Sync Subtitles With The Video In VLC

out of sync subtitles

Handy as they are, subtitles can turn extremely irritating if they’re out of sync with the video. They distract you, and you end up understanding even less than what you’d have without the subs. Thankfully, if you’re using VLC player to watch the videos, you can make use of a nifty feature in the program to sync the subtitle with the video! Do note that it’ll only temporarily sync the subtitles with the video, and the sync will be gone the next time you watch the video.

Anyway, lets get started with how to implement it. I’m assuming that you’ve already loaded the video and subtitle files into VLC (you can just drag them both into its interface). Now, carefully take a look at the video and the subs, and see whether the subs are lagging behind or running ahead of the video. If you’re watching a foreign movie, it may seem like a very difficult job, but just try a little hard and you should be able to make this out. For example, if you see a girl screaming and running around wildly, and the subs show “Help me! Help me!” 3 seconds after that scene, this means that the titles are 3 seconds behind the movie.

Once you’ve figured out the lag / lead of the subtitle, it’s time to sync it with the video. In VLC, navigate to Tools > Track Synchronization, where you’ll find the Subtitles/Video section. Now comes the important part – syncing the subtitle. If the subtitle is lagging behind the video, you’ve to provide a negative value to ‘Advance of subtitles over video’. Say the subs display 3 seconds after the video, the value you got to enter is –3.000 s. Note that you can adjust the sync time to up to a thousandth of a second, although adjusting to the tenths does the job in all cases. Similarly if the subtitle is ahead of the video, enter the required positive number of seconds. Hit the Refresh button at the top right corner of the window, and you should see the change immediately.

You can also use the g/h keys to delay/advance the subtitle by 50 milli-seconds each! So if you want to slow the subtitle down by 0.5 seconds, hit g ten times.

sync subtitles (track synchronization)

sync subtitles

There’s another option called ‘Speed of the subtitles’ in there. Normally, the subtitles should run for the same time as that of the video. However in rare cases, if you do come across a subtitle that  wraps up faster (or slower) than the video, you can make use of that particular option. If the subtitle advances too slowly (starts with proper sync, but then increasingly lags behind), increase the “fps” (frames per second) value to something above 1.0, the value depending upon the relative speed of the subtitle. Similarly for fast subtitles, decrease the fps value so that they’ll keep in pace with the video and won’t run ahead faster.

As I said, both these features are only temporary and last as long as the video is open in VLC. If you want a permanent solution, you should instead look for perfectly syncing subtitles. Sublight is one useful tool that’ll help you get them. Sublight even has a built-in syncing tool that’ll permanently sync de-synced subtitles with their respective videos.

Of course, if for any reason you cannot, or do not want to, use Sublight, VLC’s swift little trick has always got you covered. :)

The Author

Ashutosh Mishra

Ashutosh is an IT engineer from India who loves all things tech. Follow him on Twitter.
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  • Lennu

    I would need both options to work, actually. The first one is fine, I needed to put + 10s, but then, after the beginning, the title changed too fast, so I should reduce its speed, but it doesn´t allow me (while increasing works fine). Nothing happens when I click on the – :S

    • http://ashutoshmishra.org/ Ashutosh Mishra

      It looks like the subtitle is wrapping up much faster than your video. VLC can help little with that. You should try and get a proper subtitle from http://sublight.si :)

    • http://ashutoshmishra.org/ Ashutosh Mishra

      Or you could also try reducing the speed of the title in frames per second (last value).

  • Hage Nobin…

    Cool!!!!!!!!!!!!…………….thanx man…. really works!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://dailysubtitle.com subtitle download

    yeah, thanks for the info .. it works

  • http://dailysubtitle.com subtitle download

    yeah, thanks for the info .. it works

  • Ananta_me02

    Thanks bro it will be very helpful as a guideline for me (as a new comer in synchronizing)

  • Ananta_me02

    Thanks bro it will be very helpful as a guideline for me (as a new comer in synchronizing)

  • Cruella

    thanks dude :)

  • nanette

    I have VLC on my mac (latest update) and I do not have a tools button in my VLC player.
    My subs are too fast with 4 seconds, so Ive adjsuted this with using ” command H”. Now my subs are oke for some seconds and its too fast again. So I want to adjust the FPS as you suggest in your post…. but I can not adjust it anywhere.
    On a other post Ive found the tip: open file advanced and put subs on file. Here I can adjust FPS but when all set, movie is not working at all.
    How to fix this?

    • http://ashutoshmishra.org/ Ashutosh Mishra

      That’s a weird problem you’ve got! I have heard that VLC for OS X does have a few rough edges, and I don’t have a Mac, so can’t verify either. You should try the VLC Forum, the guys over there will definitely help you out. :) http://forum.videolan.org/

      • nanette

        Thanks a lot!

    • http://ashutoshmishra.org/ Ashutosh Mishra

      That’s a weird problem you’ve got! I have heard that VLC for OS X does have a few rough edges, and I don’t have a Mac, so can’t verify either. You should try the VLC Forum, the guys over there will definitely help you out. :) http://forum.videolan.org/

    • Keivan

      I have a Mac and I was trying to solve this problem. after weeks and weeks I found out the solution. On VLC in imac you can go to: file/ advanced open file/… in this window (Open Source)  in Browse you should choose your video file and below you should tick ”Load subtitle file” (this is important), and in front of that in Setting /Browse.. you should choose you subtitle file… under you should mark ”Override parame” for unlock the Delay and FPS section, after that click OK and in the window (Open source) click OPEN… you can see movie with subtitle… 
      For skew subtitle you can set a positive or negative number in Delay section.
      for example: 5 or -5 
      Thanks

      -KEIVAN

      • http://ashutoshmishra.org/ Ashutosh Mishra

        That’s great! Thanks for the detailed steps. :)

      • http://twitter.com/brennaviola Brenna

        Thank you so much! For someone who’s no good with computers this step was simple and it worked perfectly! I’ll be sure to remember it.. thanks again xx

    • Keivan

      I have a Mac and I was trying to solve this problem. after weeks and weeks I found out the solution. On VLC in imac you can go to: file/ advanced open file/… in this window (Open Source)  in Browse you should choose your video file and below you should tick ”Load subtitle file” (this is important), and in front of that in Setting /Browse.. you should choose you subtitle file… under you should mark ”Override parame” for unlock the Delay and FPS section, after that click OK and in the window (Open source) click OPEN… you can see movie with subtitle… 
      For skew subtitle you can set a positive or negative number in Delay section.
      for example: 5 or -5 
      Thanks

      -KEIVAN

      • http://ashutoshmishra.org/ Ashutosh Mishra

        That’s great! Thanks for the detailed steps. :)

      • http://twitter.com/brennaviola Brenna

        Thank you so much! For someone who’s no good with computers this step was simple and it worked perfectly! I’ll be sure to remember it.. thanks again xx

  • Ho_cla_ho

    Thanks so much.

     Ya know what’s weird and totally irrelevant though? I just watched that episode that the picture is from tonight. Like, an hour ago! So weird!

  • Ho_cla_ho

    Thanks so much.

     Ya know what’s weird and totally irrelevant though? I just watched that episode that the picture is from tonight. Like, an hour ago! So weird!

  • arson

    its not working… :/…in my movie movie is lagging behind subtitle and i tried putting “-“infront of seconds in advance of subtitle over videos…

  • arson

    its not working… :/…in my movie movie is lagging behind subtitle and i tried putting “-“infront of seconds in advance of subtitle over videos…

  • arson

    its not working for those videos which are lagging behind subtitles even though i tried putting   ” – ” sign before time (seconds) in advance of subtitle over videos in synchronization option …???

  • arson

    its not working for those videos which are lagging behind subtitles even though i tried putting   ” – ” sign before time (seconds) in advance of subtitle over videos in synchronization option …???

  • Pam5_cmp

    thanks for the help!!!…atlast found a solution for syncing my srt files

  • Pam5_cmp

    thanks for the help!!!…atlast found a solution for syncing my srt files

  • Airamitalya

    how can i minimize the size of subs in vlc?

  • Airamitalya

    how can i minimize the size of subs in vlc?

  • Kapiljisoni

    Super Amazing and extremely helpful articles.. Thanks a TON…. God bless

  • Kapiljisoni

    Super Amazing and extremely helpful articles.. Thanks a TON…. God bless

  • http://twitter.com/amsuerte Althea Suerte

    i used the ‘Advance of subtitles over video’ thing to sync the subs but it didn’t work. the subs were still off-sync as if i didn’t even change a thing

    • http://ashutoshmishra.org/ Ashutosh Mishra

      As mentioned this is a tedious process, and the exact sync might not happen at all. It’s better if you can find already synced subtitles from the Sublight application – http://sublight.si :)

      • ankush dhingra

        I had been working to fix this issue up using VLC tool box…but didnt succeed ..but this sublight is awesome and it did wht i wanted..thank you very much ashutosh..you are a genius.

      • ankush dhingra

        I had been working to fix this issue up using VLC tool box…but didnt succeed ..but this sublight is awesome and it did wht i wanted..thank you very much ashutosh..you are a genius.

  • http://twitter.com/amsuerte Althea Suerte

    i used the ‘Advance of subtitles over video’ thing to sync the subs but it didn’t work. the subs were still off-sync as if i didn’t even change a thing

  • http://twitter.com/BakaNecko Sanawi

    i have windows 7 and im tryin to sync a sub track to the second part of a movie which happens to be a seperate video file, but the track sync option doesnt allow me to start the sub track in the middle… can anyone suggest anything for me? should i split the sub track. and how? THANKS ahead of time :)

  • http://twitter.com/BakaNecko Sanawi

    i have windows 7 and im tryin to sync a sub track to the second part of a movie which happens to be a seperate video file, but the track sync option doesnt allow me to start the sub track in the middle… can anyone suggest anything for me? should i split the sub track. and how? THANKS ahead of time :)

  • surender jain

    Thanks a lot. That’s amazing. I was struggling to find a solution to fix subtitles out of sync problem and didn’t know that solution is there within VLC player.

  • surender jain

    Thanks a lot. That’s amazing. I was struggling to find a solution to fix subtitles out of sync problem and didn’t know that solution is there within VLC player.

  • Peter

    ty so much!!!@!!

  • Abebe

    Thank bro, real helpful…

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  • Liamorante

    thanks!though it is only temporary effect,i sure now enjoy my movies..this trick work as long as you follow the instructions carefully which is very easy to follow..thanks again..i’m dying to see a movie which is already in english but darn,they speak so fast..luckily i found a subtitle in english..it is the only subtitle suited for the movie because the movie is in four parts..but the syncing of subtitle does not match the movie..luckily i found this and it perfectly worked for me.. :-)

  • Liamorante

    thanks!though it is only temporary effect,i sure now enjoy my movies..this trick work as long as you follow the instructions carefully which is very easy to follow..thanks again..i’m dying to see a movie which is already in english but darn,they speak so fast..luckily i found a subtitle in english..it is the only subtitle suited for the movie because the movie is in four parts..but the syncing of subtitle does not match the movie..luckily i found this and it perfectly worked for me.. :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/babbar1993 Deepak Babbar

    its nice dude..thanq

  • http://www.facebook.com/babbar1993 Deepak Babbar

    its nice dude..thanq

  • ba dum tss

    ugh.. I thought I’d never appreciate the film I’m watching because the subs aren’t synchronized, thank you very much.

  • ba dum tss

    ugh.. I thought I’d never appreciate the film I’m watching because the subs aren’t synchronized, thank you very much.

  • Vishal

    Thanks a lot for this tip..it really helped.

  • Jai

    i’m not able to reduce the “speed of subtitle” . i can increase more than 1.000 but i cant reduce..   

    • Kristin

       I can’t do this either. Wtf?

  • Jai

    i’m not able to reduce the “speed of subtitle” . i can increase more than 1.000 but i cant reduce..   

    • Kristin

       I can’t do this either. Wtf?

  • Pratishkk

    Thanks that was a great help bro…
     

  • Pratishkk

    Thanks that was a great help bro…
     

  • Harsha

    IT worked really well as u said thnk u vry mch !!!

  • Harsha

    IT worked really well as u said thnk u vry mch !!!

  • AbleMable

    Thank you so much!!!! I had a subtitle that was seconds later and I could only ever find a delay button that wouldn’t take minus values. I kept looking in advanced open files where you would select the file, never thought of tools.  This was wrecking my head! Thanks :D

  • Nagpal44

    Track sync option is not available in VLC player 0.9.4

    • http://ashutoshmishra.org/ Ashutosh Mishra

      Well, the latest version of VLC is 2.0.1, so you really need to update. :)

  • Akuaku

    Fast and easy, thank you!

  • Happy

    THANK YOU!!!! :-)

  • Eshwarraj

    it worked at the beginning but as the movie progresses the subtitles start lagging behind like     before i made the changes.someone please help me………………     

  • Delhigalihled

    thanks a lot

  • Paulus/laudaka

    Thanks for this clear explanation. It was the quick fix I was looking for! It’s excellent for video things you’re only going to watch once.

  • Abhishekchandran94

    a million thanks for the info. it worked perfectly. cant express my happiness

  • http://www.facebook.com/geoffstaples Geoff Staples

    Here’s the issue I keep running up against: I have one subtitle file for an entire movie, but the movie is broken up into multiple files. When using GOM player, when the next video file starts, I can use the subtitle explorer to bring the subtitle file back in and then sync it to the beginning of the current video file, but that is really a pain and disrupts the movie. Plus, you have to keep track of the lengths of each video file so that you know the timing at the beginning of each video file to sync the subtitles.

    I know I can merge the video files into one file and solve the problem that way.

    What I’d really like is a player that would allow me to load up the files for the movie in a playlist, open the subtitle file, and then have the player resync the subtitle file each time it opens the next video file.

    Are you aware of a player that does this? (Or, any other clever trick so the subtitles can be setup once at the beginning of a movie.)

    It seems like this would be a pretty easy thing to do and that this would be a really common requirement.

    Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

  • Henry

    Hi, it works very fine.
    Thanks.

  • Henry

    Hi, it works very fine.
    Thanks.

  • prithvi

    go to opensubtitles.org and download another subtitle file. or even better download their app. it syncs subs automatically. no need for the above tedious process everytym..

  • prithvi

    go to opensubtitles.org and download another subtitle file. or even better download their app. it syncs subs automatically. no need for the above tedious process everytym..

    • http://rautamiekka.org/ Jouni Järvinen

      Not possible in some cases.

  • Isabela

    Your tip saved my life! I use VLC to watch movies and frequently have trouble with subs that go ahead than the audio and didn’t know where to look. Thank you!.

  • Isabela

    Your tip saved my life! I use VLC to watch movies and frequently have trouble with subs that go ahead than the audio and didn’t know where to look. Thank you!.

  • Virzie

    thanks it’s work for me…

  • Virzie

    thanks it’s work for me…

  • Komal

    Thank you so much ..It worked :)

  • Komal

    Thank you so much ..It worked :)

  • afraz

    i’ve got subtitles that run too fast….even at a speed of 1fps…..nd the subtitle speed is not going below 1fps…help me out

  • afraz

    i’ve got subtitles that run too fast….even at a speed of 1fps…..nd the subtitle speed is not going below 1fps…help me out

  • Boyidzham

    its work! thanks..

  • Boyidzham

    its work! thanks..

  • Misled_punk

    Thnx a lot. Really helpful :) Keep it up!

  • Misled_punk

    Thnx a lot. Really helpful :) Keep it up!

  • srisagar

    Works great..thanks a lot!!!

  • srisagar

    Works great..thanks a lot!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mattias.andersson.33046 Mattias Andersson

    thank you,  this was most helpful!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mattias.andersson.33046 Mattias Andersson

    thank you,  this was most helpful!

  • Mia322

    THanK U SOOOO MUCH….THIS WAS EXTREMELY HELPFUL !!!!

  • Mia322

    THanK U SOOOO MUCH….THIS WAS EXTREMELY HELPFUL !!!!

  • Bs Ujwala

    u r my god!!!! no srsly…. it worked and i cud keep watchng my german movie!!! :-)

  • Bs Ujwala

    u r my god!!!! no srsly…. it worked and i cud keep watchng my german movie!!! :-)

  • jery m

    This is really helpful… Thank You! But the ‘speed of the subtitles’ part  is not working.
    I raised it to a maximum of 100 fps and also tried using 3 different subtitle files for a movie; but didnt work.

  • Yantili

    I can’t lower Speed of the subtitles value below 1 fps which is default so subtitle runs faster all the time,  any solution?

  • Yantili

    I can’t lower Speed of the subtitles value below 1 fps which is default so subtitle runs faster all the time,  any solution?

  • Rocketmailabin

    Thanks !!!

  • Rocketmailabin

    Thanks !!!

  • Kostas

    TY awesome!!!!!

  • Kostas

    TY awesome!!!!!

  • Bob

    Wow thanks, really useful!

  • Bob

    Wow thanks, really useful!

  • http://www.facebook.com/hongman.cho Hongman Cho

    the subtitle im having problem with is synchronized 2 minutes ahead and i can’t fix it because the advance of subtitles over video option has a limitation of +-100sec.. I don’t know why they put a cap on lol. anyone know a way around this?

  • http://www.facebook.com/hongman.cho Hongman Cho

    the subtitle im having problem with is synchronized 2 minutes ahead and i can’t fix it because the advance of subtitles over video option has a limitation of +-100sec.. I don’t know why they put a cap on lol. anyone know a way around this?

  • http://www.facebook.com/hongman.cho Hongman Cho

    Thanks for sharing! it takes less than a minute to do it :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/hongman.cho Hongman Cho

    Thanks for sharing! it takes less than a minute to do it :)

  • Diaz

    thanks

  • Diaz

    thanks

  • Suyash

    thank you so much. this helped a lot!

  • Suyash

    thank you so much. this helped a lot!

  • slow walker

    thank you man ! really helpful and really work !

  • slow walker

    thank you man ! really helpful and really work !

  • vibhor sharma

    it totally worked for me,man you’re a genius

  • vibhor sharma

    it totally worked for me,man you’re a genius

  • Help!

    but it doesn’t sync on the middle part :| I’m watching harry potter and I want to clearly understand what they’re saying. You know, they’re British!

  • Help!

    but it doesn’t sync on the middle part :| I’m watching harry potter and I want to clearly understand what they’re saying. You know, they’re British!

  • tonia

    it not helps!

  • tonia

    it not helps!

  • Tom_Arnall

    CONCERNING FRAME RATE!!

    Make sure that the frames per second number (FPS) for the movie matches the FPS for the subs. Download sites will usually give the FPS for the movie. For the subs, it’s often in the title of the sub file. Some subtitle sites also provide it in the ‘details’ section for the individual subtitle file (subscene for example). Equal FPS is the only criteria for subs and films which will work together. If the FPS is not the same, the film will not sync with the subs. (Some players force you to use a subtitle name which matches that of the film, in which case you must rename the sub file, but this has nothing to do with the FPS issue.)

    MISTAKE

    A lot of the instructions for using subs state that the title of the sub file and of the movie must match. People give this instruction thinking that this is a way to deal with the FPS problem. This is a MISTAKE because it eliminates using sub files with titles not matching that of the video file. True, if the two titles match, you are guaranteed equal FPS. But you can use a file which does not match the movie on name, as long as the FPS is the same. (23.976 and 25.0 are the only frame rates I know of.)

    A related trick. If you have a video without the FPS info and/or a sub file without the FPS info, you can find out if there is a match on FPS as follows. Get the run time for the video. Open the srt file and look at the time for the last subtitle. If these are close, you have probably got a matching pair. To be exactly sure, do the following. Find the time for the last subtitle. Go to that time on the video. If the content of the audio at that point on the film matches the content of the last subtitle, you are guaranteed that the subs will work for the video.

    In some cases, even if the FPS is the same, the subs must be either delayed or moved forward to get them to sync with the video. At least some of the players enable this, e.g., smplayer. This of course complicates the two techniques given in the preceding paragraph.

  • oshri avitan

    i have a problem to add subs to VLC it’s worked in the past ..
    i just cleaned up some files in my PC and now it’s not working !
    the subs working only in k-lite codec .
    anyone can help

  • Plastic_Biddy

    Worked perfectly for me. Great, thanks.

  • Grytsiv Dmytro

    Just NICE

  • naeem ansari

    how to add subtitle in any movie?

  • http://rautamiekka.org/ Jouni Järvinen

    But if the subs are in sync until the first commercial that was removed from the vid in the case of TV episode and then desynced, that feature by the looks of it won’t help: it -seemingly- “syncs” the subs by a fixed time that applies to the whole vid. Right ?

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