Friday, November 12, 2010

Our policy on softsubs

The policy here at Licca Fansubs is we do not use softsubs for any reason whatsoever.

Before everyone starts picking up pitchforks and torches, let me dispel some reasons for hardsubs.
  1. Hardsubs do not prevent subtitle theft.  There is nothing stopping another group/reencoder/person on the street from typing out the script, retiming it for whatever raw they use, and rereleasing it on their own.  In fact, this is the modus operandi for most of the non-English fansub groups out there, and there is nothing wrong about doing that.
  2. As a side note to #1, there is an OCR program out there that can extract hardcoded subs.  A little test of the program with some of our releases show that you can pull out our subs very easily.
  3. Hardsubs have almost as many limitations on what you can do with it as softsubs.  Softsubs can pretty much do everything that hardsubs did years ago, with the notable exception of some of the fancier karaoke effects.
There are two reasons why we stick to hardsubs.  Both of them are probably personal and petty, so we apologize in advance.
  1. Our editing and typesetting/styling is part of what makes each episode special to us and what we like to have pride in.  Every word, and font used is chosen to complement the series.  As part of our process, we try our very best to make sure everything looks aesthetically pleasing.  We also try to make our font choices so that you can read it on a reasonably decent TV.  (If I get into the mood, I should probably tell how I used to evaluate font readability several years ago.  I don't have any of that equipment now.)
  2. Most of us are much older than your typical fansubber these days.  As for myself, I actually got my start in fansubbing around 2003.  Because of that, my encoding methods and practices are very old-fashioned.  This also means that a lot of the rules I follow in terms of how I conduct the operation of this group is based on what people did back in that time.  My staff are okay with that, and that is what is most important.  Some of the really grizzled veterans will probably know, based on what I said, could probably easily guess a third reason why I stick to hardsubs, and they would probably be correct.
We also had recent comments on our choice of containers for our h.264 releases.  The only thing I can say about that is that I know how to deal with Matroska better than the MP4 container, so that was my main choice.  h.264 + AVI is a recipe for disaster that I try to avoid.

One last thing: if you want to comment on this, please attack just me and not your fellow commenters.  I would appreciate that very much.


  1. When it comes to subs, I normally don't care whether they're hardsubbed or softsubbed. Stuff like that doesn't matter to me. I'm happy that you wish to sub series that are underappreciated and unknown. Thanks very much!

  2. Please sub Jigoku Sensei Nube (Hell Teacher Nube). That anime deserves some love!

  3. Honestly I don't mind hardsubs as much the other fans. Softsubs are just handy if I want to make some screencaps with no text on screen.

    The only 'gripe' I have(and this is with every subber) is adding kanji to the karaoke. 1.) If you can read all that, then you don't need subtitles. 2.) It clutters up the screen. 3.) If it wasn't originally on there, then the animators/producers/etc. didn't it want it on there.

    Aside from that, thanks for working on projects that wasn't getting much love. :3

  4. You can embed your fonts in matroska, yo! Soft-subs will also decrease the time you take to release your files. Apart from that, you can have ordered chapters in your mkv releases.
    If you're using h264 mkv, you ought to get the best out of it. Otherwise, there's no point in doing 2 releases.