VLC Media player can easily load any external subtitle like a .srt file while playing videos. The subtitle is usually positioned near the bottom-center of the screen. But do you know that there are a lot of ways you can configure the display position of the subtitle? Not only can you choose the alignment as left, right and center, but you can also fine-tune its exact position. It is possible to move the text up or down by a certain number of pixels. This is a method to show it in an empty black area below the video instead of over the video.
Changing the Subtitle Alignment
While the bottom area of the screen is a preferable location for subtitles, some might want it in the top or align it in the left or right side of the screen. VLC has all the necessary features to place the text exactly where you want to.
To change the position:
- Go to Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P].
- Under Show settings, select the option that says All to switch to the advanced preferences.
- Navigate to Input/Codecs > Subtitle codecs > Subtitles.
- Under Text subtitle decoder set, the Subtitle justification to left, right or center.
- Hit Save to keep the changes.
The changes will not apply to the current video if it is playing. You will have to stop and play it again to see the new position in effect.
Positioning the Subtitle below the Video (Instead of Overlaying)
There is another way to fine tune the subtitle position. Normally, the text is over the video and can disturb us while we watch something. Instead of overlaying it, you can push it down. Doing this, you can place the subtitles right below the video but it won’t be visible at first. The goal is to create an empty black area under the video and push it there. This will prevent the on-screen text from overlaying anything.
To Create an Empty Black Area First
- Go to Tools > Preferences [CTRL +P].
- Switch to All settings to access the advanced preferences.
- Navigate to Video > Filters.
- Under Video filter module, check the option that says Video cropping filter.
- Now navigate further to Video > Filters > Croppadd.
- In Video cropping filter options, under Padd, add a numerical value for Pixels to padd to bottom. Enter a value like 100.
- Click Save at the end.
A black area is created right below the video. Its size or height depends upon the value you just entered. The blank area also appears on the right and left of the video to balance and maintain the dimensions. Now we have some empty space to place our text.
To Move the Subtitle in the Black Area (Below the Video)
- In the same Advanced Preferences; navigate to Video > Subtitles / OSD.
- In Subtitles / OSD’s under Subtitles, enter a negative numerical value for Force subtitle position. Input a value like -200.
Note: A negative value forces it below and a positive value pushes it upwards.
- Hit Save.
Open a new video, or stop and play the current video to see the effect in change. Depending upon the video dimensions, some adjustments must be done to place the subtitles in the exact position that you want to. After you are done, all these settings and values must be removed from the advanced preferences to switch to normal playback.
Positioning the Subtitle above the Video
To move the subtitle to the top of the video, enter a positive value for force subtitle position. It is also accessible by:
- Opening up Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P].
- Navigate to Subtitle > OSD.
- Under Subtitle effects, enter a positive number for Force subtitle position.
- Hit Save and restart the video.
The positive number means that the subtitle text will be pushed towards the top. Find the exact dimension of your video by pressing CTRL + J. The height value that you extract from the resolution information will allow you to figure out the maximum pixels to enter in force subtitle position. If you want a black area—just like we did above—on top of the video, then add a value like 100 for Pixels to padd to top instead.