Dumping subtitles using FFmpeg

Published: May 17, 2020
Reading time: 1 min
Tags: Formats Languages Linux Media Snippets Software 

As part of my ongoing language learning attempts, I tend to enable subtitles in the language I’m wanting to learn, and when I see a word I don’t recognise in the context I do I’ll make a note of it.

This manual approach though can get a bit tiresome, so if you want a quick way to dump an entire subtitle file from a video, you can do the following:

ffmpeg -i video.mkv

This will list the streams available, video, audio and subtitles if available. If labels are available it will show them here too. Make a note of the stream you want. In the above example, we’re seeing Stream #0:5(nor) in our original command output which would be Norwegian. To dump this stream to a subrip srt file you’ll run the following:

ffmpeg -i video.mkv -c copy -map 0:5 subtitles.srt

You should now have a single srt file with your subtitles as expected in them.

I’ll write another post for how to format these files to a usable list type format later. Edit 2020-07-25: Follow up article posted here.