Subtitling for Film Festivals

Below is a description on how to generate subtitles for/at a film festival. Meaning subtitles for a limited number of viewings and viewed at one site.


The subtitle file is generated on a PC, where the timecode of the film and the timecode of the subtitling are synchronized. When film is shown for a larger audience the film/video and subtitle can be regarded as two separate views. In the start it has to be manually synchronized, i.e. it takes a minute to manually sync film/subtitles at start, when this is done, the rest will be in sync and requires no further attention. Subtitles are presented below the film by separate projector. Inexpensive solution, but still based on professional equipment.


The solution includes the following steps:

  • Subtitle preparation
  • Manual subtitle playout
  • Automated subtitle playout


Equipment required:
Display Screen for subtitles in suitable format positioned under the main film screen. (Rent or buy from local AV rental agency.) Price: local

  • Large screen projector (Rent or buy from local AV rental agency) Price: local
  • PC with Windows 7 desktop or laptop. Price: local
  • Cavena Tempo license (can be downloaded from Internet). Price: yearly license EUR 995. Special short term license: 3 months EUR 450.


The Cavena Tempo is a complete subtitle preparation station capable of playing back MPEG 1 and Media 9 video files. With this the translator can efficiently edit and time the subtitles as well as rehearse them with video.


The Tempo used for playout of subtitles for Film Festivals works as follows:

Edit and build a subtitle file. If you have access to the film make an MPEG 1 encoding and complete a subtitle file with text and timecode.


Connect the VGA output of the PC to the large screen projector. On the projector zoom the display to only show the subtitles as they are presented in the video window of the Tempo. Direct and focus the image on the special subtitle screen.


Open a black video of longer duration than the movie in the Tempo, open the subtitle file.


If the subtitle file is pre-timed: put the black video to play and wait for the first subtitle to go on air. At the exact time press “crash-sync” and the subtitles will start to display following the timing made earlier. There are controls for advance and retard of the sync relation to fine trim what you missed when starting.


If there is no timing on the subtitle in the file the operator will use the commands for subtitle On/Off Air and do manual subtitling. Put the black video to play and use the In/Out commands for timing through the file. At the end of the movie save the file. For the next show use method under 4a) above. Since the relative times have been captured during the first transmission.


For more information please turn to Cavena.