Chapter 11. A word on style and consistency

     Maybe I mentioned this before, but presentation is important. The number of subtitlers is increasing daily. The number of bad subtitles produced is increasing exponentially. Unless you want to be heaped in this bottom echelon of poor-quality subtitlers, you must take steps to ensure a quality job. If you’re following the procedures I’ve mentioned about script basics, timing, fonts, colors, positioning, etc you’re heads and shoulders above the majority of subtitlers out there. If you plan on adding a little style to your script, for example using a different color font for times when people are speaking off-screen or thinking dialogue, make sure you do it consistently.

     Using good equipment is of course essential to producing a high quality subtitle. When I started subbing, I wasn’t sure how much I would like it, so I went the cheap route and bought cheap equipment. Within several weeks, I was already disappointed with the quality subtitles I was producing, and had to replace all my equipment. If you are serious about subtitling, don’t go cheap on the equipment or you’ll regret it sooner or later.

     Remember that if you plan on a title for distribution, it will be copied. Use a nice thick font with good contrast - if the font you use is hard to see on your S-VHS master, imagine what it will look like on a 4th generation VHS copy! Observe other subtitler’s style more critically. See what you like and dislike about other subtitles, both fan made and commercial. Try to emulate what you like and avoid what you hate. If you can one-up everyone else, even better! Set a goal for yourself and tell yourself, “I’m going to do a better job than this commercial title!”

     So why be so picky about how your project looks? Well, remember… Many people will be seeing your project, so you’re representing yourself with every subtitle you produce. You want to make something that you can come back and look at in six months and be proud of yourself. You are doing this because you enjoy this as a hobby and want to do the best you possibly can.

<-- Chapter 10 | Chapter 12 -->
Contents of this Page Copyright © 2001 by Matthew R. Demicco.
You may not reproduce any part of this document
without the express written consent from the author.