Spot5 User Guide - Spot Subtitling Software

Spot 6
User Guide
March 2016
Copyright © 2016
Spot Software BV
Ten Katestraat 8,
1053 CE Amsterdam
The Netherlands
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Spot 6 User Guide
TABLE OF CONTENTS
WHAT’S NEW IN SPOT 6 ...................................................................................................................................................... 5
FEATURES ................................................................................................................................................................................... 5
DESIGN ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 6
BUG FIXES ................................................................................................................................................................................... 6
GETTING STARTED ............................................................................................................................................................... 8
INSTALLATION .............................................................................................................................................................................. 8
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS................................................................................................................................................................. 8
THE MAIN SCREEN ............................................................................................................................................................... 9
SCREEN LAYOUT ........................................................................................................................................................................... 9
TOOLBARS AND STATUS BAR ......................................................................................................................................................... 10
SUBTITLE EDIT AREA .................................................................................................................................................................... 12
THE VIEW BAR ........................................................................................................................................................................... 13
BASIC NAVIGATION ..................................................................................................................................................................... 14
Moving between subtitles ................................................................................................................................................. 14
Moving to the start and end of a file................................................................................................................................. 14
Navigating quickly through a file ...................................................................................................................................... 14
Moving to a specific subtitle ............................................................................................................................................. 14
EDITING AND FORMATTING SUBTITLES ............................................................................................................................. 15
FORMATTING SUBTITLES .............................................................................................................................................................. 15
Aligning subtitles horizontally ........................................................................................................................................... 15
Aligning subtitles vertically ............................................................................................................................................... 15
Italicising subtitles ............................................................................................................................................................. 15
Adding comments to subtitles ........................................................................................................................................... 16
Adding outlines to subtitles ............................................................................................................................................... 17
SUBTITLE EDITING FUNCTIONS ....................................................................................................................................................... 18
Inserting subtitles .............................................................................................................................................................. 18
Deleting subtitles............................................................................................................................................................... 18
Merging subtitles .............................................................................................................................................................. 18
Splitting subtitles ............................................................................................................................................................... 19
Splitting and merging subtitles ......................................................................................................................................... 19
Copying subtitles ............................................................................................................................................................... 19
TEXT EDITING FUNCTIONS ............................................................................................................................................................. 19
Deleting text ...................................................................................................................................................................... 19
Moving words between rows ............................................................................................................................................ 19
Swapping lines one and two ............................................................................................................................................. 20
Toggling text between upper, mixed and lowercase......................................................................................................... 20
Quick formatting shortcuts ............................................................................................................................................... 20
Compressing text ............................................................................................................................................................... 20
Using colours ..................................................................................................................................................................... 20
AutoReplace and AutoFormat ........................................................................................................................................... 21
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UNDO ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 22
QUICK VIEW .............................................................................................................................................................................. 23
DUAL LANGUAGE TOOLS .............................................................................................................................................................. 25
CAPTURING AND EDITING CUES ........................................................................................................................................ 26
CAPTURING CUES........................................................................................................................................................................ 26
Grabbing cues in Edit mode .............................................................................................................................................. 26
Spotting with the spacebar in Rehearse mode .................................................................................................................. 26
EDITING CUES ............................................................................................................................................................................ 27
Editing the in and out cue ................................................................................................................................................. 27
Deleting cues ..................................................................................................................................................................... 28
Recalculating cues ............................................................................................................................................................. 28
Offsetting cues .................................................................................................................................................................. 28
Controlling cue behaviour ................................................................................................................................................. 29
Converting cues between video formats ........................................................................................................................... 30
CHECKING AND PROOFING SUBTITLES ............................................................................................................................... 31
USING THE CHECKS MENU ............................................................................................................................................................ 31
USING THE FILE CLEAN TOOL ........................................................................................................................................................ 33
WORKING WITH PUNCTUATION RULES ........................................................................................................................................... 35
REPORT VIEW ............................................................................................................................................................................ 37
SPELL CHECK AND THESAURUS ....................................................................................................................................................... 39
WEB SEARCH ............................................................................................................................................................................. 39
WORKING WITH PROFILES ................................................................................................................................................. 40
WORKING WITH FILES........................................................................................................................................................ 41
DEFAULT FILE FOLDERS ................................................................................................................................................................ 41
OPENING AND IMPORTING FILES .................................................................................................................................................... 41
Opening files ..................................................................................................................................................................... 41
Importing files ................................................................................................................................................................... 44
Importing only text or cues ............................................................................................................................................... 45
SAVING AND EXPORTING FILES ....................................................................................................................................................... 46
Saving files ........................................................................................................................................................................ 46
Saving files with zero-based numbering............................................................................................................................ 46
Exporting files .................................................................................................................................................................... 46
Custom Text Format .......................................................................................................................................................... 49
Spruce Maestro files .......................................................................................................................................................... 49
Texas Instruments DLP Cinema XML files .......................................................................................................................... 50
Windows Media Player SAMI caption files ........................................................................................................................ 52
Quick Batch Convert .......................................................................................................................................................... 52
Multi-Format File Export ................................................................................................................................................... 53
Exporting bitmap files ....................................................................................................................................................... 53
AUTORECOVER AND TIMED BACKUPS.............................................................................................................................................. 57
AutoRecover ...................................................................................................................................................................... 57
Timed Backups .................................................................................................................................................................. 57
SPLITTING FILES .......................................................................................................................................................................... 60
COPYING SUBTITLES FROM EXISTING FILES ........................................................................................................................................ 60
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COPY WINDOW .......................................................................................................................................................................... 61
NOTES VIEW ............................................................................................................................................................................. 61
FILE SYNC ................................................................................................................................................................................. 63
FILE VIEWER .............................................................................................................................................................................. 67
WORKING WITH MEDIA FILES ............................................................................................................................................ 68
OPENING MEDIA FILES ................................................................................................................................................................. 68
SYNCING MEDIA FILES .................................................................................................................................................................. 69
CONTROLLING MEDIA PLAYBACK .................................................................................................................................................... 70
Using the video control panel............................................................................................................................................ 70
Using the keyboard ........................................................................................................................................................... 72
Viewing media information ............................................................................................................................................... 73
Showing Video Filters ........................................................................................................................................................ 73
SETTING VIDEO AND AUDIO PREFERENCES....................................................................................................................................... 75
General .............................................................................................................................................................................. 75
Media Control ................................................................................................................................................................... 76
Audio ................................................................................................................................................................................. 76
Video ................................................................................................................................................................................. 77
DirectShow Filters ............................................................................................................................................................. 77
Deprecated ........................................................................................................................................................................ 77
AUDIO WAVEFORM DISPLAY.......................................................................................................................................................... 78
SHOT CUT DETECTION ................................................................................................................................................................. 81
DISPLAY SETTINGS ...................................................................................................................................................................... 83
USING THE VIDEO CONVERTER AND SUBTITLE ENCODER .................................................................................................. 86
OTHER TOOLS AND PROCEDURES ...................................................................................................................................... 90
NOTEBOOK ............................................................................................................................................................................... 90
MEASUREMENT CONVERTER ......................................................................................................................................................... 91
SCRIPT MANAGER ...................................................................................................................................................................... 92
Script Manager export options.......................................................................................................................................... 93
TRANSLATION ............................................................................................................................................................................ 94
KARAOKE .................................................................................................................................................................................. 95
Creating karaoke subtitles ................................................................................................................................................ 95
Removing karaoke subtitles .............................................................................................................................................. 97
Checking karaoke subtitles ................................................................................................................................................ 97
Reapplying karaoke subtitles ............................................................................................................................................ 97
TIMECODE CALCULATOR............................................................................................................................................................... 98
CUSTOMISING SPOT .......................................................................................................................................................... 99
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ..................................................................................................................................... 102
GENERAL ................................................................................................................................................................................ 102
VIDEO AND AUDIO .................................................................................................................................................................... 102
REFERENCE ...................................................................................................................................................................... 104
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What’s New in Spot 6
Features
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Shot cut detection
File cleaning
Punctuation rules
Video converter and subtitle encoder
New file import and export formats
File Sync
File Viewer
Notes window
MOV and MPEG-4 audio stream switching
Internal MOV and MPEG-4 decoder
Internal MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 decoder
Detailed media information
Show video filters and splitters
Set preferred video filters and splitters
New subtitle renderer
Separate thread audio processing
Find last/next audio peak
Resize waveform height in main window
Playback up to 200% speed
User-selectable file backup location
Multi-format export
Quick batch convert
Build your own custom text export
4K support for DCP (digital cinema) files
Proportional cue offset
Centre left alignment
Dual language tools
New text editing shortcuts
Merge with previous subtitle
Page up and page down in Rehearse mode
Find all references tool
Customisable video panel
Quick cue offset
Snap cues to shot cuts
Support for 48 fps (HFR)
Copy all subtitles to comment field
Find subtitle based on timecode
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Design
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New DLP window
New toolbars in main window
New HD Bitmap Export and Display Settings windows
Redesigned QuickView window with new list view
Bug fixes
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Fixed the File, Send Email bug which prevented emails from being sent using the default email handler
Fixed all UTF-8 text import bugs (SAMI, DLP, SRT, SUB, etc.)
Fixed anamorphic flag bug in Final Cut Pro bitmap export
Fixed bug in iTunes export
Fixed bug that caused PAC files to load despite clicking the Cancel button in the language selection
window
Fixed bug in DTS-CSS bitmap export that caused memory leaks and could crash Spot
Fixed read/write character conversion bug in 890 files
Fixed bug in DoStudio index file header
Fixed bug that caused 23.976 fps SPT files to be saved as 24 fps
Fixed bug that meant text formats might not export subtitles with full italics
Fixed bug that corrupted double byte character set languages when exporting in SRT Unicode format
Fixed bug that prevented Spruce Maestro UTF-8 export
Fixed Ulead DVD zero-based numbering bug
Fixed UTF-8 text export bug
Fixed language code bug in DLP bitmap export
Fixed checksum bug in 890 files that made files unreadable on some systems
Fixed bug that incorrectly applied full italics to custom type 1 text files
Fixed bug that imported subtitles as full italic if starting and ending with < > even though subtitle was
not full italic
Added missing three-letter country of origin codes to EBU file properties window
Fixed bug that always set EBU country of origin to GBR
Fixed bug that caused corruption when saving certain Arabic characters in STL files
Fixed bug that caused an extra blank line to be added to the end of SRT files
Fixed several bugs in the Display Settings window, including one that reset margins to default values
when the window was opened.
Fixed a bug that showed the incorrect duration and incorrect reading speed for the last/next subtitle
when the current in or out cue was changed manually.
Fixed a bug that erroneously calculated 23.976 fps video duration at 24 fps.
Fixed bug that meant auto-detect frame rate offered to change the frame rate to PAL, NTSC, etc. when it
was already PAL, NTSC, etc.
Ctrl+Enter now works with auto-recut.
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Fixed bug that prevented normal arrow up/down to change cue fields after using mouse to change times
with up/down spinners.
Fixed bug that caused .tcd timecode data file to lose one frame.
Fixed bug that would only search for embedded video timecode the first time a video file opened.
Fixed bug that prevented * key from jumping to the end of the video.
Fixed bug that caused AutoFormat, “Replace en and em with hyphens” to corrupt DBCS characters.
Fixed bug that prevented Unicode copy and paste.
Fixed bug that made Spot jump to subtitle one instead of staying where it was after appending a file.
Fixed bug that prevented individual colours from being shown in the preview window.
Fixed bug that draws subtitles in black when white is selected from the Subtitle, Colour menu.
Fixed time it takes to load thesaurus and spelling suggestions on Edit menu.
Fixed bug that showed statistics instead of report when new file opened with report mode open.
Fixed bug that caused choosing “None” as outline from toolbar not to remove outline when mixed
outlining in the same file is not allowed.
Fixed bug that prevented mouse wheel scrolling from working when subtitle alignment changed.
Fixed line one number of chars not turning red if number > allowed characters.
Fixed safe area override calculation bug. The check is now based on full frame for all screen resolutions.
Fixed bug that allowed “merge with previous subtitle” at the start of a file.
Fixed double byte language AutoReplace/AutoFormat bug.
Fixed bug in translation window that returned a Google error.
Fixed bug in translation window that prevented any translations to or from Dutch or Danish.
Fixed bug that forced users to have to right-click outside selection in main edit area to bring up context
menu when “Automatic drag and drop option” selected.
Fixed bug that randomly caused Spot to reload/stay in memory.
Profile and all other dropdowns in the main window now show 30 items (used to show 8).
Fixed bug that caused the Split File window to display subtitles in the incorrect character set.
Fixed bug in the Profile Settings window and profile load/save which caused last shot cut and next shot
cut settings to be ignored.
Fixed bug in Subtitle, Sort By In Cue which deleted shift subtitle up/down data.
Fixed profile bug that caused wrong profile to be loaded.
Fixed bug that prevented the new project window from being shown at start-up.
Fixed bug that caused Spot to crash when the mouse was moved over random parts of the screen.
Fixed bug in Scan File that prevented the Cancel button from working.
Fixed bug that caused File, Merge, Text as Comments to fail.
Fixed PAC and STL character export bugs: $ for STL, ť and ď for PAC.
Fixed several bugs in the Display Settings window, including one that reset margins to default values
when the window was opened
Fixed spell check bug which would only allow spell checking for Western European languages.
Added new “non-clipboard” spell check method for users with Word clipboard problems.
Fixed bug which caused SRT import to fail if some subtitles are blank.
Fixed a bug in Quick View that meant you couldn’t change the alignment of multiple subtitles.
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Getting started
Installation
Run the file setup.exe to install Spot and follow the on-screen instructions. Make sure your dongle is connected
to your computer before starting the program and that it remains connected throughout the current session.
The first time you run Spot you will be asked to activate the product using your product key. This is a unique 35character identifier that will have been provided to you after purchasing the program. When asked for the key,
make sure you are connected to the Internet, enter the 35 character code and click OK.
Spot will start up once the key has been validated.
You will be asked to enter your product key each time you install and run the program for the first time on a new
machine, so make sure you keep it safe. You are allowed a maximum of five activations. In other words, you may
install Spot on up to five different computers.
System requirements
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2 GB RAM
2 GB available hard disk space (if bitmap export required)
Graphics card capable of displaying 32-bit colour at 1024 x 600 (minimum resolution)
Sound card
Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.
To capture video to your hard disk, you will require either:
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A compatible video capture card; or
an MPEG or similar encoder
To subtitle from VHS, you will also require:
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A compatible video capture card (with WDM DirectX driver)
An Adrienne timecode reader board
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The Main Screen
Screen layout
Main toolbar
Edit font toolbar
Previous subtitle duration guide
Video window
Previous
subtitle
Subtitle
navigation slider
Subtitle
toolbar
Subtitle overlaid
on video
Subtitle
edit area
Internal timecode
Duration
guide
Video control
panel
Next subtitle
Audio waveform
View bar
Next subtitle
duration guide
Shot cut window
Status bar
Name of open video file.
Click for media info
You can resize the main window by dragging the sides or corners of the window with the mouse. As you do so,
the video window will resize accordingly.
Selecting the option Remember main window size and position in the Options, General window will store the
size and coordinates of the main window and restore them the next time you start Spot. Click the Default button
on the right of this option to restore the window to its default size.
The subtitle toolbar and view bar can be hidden by selecting the appropriate option from the View menu. You
can also turn duration colour coding on and off for the previous and next subtitles. Many aspects of the main
window can be customised – see the Customising Spot section of this guide for more information.
The audio waveform can be hidden or displayed by clicking its icon on the main toolbar.
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Toolbars and status bar
Main toolbar
Open the File Clean Settings window.
Click the arrow to clean a file
New file
Restore a backup file. Dropdown menu items: Enable/Disable Backups, Configure
Backup Options and Open Backup Folder. Red light means backups are not
enabled; green (as shown) means they are
Open file
Find
Save file
Email file
Save As
Save All - save the current file, force an AutoSave,
force a backup, save Notes, save video data
Switch to Report view
Open file import and file export windows. Dropdown menus
provide quick access to several common import/export formats
and the new batch export tool
Run selected checks.
Dropdown selects which checks to run
Open the Punctuation Rules window.
Click the arrow to check punctuation in the file
Audio waveform
Go To
Quick View
Measurement
converter
Notebook
Open Profile properties window.
Dropdown menu items: Save Profile,
Delete Profile, Import Profile Settings,
Export Profile Settings
Sync video with subtitles
Spelling
Update info icon. Enabled
when an update is available
Click to open the Display Settings
window. Dropdown menu items: Aspect
Ratio, Video Format, Display Font, Load
Display Settings
To add or remove items from the toolbar or change the icons, right click it and select Customise. In the
Customise Toolbar window, select or deselect the buttons you want to show or hide. To change the position of a
button on the toolbar, hold down the Alt key in the main Spot window and drag the button to a new location
(the “Allow button reordering” option in the Customise Toolbar window must be selected first). The toolbar can
be reset to its original state by right clicking it and selecting Reset. See the Customising Spot section of this guide
for more information.
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Subtitle toolbar
Insert after
Italics
Merge with next
Delete
Copy
Colour
Cut
Align subtitle
Paste
Manage comments
Split
Merge with last
Outline
Zero numbering
Row number
Insert before
The subtitle toolbar can be shown or hidden by clicking Subtitle Toolbar from the View menu.
Edit font toolbar
Edit font size
Current profile
Edit font name
Subtitle and spell check language
Edit area width
Be aware that the font name and font size only apply to the font used in the subtitle edit area. The subtitle file
target font is set in the Display Settings window.
Status bar
Average characters per line
Subtitles in file
Video window size and aspect ratio
Frame rate
Character set
As the name suggests, the average characters per line indicator shows the average number of characters that
will fit on one line using the current edit font. However, if the edit font is a fixed-width font (such as Courier
New), this value will show the maximum number of characters per line. See the “How do I set a fixed number of
characters per line?” question in the FAQ at the end of this guide for more information.
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Subtitle edit area
The subtitle edit area is where you type and edit subtitles and their in and out cues. It also displays information
about the current subtitle and any comments that may be attached to it.
Characters in lines
one and two
Required
reading speed
In cue
Lines in subtitle
Duration
Out cue
Subtitle number
Interval to
previous subtitle
Comment
Subtitle duration guide
Using the TAB key
While the cursor is flashing in the main edit area, press the TAB key:
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once to move to the in cue
twice to move to the duration field
three times to move to the out cue
four times to move to the comment field
five times to move back to the subtitle text
Use Shift+TAB to move in the reverse direction. Pressing the Esc key from any of these fields will take you back
to the main edit area.
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The View bar
There are six “mode” or “view” tabs at the bottom of the main window: Edit, Rehearse, Report, Notes, Copy and
File Sync.
Rehearse (F8)
Switches Spot from Edit to Rehearse mode.
Report (Ctrl+R)
Opens Report View for the current file.
Notes (Ctrl+K)
Opens the Notes panel.
Copy (Ctrl+L)
Opens the Copy window.
File Sync
Puts Spot in File Sync mode.
Viewer (Ctrl+B)
Opens Spot’s File Viewer.
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Basic navigation
Moving between subtitles
Use the Page Up and Page Down keys to move to the previous and next subtitle. Clicking the previous and next
subtitle boxes has the same effect, as does scrolling the mouse wheel.
Moving to the start and end of a file
Press Ctrl+Page Up to jump to the first subtitle in the file and Ctrl+Page Down to jump to the last subtitle.
Navigating quickly through a file
Drag or click within the vertical scroll bar on the far right of the main screen or scroll the mouse wheel.
Moving to a specific subtitle
Press F5 to open the Go To window. Type the number in the Enter subtitle number box and hit Enter or click Go
To.
To find a subtitle with a specific in cue, click
Timecode in the Go to what box, enter the
time code you are searching for in the Enter
timecode box and hit Enter or click Go To.
Leave the Enter timecode box blank and hit
Enter or click Go To to move to the first subtitle
that does not have an in or out cue assigned to
it.
To find subtitles with specific formatting,
select the type of formatting from the Go to
what box, then use the Next and Previous buttons to navigate through the file.
For example, to find the next left-aligned subtitle in the current file, click Alignment in the Go to what box,
select Left from the Subtitle alignment box and click Next.
There is an easier way of moving to a subtitle based on its in cue time without the need to open the Go To
window. Press Alt+F5 in Spot’s main window, type the timecode in the pop-up window and hit Enter. Spot will
find the subtitle whose in cue is closest to the time you typed.
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Editing and formatting subtitles
Formatting subtitles
Aligning subtitles horizontally
Press the F2 key to toggle the horizontal alignment of subtitles. Pressing F2 with a left aligned subtitle, for
example, centres that subtitle. Pressing F2 again aligns it to the right and pressing once more aligns it centre left
(centred around the longest line with other lines left-aligned ). Use Quick View to change the alignment of a
group of subtitles or all the subtitles in a file.
This line is aligned left.
This is centred.
This is right-aligned.
And this piece of text is aligned left
but centred in the document
Press Shift+F2 to toggle the alignment of an individual line (Enable individual line alignment must be selected
under Tools, Options, Text Editing). Although the alignment in the edit area will remain the same, the preview in
the video window will reflect the change.
Lines can be indented (e.g. for closed caption work) by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Right. Press Ctrl+Alt+Left to remove
indenting. You can also shift subtitles left and right in one per cent steps using Shift+Alt+Left/Right.
Use Quick View to change the horizontal alignment of a group of subtitles.
Aligning subtitles vertically
Press Ctrl+Alt+UP/Down to raise or lower subtitles. Use Ctrl+Alt+1, Ctrl+Alt+2 and Ctrl+Alt+3 to position
subtitles at the top, centre or bottom of the screen. Subtitles can be shifted up and down in one per cent steps
using Shift+Alt+Up/Down.
Sometimes you might need to align a subtitle at the bottom of the screen with information such as the speaker’s
name at the top of the screen. To do this, type the text for the top row, press Enter and type the first line of the
subtitle text. Next, press Home to move to the start of the line and then continue to press Enter until the first
row snaps to the top of the screen.
Use Quick View to change the vertical alignment of a group of subtitles.
Italicising subtitles
Italics can be applied either to whole subtitles or to individual words and phrases. Press F3 to italicise a whole
subtitle. To remove italic formatting, press F3 again. To add italics to single words or phrases, select the text you
wish to italicise and press F3 or Ctrl+I.
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When reformatting a file, two handy italics shortcuts are available: pressing Alt+F3 will remove all manually
added italic flags from the current subtitle; pressing Ctrl+F3 will remove all manual italic flags and make the
whole subtitle italic. So, by pressing Alt+F3, the following subtitle (probably imported from another format)
<We were told to line up>
<and wait for the Master>
would become
We were told to line up
and wait for the Master
whereas pressing Ctrl+F3 would cause it to become as follows.
We were told to line up
and wait for the Master
Both these formatting commands can be applied to multiple subtitles in the Quick View window.
Italicised subtitles will appear in italics in both the main edit area and the video window. Single italicised words
or phrases will only appear in italics in the video window; in the main subtitle area, angled brackets will mark the
start and end of the italicised selection.
You should not leave a space between an italic marker and the word or punctuation mark immediately before or
after it.
Use Quick View to add or remove italics from a group of subtitles.
Adding comments to subtitles
"Invisible" comments can be attached to individual subtitles. To add a comment to a subtitle:
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Press Shift+TAB from the main edit area or click directly in the comment field.
Type your comment.
Press the TAB key to return to the main edit area.
Use the Manage Comments window (Subtitle, Comments, Manage Comments or Ctrl+M) to keep track of the
comments in a file, and to print, delete, copy or save comments. You can force the Manage Comments window
to remains always on top or to act like a standard window by selecting the appropriate option under Tools,
Options, Customise.
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To move to a commented subtitle, double-click the comment or press Ctrl+G.
To delete a comment from a subtitle, select the comment in the Manage Comments window and press
Delete. Clearing the comment from the comment field in the main edit area has the same effect.
Comments for a file can be printed out or saved by selecting the appropriate command from the Comments
menu in the Manage Comments window.
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More options for comments are available by clicking the dropdown arrow next to the Comment icon
on the
subtitle toolbar. By default, comments for each subtitle are displayed between the subtitle text and subtitle
toolbar, but you can opt to show them below the subtitle text or at the very bottom of the subtitle edit area.
Comment displayed below subtitle
Comment displayed at the bottom of the edit area
To copy subtitle text to the comment fields, click Copy Subtitles to Comment Field. To swap text and comments,
click Swap Comment and Subtitle Fields.
Note that not all file formats support comments (e.g. text files) and some of those that do are restricted to a
certain number of characters. PAC and STL EBU files have support for comments, but some subtitling software
applications wrongly add the comments as actual subtitle text. To turn comment embedding in PAC or STL files
on or off, go to Options, Files, General and select or deselect “Do not save comments in PAC and STL files”.
Comment fields for the previous and next subtitles can be turned on or off by clicking Show Previous/Next
Comment Fields.
When importing the current file into Script Manager, all comments are considered to be the names of
characters.
Adding outlines to subtitles
To add outlining to the current subtitle, press Ctrl+G. To remove outlining from the subtitle, press Ctrl+G again.
Use Quick View to add or remove outlining to or from multiple subtitles.
The default outline type (i.e. the type of outline created by pressing Ctrl+G) can be changed under Tools,
Options, Text Editing, Outline to any of the following:





None
Boxed outline
Ghost boxed outline
Stripe outline
Ghost stripe outline
Switching to Ghost boxed outline, for example, means that every time you press Ctrl+G, ghost boxed outlining
will be added to the subtitle. Here’s how the different outlines appear in the video preview window.
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Boxed
Ghost boxed
Stripe
Ghost stripe
Note that only some subtitle file formats support outlining.
Subtitle editing functions
Inserting subtitles
To insert a subtitle before the current subtitle, click the Insert Subtitle Before button on the subtitle toolbar or
press Ctrl+F5. A new subtitle will be inserted immediately before the current subtitle.
To insert a subtitle after the current subtitle, click the Insert Subtitle After button on the subtitle toolbar or
press Shift+F5. A new subtitle will be inserted immediately before the current subtitle.
Insert before
Insert after
Deleting subtitles
Click the Delete Subtitle button on the toolbar or press Ctrl+F6 to delete the current subtitle.
A range of subtitles can be deleted using Quick View or the Delete Range window.
Merging subtitles
To merge the current subtitle with the next subtitle, click the Merge Current Subtitle With Next button on the
toolbar or press Shift+F7. The newly merged subtitle will inherit the out cue of the second subtitle.
To merge the current subtitle with the previous subtitle, click the Merge Current Subtitle With Previous button
on the toolbar or press Ctrl+F7. The newly merged subtitle will inherit the in cue of the previous subtitle.
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Merge with previous
Merge with next
Splitting subtitles
To split the current subtitle into two subtitles, place the cursor at the point where you wish the split to take
place, then click the Split Subtitle button on the toolbar or press Ctrl+F8.
Split subtitle
If the subtitle you are splitting contains valid in and out cues which fall outside the current timecode, the in and
out cues of both subtitles will be based, where possible, on the amount of text in each subtitle.
If the subtitle you are splitting contains valid in and out cues which fall within the current timecode, the in cue of
the newly created subtitle will be set to the current timecode, with the two subtitles separated by the default
interval.
Splitting and merging subtitles
To split and merge the current subtitle, press Ctrl+F9. The current subtitle will be split at the cursor; the text to
the right of the cursor will be merged with the next subtitle.
Copying subtitles
Use Quick View to copy subtitles within the current file. Subtitles can be copied from an external file in a number
of different ways, including Quick View, File Sync and File Viewer.
Text editing functions
Deleting text
To delete a word, move the cursor to the start of the word and press Ctrl+Del.
To delete a line, press Ctrl+Y.
To delete all the text in a subtitle, press Ctrl+Shift+Del .
Moving words between rows
Use Alt+Up Arrow to move the word at the start of line two to the end of line one.
Use Alt+Down Arrow to move the word at the end of line one to the start of line two.
Tools, Options, Text Editing lets you change the position the cursor needs to be in for these actions to work.
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You can use the mouse to drag and drop text within the subtitle edit area by selecting this option in the Tools,
Options, Text Editing window. The same window lets you hide the mouse cursor whilst typing.
Swapping lines one and two
Press Ctrl+F2.
Toggling text between upper, mixed and lowercase
Select the text you wish to change. Press Ctrl+L once, twice or three times.
Quick formatting shortcuts
These shortcuts can prove particularly useful when reformatting a subtitle file.






Press Ctrl + Hyphen to add dual speaker hyphens to the subtitle.
Press Ctrl + Full stop to add a full stop to the end of the subtitle.
Press Ctrl + Comma to add a comma to end of the subtitle.
Press Ctrl + Space to delete all extra spaces in a subtitle.
Press Alt + F3 to remove all manual italics flags (<>) from a subtitle.
Press Ctrl + F3 to remove all manual italic flags and make the whole subtitle italic.
Compressing text
Press Ctrl+T to remove all hard carriage returns from the text in a subtitle and force a “best fit”.
Using colours
To use colours, you must select Enable colour support under Tools, Options, Text Editing. The colour can be set
for individual words by using the following shortcuts:
Red = Right Ctrl+1, Green = Right Ctrl+2, Yellow = Right Ctrl+3, Blue = Right Ctrl+4, Magenta = Right Ctrl+5, Cyan
= Right Ctrl+6.
On some systems the colour flags will appear in the edit area as right-angled lines, on others as boxes or parallel
vertical lines. Whatever the appearance, please bear in mind that all flags count as a space.
You can add colours to whole lines by using the key combinations Shift+Alt+1 to Shift+Alt+6.
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AutoReplace and AutoFormat
AutoReplace (Tools, AutoReplace) takes the stress out of getting "Mississippi" right for the eighth time or retyping frequently used words or phrases. It also ensures naming consistency throughout your files, avoiding
errors that the spell checker will not detect (Johny Knoxville, Johhny Knoxville, Johnny Knoxvill, etc.).
To add an AutoReplace entry:



Type the shorthand form of the word or phrase in the Replace box.
Type the actual word or phrase in the With box.
Press the Enter key or click the Add button.
Continue in this fashion until you have added all the entries you want.
The new AutoReplace entry is displayed in the list. Typing the short form of the word or phrase in Spot's subtitle
edit field will replace it with the actual word or phrase whenever you press the spacebar or type a punctuation
mark.
To delete an AutoReplace entry:


Select the entry from the list.
Click the Delete button.
To turn off AutoReplace, uncheck the Turn on AutoReplace option.
Words can be added to the AutoReplace With field directly from the subtitle edit area by pressing Ctrl+W while
the insertion point is within the word to add.
Smart ellipses, smart quotes and en/em dashes are not supported in many subtitle file formats. AutoFormat
replaces these characters with their simple forms whenever you run an F9 check, move between subtitles, click
the Format Now button or link AutoFormat to file cleaning.
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Undo
Press Ctrl+Z to reverse an operation carried out on the current subtitle (cue changes, text editing and
formatting, etc.) or the current file (merge, delete, insert, etc).
The undo flag is reset when paging up and down between subtitles unless the Enable full undo option has been
selected in the Tools, Options, General tab. In this case, the undo flag is only reset when the main Spot window
loses the focus (i.e. when opening another window within the program).
Notebook has unlimited undo and redo.
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Quick View
The Quick View window (Ctrl+Q or Subtitle, Quick View) lets you apply settings to a group or range of subtitles.
It also allows you to copy subtitles from eternal files into the current file.
Select the subtitles you want to format (click while holding down the Ctrl key to select multiple individual
subtitles or click while holding down the Shift key to select a continuous range) and then either click the
appropriate command on the toolbar, select it from the Subtitle menu or right click the list and select it from the
pop-up menu. In the image above, we are altering the alignment of subtitles 4 to 15.
Selected subtitles can be saved as a separate text file by clicking File, Save Selected. Saving subtitles 1 and 2
would result in the following text file:
0001
10:00:26:12
(Snoring)
10:00:29:21
03:09
0002
10:00:36:23
10:00:39:24
- Morning, Zoltan!
- Indeed it is, Master Vlad.
03:01
You can optionally include subtitle attributes in the file by selecting “Text files with attributes” from the “Files of
type” field in the Save dialog box. In this case, the same text file would look like this:
0001
10:00:26:12
10:00:29:21
03:09
(Snoring)
Align: Centre Italics: None Outline: None Row: 11
Comments:
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Spot 6 User Guide
0002
10:00:36:23
10:00:39:24
03:01
- Morning, Zoltan!
- Indeed it is, Master Vlad.
Align: Centre Italics: None Outline: None Row: 10
Comments:
Clicking on each column header will sort the list in ascending order based on that data item but will not affect
the current subtitle file. This might prove useful as a quick means of checking for empty or untimed subtitles
(click the Subtitle or Cues column), for example, or listing subtitles in italics, subtitles with outlines, finding out if
any subtitles are raised, etc. Clicking a header a second time will sort the list based on that item data in
descending order.
The Quick View window in Spot 6 has a new “list view” to make it easier to copy subtitles between files. The size
of the font used to display Quick View data can also be adjusted – handy for those of us who aren’t getting any
younger. Click the View menu to switch between List View and Details View and to set the font size. Note the
new OK and Cancel buttons: any changes you make in Quick View will be undone if you click the Cancel button.
To copy subtitles from an existing subtitle file, click File, Open As Read-Only and select the file you want to
open. The Quick View window will split into two panes, with the subtitles from the file you have just opened
displayed in the bottom pane (the size of the panes can be adjusted by moving the splitter in the middle of the
window). You can split the windows vertically rather than horizontally by selecting Tile Vertical or Tile
Horizontal from the View menu. To copy subtitles into the current file, select the subtitles to copy, then either
a) drag them into the desired position in the top pane or b) press Ctrl+C, select the insertion point in the top
pane and press Ctrl+V. You can also copy subtitles from an existing file using File Sync and File Viewer.
Drag selected subtitles from
the external file to copy
them into the current file
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Dual Language Tools
Dual-language files are files that contain two languages in one subtitle: the first line may be a language such as
Dutch, while the second language may be Flemish. The idea behind the concept is that one subtitle file can cater
for two target audiences.
There are several ways you can work with and organise dual-language files in Spot 6. The Subtitle, Dual
Language Subtitles menu offers an easy way to quickly erase a language or split a file into two different
language files.
The commands are self-explanatory. Delete Line One In All Subtitles removes the first line (and carriage return)
in every subtitle, erasing all the first language subtitles. The imaginary subtitle below shows a before and after
example.
What are you doing over there?
O que estás aí a fazer?
O que estás aí a fazer?
Delete Line Two In All Subtitles deletes the second line in every subtitle, removing all the second language
subtitles. Another imaginary before and after example:
What are you doing over there?
O que estás aí a fazer?
What are you doing over there?
Split Into Two New Files creates two new files from one dual-language file. The first file contains all the
line/language one subtitles, while the second file contains all the line/language two subtitles. The original cues
are carried over to both new files.
You can create dual language files using the Merge with Main File feature of the File Sync tool or by merging an
external file with the current subtitle file using File, Merge Text and Append to Subtitles.
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Capturing and editing cues
Capturing cues
There are two ways to capture cues in Spot: you can time a file "live" with the spacebar whilst in Rehearse mode
or you can do it the “proper” way by grabbing in and out cues using the mouse or keyboard whilst in Edit mode.
Grabbing cues in Edit mode
Press Shift+Enter or F11 to grab the in cue and Shift+Ins or F12 to grab the out cue. You can choose to use Enter
and Ins without Shift by selecting this option in the Video, Media Preferences, Media Control window.
Ctrl+Enter also grabs the in cue whilst simultaneously “locking” the last out cue to within the default interval of
in cue. If the out cue of the last subtitle is 10:26:07:13, for example, and the video timecode is
10:26:08:04,pressing Ctrl+Enter will:


Set the in cue for the current subtitle to 10:26:08:04.
Set the last out cue to 10:26:08:01, i.e. the current in cue minus the default interval.
In similar fashion, Ctrl+Ins grabs the out cue whilst simultaneously locking the next in cue; Shift+F11 does the
same without grabbing a time.
Spotting with the spacebar in Rehearse mode



Switch to Rehearse mode if necessary (press F8 or click Rehearse on the View bar).
Press and hold down the spacebar to bring in a subtitle. Notice that the subtitle duration indicator
beneath the main edit area starts to move.
Release the spacebar when you want the subtitle to come out. Ideally, the duration indicator will now lie
in between the two ideal duration indicators.
If you make a mistake and want to re-subtitle one or more subtitles, you can use any of the following methods:



Position the video at the point at which you wish to start re-subtitling, press and hold down the Ctrl key
and continue subtitling as normal. Holding the Ctrl key down overrides any cues that have already been
assigned.
Switch to Edit mode (F8), move to the subtitle where you wish to begin re-subtitling, and then press
Alt+Backspace. This will delete all cues forward of (and including) the current subtitle.
Press the Backspace key once for every subtitle you want to re-spot. This method is particularly useful if
you have brought a subtitle in too early and still have time to react.
AutoRecover and timed backups are
disabled in Rehearse mode. If you plan
on leaving Spot unattended for a
lengthy period of time, you should
switch to Edit mode first.
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Editing cues
Editing the in and out cue
To edit the current subtitle's in cue:


Press Alt+F11 or the TAB key to move the cursor to the in cue field. If the cue contains a valid timecode,
part or all of the cue will be highlighted depending on the settings you have selected under Tools,
Options, Cue Edit, When moving to valid cues.
Type the new in cue or use the Up and Down arrow keys to increase or decrease the in cue by one frame
at a time. If you hold down the Shift key while pressing the Up or Down keys, the cue you are editing will
be increased or decreased by 6 frames; holding down the Ctrl key will increase or decrease the cue by 11
frames; holding down both the Shift and Ctrl keys will increase or decrease the cue by 16 frames.
If the previous subtitle contains a valid out cue, moving to the current subtitle's in cue field will cause it to adopt
the previous subtitle's out cue plus the default subtitle interval. For example, if the previous subtitle's out cue is
00:10:34:12 and the default interval is set to three frames, the current subtitle's in cue will display 00:10:34:15.
You can turn this feature off by deselecting the Calculate in cue option in the Tools, Options, Cue Edit window.
To edit the current subtitle's out cue:


Press Alt+F12 or the TAB key three times to move the cursor to the out cue field. If the cue contains a
valid timecode, part or all of the cue will be highlighted depending on the settings you have selected
under Tools, Options, Cue Edit, When moving to valid cues.
Type the new out cue or use the Up and Down keys to increase or decrease the out cue by one frame at
a time. If you hold down the Shift key while pressing the Up or Down keys, the cue you are editing will
be increased or decreased by 6 frames; holding down the Ctrl key will increase or decrease the cue by 11
frames; and holding down both the Shift and Ctrl keys will increase or decrease the cue by 16 frames.
If the in cue contains a valid time code, Spot automatically calculates the out cue for you. This is based on the
amount of text in the current subtitle or the default duration setting if the caption is empty. For example, if the
current subtitle's in cue is 00:10:34:16 and the text in the subtitle requires two seconds to be read, the out cue
will be set to 00:10:36:16. If no text is present, the default subtitle duration will be used instead. Similarly, if the
in cue field is empty but the previous subtitle contains a valid out cue, Spot will calculate the in and out cue of
the current subtitle. You can turn both these features off by deselecting the Tools, Options, Cue Edit, When
moving to empty out cue, Calculate in and out cue option.
The keyboard can be used to change the in or out cue without moving to the in or out cue field.




Press Shift+Add to increase the in cue by one frame
Press Shift+Subtract to decrease the in cue by one frame
Press Ctrl+Add to increase the out cue by one frame
Press Ctrl+Subtract to decrease the out cue by one frame
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Deleting cues
To delete the current in or out cue, press Ctrl+Shift+F11 or Ctrl+Shift+F12. Alternately, move to the cue and
press Delete.
To delete both the in and out cues, press Shift+Del.
To delete all cues forward of (and including) the current subtitle,
press Alt+Backspace or choose Delete Cues From This Point
Forward from the Cues menu.
Note that pressing the Backspace key
while in Rehearse mode will erase the
cues for the previous subtitle and
prepare for it to be retimed. You
should only use this method if
spotting live with the spacebar.
To delete all the cues in the current file, Choose Delete All Cues
from the Cues menu.
To delete a range of cues (e.g. from subtitle 35 to subtitle 89) use the Delete Range window (Shift+F6)
Recalculating cues
To recalculate the out cue, press Ctrl+F12.
If the current subtitle contains a valid in cue, recalculating the out cue will set this to the in cue plus the time
needed to read the subtitle. If the subtitle does not contain text, the out cue will be set to the in cue plus the
default subtitle duration.
For example, if a subtitle contains text that requires three seconds to be read and the in cue is set to
01:10:03:19, the recalculated out cue will be 01:10:06:19. If the subtitle does not contain text and the default
duration setting is two seconds, the recalculated out cue will be 01:10:05:19.
Out cues can be recalculated even if the in cue is empty. In this case, Spot first calculates the in cue time for the
current subtitle (based on previous subtitle's out cue and the default interval setting) and then recalculates the
out cue.
To recalculate the in cue, press Ctrl+F11.
Recalculating a subtitle's in cue works in similar fashion to out cue recalculation. For example, if a subtitle
contains text that requires three seconds to be read and its out cue is set to 01:10:03:19, the recalculated in cue
will be 01:10:00:19. If the subtitle does not contain text and the default duration setting is two seconds, the
recalculated in cue will be 01:10:01:19.
Offsetting cues
Press Ctrl+J or choose Cues, Offset to open the Offset Cues window. There are four ways of adjusting the cues in
a file:




Base on new in time
Manually adjust the offset
Run a proportional offset based on two new cues (new in Spot 6)
Continue from last out cue
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Base on new in time
Choose this option when retiming a file against a new master. If the first subtitle has an in cue of 10:00:27:12
and the new in time is set to 00:32:57:15, all cues in the file will be recut by 09:27:29:22.
Cues, Quick Offset (or the keyboard shortcut Alt+Add) lets you quickly offset a file based on new in time without
needing to open the Offset window.
Manually adjust offset
This method is most used if you spot using the spacebar method and want to compensate for the small delay
that occurs between deciding to capture a cue and actually pressing the spacebar to capture it.
Proportional offset
This method is very handy if you need to offset the cues for a file that was timed against a different master. Find
the location in the video of the first or second in cue, do the same for the last or penultimate in cue, and Spot
will proportionally adjust all the cues in the file and synch them to the video. Can be a life-saver!
Continue from last out cue
Select this method when a file contains a break in timecode (e.g. the start of a reel) but a new master requires
the timecode to be continuous.
Controlling cue behaviour
Select Cue Editing from the Tools, Options window to specify how Spot behaves when editing cues.
Cue highlight
Specifies which part of a cue is highlighted when
focused.
Calculate in cue
When this option is selected, moving to the in
cue will set the cue to the previous subtitle's out
cue plus the default subtitle interval.
Calculate in and out cue
If the in cue contains a valid time code, Spot
calculates the out cue for you.
Lock cues
The lock cues option allows you to "push and
pull" in and out cues. For example, if the default
interval is set to three frames, as soon as the
current subtitle's in cue comes within three frames of the previous out cue, the out cue will maintain the threeframe interval.
Page down after grabbing out cue
Forces Spot to move to the next subtitle after grabbing the out cue for the current subtitle (Edit mode only).
Selecting the “Add cues...” option below will create in and out cues for the subtitle.
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Auto recut
Offsets cues when grabbed by the number of frames specified.
Converting cues between video formats
Sometimes you may have to subtitle a file that was originally timed against a video with a different timecode
format or you may have mistakenly subtitled a PAL video at 24 fps, for example. Use the Cue Conversion window
(Cues, Convert) to convert between different video standards without having to respot a file.
On the Convert tab, select the type of conversion to perform. There are three: simple frame-only conversion,
linear cue conversion and Telecined masters conversion.
Simple frame-only conversion converts only the frame fields of the cues in the file. So a PAL time of 10:12:33:20
would become 10:12:33:24 when converted to NTSC.
Linear cue conversion performs a straight format-to-format conversion. The total number of frames in each cue
is added up, then converted to the new format. A PAL time of 00:01:20:20, for example, contains 2020 frames.
When 2020 frames are calculated at 30 fps, the time becomes 00:01:07:10. Use this conversion when a film has
been subtitled at the wrong frame rate
Telecined masters performs a Telecined masters conversion based on complex floating point co-efficients.
These are listed on the Coefficients for Masters Conversion tab. You should change them only if you are familiar
with this type of conversion.
If you have no idea what a subtitle file’s original frame rate was and/or none of the above methods above, open
the Cues, Offset window (see above) and try the proportional offset method. This is almost guaranteed to work
when all else fails.
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Checking and proofing subtitles
Using the Checks menu
The Checks menu performs global checks on a subtitle file starting at the current subtitle (which means you need
to move to the start of the file to check every subtitle). You can run a single check such as “Check for invalid
cues” by using the respective shortcut or run a group of checks simultaneously by pressing F9. You configure
which checks to include in this group in the Tools, Options, Checks, On Run All Checks Include window.
The checks and their respective shortcuts are listed below.
Too many rows (Shift+Ctrl+F1)
Searches for subtitles that contain more rows than the Tools, Options,
Parameters, Maximum lines per subtitle setting.
Too many characters in line (Shift+Ctrl+F2)
An F9 checks stops on a
subtitle which contains an
error. Press Shift+F9 to ignore
the current subtitle and
continue checking the file.
Searches for lines containing more characters than the Tools, Options,
Parameters, Maximum characters per line setting.
Safe area override (Shift+Ctrl+F3)
Searches for subtitles whose width overrides the left or right subtitle margins. This is not the same as the Too
many characters in line check.
Invalid cues (Shift+Ctrl+F4)
Searches for invalid cues: out cue less than in cue, in cue less than previous out cue, malformed cue, etc.
Duration too short/long (Shift+Ctrl+F5)
Searches for subtitles whose duration is less than the Tools, Options, Parameters, Minimum duration setting or
greater than the Tools, Options, Parameters, Maximum duration setting.
Cues not set (Shift+Ctrl+F6)
Searches for empty in or out cues.
Reading speed (Shift+Ctrl+F7)
Searches for subtitles whose required reading speed is greater than the Tools, Options, Parameters, Reading
speed setting.
Invalid interval (Shift+Ctrl+F8)
The invalid interval check carries out two slightly different checks.
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First, it searches for intervals between subtitles that are less than the Tools, Options, Parameters, Default
interval setting.
Second, it looks for intervals between subtitles which are greater than the default interval but less than or equal
to the Tools, Options, Parameters, Invalid interval threshold setting.
In either case, selecting Tools, Options, Checks, Force Default Interval when running invalid interval check will
replace the incorrect interval with the default interval.
Empty subtitles (Shift+Ctrl+F9)
Searches the file for subtitles that do not contain any text.
Raised subtitles (no shortcut)
Searches the file for subtitles which have been raised.
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Spot 6 User Guide
Using the File Clean tool
The file clean tool is used to proof and correct formatting in a file. It can also be useful when delivering files that
need reformatting for a different client – you may need to remove all SDH text for the deaf and hard of hearing,
for example.
Select the options to apply
when cleaning a file
Some options have their own
sub-options
Clean the current file now
using the selected options
Clicking OK will save your file cleaning
options. It will not clean the file
Select the settings options from the list on the left. All selected options will be applied when a file is cleaned.
Some options – Delete SDH text, Correct punctuation and Apply AutoFormat rules – have their own sub-options.
Click the corresponding button on the right of the window to access them. The Delete SDH Text Settings
window is shown below. Any options selected here will be applied if the Delete SDH text option is selected in
the main File Clean window. The same goes for the AutoFormat and Punctuation rules options (see the
following section for more information).
You can clean a file directly from the File Clean window or from the File Clean dropdown list on the main
toolbar. You can also set file cleaning to occur automatically when opening files. If you opt for the latter, it’s
recommended you select the Ask for confirmation before cleaning option.
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After cleaning a file, Spot opens the File Clean Report window showing what changes have been made to a file.
Select an item and click the Restore Subtitle button to cancel changes to that subtitle or click the Undo File
Clean button to undo all file clean changes.
Subtitle number
Restore selected subtitles
File clean action
Undo all changes
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Working with Punctuation Rules
The new punctuation rules in Spot 6 extend the old AutoCheck correction options in previous versions of Spot.
Click the Punctuation Rules button on the main toolbar to open the Punctuation Rules window.
Punctuation rules can be linked to
profiles. This means you can set up
different sets of punctuation rules for
different clients.
Rules marked with a single asterisk are enforced automatically by Spot when moving between subtitles. Some
rules are mutually exclusive – Spot will warn you if select two rules that contradict each other. The rules
themselves are explained in more detail below.
Delete space before punctuation mark
All spaces before a punctuation mark will be deleted. “This is an example .” becomes “This is an example.”
Insert a space after punctuation mark
If a punctuation mark is not followed by a space, a space will be inserted. “If I were you,I’d leave.” becomes “If I
were you, I’d leave.”
Delete extra spaces
Any extra spaces at the start, at the end or in the middle of a subtitle are deleted.
Correct two initial capitals
If there are two capital letters at the start of an otherwise lowercase word , the second capital becomes
lowercase. “MAke me!" becomes “Make me!”
Insert space after dual speaker dash
This rules assumes that a space must be added after a dash in a two-speaker subtitle. Thus:
-How goes it, my friend?
-I’m fine, Bob.
becomes
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- How goes it, my friend?
- I’m fine, Bob. You?
Delete space after dual speaker dash
This is the opposite of the previous rule.
Delete first dash in dual speaker subtitles
This rule means that only one dash is required for dual-speaker subtitles and that the dash appears beside the
second speaker in the subtitle.
How goes it, my friend?
- I’m fine, Bob.
Add missing full stops at end of subtitles
If the next subtitle starts with a capital letter and the current subtitle does not end with a full stop, exclamation
mark, question mark, comma or colon, a full stop will be added at its end.
Replace commas at end of subtitles with ellipses
In some countries, ellipses rather than commas must be used at the end of subtitles.
Ellipses must have three dots at the end of subtitles
If ellipses are found at the end of a subtitle, they must be comprised of three dots.
Ellipses must have two dots at the start of subtitles
If ellipses are found at the start of a subtitle, they must only have two dots.
Insert missing ellipses at the start of subtitles
If the previous subtitle ends with ellipses, this subtitle must have ellipses at the start.
Add ‘Dutch’ ellipses at the end of subtitles if no full stop or colon
Similar to “Replace commas at end of subtitles with ellipses”. Adds ellipses to the end of a subtitle unless the
subtitle ends with a full stop, colon, question mark or exclamation mark.
Delete ellipses at start of subtitles
Ellipses must never start a subtitle.
Click the Check Now button to apply the selected rules to the current file. You can also check punctuation by
clicking the Punctuation Rules dropdown button on the main toolbar. And, as mentioned in Using the File Clean
tool above, a punctuation check can be linked to a file clean operation. When the punctuation check is
complete, the file clean report window will display a list of the changes that have been made.
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Report View
Report View serves three purposes: it gives you immediate feedback on subtitle errors, provides detailed
statistical information and can list all occurrences of a word or phrase within the current file. Press Ctrl+R or click
the Report tab to switch to Report View.
The types of error listed on the Errors tab are based on the checks selected under Tools, Options, Checks, On
Run All Checks (in similar fashion to the F9 check). To add or remove an error type, click the properties icon on
the far right of the tab.
Sort list by error type
Configure checks
Close Report View
Error tab shows error list and corresponding subtitle number
Refresh list
Save or print error or statistics list
Clicking an error in the list selects that subtitle as the current subtitle. For example, clicking the first occurrence
of “Invalid interval to next subtitle” as shown above will force Spot to jump to subtitle 55. Because the list is not
updated automatically as you edit subtitles, click the second icon on the Error tab to refresh the list.
Click the Statistics tab to generate detailed information on the current file. Data is listed in column two. Any
values in column three refer to subtitle number. So in the image below, subtitle 264 has the most number of
characters in one line (41).
Statistic tab shows statistic type and statistical data
Subtitle number is shown in
column three when appropriate
The error and statistics lists can be saved to file or sent to the printer by clicking the appropriate icon.
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To find all references to a word or phrase, select it in the subtitle edit window, then right-click and select Find All
References. All references will be listed on the References tab. Clicking a listed reference will jump to the
corresponding subtitle.
Press Ctrl+R again, click the Close button or click the Edit tab to leave Report View.
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Spell check and thesaurus
Spot uses Microsoft Office Word to perform spell checking and find synonyms. You must therefore have a
version of Word installed on your system for the spell check and thesaurus to work.
Spell checking a subtitle file
Press F4 to spell check the current file. Spot will open Microsoft Office Word, paste the contents of the file into a
blank document and start a spell check. When you have finished spell checking, the proofed file is copied back
into Spot.
If you receive any error messages when trying to spell check a file this way, go to Tools, Options, General and
select Spell check using the file save method.
Notebook and the Notes panel both have their own spell checker.
Spelling suggestions and synonyms
You can get spelling suggestions or find synonyms for a word by right-clicking it in the subtitle edit area and
selecting Look Up, Synonyms or Look Up, Spelling Suggestions.
Set the language used by the spell checker and thesaurus from Spot’s language bar.
Web search
The Internet is a useful tool for checking names, references and other details. You can look up a word on the
Internet directly from within Spot by right-clicking it in the edit area and selecting Web Search followed by the
Internet site you want to open – Babylon, One Look, Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Dictionary.com or
Thesaurus.com. If you prefer to use the keyboard rather than the mouse, press Ctrl+Alt+4 for Babylon,
Ctrl+Alt+5 for One Look, Ctrl+Alt+6 for Google, Ctrl+Alt+7 for Yahoo, Ctrl+Alt+8 for Wikipedia, Ctrl+Alt+9 for
Dictionary or Ctrl+ Alt+0 for Thesaurus.
The portal through which the search is executed can be changed in the Options, Customise, Web Search
window. If you live in Holland, for example, you might want to search for a word on www.google.nl rather than
the default www.google.com. You do this by changing the Google search string to
http://www.google.nl/search?q=$K, where $K represents the word sent from Spot to the search engine. You can
reset the default search string for all search engines by pressing the corresponding Default button.
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Working with profiles
Different clients require different settings. Instead of manually having to change font sizes, frame rates and
other options when switching between clients, you can create a custom profile for each of them. Click the
Manage Profiles button on the toolbar (or click File, Profile, Edit) to open the Profile Settings window.
The name of the currently selected profile is displayed in the title of the window. In the image above, for
example, we are editing the profile settings for a client called IBF.
If this is the first time you’ve opened the Profile Settings window, the current name will be Default. You’ll
probably want to change the name to something more meaningful. After setting up your parameters, click OK to
save the changes, then back in Spot’s main window click the Save Profile dropdown menu on the right of the
Profile button on the toolbar (or click File, Profile, Save) and type the new profile name in the Save Profile
window. The new profile will be added to the dropdown profile list on the left of the font toolbar. Selecting a
profile from the list will load the settings associated with that profile. If the profile is linked to a display settings
file or a set of punctuation rules, the corresponding display settings configuration file and punctuation rule set
will also be loaded.
You do not need to keep saving a profile after editing it as all changes are saved when you click the OK button.
To delete a profile, select Delete Current Profile from the dropdown menu
beneath the Manage Profiles button on the toolbar.
Profiles can be also imported and exported from the dropdown menu
beneath the Manage Profile button on the main toolbar.
If you are upgrading from a previous version of Spot, your old style settings
data file (datafont.dat) will be automatically converted to the new profile
format (profiles.dat).
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Working with files
Default file folders
You can tell Spot which folders to open or save subtitle files in by choosing the appropriate option in the Tools,
Options, General window.
Default subtitle open/save folder
Selecting a default subtitle open/save folder forces Spot to navigate to that folder whenever you open or save a
file. If you leave the field blank, the initial directory in the open and save dialogs will be the current Windows
folder.
Remember last File Open and File Save As location
Selecting this option will force Spot to open a file in the same folder used in the last file open operation and save
a file in the same folder used in the last file save operation.
Save files in the folder from which they were opened
This forces Spot to Save As… the file in the folder from which the file was opened.
Ignore folder handling
Spot won’t do anything. Navigation is handled by Windows so when you open, save, import or export a file, the
last used folder will become the initial directory.
Opening and importing files
There are two ways of opening a subtitle file in Spot: File, Open or File, Import.
Spot’s internal file format (SPT) and four of the most common subtitle file formats (Screen Subtitling Systems
PAC files, ScanTitling 890 files, EBU STL files and text files) are opened from the File, Open menu. These files can
be saved without the need to change format. Other file formats (timed text, xml, DVD text files, SubRip text files,
closed caption files, etc) are opened from the File, Import window. These files must either be saved as one of the
four main file types or exported via the File, Export window.
Opening files
To open any of the common subtitle file types listed above:
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Press Ctrl+O, choose Open from the File menu, or click the File Open button on the main toolbar. The
Open subtitle file dialog will appear.
Select the type of file you want to open from the Files of type box.
Select the file you want to open and then click OK, or double-click the file.
When you open a PAC file, Spot prompts you for the file language. If you always open the same language files,
you can turn the prompt off under Tools, Options, Files, File Types, PAC.
When opening text files, you are asked to provide certain information regarding the file as shown below.
File language
Select the language used in the file from the list at the top left of the window.
File encoding
Spot will automatically recognise whether text files are Unicode-encoded. If the file is a non-Unicode text file,
you need to select the encoding format used from the Encoding list in the middle of the window. If you are
unsure how the file was encoded, scroll through the list and use the Preview pane on the right of the window to
help you. For Western European languages, select 1252 ANSI Latin I as the file encoding or UTF-8.
File layout
Text files may be unformatted (containing only text, in other words) or structured (i.e. containing cues and other
data laid out in a particular fashion).
If the file you are opening is unformatted, select this option in the Layout frame and click OK to import the file.
If the file contains timecode and other data, click the Options button, select the layout used, and click OK to
import the file.
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Supported text file formats
Text files with the following layouts are supported by Spot. See Tools, Options, Files for more information.
Preformatted formats
00:10:23:09
00:10:26:14
Sample two line
subtitle text
341
00:10:23:09 00:10:26:14
Sample two line
subtitle text
341
00:10:23:09 Sample two line
00:10:26:14 subtitle text
00:10:23:09
00:10:26:14
Sample two line
subtitle text
Other preformatted formats
[0001]
01:00:52:16
01:00:56:08
Line One
Line Two
Line One
Line Two
@SHOW 01:00:52:16 01:00:56:08
2779
1
0
Line One
Line Two
0
3548
0
0
0
0001 01:00:52:16 01:00:56:08
Line One
Line Two
TITLE
1 01005216/01005608 Line One
Line Two
On-screen caption code
1
39.6
52.10
13.4
This is some text
00:00:53:14
00:00:56:17 Line one<P>and line two
00:00:53:14 00:00:56:17 Line one//and line two
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0001 000300
Line One
Line Two
000350
Importing files
To import other file types, click the File Import button the main toolbar or click File, Import to open the Import
window.
The toolbar button has a dropdown menu that displays a list of commonly used formats. Use this to quickly
import a file without having to open the Import File window. Note that one advantage of opening the File Import
window is the chance to set any specific import options.
Click the File Import button to open
the File Import window
Click the arrow to open the list of
common import formats and import
the file directly
You can import 27 different file formats:
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Apple iTunes Timed Text File
Caption Inc CIN file
CaptionMaker ASCII text file
Cheetah closed caption CAP file
Closed caption text file
SDI Media Group formatted text file
Greek DW file
Hoek en Sonépouse voice-over text format
MicroDVD SUB file
PMWin OVR file
QUBE file
Screen RAC file
Screen structured ASCII file
Softni text file
Sonic DVD Creator script file
Sonic Scenarist closed caption file
Spruce Maestro STL file
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SubRip SRT file
Swift Interchange Format file
Tab separated DVD script file
Texas Instruments DLP Cinema XML file
Titra theatrical file
Theatrical DOC or RTF spotting list
Translation template
Unstructured Word or RTF document
WebVTT file
Windows Media Player caption file (SAMI)
YouTube SBV File
Select the appropriate format from the list, click OK to open the import dialog, then navigate to and select the
file you want to import. If the file you are importing is in a different language or timecode format from the
current Spot settings, select the option Confirm file language and/or Confirm video standard before importing
the file.
Importing only text or cues
Sometimes you may want to import only the text or cues from a subtitle file and ignore other information. To do
this, use the File, Merge menu.
Merge Text as Subtitles
Replaces all subtitle text with the text from the selected file. Cues and comments in the current file remain
untouched.
Merge Text As Comments
Imports all the subtitles from the selected file and stores them in the comment field. Subtitles and cues in the
current file remain untouched.
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Merge Cues and Text As Comments
Imports the subtitles from the selected file. Subtitles are stored in the comment field. Subtitles in the current file
remain untouched.
Merge Text and Append to Subtitles
Imports the subtitles from the selected file and appends the text to existing subtitles. Almost the reverse of
splitting a dual language file into two separate files.
Saving and exporting files
Just as there are two ways of opening a subtitle file in Spot, there are always two ways of saving a file: File, Save
or File, Export.
Saving files
Files can be saved in SPT (Spot’s internal format), PAC (Screen Subtitling Systems), 890 (ScanTitling), STL
(European Broadcast Union) and text format. You can configure various options for saving these files in the
Tools, Options, Files, File Types window. For example, you can set whether the EBU file you are saving is for
teletext or open subtitles, whether to use double height text and so on. Some of the options can be linked to the
current profile.
Saving files with zero-based numbering
Click the Zero button on the subtitle toolbar to turn zero subtitle saving on or off. When opening a file whose
first subtitle’s in and out cues are 00:00:00:00 and 00:00:00:08, Spot will automatically enable zero-based
numbering if the option “Auto-detect zero-based numbering” is selected under Tools, Options, General.
Exporting files
To export other file types, click the File Export button on the main toolbar or click File, Export to open the
Export File window. The File Export toolbar button has a dropdown menu that displays a list of commonly used
formats. Use this to quickly export a file without having to open the Export File window. Note that although one
advantage of opening the File Export window is the chance to configure export settings for a particular format (if
available for that format), the File Export window has an option to display any available options automatically
every time you do a “quick” export from the dropdown list.
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Click the File Export button to open
the File Export window
Click the arrow to access the list of
common export formats and export
the file directly.
Quick access to the Batch Export
window
You can export 41 different file formats:
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Adobe Encore CS3
Apple iTunes Timed Text
Avid DS Nitris
Caption Inc
Cheetah
Custom text format
DVD/Blu-ray bitmap stream
EBU-TT Timed Text (EBU Tech 3350)
FAB shortform
Figaro Systems in-Ovation
Final Cut Pro
Flash
Gelula
Generic Timed Text
Hoek en Sonépouse voice-over
MicroDVD
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation
NetFlix Timed Text (DFXP)
PMWin
Preformatted text
QUBE
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Scenarist Closed Caption
Sonic DVD Creator script
Sony DVD Architect
Sonya Friedman tab-delimited
Spruce Maestro
SubRip
Swift Interchange Format file
Swift text
Texas Instruments DLP Cinema
Theatrical RTF spotting list
Theatrical spotting list
Titra
Translation Template
Ulead DVD Workshop
Ultech
W3C Timed Text (DFXP)
WebVTT
Windows Media Player
YouTube
The Export File window provides more information on each format, as well as a preview window for certain
types. When selecting certain export formats, the option “Export Sync Subtitles” may be enabled. See the File
Sync topic for more information.
Select the appropriate format from the list and click OK to open the export dialog. Navigate to the location in
which to export the file, give the file the name you want and then click the Save button.
Due to their more complex nature, some export formats have their own unique export window. These are
shown below.
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Custom Text Format
You can build your own text export format using the new custom text export tool . Custom formats can be
imported and exported using the Save Format and Load Format buttons.
The various formatting
options
allow you to create just about
any text format layout.
When you change a
formatting option, a preview
of how the current file will
look when exported is shown
in the Preview pane..
Spruce Maestro files
Selecting Spruce Maestro STL file from the export list and clicking OK opens the Spruce Maestro Text Export
window. This window lets you configure the global header properties for the STL file as shown below.
After setting the relevant properties, click OK to export the file.
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Texas Instruments DLP Cinema XML files
Selecting Texas Instruments DLP Cinema XML file from the export list and clicking OK opens the DLP Cinema
Export window.
Click to preview any subtitle in the file
Click the tabs to configure
the various digital cinema settings
Live video
WYSIWYG subtitle rendering
The window is resizable and the WYSIWYG preview window shows live video if you have a video file open, so
you can move backwards and forwards through the file using the standard video navigation keys. It also has its
own subtitle renderer. The screen size and font used to display subtitles are determined by the options on the
Font and Subtitle and Screen tabs.
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4K flat and scope screen sizes are supported in Spot 6, as is individual line alignment and row colour. Doremi
export (select DCDM SMPTE 428-7 ZPosition from the File format list on the File Properties tab) now supports
the ZPosition tag for 3D files.
Spot can create DCI-compliant 2D or 3D subtitle files.
For 3D DLP files, you need to assign offsets to each subtitle (the Z depth value). You do this manually using the Z
offset slider. Spot will generate two XML files, one for the left eye (Filename_Left.xml) and one for the right eye
(Filename_Right.xml). The Z depth values in the second file are created automatically by Spot based on the
values in the first file. If the Z offset slider is disabled, make sure you have selected This is a 3D file option.
If the Inherit option is selected when manually setting the Z offset, you only need to set the offset for
subsequent subtitles when the Z offset value changes. For example, if you set the offset for subtitle 1 to 0.39,
subtitle 2 will inherit this value when you move to it using Page Down or the dropdown subtitle list.
Forced checks are carried out when you export the file to prevent invalid intervals, invalid cues, mismatched
italics or empty subtitles from being generated in the digital cinema XML file.
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Windows Media Player SAMI caption files
Selecting Windows Media Player SAMI caption files from the export list and clicking OK opens the SAMI Export
window.
Spot creates an ASX container file for the SAMI captions and associated video. Type the name you want to give
the ASX file in the Media content (ASX) file name field and the name of the video in the Video clip field. Click the
Paragraph Style tab to set the font and font size used for the captions.
Click the Language Streams tab if you want to add more languages to the ASX file.
Quick Batch Convert
The Quick Batch Convert tool converts one or multiple SPT
files to a different format with optional Unicode or UTF-8
encoding for text-based formats.
First, select the file or files you want to convert using the Add
Files button. Next, choose the format you want to convert the
SPT file to. 19 formats are available – click the dropdown list in
the Save As group to select the one you want.
If you are converting to a text-based format, select the text
encoding from the Encoding for text-based formats dropdown
list. The choices are Unicode (UTF-16), UTF-8 or Default (ANSI).
To convert the frame rate as well as the file format, select the
new frame rate from the Frame rate dropdown list. If the SPT
file you are converting is timed to a PAL source and you want
to create a new EBT-TT file with a 23.976 frame rate, for
example, select the latter as the frame rate and the former as the target format. Click the Offset cues to match
original first in cue option if the timecode in your original file does not start at 00:00:00:00
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Multi-Format File Export
The Multi-File Export window allows you to save the current SPT file in up to 21 different formats
simultaneously, with optional Unicode or UTF-8 encoding for text-based formats.
Choose the formats in which you want to save the current file
by selecting the appropriate item in the list.
In the image on the left, the current file will be saved as an
Adobe Encore text file, an Apple iTunes iTT timed text file, an
Avid DS Nitris text file, a custom format text file, a Final Cut
Pro XML file, a MicroDVD text file, a QUBE file, a
preformatted text file, a Spruce Maestro STL file, a SubRip
SRT file, a Ulead DVD Workshop text file, a WebVTT timed
text file and a YouTube SBV file.
Exporting bitmap files
Bitmap (image) files are used by DVD, Blu-ray and other HD authoring systems to create image-based subtitles.
There are two separate windows for creating bitmap streams in Spot 6. File, Export Bitmaps, DVD and File,
Export Bitmaps, High Definition. As the names suggest, one is for DVD authoring, the other for Blu-ray and HD
authoring, although you can still create HD bitmaps using the SD bitmap export window, the quality of the
bitmaps is slightly inferior and the resolution (image size) is limited to 1920 x 1080. The HD bitmap window can
create bitmaps with a resolution of up to 4k (3996 x 2160 flat, 4096 x 1714 scope).
For information on how to use the SD bitmap renderer, see the Spot 5 User Guide available at
http://www.spotsoftware.nl/downloads/spot5/Spot 5 User Guide.pdf.
The HD Bitmap Export window is split into three sections: the File Properties tab, the Subtitles tab and the
toolbar.
File Properties tab
This is where you specify general file information such as the target authoring system, the file language, feature
title and so on. You can create bitmap streams for the following authoring systems:

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Final Cut Pro (CMX 3600 EDL)
Final Cut Pro XML Interchange Format
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Panasonic Blu-ray Authoring
Sony DoStudio Authoring
Standard Blu-ray BDN XML
Texas Instruments DLP Cinema
Ultech ITVinjector
The Video format field specifies the video standard (1080i, 1080p, 2k flat, etc.) to use in the stream index file.
Changing this field will also change the Image width and Image height fields, although both can be set manually
if necessary. If full frame images are not required, select the Crop subtitles option. This will create an image
whose size is based on the width and height of the subtitle text, not the selected image width and image height.
The Feature title field (“The Sound of Music”, for example) is optional as not all systems require one. However,
authoring format specifications often change so it’s best to fill it in.
The Image bit depth field specifies the number of colours to use when rendering the bitmaps. Images can be
either 8 bit or 32 bit. See your authoring system’s guide for information on which setting to choose.
Normally you’ll want to export the whole of the current file. However, there may be times when you only need
to create images for a range of subtitles. When this happens, you use the Export subtitle and To subtitle fields
to tell Spot which subtitles to export.
Subtitles tab
This is where you specify the size, appearance and formatting of the subtitle bitmaps. Most of the fields are selfexplanatory, but note that the font size is specified in pixels not points. In the image, the font size is 32 pixels,
which equates to approximately 24 points (in June 2015, a useful font conversion chart could be found here:
http://websemantics.co.uk/resources/font_size_conversion_chart/). When a client tells you what font size to
use, make sure the unit is specified as well! Other not so obvious fields are explained below.
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Sets the distance in pixels
between rows and characters
Raises or lowers the font
baseline
Turns on outlining
in the Full preview window
Subtitle positioning
Extra pixels to add to
boxed or striped outlining
The outline opacity value only applies when subtitles with either a ghost boxed outline or ghost stripe outline
are drawn. Outlining is added based on the outline of each subtitle in the current file – it cannot be set globally
from within the HD Bitmap Export window itself. So you can’t say, “I want all the subtitles to be drawn with a
boxed outline”. If that’s what you want, you need to add outlining to all subtitles before opening the HD Bitmap
window. However, you can use the Outline preview dropdown to simulate outlining (padding and opacity, for
example) in the Full preview window. In the first image below, 5-pixel padding (left, right, top, bottom) has been
added to the boxed outline. In the second image, no padding is used, but the opacity of the ghost boxing has
been set to 36%..
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Toolbar
There are four buttons on the toolbar at the top of the window.
Load settings
The Load settings button loads a set of previously saved settings into the HD Bitmap window.
Save settings
The Save settings button saves the currently selected configuration to file.
Use current display settings
Matches the bitmap export settings to the current display settings. Not all bitmap export settings have a display
settings equivalent, but the ones that do will be matched.
Full preview
Opens the HD Bitmap Preview window, allowing you to see how your subtitles will be displayed using the
currently selected settings. Few of us are fortunate enough to have a monitor that will display subtitles at 2K or
4K resolutions. For this reason, at the top left of the HD Bitmap Preview Window, there is a small dropdown
combo that sets the view: normal, stretched, auto, centred or zoomed. The monitor being used to write this
guide has a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. If I try to preview a 2K subtitle bitmap (2048 x 858), the
monitor is incapable of displaying the whole image, so the preview window will zoom out to make the whole
image visible. The preview size and aspect ratio are displayed at the top of the window above the view combo.
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AutoRecover and timed backups
AutoRecover
AutoRecover automatically saves your subtitle file as often as you want. To enable AutoRecover, click Tools,
Options, select the General, AutoRecover tab in the Options window and tick the Save AutoRecover data box.
If AutoRecover is set to 15 minutes, for example, Spot will create a copy of the current subtitle file and save it to
disk every 15 minutes. Should Spot fail to shut down properly (i.e. in the event of a power outage or a problem
with Spot itself), you will be prompted to recover the last auto-saved version of the file you were working on.
Timed Backups
Spot’s timed backup utility takes a snapshot of the current file at the interval specified by AutoRecover and
saves the information sequentially to disk, creating a recoverable history of the file from its creation to the
current point in time. Because backups occur at the same time as AutoRecover data is saved, disabling
AutoRecover disables timed backups as well (although you have the option of disabling only timed backups –
this will not affect AutoRecover).
New in version 6 of Spot is the ability to select where your backups are stored. Click the button on the right of
the Store backups in field to tell Spot where you want to store them.
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To view the backups for a particular file, click View, restore or delete the contents of a backup folder (or click
the Backup button on the toolbar in the main window). This will open the Browse for Folder window, with your
backup folder selected as shown below.
Click the arrow to expand the Backups folder and view its sub-folders. Note that each of them is the name of a
file you have worked on. Select one of these sub-folders and click OK. This will open the following window.
The Files in Folder list on the left of the window displays all of the backups for the current file together with the
time and date each backup was created (the first file in the list was created at 00:06 on 4th June 2015). Click a
file to view its contents in the File Data pane on the right. To restore a backup file from the list on the left, click it
once to select it and then click the Restore button.
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The amount of data stored in your backup folder will obviously increase over time (you can find out how much
disk space is being used by clicking How big is my backup folder?). The When exiting Spot option lets you
control what happens to your backup folders when Spot closes: nothing (i.e. the option is unselected); they are
moved to the Recycle Bin; they are moved to a location you specify; they are permanently deleted. We
recommend moving the backup files to a different location (a folder on your network, for example, or an
external hard drive or other device) as this will ensure that your backups are safe.
The toolbar icon in the main window lets you monitor your backup status and configure backups directly
without the need to open the Options window.
Click the arrow for more backup options
Clicking the toolbar button has
the same effect as clicking
View, restore or delete the
contents of a backup folder
as mentioned above
Turn backups on or off. When on, a
green light is displayed on the
computer server; a red light is
shown when they’re off
Opens the Options, AutoRecover
window
Green light means backups are
currently enabled
Opens the backup folder in
Windows Explorer
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Splitting files
Sometimes you might want to split a subtitle file into two or more files. To do this, Select File, Split.
When selecting split points (by clicking the box to the left of each subtitle), bear in mind that a selected subtitle
will become the first subtitle in the new file. In the screen shot above, for example, subtitles 87, 215 and 414 are
selected (as shown at the bottom of the window) so three new subtitle files will be created starting at those
numbers. Each file is given the name you choose in the Split File Root Name dialog box plus a numeric suffix( _1,
_2, _3, etc.) and the extension .spt. Column two shows the in cue for each subtitle and column three shows any
comments in the subtitle, which can prove useful if you’ve marked any split points in the comment field.
Select the Confirm new file start time option if you want to offset the start time of each new file.
Copying subtitles from existing files
There are several ways to copy subtitles from existing files:




Use the Copy window
Use Quick View
Use File Sync
Use the File Viewer
See the relevant topic for more information.
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Copy window
As the names suggests, the Copy window is used to copy subtitles from an existing .spt file. To open the Copy
window, click the Copy button on the View panel at the bottom of the main screen or press Ctrl+L. The window
appears on the right, with the subtitles in the file listed in similar fashion to Quick View.
Open an external
Spot file
Set subtitle list
font size
Copy selected subtitles
to the main file
(Ctrl+C)
Find a word or phrase in the
file (press Enter to search)
Select all subtitles
or select none
You can also drag selected subtitles to the
main file instead of clicking the Copy button
Select the subtitles you want to copy, then either press Ctrl+C or use the mouse to drag them into the current
subtitle. Pressing Ctrl+L again closes the Copy window.
Notes View
The Notes panel is a rich text edit area that can be used for just about anything you like:




To add notes for yourself about the file you’re working on
To add notes for someone else about the file you’re working on
As a fully-enabled Unicode replacement for Spot’s Notebook for documentary or dubbing work
As a separate, mini subtitle editor
To open the Notes panel, click the Notes button on the View panel at the bottom of the main screen or
press Ctrl+K.
Notes are physically saved inside the current Spot (.spt) file whenever the latter is saved. You can force
a notes-only save by clicking the Save button on the Notes toolbar. Notes can also be exported to an
external Unicode text or SRT file by clicking the arrow on the right of the Save button.
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The Notes window can be switched to the left of the screen (to keep the video window visible if you’re
working on a documentary, for example) by clicking the rightmost toolbar button.
Open a file or import
the current Spot file
Save or export notes
Insert timecode
and choose timecode format
Toggle the position
of the Notes window
Any external text file (rtf, doc, txt, xml, etc.) can be dragged into the Notes window. If you have a video open,
the current timecode can be inserted in several formats by pressing Alt+Ins or by clicking the green arrow on the
toolbar
To exit Notes, either click the close button on the far right of the toolbar or click the Edit tab at the bottom of
the main screen.
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File Sync
Clicking the File Sync tab opens the File Sync panel. Spot’s main screen will resize itself to create a mirror
image of the previous, current and next subtitles on the right side of the window and will prompt you
to open a file. File Sync was designed to allow different language files to be time-synched with one
another, but it can also be used to paste and copy subtitles between files, view an external file,
compare different file versions and, perhaps most importantly, import files with characters from
different character sets that are displayed incorrectly in the main Spot subtitle area.
Current file
Sync file
Sync file toolbar
When you open a sync file, Spot compares the number of subtitles it contains with those in the main
file. If the main file has more than the sync file, empty subtitles will be added to the end of the sync file
so that the number of subtitles in both files is the same. Similarly, if the sync file has more subtitles
than the main file, empty subtitles will be added to the end of the latter. As you move through the
main file or the sync file (either by using the mouse wheel or pressing Page Up or Page Down) both files
will scroll in sync with each other.
The sync file toolbar is similar to the main subtitle toolbar, but contains a few new items. These are
explained below.
Sync all cues to main file, sync all attributes to
Select all sync subtitles
Open a Spot file to sync, import files with
mixed character sets,
import comments from main file
main file, copy or insert selected subtitles in main
file, clear selected sync subtitles, stop syncing
Save/save as sync file, merge sync file with main file
and save as a dual language file, export as comments to main file
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Select all sync subtitles
Clicking this button will select or deselect all the subtitles in the current sync file. You’ll most likely do
this ahead of a copy or insert operation – see below for more information. To select individual
subtitles, hold down the Ctrl key and click the box on the right of the out cue. It will turn orange to
show the subtitle is selected.
Import files with mixed character sets
File Sync also provides a solution for editing and exporting files with mixed character sets or dialects that Spot
cannot properly handle. If you ever come across a file in which one or more characters fail to display properly,
open it normally in the main Spot window, open the File Sync panel, click the Open dropdown button on the
sync toolbar, click Import and select the type of file you want to open (the options are PAC, unformatted text,
Subrip SRT or a Custom One text file). You should now have both files displayed side by side – the original on the
left and the sync on the right. The difference between the two is that the file on the right can display any
character from any language, so the characters that originally failed to display are now shown properly. You can
edit the sync file as you normally would. When you are ready to export the file, click the Save button on the sync
toolbar and select Save to Memory. A message box will confirm that this has been done.
Now that the subtitles are stored in memory, you can export them via the File, Export window. For many of the
export formats (Subrip SRT, Timed Text, XML files, HD bitmap streams and digital cinema DCP files), you’ll see
there’s an “Export Sync Subtitles” option to export the sync subtitles instead of the main file. Select this option
and the sync subtitles will be exported with all the characters intact.
Note also that when selecting the “Export Sync Subtitles” option in the DCP window, the subtitle preview
window will display the sync subtitles, not the original file.
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Import Comments from Main File
You don’t have to open a file to sync it. If you have comments in the main file (which have been
imported into Spot from an external file via the File, Merge menu, for example), you can copy them and
their respective in and out times into the sync file, replacing the current sync subtitles and effectively
creating a timed replica of the main file.
Use the Save dropdown menu on the File Sync subtitle toolbar to merge the sync file with the main file
and create a dual language version or add the sync subtitles to the comments field. Selected subtitles
can be copied or inserted into the main file using the toolbar dropdown menu (use the button on the
left of the toolbar to select all subtitles.
Merge with Main File and Save as Dual Language
This command appends each sync file subtitle plus a carriage return to its corresponding main subtitle
and saves the resulting file as a dual language .spt file. So if the two subtitles below are e.g. subtitle 12
in the main and sync file Do you know what otters eat,
Panda?
Sabes o que comem as lontras,
Panda?
- in the dual language file they become one, four-line subtitle laid out like this:
Do you know what otters eat,
Panda?
Sabes o que comem as lontras,
Panda?
Export as Comments to Main File
Copies all the sync file subtitles to the comment fields in the main file.
Sync All Cues to Main File
This copies the in and out cues from the main file to the in and out cues in the sync file.
Sync All Attributes to Main File
Copies the attributes of each subtitle in the main file (alignment, row number, outlining, full italics,
etc.) to each subtitle in the sync file.
Copy Selected Subtitles to Main File (Overwrite)
Copies selected sync file subtitles and pastes them in the main file, replacing the existing text.
Insert Selected Subtitles in Main File
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Inserts the selected sync file subtitles in the main file.
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File Viewer
Spot’s file viewer lets you load a range of external subtitle files (spt, pac, stl, txt, itt, xml, srt, sub) into the viewer
panel without interfering with the current subtitle file. You can then copy subtitles from the viewer or make
changes to text-based viewer files (to quickly correct any errors, for example) and save them.
To open a file, either click the Open File button on the Viewer toolbar or drag the file into the Viewer itself.
Current Viewer file
Open file
Save viewer file. Only textbased formats can be saved
this way
Find a word or phrase in the viewer
Set open/save text-encoding
Save imported PAC, STL or
SPT viewer file binary file
as formatted text file
Click to change font
Right-click selected text for copying options
Click the dropdown list to set the encoding for text-based formats. If you open a SubRip SRT file, for example,
and accented characters look corrupt, change the encoding from e.g. Default (ANSI) to UTF-8. Spot will re-read
the file with the selected encoding. The same applies when saving text-based formats – the current text
encoding will be used. This makes it easier to convert text-based files from e.g. UTF-8 to Unicode (UTF-16)
To copy subtitles from the Viewer, select the text to copy, right-click the selection and choose the action: copy
the selection and use it to replace the current subtitle or just merge the selection with the current subtitle.
Click the font button on the toolbar to change the font used by the Viewer.
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Working with media files
Opening media files
Use the video panel to open media (i.e. video and audio) files. Click the rightmost button on the video panel
toolbar or press F7 to bring up the Select Media Source window. You can open video files (MPEG-1, MPEG-2,
AVI, WMV, MOV, M2V, MP4, VOB), audio files (WAV, MP3, WMA), or separate video and audio files, provided
you have the necessary decoder filters installed on your system. If a file does not open, responds sluggishly or has
its video and audio out of sync, you should consider installing the K-Lite Codec Pack, which will provide support
for just about any video type. Click Help, Download K-Lite Codec Pack to install the latest version. You can also
choose to use Spot’s own internal MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MOV and MPEG-4 decoders or tell Spot which decoders
and splitters you’d like to use. See below for more information on this.
The video panel
Click the blue dropdown list to
Name and location of current media file
Click the blue dropdown list to select a different frame rate if
The name of the currently open video or audio file is displayed in grey beneath the video toolbar. Clicking the
name will open the Media Properties window.
Unlike in previous versions of Spot, after selecting the video file to open, you do not need know what the video’s
frame rate is. Spot will tell you in the Select Frame Rate window, although you can override the reported video
frame rate on the very rare occasions that this might be necessary (an NTSC DF video with a NDF BITC timecode,
for example).
Spot is telling you what the frame rate is.
Click the blue dropdown list to select a
different frame rate if you ever need to
Once the file has loaded, it will start playing automatically (this behaviour can be changed in the Video, Media
Preferences window). If you are working with a new media file, you may want to pause the video at this point
and generate internal timecode for the file, process the audio or search the video for shot cuts.
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Syncing media files
If you want Spot’s internal timecode clock to run in sync with the burnt-in timecode (BITC) on a video, you need
to sync the two the first time you open the video file.
To do this:




Move to the first frame in the video file.
Click the Offset Timecode button on the video toolbar to open the Offset Video Timecode window..
Type the BITC displayed on the video in the text box.
Click OK.
Type the new timecode and press Enter
or Click OK
To check that the file does not contain any dropped frames, move to the end of the video. Spot's internal
timecode display (in the centre of the video status panel) should match the BITC. If it doesn't, one or more
frames have been lost during encoding. This is becoming rarer nowadays as encoding quality improves, but if it
does happen, you need to find these frames and correct the timecode:







Drag the video position slider to the halfway mark. If the timecode is out, drag it to the quarter mark.
Continue in this fashion (1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, etc.) until Spot's internal timecode matches the BITC.
Move forward one second/frame at a time until you find the missing frame.
Ensure the video is positioned on the missing frame. For example, BITC reads 10:21:02:18, Spot's
timecode reads 10:21:02:17.
Click the Offset Timecode button.
Type the BITC displayed on the video in the offset text box (10:21:02:18 in this example).
Click OK.
If the media file you are subtitling does not contain BITC, you can simply ignore the internal timecode and time
the file starting at midnight (00:00:00:00), offsetting cues later if necessary.
You only need to perform sync operations once. After assigning timecode to a file, you will be prompted to save
the data when quitting a session (you can also manually save the data at any time by clicking the open media
button and selecting Save data to disk or clicking the Save All button on the toolbar). A file with the same name
as the video file plus a .tcd extension will be created. For example, if your video file is called Ryan PAL.mpg, the
timecode file will be named Ryan PAL.mpg.tcd. The next time Spot opens the video, it searches for and loads the
corresponding .tcd file.
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Controlling media playback
You can use the keyboard or mouse to navigate through a media file. We recommend using the keyboard.
Using the video control panel
The video control panel is located immediately below the video window. It displays information about the
current video and provides buttons and other controls to let you control the video. You can customise the
layout, appearance and colour of the video panel on the Video Panel tab in the Options, Customise window.
See the Customising Spot section at the end of this guide for detailed information.
Information displayed by the video panel
Current zero-based
video position
Internal timecode
Video frame rate
Current video position in frames
Video running time
Navigation controls
Rewind
Play
Frame
forward
Find last
shot cut
Navigation
slider
Jump to
out cue
Switch audio
streams
Change
playback speed
Open
media file
Pause
Frame
back
Fast
forward
Find next
shot cut
Jump to
in cue
Offset
timecode
Draw subtitles on
video with black
background
Switch audio
channels
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Each command is explained in more detail below.
Play
Play forwards at normal speed.
Pause
Pause playback.
Rewind
Run backwards at twice normal speed (no audio). If the pause button is depressed, jump backwards in one
second intervals.
Fast forward
Run forwards at twice normal speed (with audio). If the pause button is depressed, jump forwards in one second
intervals.
Frame back
Slow motion backwards (± 7 fps, no audio). If the pause button is depressed, jump backwards one frame.
Frame forward
Slow motion forwards (± 7 fps, with audio). If the pause button is depressed, jump forwards one frame.
Jump to last shot cut
Move backwards through the file to the last shot cut.
Jump to in cue
Jump to the position within the video file relative to the current subtitle's in cue.
Jump to out cue
Jump to the position within the video file relative to the current subtitle's out cue.
Jump to next shot cut
Move forwards through the file to the next shot cut.
Offset timecode
Open the offset timecode window.
Open media file
Open a media file.
Load timecode file
Load a .tcd timecode file. Note that Spot will look for an associated .tcd file when opening a digital video
file, so it will not normally be necessary to keep reopening timecode files when restarting a session.
Load shot change file
Load an .scd shot change file generated by SpotCVT during a video conversion.
Export shot change data
Export current shot change data in text format.
Save data to disk
Save current timecode and shot cut data to disk. Spot will automatically save this data at the end of each
session (or prompt you to save), but it might be wise to save at regular intervals anyway.
Close video
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Closes the current video file
Delete video format flag
Deletes the video frame rate file, allowing you to reopen the file with a different frame rate.
Recently opened media file list
A list of recently opened media files. Clicking a file in the list will open it.
The navigation slider
Clicking the left and right arrows on the navigation slider (which can be hidden if you don’t like them via
Options, Customise, Video Panel) moves the video backwards and forwards in one-second increments.
Using the keyboard
The default keys for controlling media playback are shown below. All are user-configurable (Video, Media
Preferences).
Start of video
End of video
Decrease playback
speed (100% – 10%)
Replay from last
play position
Fast forward
Rewind
Increase playback
speed (10% - 100%)
Frame back
Frame forward
Play/pause
Go to last shot cut.
Ctrl = go to last audio peak
Go to in cue/
Grab in cue
Go to out cue/
Grab out cue
Replay sequence
Toggle shot cut
Next shot cut.
Ctrl = go to next audio peak
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Holding down a key will cause it to repeat, so holding down the frame back key with the pause button
depressed, for example, will allow you to move in apparent slow motion backwards (or at normal speed,
depending on your computer); holding down the fast forward key with the pause button depressed will move
you forwards through the file at upwards of 250 fps. The NumLock key must be on for these key strokes to work.
If you are working with Spot on a laptop computer, you are strongly advised to buy an external USB numpad.
The Ctrl+B key combination allows you to toggle the audio balance between full left, full right and centred.
Viewing media information
Clicking the video name displayed below the video panel opens the Media Properties window. This provides
detailed information about the video, including the name of the video container (MOV, MPEG-4, AVI, etc.), the
video encoding format (QuickTime, DivX, etc.), the duration of the video, the video bit rate, the audio encoding
format and so on. This information can prove useful when troubleshooting video playback or frame rate issues.
You can inspect the properties of an external video (i.e. not the current video) by clicking the View Another File
button or by clicking Media, Inspect External Media File in the main Spot window.
Showing Video Filters
It can sometimes be useful to examine the building blocks (“filters”) used to construct and play back a video file.
A typical video is comprised of a source filter (the physical video file), a “splitter” which separates the video into
a video and audio stream, a decoder for each video and audio stream and a playback device (“renderer”) for
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each stream. With a video open in Spot, right-click the video window and select Show Video Filters. A window
similar to the one below will open.
Here we can see that the video’s source filter is F:\Fado.avi, it has an AVI splitter, LAV is decoding the video,
ffdshow is decoding the audio, the default sound device (your sound card) is playing the audio and the Video
Mixing Renderer 9 is responsible for playing the video.
Double-click an item in the list to open its property page (note that not all filters have one). The property page
for the Video Mixing Render 9 filter (shown below) lets you change the brightness and contrast of the video and
force an aspect ratio change. With other property pages you can add or remove audio effects, increase volume,
inspect playback statistics and so on.
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Setting Video and Audio Preferences
The Media Preferences window (Video, Media Preferences) lets you customise the way Spot handles media
files and set various options. It is divided into six sections: General, Media Control, Audio, Video, DirectShow
Filters and Deprecated. Each section is explained in more detail below.
General
When you press F7 or click the Open media button on the video toolbar, the Select Media Source dialog will
open in the folder specified in the Media folder field.
Ticking the Sync video to subtitles when in
edit mode box forces the video or audio
source to jump to the current subtitle when
navigating through a subtitle file. This
option can also be set using the Options,
Quick Options menu or quickly toggled on
or off using the shift + F8 keyboard
shortcut.
If you select the Enable audio stream
switching option, whenever you open a
MOV or MPEG-4 video containing more
than one audio stream, each stream will be
displayed below the Switch Audio Stream
button on the video toolbar. To switch
between audio streams, click the button
and select the desired stream from the
dropdown list. It’s important to understand
the difference between audio streams and
audio channels. A video is normally
comprised of one video stream and one audio stream. The audio stream itself will usually have two audio
channels: left and right; stereo, in other words. However, video files may contain more than one audio stream –
the original English audio in one stream, for example, and Spanish or German or French dubbed versions of the
English in other streams.
When Spot detects more than one audio stream in a MOV or MPEG-4 video, the Switch Audio Stream button on
the video toolbar will become enabled.
The audio stream switch button is
enabled, meaning Spot has detected
more than one audio stream in the
video.
Click the button to display and
select one of the available audio
streams
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Spot 6 has its own internal splitters and decoders for playing MOV, MPEG-4, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 videos. Select
the appropriate option to make sure they are used when opening these types of file.
Some video formats, including WMV and MPEG, may contain embedded timecode. If you want Spot to attempt
to read the timecode in these files, select this option. Note that some video containers only provide timecode
for the first timecode in the file. If embedded timecode is found, the message “Reading embedded timecode”
will appear on the status bar when Spot opens the video.
Selecting the Show subtitle data in fullscreen mode option tells Spot to display information about the current
subtitle in the top left corner of the video when running in fullscreen mode as shown below.
Subtitle number
Timecode
In cue
Duration
Out cue
Media Control
The Media Control tab lets you customise the keys
used to control media files.
The Offset fields let you jump to within a certain
number of frames of a shot cut rather than directly to
the shot cut itself. This might be useful if a client
requires subtitles to come in one frame after a shot
cut, for example.
The Switch to Rehearse/Edit when pressing
Play/Pause option (keyboard shortcut is the Scroll Lock
key) lets you toggle between rehearse and edit modes
with a single key press. Pressing the play button will
put Spot into rehearse mode and start video playback;
pressing the pause button will put Spot into edit mode
and pause the video.
Audio
The Audio tab sets options for the audio waveform display.
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Video
The Video tab sets options for shot cut detection.
DirectShow Filters
The DirectShow Filters tab lists all the video “filters” (source file splitters, video and audio decoders, etc.)
installed on your machine and lets you choose preferred splitters and decoders to use when playing a video. This
can be useful if a particular decoder is causing problems on your system – select a different decoder and Spot
will try to use it the next time you open a video file. For example, the Haali source file splitter can cause
problems when used with certain video formats. If this happens, select the LAV or another source file splitter
from the list. Some filters provide some very useful features. Selecting the Video Mixing Renderer 9 filter will
allow you to change the brightness and contrast of a video and force it to allow aspect ratios changes if needed.
See the Display Settings section and Show Video Filters topic below for more information.
Deprecated
This section lists features that are no longer actively being developed, but which we have included in this latest
release due to requests from several users. For information on what they do and how to use them, see the Spot
5 User Guide available at http://www.spotsoftware.nl/downloads/spot5/Spot 5 User Guide.pdf.
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Audio waveform display
Use the second button from the right on Spot’s main toolbar to hide/show the audio waveform display.
Click to show or hide
the audio waveform
The audio waveform panel is divided into two windows: the one on the left displays audio data, while the one on
the right shows video shot cuts. You can resize the windows by dragging the white line in the middle. The shot
cut window can be hidden – click the options button and select Hide Shot Cut Window.
Drag to resize audio waveform
and shot cut windows
Audio data
VU meters
Click to show
audio/video options
Shot cut data
Before the waveform will actually display anything useful, you need to process the audio data in the media file
you are working with. To do this, select Preferences from the Video menu to open the Media Preferences
window and then click the Audio tab.
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Spot 6 User Guide
Audio data
If you want Spot to process the audio in media files automatically every time you open a new file, select the
Process audio data when first opening a video file option. It takes approximately 15 seconds per half hour of
video to extract the audio data, so a 90-minute film should take less than a minute to complete. However, unlike
in Spot 5, when processing an audio track in Spot 6, you no longer need to wait for the audio to finish processing
before starting to work. The new processor works in a separate process on a separate thread, so you can begin
working immediately.
If you are working with an unprocessed media file, click the Process Now button (this option will be disabled if
no media file is open). Alternately, click the options button
click Process Audio Data.
on the right of the audio waveform and then
Audio pre-processing needs to be done only once per video as the data is automatically saved to disk when
quitting the current session or opening a new media file.
Audio waveform display
These options allow you to customise the appearance and position of the waveform and the data displayed
within it. They are also accessible by clicking the audio waveform options icon as shown above.
Waveform View
The waveform view can be set to mono, stereo, left channel or right channel only. Although the stereo view may
look “prettier”, it may be easier to find the start of an audio section using mono view.
Colour
Selects the colour used to draw the audio waveform.
Height
Specifies the height of the audio waveform panel (when docked) as a percentage of the height of the main
window.
Trough threshold and Trough Depth
Sets the values used to determine when an audio peak occurs in the audio data. Used in combination with the
Ctrl+1 and Ctrl+3 keyboard combinations to find the previous/next audio peak. The threshold is the minimum
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value at which audio data is audible; the depth is the measurement of the difference in audio level between two
consecutive video frames.
You can also display the previous, current and next subtitles on the waveform and show/hide the timecode
markers. When you hover the mouse over the left or right edge of the current subtitle, the cursor will change to
an east-west arrow. This means you can change the in or out cue (depending on whether the cursor is over the
left or right edge) by dragging the mouse left or right. To abort the operation, press the Esc key and the subtitles
will snap back to their original position. To lock subtitles (i.e. prevent the current subtitle’s cues overriding the
previous/next subtitle’s cues), hold down the Shift key while dragging the mouse (note that this will lock
subtitles regardless of the intervals between them).
In cue drag area
Out cue drag area
Next subtitle
Zoom
Options
Previous subtitle
Current subtitle
You can click anywhere within the waveform to jump to that position in the video file. Shift + Left Click will set
the current in cue; Shift + Right Click will set the current out cue.
The waveform display can be undocked (floated in its own window, as it is in the image above) by clicking the
waveform options button and selecting Float Waveform Window. Undocking the waveform window means you
can size the display any way you want, drag it around the screen and position it where it suits you best.
Spot 6 has its own shot cut detector (see the next topic in this section) so by default the waveform display is split
into two windows: audio and shot cuts.
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Shot Cut Detection
Spot 6 has its own shot cut detector. As with the new audio waveform processor, you don’t have to wait until
the shot cut detector has finished processing the file before starting work. To find the shot cuts in a video, make
sure the audio waveform window is open, then click the audio/video options button on the right and select Find
Shot Cuts. A progress indicator is displayed on the status bar as Spot detects the shot cuts. Pressing Esc cancels
the operation.
If no shot cuts are visible, you may have hidden the shot cut window. Click the audio/video options button again
and make sure the Hide Shot Cut Window option is not selected.
The shot cut window is displayed on the right of the audio waveform window. You can resize the windows by
dragging the white line in the middle.
Drag to resize audio waveform
and shot cut windows
Shot cuts. We’re right on one here – the white
position indicator turns red when on a shot cut
Click to show
audio/video options
Shot cuts are displayed as cyan-coloured vertical lines in the shot cut window. As the white video position
indicator moves along the window, it turns red when over a shot cut. You can change the shot cut colour, where
the shot cuts are displayed and how shot cut detection is carried out in the Media, Preferences window.
Perhaps the most important of the shot cut options is the Sample size value in the Shot cut detection group.
This tells Spot how many random pixels to compare between two consecutive video frames. Consider the size of
a standard PAL video: 720 pixels wide by 576 pixels high. That means one PAL video frame contains 414,720
pixels. If you were to compare every single pixel, the results
would be pretty accurate but the time taken to process the whole
video would be rather long. Comparing only one in ten of the
pixels in each frame would speed the process up, although some
loss of accuracy would inevitably be incurred. So it’s up to you to
choose a sample size that doesn’t take forever, but which
produces usable results. In the image on the right, the sample
size is 7000. This was used for a small 240 x 320 pixel video. The
results were acceptable, as was the processing speed.
The Shot cut window group lets you customise the colours used
to draw the shot cut window. If you don’t like having the shot cut
window next to the audio waveform, select the Replicate shots
on waveform and Hide shot cut window options. Shot cuts will
then be drawn in the audio waveform window.
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For reasons that are too technical to go into here, you may occasionally find that shot cuts are out by one or two
frames. If this happens, click the audio/video options button and select Shift Shot Cut Data. In the window that
opens, decide whether the shot cuts need to moved up (i.e. come in later) or down (i.e. come in earlier) and by
how many frames they need to be shifted. Click OK and the shot cuts will be redrawn in their new positions.
The cues in a subtitle file can be snapped to the shot cuts in the video. Click Cues, Snap to Shot Cuts in the main
window to configure how this works.
First you need to decide which subtitles you want to snap to cuts. You’ll probably want to select the whole file,
although selecting a range may be a good way of testing your threshold setting. This determines the point at
which cues should be snapped to cuts. In the picture above, the threshold value is set to 13. That means that if
an in cue is found within 13 frames of a shot cut, that whole subtitle will be moved backwards or forwards so
that it now comes in on the cut.
To snap the current subtitle, press Alt+Numpad 5.
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Display Settings
Press F6 or click Video, Window, Adjust Display Settings to open the Display Settings window.
The various display settings set the broadcast format for the current subtitle file and dictate the size, position
and appearance of the subtitles in the video window. They form an integral part of the whole subtitling process.
It’s important to match your settings as closely as possible to the ones that will be used for broadcast so that
your subtitles appear in the same position on screen as they do in Spot. If you don’t, a subtitle raised to just
above a character’s head in Spot, for example, may be smack bang in the middle of the character’s face when
broadcast. Not nice.
The window is divided into three sections:
1. The toolbar
2. The settings and information tab
3. The preview window
The Toolbar
The left-hand side of the toolbar contains the video format, aspect ratio and font settings. These tells Spot how
to size the video window, how to draw the subtitles and what aspect ratio to use.
The available video formats are:











PAL (720 x 576, 4:3)
NTSC (720 x 480, 4:3)
ULTECH (720 x 512)
HD (1280 x 720)
HD (1920 x 1080)
2K Flat (1998 x 1080)
2K Scope (2048 x 858)
PAL (720 x 576, 5:4)
NTSC (720 x 480, 6:4)
4K Flat (3996 x 2160)
4K Scope (4096 x 1714)
If in doubt what format to use (some are rather technical), ask your client. If that’s not possible (or perhaps
slightly embarrassing), then it’s best to select PAL, the first item in the list.
The aspect ratio can be set to 4:3 or 16:9 (a couple more are available from the Display Settings, Aspect Ratio
dropdown on the toolbar in the main Spot window). Sometimes you may be supplied with a 4:3 video for a 16:9
broadcast, in which case you will need to select 16:9 so that Spot can simulate the aspect ratio by adding
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letterboxing to the top and bottom of the 4:3 video image. However, if your video is already 16:9, select 4:3
otherwise Spot will add letterboxing to the letterboxing.
As hinted at above, the video format, aspect ratio and font settings can be adjusted directly from Spot’s main
window. Click the small black arrow on the right of the Display Settings button on the main toolbar to access
them.
As you can see, there are three more aspect ratio options available: 1.85, 2.39 and Fit To Window. The latter
does exactly that – it ignores the video’s aspect ratio and completely fills the whole video window with the video
image. Not exactly WYSIWYG, but it may prove useful if you receive a tiny video which makes spotting hard. 1.85
and 2.39 are mainly used for 2K and 4K flat and scope digital cinema jobs.
Life is never as simple as it should be, of course, and you may find that sometimes changing the aspect ratio has
no effect at all. This is because the DirectShow “filter” in charge of displaying the video is insisting on
maintaining the video’s internal aspect ratio. There is a simple way to work around this problem, however.
Right-click the video window and select Show Video Filters (this is covered in more detail below). In the list, find
Video Renderer, double-click it and the Video Renderer Property Page window shown below should pop up.
Locate the Maintain Aspect Ratio option at the
bottom left of the window, deselect it and click OK.
This will tell the renderer not to use the video’s
internal aspect ratio and Spot will be able to change
it for you.
On rare occasions, however, you may find that this
doesn’t actually solve the problem. It may be the
video decoder which is forcing the aspect ratio to
be maintained. Right-click the video window and
select Show Video Filters again, but this time
double-click the decoder filter (the full name could
be anything – just look for something with
“decoder” in it). Search the decoder’s property
page and turn off any options that set a fixed
aspect ratio.
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On the right of the toolbar are the three buttons: Load Settings, Save Settings and Set default. Unsurprisingly,
they do what’s written on the tin: load a previously saved set of display settings, save your current display
settings for later use (and/or to link to a client profile) or restore every setting to its default value.
The Settings tab
This is where the subtitle display and positioning information is configured.
Margins
Sets the left and right margins, ceiling (top margin) and baseline (bottom
margin) for subtitles. You should normally follow the 10% rule; that is, the
left and right margins are set to 10% of the target video width, the top and
bottom margins are set to 10% of the target video height. However, there
may be times – especially when working with letterboxed 16:9 video –
when clients ask for a “one in, one out” setup, which means positioning the
bottom line of a two-line subtitle in the letterboxing and the first line
above the letterboxing. When you change video formats (PAL to HD or
NTSC to 2K, for example), the margin values will be automatically set to
10%.
Font setup
The font itself is set using the Display font button on the toolbar or by
clicking the description of the currently selected font. The Inner border
width and Outer border width settings are mostly cosmetic and may make
subtitles look crisper in the video window. The Row spacing field sets the
space in pixels between each row, while the Character spacing field does
the same for the space between each character.
Colour
Sets the colours used for the subtitle text, border and background. These settings are also fairly cosmetic and
are ignored when a subtitle file is exported.
Display settings configurations can be linked to a client profile and automatically loaded when the profile is
loaded. Save your settings using the Save Settings button as described above, then link the saved file in the
Profile Properties window by ticking the Link profile to display settings file option and clicking the ... button to
select the file.
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Using the Video Converter and Subtitle Encoder
Converting videos
Sometimes you may receive video files from clients that, for various reasons, are not suitable for subtitling. They
may not navigate smoothly frame by frame, they may be encoded with a professional codec not available on
your system or one that is buggy and takes too long to decode each frame. Converting a video to AVI will also
speed up shot cut detection. This is when Spot’s new video converter, Spot CVT, comes in handy – it will convert
any video file you throw at it to any useful format. You open the converter via the Tools menu: Tools, Video
Converter. On some systems, you may have to run the converter with admin privileges, in which case you’ll need
to run Spot as admin first: navigate to the Spot shortcut you use to start the program, right-click it and choose
“Run as administrator”.
Size of source video
Select source video
(or drag and drop)
Video standard for
VCD, SVCD, DVD, DV
and DV50 presets (film,
PAL and NTSC)
List of preset
output formats
Increase output volume
Select which audio
stream to encode
Search for shot cuts to
use in Spot
Subtitle display setup
Add a subtitle file
(see below for instructions)
Encoding log
View subtitles
Select the video to convert by clicking the Source Video button at the top right of the screen or by dragging and
dropping a video file into the application window. If you have a video open in Spot when you launch CVT, the
video will already be selected as the source video. The same goes for any subtitle file you may have open in Spot
– see Encoding Subtitles below for more information.
Several preset output formats are available: VCD, SVCD, DVD, DV, DV50, subtitling-friendly AVI and subtitlingfriendly WMV. Note that if you select a preset, all settings (apart from the video standard) will be configured
automatically. In the case of DVD, that means an output video size of 720 x 576 for PAL, with a video bitrate of
around 6000 Kbps.
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You get greater control over the output video if you select Custom… from the preset list. This will enable the
video and audio settings controls and let you configure all details of the final video yourself. Most of the fields
are self-explanatory. The Video format dropdown sets the container format of the output video – AVI,
MOV/QuickTime, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 or WMV. The Video codec dropdown sets the codec used in the
container – Auto (based on the container format), H.264, H.265, MPEG-1, MPEG-1, MPEG-4 or WMV. The Video
bitrate field obviously sets the video bitrate. The higher the value, the better the quality of the final video.
However, it is clearly not possible to improve on the quality of the source video, so ideally you should use the
same bitrate as the original. You can choose to use the same audio codec as the original – this will speed up the
encoding process slightly as the audio does not have to be decoded and then re-encoded in a different format.
The audio bitrate can only be set if you do not copy the original audio. Again, as with the video bitrate, the
higher the value, the better the quality. For most purposes, 192 kbps will be more than sufficient. Audio boost
lets you increase the audio volume in the final file. This may be useful if the sound is muted in the original or if
your computer’s sound system is on the quiet side. A setting of 50% will increase the volume by one and a half;
100% will double the volume and 200% will provide a four-fold increase.
When you have finished configuring the output video, click the Convert button. There is no need to provide a
name or location for the video as these will be created automatically based on the name and format of the
source video. A source video called Teaser.avi located in C:\Temp converted to the MOV QuickTime format will
produce an output video called C:\Temp\Teaser.mov. If the output file name already exists, CVT will append the
current time to the output file, so C:\Temp\Teaser.mov will become C:\Temp\Teaser.mov_18_25 if created at
18:25, for example.
The converter can optionally search for shot cuts in the output video after the conversion process has finished. If
you select this option, a file with the same name as the output file plus the extension “.scd” will be created in
the output folder. You can then load this file into Spot using the Open Video dropdown menu on the video
toolbar. Although similar to Spot’s own shot cut detector, the converter’s detection technology is slightly more
accurate as it can detect key frames, an important indication of a scene change. The sensitivity level can be set
from 0.5 to 10, but the most useful results are achieved in the 2-5 range. Choose a higher value for darker videos
in which shot cuts are less obvious and a lower value for brighter videos where the shot cuts are more obvious.
The Advanced panel gives you even greater control over the output video and can be useful in helping to
troubleshoot conversion problems. CVT is based on ffmpeg and whenever you change an encoding setting, the
text in the Syntax text box changes. CVT is converting your settings to a command line format that ffmpeg can
understand. In the image above, -f avi -c:v libxvid -b:v 1500k -g 12 -c:a mp3 means convert to
AVI, use the Xvid video codec, set the video bitrate to 1500 kbps, add a key frame every 12 frames and use mp3
for the audio codec. You should only make changes to the command line syntax if you are used to working with
ffmpeg.
During the conversion process, a stream of text will appear in the log text box. You can usually ignore what it
says. However, if a problem occurs (e.g. a video doesn’t convert properly or subtitles are not added to the
output video), the log will probably tell you why.
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Encoding Subtitles
In addition to converting videos, CVT can add subtitles to the output video during the conversion process. Select
the subtitle file by clicking the Add subtitle button. If you have a subtitle file open in Spot when you launch CVT,
the file will already be selected as the subtitle source. Delete the text if you do not want to add subtitles. Note
that only Spot’s .spt format is compatible with CVT. To set up the subtitle display (the font and effects used to
display the subtitles on the video), click the Display Setup button on the right of the subtitle file name.
Any changes you make in the Display Setup window will be remembered the next time you encode subtitles. You
can also save a particular setup for later use by using the Save and Load buttons.
Information on the various settings is shown in the graphic below.
Stretch or shrink font
along the x or y axis
Set font size
and font colour
Select subtitle font
Font transparency
Shadow size
Character spacing
Select to use
boxed outline
Border size
and colour
Video fall-back dimensions
Layout options
Set location of Fonts folder
Border transparency
The Video width and Video height fields are only used if SpotCVT cannot determine the size of the source video.
If the Video source group in the main CVT video shows Video source (0x0!) rather than e.g. Video source
(1280x720), the video fall-back width and height will be used. So if you see (0x0!), make sure you set the correct
video source width and height in the Display Setup window before encoding.
When subtitles are added to a video, CVT needs to know the location of the Windows Fonts folder. This is
normally C:\Windows\Fonts. If your system uses a different location or font loading takes a long time (see
below), click the Fonts… button to tell CVT where the system fonts folder is located.
A typical Windows Fonts folder contains many different fonts, possibly as many as four or five hundred. ffmpeg
searches through all these fonts when preparing to encode subtitles. This may lead to a significant delay
(possibly a minute or so; you may even think that CVT has hung) between clicking the Convert button and the
actual start of encoding . CVT creates an empty folder called Fonts in the C:\[Username]\AppData\Local\Spot
Software\SpotCVT\[Version] folder – you can substantially speed up the time it takes to load font data by
copying only the font files you need to this (or any other) location. To do this, open the Windows Fonts folder,
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switch to Details view, then select the font files you would like to use. For Arial Narrow, for example, this might
also mean selecting the italic and bold versions of the font if they exist (Arial Narrow.ttf, Arial Narrow Bold.ttf
and Arial Narrow Italic.ttf). Copy these files to the C:\[Username]\AppData\Local\Spot
Software\SpotCVT\[Version]\Fonts folder or the folder of your choice), then make sure to repeat the step in the
paragraph above by opening the Display Setup window, clicking the Fonts… button and telling CVT where your
fonts folder is now located.
If no subtitles are visible on the output video, check the log window. If you see something like “Cannot find font
folder”, make sure CVT is pointing to the correct font folder location. Check the cues in your subtitle file, as well;
you may have originally timed the file to a video with timecode starting at e.g. 10:00:00:00. All files must be
timed to start at midnight (00:00:00:00), so if necessary use Spot’s Offset tool to offset the cues in the file.
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Other tools and procedures
Notebook
With the introduction of Notes in Spot 6, Notebook has become slightly irrelevant. We’ve left it in the current
release for sentimental reasons.
Notebook (Tools, Notebook) is a rich text WSYIWYG editor similar to Windows Wordpad but with several extra
features. It might prove useful for subtitlers working on documentary/narrative files as it allows timecode to be
inserted automatically rather than typed manually.
To insert timecode, press F4 or select Incoming Timecode from the Insert menu. Click Format, Timecode Format
to specify how the timecode is formatted. You can choose between HH:MM:SS:FF, HH:MM:SS or MM:SS and
replace the colon separator with a full stop or hyphen.
Notebook has its own autosave feature. To turn on this option, click File, Enable Autosave.
You might find that Spot’s Script Manager utility is better suited to your needs if you are preparing dubbing
scripts or translating documentaries.
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Measurement converter
To convert a measurement:

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
Select Measurement Converter from the Tools menu.
In the Measurement Converter window, choose the type of conversion you wish to make from the
Category list.
Set the degree of accuracy required using the Decimal and Format options.
Select the units to convert from and to from the Convert From and Convert To lists. The converter
predicts which unit to convert to whenever the unit in Convert From list is changed.
Type the figure to convert in the From Value box, then press Enter or click Convert.
The correctly converted measurement will appear in the To Value box. To copy this figure into the subtitle you
are working on, choose Copy. The converter will close and the converted measurement will be copied into the
current subtitle.
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Script Manager
Note: Script Manager is no longer being actively developed. We may one day release an updated version as a
stand-alone application. The following information is taken from the Spot 5 user guide.
Script Manager (Tools, Script Manager) is a tool for preparing scripts for language dubbing. You can either
create a script and characters from scratch or import the current subtitle file into Script Manager. If you choose
the latter approach, character names are retrieved from the comment fields. In this example, we will create a
script from scratch.
Character list. Click to select
an existing character when
adding a new line.
Script view shows the
characters in the script,
their lines and in times
for their lines.
The in and out times for
the current line.
This is where you type the
lines for the different
characters in the script. The
length of text is unlimited
and can be bold, underlined
or in italics.
Character view lists the
characters in the script and
the total number of lines
spoken by each.
The first thing to do is create a new character by clicking Script, Character, Add Character or pressing F5. In the
Add Character window, give the character a name, a role (leading or secondary) and assign it a gender, and click
OK. The new character’s name will appear in the character list at the top left of the Script Manager window.
Now type the character’s line in the text box and add the in time and out time for the line, either by pressing F11
and F12 or by clicking the in and out buttons on the toolbar. Once the line is complete, press Page Down to add
it to the script in the bottom half of the window and clear the text box ready for a new line.
You can create all the characters at once or whenever a new character occurs in the script. If you have a
complete list of characters, select the appropriate name from the character list whenever the speaker changes.
Characters can be edited by clicking the Character Data tab and double-clicking the character’s name.
To edit a line in the script, just select it in the script list or move to it using Page Down and Page Up.
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Once the script is complete, you might want to set one or more export options before exporting the script in
HTML format. Click File, Export Options to open the options window.
Script Manager export options
The export options window is split into two sections: General and Script Header.
Characters
The Characters frame lets you choose which characters to include in the script: all or just those selected in the
list. It also sets other options, such as the formatting applied to the character name and whether to omit the
name of the character in consecutive lines.
Script format
The Layout dropdown determines the format of the exported file: script style, in which characters are listed on
the left and their cues on the right, or documentary style, in which characters and text are both left-aligned .
The timecode format for cue in times can be set to HH:MM:SS:FF (e.g. 10:23:15:04), HH:MM:SS (e.g. 10:23:15)
or MM:SS (e.g. 23:15). If either of these last two options are selected, you can additionally specify whether to
add a + or ++ sign to show the approximate the frame position.
Script header
Select the fields to include in the script header by ticking the appropriate box. Note that the text for each field’s
sub-items is user-definable.
Your final script can be exported in HTML or Microsoft Excel CSV format. To export to HTML (the recommended
file type as all formatting is retained), press Ctrl+E or click the Internet button on the toolbar. If you have not yet
filled in the properties for the current file, the Properties window will prompt you to add this information before
exporting.
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Translation
You can translate a word, sentence, subtitle or complete subtitle file using the translate tool (Tools, Translate).
Select what to translate from the dropdown list (text in the text field, the current subtitle or the current subtitle
file), and then choose the source and target languages. Next, select where to store the translation: in the text
box at the bottom of the window, or in the comment or subtitle fields in the main Spot window (be aware that
the last two options will overwrite any existing content). Click the OK button when you are ready.
If you are translating between languages that belong to different codepages (e.g. from English to Hebrew) and
are storing the result in the subtitle or comment field, Spot will prompt to change the selected codepage for the
current subtitle file if the Warn if codepages conflict option is selected.
The translation tool uses Google’s translation engine and, as a result, requires an active Internet connection.
Translating a whole file may take several minutes to complete depending on the size of the file and your Internet
connection speed.
Certain characters, such as apostrophes or italic markers, may return from Google in the form of escape codes
(e.g. \u003c or \u0026lt;). Although Spot will attempt to convert these codes, it may not always be successful, in
which case you may want to add the escape code and the corresponding character to AutoReplace.
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Karaoke
Although a hangover from the Karaoke boom in the early 2000s, we’ve kept the Karaoke tool in Spot 6 just in
case anyone is foolish enough to want to play with it. What follows is taken from the Spot 5 user guide.
Creating karaoke subtitles can be a tedious and time-consuming business. Although you may still have to finetune the timing of certain subtitles, Spot’s karaoke tool (Subtitle, Karaoke ) considerably speeds up the whole
process.
Creating karaoke subtitles
Before adding a karaoke effect to a song, you need to type and time the lyrics in the same way that you create
subtitles for a regular video file. Once the song has been subtitled, press Ctrl+K to open the Karaoke window
and follow the steps below.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Select Create karaoke subtitles from the Action list.
Ensure that all the subtitles in the file are selected in the From subtitle and To subtitle fields.
Choose the highlight method: the current word or a sweeping effect from left to right.
Tick the Autotime subtitles box.
Set the karaoke subtitle interval. This is the interval between the karaoke subtitles that make up
a single line (or stanza as Spot calls it) and should normally be set to zero.
6. Set the pre-roll and end-roll times. Pre-roll is the amount of time the subtitle appears before the
first karaoke effect is applied. The end-roll time determines how much extra weight is given to
the last karaoke subtitle in the line. Pre-roll subtitles should never be deleted as they flag the
start of a karaoke stanza.
7. Click OK.
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Each subtitle will be split into multiple subtitles based on the number of words it contains. Curly braces
represent the highlighted words. The following two lines from “Oh! Darling” by the Beatles illustrate both this
and the way the pre-roll and end-roll functions work.
Before adding karaoke effect (2 subtitles)
1 00:02:01:10 00:02:04:00 02:15
When you told me
2 00:02:05:03 00:02:09:00 03:22
You didn't need me anymore
After adding karaoke effect (11 subtitles)
1 00:02:01:05 00:02:01:10 00:05
When you told me
2 00:02:01:10 00:02:02:00 00:15
{When} you told me
Pre-roll subtitle starts 5 frames before
the first karaoke subtitle
Each karaoke subtitle except the last has
a duration of 15 frames
3 00:02:02:00 00:02:02:15 00:15
When {you} told me
4 00:02:02:15 00:02:03:05 00:15
When you {told} me
Last karaoke subtitle lasts 15 frames
plus the end roll-time
5 00:02:03:05 00:02:04:00 00:20
When you told {me}
6 00:02:04:23 00:02:05:03 00:05
You didn't need me anymore
7 00:02:05:03 00:02:05:23 00:20
{You} didn't need me anymore
8 00:02:05:23 00:02:06:16 00:18
You {didn't} need me anymore
Pre-roll subtitle starts 5 frames before
the first karaoke subtitle
Each karaoke subtitle except the first
and last has a duration of 18 frames.
2 extra frames, the remainder after
dividing the subtitle, are added to the
duration of the first karaoke subtitle.
9 00:02:06:16 00:02:07:09 00:18
You didn't {need} me anymore
10 00:02:07:09 00:02:08:02 00:18
You didn't need {me} anymore
Last karaoke subtitle lasts 15 frames
plus the end roll-time
11 00:02:08:02 00:02:09:00 00:23
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You didn't need me {anymore}
Removing karaoke subtitles
For various reasons you may want to remove the karaoke effect from subtitles. To do this, select Remove
karaoke subtitles from the Action list, select the desired subtitle range using the From subtitle and To subtitle
fields, click OK and the subtitles will be restored to their pre-karaoke state. You can also use the [< >] button to
select a particular stanza.
Checking karaoke subtitles
Select Check karaoke subtitles from the Action list, select which checks to perform and click OK. The karaoke
window will remain open during checking to allow you to make any necessary corrections.
Check stanza continuity
Checks that the different subtitles that make up one stanza are all the same length.
Check interval between stanzas
Checks that the interval between stanzas is not less than the default subtitle interval.
Check interval between subtitles
Checks that the interval between subtitles that make up one stanza is zero.
Check for subtitles lasting less than…
Checks for subtitles lasting less than the number of frames in the dropdown list.
Reapplying karaoke subtitles
You might wish to reapply a karaoke effect to subtitles if you have retimed the start or end of a stanza, or made
changes to the subtitle text. To do this, select Reapply karaoke subtitles from the Action list, select the desired
subtitle range using the From subtitle and To subtitle fields, and click OK.
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Timecode calculator
Spot's timecode calculator (Tools, Timecode Calculator) lets you convert, add, subtract, multiply or divide
timecode in a variety of SMPTE formats, including PAL, NTSC DF, NTSC NDF and custom formats.
To carry out a calculation:





Select the desired SMPTE format from the format tabs along the top of the window.
Enter the first timecode.
Press TAB to move to the operator field and select the operator.
Press TAB again and enter the second timecode.
Press the Enter key.
The result of the calculation will be displayed in the result box and added to the history log. The calculation will
also be displayed in frame format on the status bar at the bottom of the window, with timecode two shown as a
percentage of timecode one in the right-hand corner.
Results can be copied to the current in or out cue in the main Spot window by pressing F11 or F12. Conversely,
the current video timecode can be copied to the first or second timecode fields by pressing F5 or F8; if no
timecode is present, the in cue of the current subtitle will be copied instead.
To convert between SMPTE formats, select the Convert cues when switching between SMPTE formats option.
This will convert the value in both timecode fields when a different format tab is clicked. If the currently selected
format is NTSC NDF and the value in the first timecode field is 10:24:00:00, for example, clicking the NTSC DF tab
will convert 10:24:00:00 to 10:24:37:14.
To specify a custom frame rate, click Edit, User Frame Rate, type the number of frames per second in the User
Frame Rate window and click OK.
16 and 35 mm formats
Calculations are carried out in feet and frames rather than HH:MM:SS:FF format, so you need to insert a hyphen
between the feet and frame fields.
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Customising Spot
Several areas of the Spot interface are customisable.
Options, Customise, General tab
The customise tabs in the Tools, Options window allows you to adjust various settings to your liking.
Select the colours used to provide feedback on the reading speed
of the current, previous and next subtitles in the Duration
Assistant group. The Ideal field sets the colour used to draw the
“this is how long the subtitle should last” section of the assistant,
while the other fields are used to set the “Goldilocks” Too long,
Too short and Acceptable colours. The same colours are used in
the previous and next subtitle duration indicators.
If you select the Display white text on black background in
subtitle edit area option, the subtitle edit area and previous/next
subtitle fields will display white text on a black background.
The two always-on-top options ensure that the respective
windows are kept open and usable even when editing subtitles in
the main window.
Select Hide up/down arrows on subtitle slider to remove the arrows at each end of the subtitle navigation
slider if arrows are not your thing. And if you’re a retro sort of person, you can display the old Spot 5 formatting
icons on the subtitle toolbar.
Options, Customise, Video Panel
Click the Video Panel tab on the right of the General tab to display the customisation options for the video
panel.
By default, Spot’s internal timecode is displayed below the video
navigation slider. Select the Show timecode display above video slider
option to switch the position of the timecode display.
The arrows at the ends of the video navigation slider can be hidden, just
as they can for the subtitle navigation slider.
The toolbar buttons can use a black and white or coloured display and can be drawn flat or in 3D. If you’re a
nostalgic type, you can mimic the Spot 5 layout by selecting the Use light colour scheme option.
Default video panel layout
Timecode displayed at top of video panel
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Light colour scheme with flat buttons
Default layout with current position
in frames and HH:MM:SS:FF
Main Toolbar
To add or remove buttons from the toolbar, right click and empty section and select Customise or click the
Toolbar button in the Options, Customise tab.
In the Customise Toolbar window, select or deselect the buttons you want to show or hide.
Select the buttons you want
to show on the toolbar
Select to allow button
reordering
Show or hide the drop shadow
beneath the toolbar
Click OK to save your changes. Back in the main Spot window, to change the position of a button on the toolbar,
hold down the Alt key and drag the button to a new location (the Allow button reordering option shown above
must be selected for this to work). The toolbar can be reset to its original state by right clicking it and selecting
Reset.
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Subtitle Edit Area
By default, comments for each subtitle are displayed between the subtitle text and subtitle toolbar, but you can
opt to show them below the subtitle text or at the very bottom of the subtitle edit area.
Comment displayed below subtitle
Comment displayed at the bottom of the edit area
Comment displayed in default position
To set the comment position, click the dropdown arrow on the right of the Comments icon on the subtitle
toolbar, click Display Comments and select the option you want as shown below.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The latest version of our FAQ can be found online at www.spotsoftware.nl/faq.html. It’s set for a major overhaul
in the summer of 2015.
General
The spell checker isn’t working
Spot uses Microsoft Word to spell check subtitles so if a version of Word is not installed on your computer, you
cannot use the spell checker or the thesaurus.
If you do have Word installed and the spell checker is still not working, make sure you have the correct language
selected in Spot’s language bar above the video window.
I can’t raise subtitles using Ctrl+Alt+Up/Down
If nothing happens when you press Ctrl+Alt+Up/Down, then another program on your computer, usually the
software installed by your graphics card, has most likely hijacked the key combination. You need to find out
which program is the culprit and then change or disable the key sequence.
How do I set a fixed number of characters per line?
Select Set Characters Per Line Width from the Subtitle menu. Setting a figure of 36, for example, will ensure
that only a maximum of 36 characters are allowed per line. Note that as the only way to set the maximum
number of characters per line is by using a fixed width font (i.e. a font in which each letter shares the same
width), Spot will change the current screen font to Courier New. This will not affect the target broadcast font.
There is a more elegant approach that lets you keep Arial 16 as the edit font. Change the edit line width to a
figure that sets the CPL value on the status bar to approximately 36 (e.g. 5000). Because Arial is a proportional
font, this does not guarantee that you won’t be able to type more than 36 characters in a line but it will prevent
it from happening most of the time. As you work, keep an eye on the two line length indicators above the
current subtitle: if they turn red, one of the lines in the subtitle is too long. When you’ve finished working on
your file, a Too many characters in line check (or switching to Report view) will pick up any warnings you may
have missed.
How do I tell Spot where to store by backups?
In the Options, Auto Recover window. In Spot 6, the backup location is user-configurable.
Video and audio
I selected the wrong frame rate when I opened a video file
Click the small black arrow on the right of the Open media file button on the video toolbar, select Delete video
format flag and then reopen the video.
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A video file won’t open/ doesn’t play properly/is out of sync with the audio
Although it’s possible that the video file you are trying to open is corrupt, a more likely explanation is that your
system does not have the correct video decoders installed and therefore cannot render the video correctly. The
default decoders installed by Windows will not let you play back MOV or MPEG-2 files, for example, and may
cause problems when attempting to play other video formats, such as WMV or MP4. To work around this
problem, installed a good quality codec pack such as K-Lite and configure it to decode the most common video
formats.
How can I increase the size of the video window?
The video window is automatically resized whenever you change the size of Spot’s main window. If you
maximise Spot, you will maximise the video window.
My subtitles aren’t being previewed in the video window
Press Ctrl+Alt+F8 to force a preview refresh. If that doesn’t help, make sure you have margins of around 10% in
the Display Settings window.
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Reference
Keyboard shortcuts by alphabetical key
Key
Function
*
Go to end of video
/
1
Go to start of video
Go to last shot cut
2
Replay video sequence
3
4
Go to next shot cut
Frame back
5
Play/pause
6
7
Frame forward
Rewind
8
Replay from last play position
9
Alt+0 to 9
Alt+Numpad 2
Fast forward
Insert custom characters
Replay sequence “forward”
Alt+Numpad 5
Alt+Add
Alt+Backspace
Snap current subtitle to shot cut
Quick cue offset
Delete all cues forward of and including current subtitle
Alt+Down/Ctrl+Down
Alt+F3
Alt+F5
Alt+F7
Alt+F11
Alt+F12
Alt+Ins
Alt+Left
Alt+Right
Move word down
Remove all italic flags from subtitle
Find subtitle at timecode
Full-screen video
File, Import
File, Save As
Insert timecode in Notes
Select thumbnail left
Select thumbnail right
Alt+Up/Ctrl+Up
Move word up
Backspace
Respot last subtitle
Ctrl/Shift + Ctrl+0 to 9
Insert special characters
Ctrl+1
Ctrl+3
Ctrl+A
Ctrl+Add
Find last audio peak
Find next audio peak
Select all
Increase out cue by one frame
Ctrl+Alt+1
Align subtitle top of screen
Ctrl+Alt+2
Ctrl+Alt+3
Align subtitle middle of screen
Align subtitle bottom of screen
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Ctrl+Alt+4-9
Web search and dictionary shortcuts
Ctrl+Alt+Down
Move row down
Ctrl+Alt+F5
Force subtitle previewing in the video window
Ctrl+Alt+Left
Ctrl+Alt+Right
Ctrl+Alt+Up
Remove indent
Add indent
Move row up
Ctrl+B
Ctrl+C
Ctrl+Comma
Toggle audio balance left, right, stereo
Copy selected text
Insert comma at end of subtitle
Ctrl+D
Bitmap export
Ctrl+Del
Delete word
Ctrl+E
File, Export
Ctrl+Enter
Grab in cue and lock last out cue
Ctrl+F
Ctrl+F2
Ctrl+F3
Find
Swap lines
Remove all italic flags from subtitle and make subtitle full italic
Ctrl+F4
Ctrl+F5
Ctrl+F6
Translate
Insert subtitle before
Delete subtitle
Ctrl+F7
Merge current and next subtitle
Ctrl+F8
Split subtitle at insertion point
Ctrl+F11
Ctrl+F12
Ctrl+Full stop
Ctrl+G
Ctrl+H
Ctrl+Hyphen
Recalculate in cue
Recalculate out cue
Insert full stop at end of subtitle
Subtitle outline
Replace
Add dual speaker hyphens to subtitle
Ctrl+I
Italicise single word
Ctrl+Ins
Ctrl+J
Grab out cue and lock next in cue
Offset cues
Ctrl+K
Ctrl+L
Ctrl+M
Open and close Notes
Open and close File Copy
Manage comments
Ctrl+N
Ctrl+O
New file
Open file
Ctrl+P
Ctrl+Page Down
Ctrl+Page UP
Print
Move to end of file
Move to start of file
Ctrl+Q
Quick View
Ctrl+R
Open and close Report view
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Ctrl+S
Save file
Ctrl+Shift+C
Ctrl+Shift+V
Ctrl+Space
Copy subtitles from sync file
Insert subtitles from sync file
Delete all extra spaces in subtitle
Ctrl+Subtract
Decrease out cue by one frame
Ctrl+T
Ctrl+TAB
Best fit
Switch from Notebook to Spot’s main window
Ctrl+U
Find subtitle at current video position
Ctrl+V
Ctrl+W
Ctrl+X
Paste
Add word to AutoReplace
Cut
Ctrl+Y
Ctrl+Z
Delete line
Undo last action
Del
Toggle shot cut marker
Enter / Shift+Enter
F1
F2
F3
Jump to in cue / Grab in cue1
Help
Align subtitle left, right, centre or left centre
Italicise whole subtitle
F4
F5
F6
Spell check file
Go to subtitle number
Adjust display settings
F7
F8
Open media file
Rehearse
F9
F11
F12
Ins / Shift+Ins
Page Down
Run all checks
Grab in cue
Grab out cue
Jump to out cue / Grab out cue2
Move to next subtitle
Page Up
Right Ctrl+1 / Shift+Alt+1
Move to previous subtitle
Red subtitle text 3
Right Ctrl+2 / Shift+Alt+2
Green subtitle text
Right Ctrl+3 / Shift+Alt+3
Yellow subtitle text
Right Ctrl+4 / Shift+Alt+4
Right Ctrl+5 / Shift+Alt+5
Blue subtitle text
Magenta subtitle text
Right Ctrl+6 / Shift+Alt+6
Right Ctrl+7/ Shift+Alt+0
Cyan subtitle text
White subtitle text
1
The default behaviour of the Enter and Shift+Enter keys is set under Video, Media Preferences.
The default behaviour of the Ins and Shift+Ins keys is set under Video, Media Preferences.
3
For this and the following five items, the Shift + Alt + number combination affects individual lines. Use Ctrl + number for
individual words.
2
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Scroll lock
Toggle switch to rehearse/edit when pressing play/pause
Shift+Add
Increase in cue by one frame
Shift+Alt+Left/Right
Shift subtitle left/right in 1% increments
Shift+Alt+Up/Down
Shift+Ctrl+Del
Shift+Ctrl+F1
Shift subtitles up/down in 1% increments
Delete all text in subtitle
Check for too many rows
Shift+Ctrl+F2
Shift+Ctrl+F3
Check for too many characters in line
Check for margin override
Shift+Ctrl+F4
Check for invalid cues
Shift+Ctrl+F5
Shift+Ctrl+F6
Shift+Ctrl+F7
Shift+Ctrl+F8
Shift+Ctrl+F9
Shift+Ctrl+F11
Check for duration too short/long
Check for cues not set
Check for insufficient reading speed
Check for default interval override
Check for empty subtitles
Lock in cue to last out cue
Shift+Ctrl+F12
Shift+Del
Shift+F2
Lock out cue to next in cue
Delete in and out cues
Force current line left, right or centre
Shift+F3
Shift+F4
Shift+F5
Toggle case
Thesaurus
Insert subtitle after
Shift+F6
Shift+F7
Delete Range
Merge current and previous subtitle
Shift+F8
Shift+F9
Shift+F11
Shift+F12
Cue conversion
Continue checks from next subtitle
Lock last out cue to in cue
Lock next in cue to out cue
Shift+Left Mouse Click
In waveform window, sets the in cue for the current subtitle
Shift+Right Mouse Click
Shift+Subtract
In waveform window, sets the out cue for the current subtitle
Decrease in cue by one frame
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