[whatwg] Captions, Subtitles and the Video Element

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Wed Jul 15 17:56:00 PDT 2009

On Thu, 19 Feb 2009, Greg Millam wrote:
> Here is my proposal: [...]

I think this proposal is a good direction to go in. However, I think it is 
still too early to put this in HTML5, and based on the quality of 
implementations so far, it will probably still be too early by the time 
HTML5 goes to last call in October.

However, I think something similar to what you propose (which is similar, 
though more complex, to what Silvia proposed also) is what we should aim 
for once we are ready to add more features.

On Thu, 19 Feb 2009, Ian Fette wrote:
> However, there's a lot of uses for subtitles / captions that cannot be 
> met with subrip. No styling (beyond the bare basics), no karaoke 
> commands, no alpha, no nice handling for collisions, margins, shadow 
> colors, specifying encoding, etc.

I disagree that we should have author-controlled styling here. While I 
could maybe be convinced to have something basic like colour and maybe 
positioning, I think it is important that we let the subtitles be under 
the control of the user and the user agent, as they are, for instance, on 
TVs. Providing a way for authors to select different voices would make 
sense, but if we allow arbitrary styling we are going to have all kinds of 
problems, like lacking the ability to take subtitles and convert them to 
braille without losing context, or losing the ability to trivially convert 
subtitles for use in other contexts like TV subtitles.

(For the few authors who really want to go crazy, they can already overlap 
HTML onto their <video> and do whatever crazy stuff they want to do.)

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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