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Principal sections in an SSA subtitle

The most basic SSA subtitle is one like this (modified version from an original script):

[Script Info]
; This is a Sub Station Alpha v4 script.
; For Sub Station Alpha info and downloads,
; go to http://www.eswat.demon.co.uk/
; or email kotus@eswat.demon.co.uk
Title: Neon Genesis Evangelion - Episode 26 (neutral Spanish)
Original Script: RoRo
Script Updated By: version 2.8.01
ScriptType: v4.00
Collisions: Normal
PlayResY: 600
PlayDepth: 0
Timer: 100,0000

[V4 Styles]
Format: Name, Fontname, Fontsize, PrimaryColour, SecondaryColour, TertiaryColour, BackColour, Bold, Italic, BorderStyle, Outline, Shadow, 
   Alignment, MarginL, MarginR, MarginV, AlphaLevel, Encoding
Style: DefaultVCD, Arial,28,11861244,11861244,11861244,-2147483640,-1,0,1,1,2,2,30,30,30,0,0

Format: Marked, Start, End, Style, Name, MarginL, MarginR, MarginV, Effect, Text
Dialogue: Marked=0,0:00:01.18,0:00:06.85,DefaultVCD, NTP,0000,0000,0000,,{\pos(400,570)}Like an angel with pity on nobody

That means:

  • Script Info: general information about the script:
    • Title
    • Original Script
    • Script Updated By
    • Script Type (useful for compatibility)
    • Collisions (determines the stacking direction of the subtitles when two or more are present with no specific position: if Normal, subtitles are stacked from down to up; if Reverse, they’re stacked from up to down, and can leave spaces under them)
    • PlayResX & PlayResY (useful for graphics and subtitle positioning. If only one present, the other is calculated with real video proportions)
    • PlayDepth (determines number of colors)
    • Timer (all timing is multiplied by this percentage, always written with decimal point and four decimal signs. If smaller than 100.0000, subtitles appear faster and sooner than specified. If greater, slower and later)
  • V4 Styles: a “Format:” line, that specifies the meaning of the “Style:” line Fields, and one or plus “Style” lines, specifying the color, position, margins, the “shape” of a normal subtitle when adjusted to a determinated style (see “Events” section below). All boolean options are written as 0 or 1 (0=false, 1=true). Strange features are:
    • PrimaryColour. Subtitle filling color
    • SecondaryColour. If subtitle has karaoke commands, will appear in this color, changing to PrimaryColour.
    • TertiaryColour (OutlineColour in ASS). Border color
    • BackColour. Shadow color
    • MarginL, MarginR. Minimum margins from subtitles to video limits.
    • MarginV. Minimum margin from subtitles to a video limit, that changes with alignment: if top, distances are from video top; if bottom, distances are from video bottom; if centered, this is unused. In all margin parameters, line is normally cut in \n & \N commands and in spaces, when necessary. An optional parameter in Script Info (only available in ASS), WrapStyle, can change this.
    • Outline. Subtitle can be defined with a border, a rectangle or nothing.
    • Shadow. Distance from shadow to subtitle.
    • AlphaLevel. Transparency (0 is null, 255 is total)
    • Encoding. Useful for writing other alphabet characters in ASCII. With Latin characters, this is set to zero. With Japanese characters, it can be set to 128 (ex: ‹ó displays Sora kanji). With Hebrew characters, it can be set to 177.
  • Events: the section with the subtitles. Timing and text are here, and it’s also able to put special effects and style modifications, with commands with the same syntax: {\letters invoking command(parameters separated by comma)}, like in {\move(80,80,200,200,150,300)}. Strange parameters:
    • Marked. Unused.
    • Effect. There are three available effects for text appearing, all of them substitutable for commands and others.

If there is only a parameter, brackets are not used (ex. {\kf89}).

Two exceptions:

  • Inside braces can be more than one command. Ex. {\bord8\be1}
  • \N and \n commands don’t use braces.

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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