How to show subtitles under the video in VLC?

I couldn't write in the above thread so I will ask a new question instead.

My goal is the same as the thread above. But the instructions that are given doesn't wield the desired results.

I want only the subtitle to move under the video when this is possible.

What I get is that the entire picture gets padded with new pixels.

When there is enough space above, depending on the video's aspect ratio, the picture is moved upwards above the subtitles, which are not moved.

But when there is not enough space above, the picture gets "squeezed" to make room for the newly positioned subtitles. I do not want the image to be altered in this way

If initially the subtitles look like so:

enter image description here

After changing settings I do not want them to look like so:

enter image description here

Example: follow the instructions up to the third step, type in 222 pixels, and follow the rest of the instructions. Now you should be able to see that this is not desirable in any way. I am surprised no one complained.

Question: how do I move the subtitle under the video without it distorting the image in any way?

  • I have extensively edited your answer. Take a look and tell me if that is acceptable to you. I will change back if you ask me to. You said you wanted subtitles under the image and the image not altered in any way. This is possible only when there is an empty black space under the image. That depends on the aspect ratio. When there is not, you cannot put subtitles under the image and not distort the image. So, you should ask to have subtitles as low as possible: under the image when there is space under there, but without creating that space when it is not already there.
    – user47206
    Nov 5 '14 at 8:45
  • asking subtitles under the image in all cases is not what you want, and I think it is not what the initial question wanted. But the way it was formulated seemed to ask for subtitles to be under the image in all cases. And that is what that answer is providing. See my answer for details. I posted that under both questions.
    – user47206
    Nov 5 '14 at 8:47

The height of the video is shrunk by the same factor as the width. I do not see any distortion, it is just a scaling which conserves the aspect ratio of the video. But it would be desirable that the video area is not shrunk. This seems to be impossible with vlc. After the "padding", you can adjust the area of the video by shiftig the window borders. That way, you can obtain approximately the desired result.

  • The shrinkage takes place only if there is no black area above the video. When there is, the image is uplifted without any shrinking. When there is no black area under and above, a black padded area is created below anyway, which is not what the question asks. No distortion, but clear 'shrinkage'. "adjust the area of the video by shifting the window borders" - so, no fullscreen?
    – user47206
    Nov 5 '14 at 9:23

Apparently you can't do it in VLC as it needs to draw on the canvas, hence the workaround that allows you to pad the video. As someone noted on the VLC forums this is cumbersome because you need to set it up each time the resolution changes.

  • Your negative answer seems the definitive one to the specific VLC question.
    – user47206
    Nov 5 '14 at 9:28

I think the answer under the other question provides a solution in VLC but only suitable to certain aspect ratios.

Depending on the aspect ratio, a video image may have or may not have a black space under the video.

Considering the linked answer:

  1. when the picture has a black space below it, it also has a black space above it, and so the picture is not squeezed, but moved upwards, while the above space is diminished (notice that in the images below).


enter image description here


enter image description here

I am using VLC 2.2 and to get this effect I made some settings that are somehow different from the ones in the other answer:

enter image description here

  1. when the aspect ratio is such that it does not leave space under and below the image you cannot add subtitles outside the image without shrinking it somehow (as you say: "the picture gets "squeezed" to make room for the newly positioned subtitles"). But in such a case it doesn't make much sense to display the subtitles under the picture.

Only that with those settings VLC keeps doing that even when that is not the most preferable option.

When I need subtitles under picture (that is: as low as possible without squeezing the image) I find it much easier just to open the video in a different player like bomy player, which can easily activate and deactivate the needed setting.

Just right-click on the image:

enter image description here

enter image description here

When playing a video at an aspect ratio that fills the entire screen, bomi (formerly CMPlayer) displays the subs on the picture with or without the 'letterbox' option.

Trying to use SMPlayer for the same purpose:

Cannot make it work, although I have the impression that putting subs as low as possible was doable in smplayer...

The solution found here (adding vf=expand=0:-50:0:0 in ~/.mplayer/config) gives a result very similar to the VLC settings in the other answer.

  • cmplayer seems abandoned now and replaced by bomi.
    – user47206
    Jan 21 '15 at 13:46

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