How Can You Extract Hardcoded Subtitles from Videos? Unveiling the Method

How Can You Extract Hardcoded Subtitles from Videos? Unveiling the Method

by Sankar M | 29 Jan 2024 |

Are you the type of person who likes to watch movies and clips with subtitles? Well, that makes the two of us. But have you ever wanted to copy a subtitle for some reason? I am guessing the answer is yes since we live in the age of social media, where everyone wants to share information.

Unfortunately, you can’t do that directly. This is because, most of the time, the subtitles are hardcoded in the video. This means that the text is a part of the video and is embedded inside the pixels of that video. So, when someone wants to use that subtitle, they must write it down manually.

However, there are better ways to do this. In this article, we will explore these methods. We will show you hacks that allow you to copy video-embedded text. This text can then be used or manipulated according to your needs. So, let’s get into it.

Use Cases of Extracting Hardcoded Subtitles

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Previously, we assumed that you wanted to extract subtitles. However, if you are confused about why this is needed, then this section will help you. Here are some scenarios where one might want to extract text from a video.

  • Suppose you have 2 versions of the same video. One of them has excellent quality but doesn’t have the subtitle option. The other one has encoded subtitles but is of poor quality. In this case, if you could copy the subtitles from one file and insert them in the other one, you would be able to enjoy the best of both worlds.
  • You found a movie that you like but it’s in some other language with hard-coded subtitles. Now you want to know what they are saying so you can extract subtitles and get them translated with Google Translate.
  • Another simple use of this process could be when you want to copy a very interesting subtitle. This could be for sharing on social media or just for saving it in your notes.
  • Subtitles could also be useful if you are narrating a video and want to quote someone.

These use cases show that there is, in fact, a need for accessing subtitles in videos.

Methods to Extract Hardcoded Subtitles

We will discuss two methods of performing this task. These methods depend on the requirements of the user.

1. Extracting Subtitles From A Single Frame

If you want to extract text from a single frame of the video, then this method is better. Single frame here means the point in a video that has a particular subtitle that you want. To extract this, we use an online image to text extractor.

These tools use the OCR technology and can be used by following these steps:

  • Pause the video where your required subtitle is showing clearly.
  • Take a screenshot of that point in the video.
  • Insert that screenshot in an image to text converter.
  • Wait for the conversion process.
  • Copy the results. Some tools also provide a downloading option, so you can choose that as well.

This short process will allow you to extract and copy hardcoded text from an image. If the subtitles are in another language then you can get it frame’s screenshot translated instantly using an advanced tool like an image translator. An image translator is an advanced form of image-to-text extractor because it not only extracts text but also detects the language and then regenerate the image with English translation.

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2. Using Third-Party Software

Some downloadable tools allow you to extract the subtitles of all parts of the video. These tools are advanced and require users to go through various difficult steps. Here is a simplified version of how to use such software.

  1. Download the relevant software. In this demonstration, we are using VideoSubFinder.
  2. Import the video file into the tool.
  3. After that, go through a process which is explained here.
  4. Then, you will have multiple text files. Merge them all into one.

In this way, you will have a single text file with timestamps and required subtitles.

Additional Tips

Usually, processes like these make people skeptical. For instance, you might be worried that your file will be corrupted, or your data will be leaked. You can rest assured in that matter as nothing like that happens. However, a few things that you can do to make your process run smoothly, are given below:

  • Make sure that subtitles in your video are clearly visible. If they are not, change the file.
  • If you are using some software, you should ensure that your file type is supported by that software. If it is not, then use some sort of online format converter to make things work.
  • The language used in your required subtitles should also be supported by the relevant tool or software.

These precautionary measures make your work much smoother.


If you are confused about any of the things explained above, these frequently asked queries might help you out.

1. How Do You Extract Subtitles From Videos Using Mobile Phones?

The same method is used on mobile phones as desktops. For example, in the first method, you take a screenshot, go to your browser, search for the tool, and follow the rest of the above-mentioned steps.

2. Is Using Online OCR Tools And Downloadable Software Safe?

Yes, most of these tools are credible and can be used without a care. However, if you are using a new tool, you should research it. Maybe read user reviews to see if it’s a worthy software or not.

3. Does Subtitle Extraction Work On Mac and iOS?

Yes, the above-mentioned online tools work on Mac and iOS as well. However, some downloadable applications might not be supported in the Apple ecosystem.

4. Can Soft-Coded Subtitles Also Be Extracted Using These Methods?

Yes, you can extract soft-embedded subtitles using the above methods as well. Just follow the same sequence of steps and you are good to go.


Subtitles are preferred by a lot of people. This feature comes in handy, especially while watching movies. So, when you are using a feature so much, you might also be required to extract and modify it. The methods explained in this article are the most efficient ways to do so.

So, if you think that the use cases at the beginning of the article relate to you, you should try out one of our methods. In this way, even if the video has hardcoded subtitles, you will be able to extract them and copy or alter them.

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