08 May 2006

How fansubbing works.

While waiting for the RAW of School Rumble 6, I was messing around some forums, and I saw something which got me...a little annoyed.

And no, it isn't about us. I'm kinda immune to such flames any more anyway. LoL. Can't please everyone anyway.

Some dude, who is a class A leecher, starts talking about how a team sucked, without any explainations at all. Usually, I don't care about such morons, but really, how unappreciative can people get sometimes? Hours of our free time (let me stress: Free time) are used to fansub so that YOU can understand and enjoy animes.

We do not expect to be paid or be worshiped for it. Hell, I don't really care that people don't say a word of thanks as well, although saying "Thank You for subbing X" means quite a bit to us.

However, please don't flame a group with no reason, or with a very poor reason like "Their fonts aren't fancy enough" or that crap.

In case you don't know, let me break down the basics of fansubbing for you.

Raw Providing: The project starts off with the RAW provider who, well, provides the RAW. Usually, he has a huge pipe so that he can download lots of RAWs at once, and select the best one available. Usually, it is one that has no artifacts or bleeds at all.
Time required: Half an hour if he can get a very good RAW. 2 hours, if the RAWs available are all rubbish.

1st Encode: Some teams ask the encoder to do a quick encode on the RAW. Suppose to make it clearer or something. Makes sense if the RAW has lots of blocks, noise, or is too dark.
Time required: 0 for a team like us who tosses everything at the final encode. 2 hours if a team really wants to do it.

Translation: The translator then translates the script, translating the signs, and if the episode has some technical terms, is supposed to look up on it. Translating the script and the signs is the easy part, especially if they don't speak weirdly. It's getting information/song translation which is tougher. Given the Japanese's liking for Engrish, it's hard to get what they are talking about, at times, correctly. Google helps a lot, but it all comes down to getting the words correctly.
Time required: 2 hours at least. Don't think anyone can do a decent script under an hour. 6 hours was my max so far for a 24 minute episode. The technical terms killed me.

Timing: Next is timing OR editing, although it's preferred that timing comes first so that the editor can have an idea of what's happening. Timing is the easist job, but it is the most tedious. It gets a lot more difficult when the team demands the timer to do precision timing, i.e. the text appears the instant the character opens her mouth, and the timing must be constant throughout. Even more time is required if you are asked to time a Karaoke, which means you need to break up the Kanji and Romanji instead of lumping them together.
Time required: An hour if you are as experienced as CarrierZ. I average 2 hours, but I know the script. Precision timing can take up to 4 hours. Timing, might even go up to 6 hours if there are enough insert songs to make both the timer and translator cry.

Editing: Basically, the guy who makes fun of the level of english which the translator has. Japanese knowledge is preferred in most teams, but not necessary required. However, you DO need a very good knowledge of english. With my fantastic level of English, Chysil usually ends up crying to sleep, since he needs to reword almost every line. A telepathic link with the translator would also be preferred, but usually impossible, since if you have that link, you will know WTF the translator is actually rambling about, and change the sentence without destroying the meaning.
Time required: Can be minutes to an hour if you are talking about speed editing (Checking general grammars, spelling mistakes). Can take up to 3 if you want to sound more "professional" and to have the line make more sense. Can get to 6 if the translator makes no sense. 12 hours if a team wants like, 5 editors to go through it.

Typesetting: The slacker of the team (usually). He's the one who gives a good font so that you can read it, and it won't be as ugly as Comic Sans (YES. COMIC SANS IS UGLY, CARRIERZ). Putting signs where they can be visible is also his job. Typesetters with karaoke effects knowledge are preferred, and some teams demands that the typesetter knows how to create karaoke effects (and not the ugly ones which I do via Aegis too. LoL. AFX is the way to go). Should have lots and lots of font in his collection, and have a good sense of colour. Yellow on white background is horrible.
Time required: Mere minutes if all he needs is to typeset the episode signs (which is the case for most animes). Can go up to 12 if the anime has lots of signs (School Rumble is a good example), needs to do a fantastic Karaoke, a logo and put in some kickass credits.

Encoding: The final part, where everything is put together. Usually, multiple encodes are required, especially if a team demands that everything be QCed. A Low quality version is usually encoded for QC, with higher versions as release candidates.
Time required: An hour for a basic encode. 24 hours if you want some sort of an encode which has lots of filters or something (I'm not an encoder. :o)

Qualty check: They are the meanest people, ever. One mistake, and someone gets whipped. Well, that's what they are for anyway. They ensure that there are no screw ups like screen bleeds (where the text stays for so long, it "bleeds" into the next scene...or something), spelling mistakes...the usual crap which you people can easily point out. ;)
Time required: An hour if there's only 1 QCer. 5 hours if there are like, 4 or 5. Then add in another hour to correct the mistake. Add in a few more hours if more mistakes are spotted later. So, anything between an hour, to 12 hours.

Minimum time required: 6.5 hours
Maximum time required: 76 hours.

Take note that this is assuming everyone is around. Like, after Translating, the script is immediately timed and so on. Usually, that won't be the case. Add in another 12-24 hours to get the clearer picture. Also note that pre-distro is not included.

So, roughly 10 hours is poured into an episode for us. Many teams will take much much more, as they have edit passes 3,4,5, QC passes 6,7,8 and RCs 2,3. And we are taking our free time to do it! That time could be spent to WoW, GW, have a date with an actual girl or...*gasp* study! If you thought, for a second, that fansubbing was anywhere near easy, you are wrong. It's fun, but exhausting and time consuming. If you don't like it, don't download it. And don't complain unless it's really unbearable, like shit TLs (if you think I suck, you have seen nothing yet. ;)), shit timings, shit encoding. But then, you should not be downloading from them anyway....

Hence, unless you can do better, don't flame the teams. They work hard enough. If you can do better, do it. We are providing it for free, and you should only complain if we charged you for it.

Thankfully, we don't. Be thankful. ;)


Blogger Greed said...

Hey, I always knew fansubs takes a lot of work but after reading that breakdown analysis, wow I'm just blown away. Now, I never bitch about a group's quality or speed of their release. I'm just happy that I got something I enjoy for nothing. My point is that thanks guys for doing this for us leecher and know that there are people out there who actually appreciate your efforts and your charity.

5:49 PM  
Blogger BeNjAmiN nAh said...

hah nice work explaining how the system works.. really really tedious work... hmm.. i like any fansubbs coz i dun mind if the words are off or small problems like that i juz really dont like the RAWS lol coz i dun understand shit about it... XD thankx for subbing Ah! My Goddess its a nice anime... hope u all will be subbing it when season 3 comes out... i mean if season 3 comes out... will u sub all the episodes? lol

8:59 AM  

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