Archive - Apr 16, 2006 - Blog entry

More Subtitling

Sometimes I'm pretty thankful I'm so geeky.

Today I was helping someone from No More Deaths put subtitles on an interview with an undocumented migrant who was interviewed in the hospital here in Tucson after being picked up by border patrol. She was betrayed by coyotes and left for dead out in the desert, then rescued by suprisingly beneficient deer hunters.

I'm constanly surprised at how few real versatile, efficient tools for subtitling there are, especially for the Mac. There's just nothing that does everything you want. And so, often I'm stuck, massaging some text file into the right format, but luckily I speak the swiss-army knife of text processing languages, Perl. So when Shanti gave me a text file full of subtitles without time codes this afternoon, I just hacked together something like this:

#!/usr/bin/perl -n

$offset = 4; # time code to start.
$length = 9; # seconds each subtitle will last.

if(/^(\S.+)$/) {
$text = $1;
if($time == 0) { $start = $offset } else {$start = $time};
$time = $start + $length;
$start_seconds = $start % 60;
$start_minutes = int($start/60);
$end_seconds = $time % 60;
$end_minutes = int($time/60);
printf ("00:%02d:%02d:01,\t00:%02d:%02d:00,\t$text", $start_minutes, $start_seconds, $end_minutes, $end_seconds);
} else { print; }

Then import into DVD Studio Pro and voila! well, not quite voila, we still had to shift and stretch some things to get the timing a little better. But, y'know, if I didn't know Perl or some other way to roll my own text-munger, what would I do? spend an extra 5 hours on it I guess, getting the timing all figured out by hand. whew!

yay Perl!

Past Predictions

I've been sick the last couple days, I guess mainly because I haven't been getting enough sleep. As I lay around trying to nap I've been reading my old journals a lot. There's this new person I'm getting involved with who I'm still not at liberty to say much about but she's really great, and she keeps a journal, and that has been making me think a lot more about my journals.

Anyway I've been scanning through these old journals looking for some sort of wisdom about life. I just found this entry about a certain neighborhood in Portland that some friends there will I'm sure find interesting:

There's a street fair over on Mississippi Street this weekend. Last night as part of it, Ed and I showed some videos outside in an empy lot next to a building. It was pretty cool. It's always good to see yr. work in different contexts.

It was strange because a lot of people in the neighborhood are just normal people, poor black families and some lower-income whites - basically what i'm saying is these are normal americans, they sing off key, they love america and macarme and apple pie and baseball. This guy put on a talent show that was mostly kids, which you can forgive, but the adults reminded me of what my old English professor called "The Art of the Feeble."

But that's okay, I think I was just in a bad mood or something. Maybe I'm bitter or something because the neighborhood is in the early stages of being gentrified. you can see it just getting ready to spring into action. There's a new, hip cafe that just went in, there's some hip little shops about to open, but it's still really formative. There's still lots of empty store fronts and shuttered windows and wierd, industrial/workingclass kinds of businesses.

In a few years I can see that all changing and there will be a a street lined with gift shops, bistros, and galleries.

It's so interesting. So what does that have to do with the lame talent show? Maybe because I thought "normal" people had more talent. Maybe I thought communities could live without professional artists and freaky hipsters-for-life, and still have an interesting culture. Maybe I'm just spoiled? Disillusioned, at least. Maybe it's that I wish I wasn't so spoiled. So jaded and ruined.

Sure enough, it turned out that 2 years later, last summer, all that had come true. that street in Portland is now completely gentrified. My comments from back then seem somewhat snobby and priveleged, but one has to understand how it comes basically all from the frustration of seeing that steamroller of change coming. And perhaps knowing that I was part of it, showing my arty little video collages on the side of a building where before there was mostly stuff like blues music and barbecue contests.