, destination to save the file, output format, resolution, and video quality and so on.

Step 5. Click on Start button to trigger the subtitle hardcoding. After a moment, you'll get the final video file that is burned with subtitles.

How to Hardcode Subtitles with Handbrake

Before Handbrake 1.3.2, you are only allowed to burn SRT subtitle files. With its latest version, you can hardcode SRT, ASS, and SSA subtitles to MKV and MP4 videos. However, the option to change subtitle color, position, and size are still absent. Anyway, let's have a look at how to burn subtitles to a video with Handbrake.

1. Launch the latest version of Handbrake.

Open up Handbrake and click About Handbrake. Select Update > Check for update. Handbrake starts to check the available updated version of the program. If a later version is available, Handbrake will then ask you to download it and have it installed on your computer. After you acquire Handbrake 1.3.2, start up the program.

2. Add video files to Handbrake.

Click File to add the video clip that you would like to merge with subtitles. You can also drag and file to the right side of the interface for directly loading up to the app

3. Choose a needed video format.

You then come to the main interface after Handbrake successfully loaded up the source video. Click Preset and choose a needed ready-made video profile. Among those, the option with the highest resolution is 1080P. If you want a result with ultra-high resolution, click Save New Preset to create a customized preset.

Go to the Summary section, and unfold the Format tab to select a desired output container formats from MP4, MKV. Why you shouldn't choose WebM? It doesn't support of hardcode subtitles at all. If you need MOV, AVI, and other file formats, then better goes with VideoProc Vlogger which is much more compatible.

Note: The jargon related to media and codec is overwhelmed which can confuse even some experts. Therefore, be sure you follow this tutorial to get everything right.

You can skip the settings of Dimensions, Videos, Audios, and Filters if you are a beginner. However, if you need to have better control over the output file size, quality, and processing speed, you have to check each tab carefully.

4. Add the Subtitle Files.

Click Subtitles > Import subtitles to impart your SRT, ASS, or SSA subtitle file to Handbrake. Tick the select box of burn-in.

5. Choose the output file location.

Hit Browse to select the destination file folder and create a new file name. Click on Save.

Burn in Subtitles with Handbrake

6. Start to Add the Subtitle Overlay.

Hit the Start Codec option which is in green and can be found on the menu bar on the top. It takes 26 minutes to hardcode SRT subtitles onto my 30-mins videos (1080P, 30fps, H.264).

How to Hardcode Subtitles in VLC media player?

The process of using the VLC media player to merge subtitles to videos permanently might be a little tricky for newbies. If it's not a big issue for you, or you don't plan to dabble in any extra hardcode subtitles software, keep reading the guide on how to hardcode subtitles with VLC.

1. Open up VLC media player

Click the icon of the VLC media player on your desktop to launch it up.

2. Add subtitles and video files.

Come over to Media, and select Stream. This will lead you to the Open media panel. There you should firstly click + Add to import subtitle file. After that, you can click Use a subtitle file to add the prepared subtitle, click Stream, and then hit Next.

3. Select Destination to Stream to.

Click Add to reach the Destination Setup panel. Hit Browse to select the desired output file folder and set the file name. After making the right settings, click Next.

Add Subtitle Stream to VLC

4. Chose a Proper Profile.

Now you are on the Stream Output tab, your first task is enabling the Active Transcoding option.

There are lots of video and audio codecs available once you click the select box of Profile. But we recommend you use H.264 + MP3 (MP4) to get avoid issues like missing audio, a/v out of sync, wrong pictures, etc.

5. Edit Selected Profile.

Hit on the grey toolkit icon to enter the profile edition tab. There you can see Encapsulation, Video codec, Audio codec, and Subtitles. Let's get into them one by.

• Encapsulation
The checked Encapsulation should be tail with the Profile Name that you have chosen. In my case, MP4/MKV is ticked as I select Video – H.264 + MP3 (MP4) on the before step.

Suppose you select another video profile, pay attention to the Subtitle option shown on the Feature tab. If the icon of Subtitle is a red cross, then it implies the chosen formats don't allow you to add hardcode subtitles. You need to roll back to the earlier step to select a different profile.

No Subtitle Feature Webm

• Video codec and Audio codec
Beginners are advised to leave parameters of these two tabs as default as any improper settings on bitrate, resolution, or framerate may render horrible quality loss, slow transcoding speed, and many other weird issues.

• Subtitles
The easiest but most important steps: check Subtitles and enable Overlay subtitles on the video, and then click Save.

6. VLC media player starts to hardcode subtitles.

Click Next. Now VLC media player begin to add subtitles to your videos permanently. This process takes minutes to hours depending on the original and output file size and formats. Warm note: don't close the program before everything gets finished.

Bonus: How to Change the Subtitles Appearance by using the VLC media player?

With VLC media player, you can change the properties of the subtitles including font, color, position, size, and other information. Note: There is no access to preview how the subtitles would look like, so you may need to try many times to get the desired effect.

1. Click Tools > Preference, go to the left bottom of the interface, and click All.

2. Scroll down the settings list, and find Subtitles/OSD. Once you click this and select Text renderer.

VLC Text Render

3. You can acquire many options to adjust how subtitles look in the video.

4. Click Save after making needed settings.


Can VLC Hardcode Subtitles?

Yes, VLC media play can put hardcode subtitles to MP4, AVI, and MKV on Mac, PC, and Linux. You can check the detailed steps above.

Can VLC Or Handbrake Remove Hardcode Subtitles?

No. Both of them only allow you to get rid of softcode subtitles, closed captions, and some extra subtitles. Hardcode subtitles come as part of the image stream which can't be removed off.

Any Easy Hardcode Subtitles Software Recommended?

If you are a tech staff, I'd say Handbrake, VideoProc Vlogger, VLC media player, and Avidemux all are easy to use. However, only VideoProc Vlogger is easy enough for a noob to hardcode subtitles to any videos.

How To Hardcode Subtitle in Bulk?

Click Video Folders when import videos to VideoProc Vlogger, and then you add the subtitles for each file. Hit Done to enable it to merge subtitles with video in bulk. The process is easy like the mentioned way to hardcode SRT to a single video clip.

About The Author

Cecilia Hwung is the editor-in-chief of Digiarty VideoProc. With over a decade of experience, she specializes in delivering insightful content on AI trends, video/audio editing, conversion, troubleshooting, and software reviews. Her expertise makes her a trusted ally in enhancing users' digital experiences.

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