One thing that always irked me (albeit very very mildly) was that none of them ever had any closed-caption text or subtitles. I know… For such a minuscule audience, why would any of the big media distributors go to the trouble of hiring someone to transcribe, program, and proofread all that text?
A couple years ago, I was dabbling in editing SRT subtitle files, mostly just making some minor corrections for a totally unrelated project. SRT files (and several similar formats) are basically plain text files that list each line of dialog with matching timestamps to show them on screen for local video playback. They can also be used to "burn in" subtitle text to the video when authoring your own media. They're moderately popular for distributing fan translations and for sharing subs from, err, uhh, content "acquired" from "the high seas".
During one of my many bouts of 2020 pandemic lockdown boredom/madness, I decided to try transcribing and building my very own subtitle files for each episode. Why??? I dunno! Guess I just couldn't think of anything better to do at the time.
So far, I've transcribed to plain text the first five UK episodes, and I've built proper subtitle files with timestamps for the first three of those five episodes. A chunk of one of these files looks like:
Dialogue: 0,0:02:41.92,0:02:45.36,Default,Narrator,0,0,0,,(Narrator) The year is 2999.
Dialogue: 0,0:02:45.36,0:02:47.53,Default,Narrator,0,0,0,,Space War III has ended.
Dialogue: 0,0:02:47.53,0:02:50.87,Default,Narrator,0,0,0,,The galaxy is once again enjoying a time of peace.
Dialogue: 0,0:02:51.21,0:02:53.98,Default,Narrator,0,0,0,,Our solar system, with the Earth as its leader,
Dialogue: 0,0:02:53.98,0:02:55.73,Default,Narrator,0,0,0,,is slowly rebuilding,
Dialogue: 0,0:02:55.73,0:02:59.04,Default,Narrator,0,0,0,,attempting to forge new hope out of the ashes of devastation.
My progress came to a halt as other distractions surfaced over the last few months, but I wouldn't want all this work to go to waste if there's any chance anyone else might use it. So, I'm thinking about taking what I've made so far and uploading it somewhere.
Before I do that, though, a question: could you even use subtitle files if you knew they existed? I suspect these are most useful if you have local rips of the UK DVD episodes. It's probably possible to load them when you play the UK DVDs on your computer depending on what software you use. I don't think it would work with any standalone DVD/Blu-ray players simply hooked up to a TV.
How do you watch Star Fleet when that nostalgia itch strikes? Do you also have local video files? Or do you just play the discs? Or are there places online where people have uploaded episodes for streaming?
The three files I've completed are timed to match only the 2009 UK DVD's episodes. I have no idea how badly they will de-sync with other versions, and to be honest, having that realization threw a wet blanket on my aspirations when I was more actively working on these a few months ago. Maybe instead of subtitle files with full timing data, I should just upload the raw plain-text transcripts? At least with those, anybody could look at them without needing special tools or playback software. Thoughts?