I'm using MakeMKV to encode DVDs to .mkv files and from there I was using VLC Player to enclode to .mp4. However I found that .mp4 seemed not to be able to host 'soft' subtitles (i.e. available as an overlay option, not graphically embedded into the video). Reading up on various sources confirmed this.

So, I've experimented with just about every other container / video codec combination that VLC offers and still can't get the subtitles to copy across.

What container / video codec combo offers a decent size to quality ratio and allows for soft subtitles? Alternatively, what other (preferably open source or freeware) software should I use for the conversion?

  • Converting mkv to mp4 using SmartConverter [Mac, I don't have anything for Win] it still preserves the 'soft' subs when playing back on VLC; so it is possible. – Tetsujin Feb 4 '19 at 9:19

This is more a matter of opinion on what software to use, but generally if you want quality with small file size and allow for softsubs, I would say encode to x265 in an mkv or mp4 container. Both containers support softsubs.

Personally, I use Staxrip for all my video conversion needs. It is a self contained semi-portable (some installation is required) open source collection of video tools that let you do a whole bunch of neat stuff with it. It has never let me down.

I think DVD was available as a source type in older versions of Staxrip but was later omitted due to nobody using DVD's anymore.

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