DVDSynth (prerelease)

Update June 11: I reorganized the site and added a new voting form and a new script for Gauche the Cellist. If you previously downloaded DVDSynth and want to use the new subtitles, you will have to download the new distribution, since the old subtitler had a minor bug which causes it to fail on the Gauche DVD. (The only file which has changed is DVDSubber.dll).

Update June 12: I have fixed a few bugs in the subtitler which were preventing it working with PowerDVD XP (and probably other players as well). If you have been having problems, please upgrade to the latest version. (Only DVDSubber.dll and DVDSubber.kll have changed.)

Update June 14: I've updated the subtitler again, this time to fix a weird misplaced punctuation problem on Windows XP, and to work around an authoring error on the Cagliostro DVD in anticipation of a script release. Also, the script format is now documented. I will work on an SSA script converter.

Update June 15: There's now a source code release, and an interesting new XML subtitle language spec.

Update June 16: The programmer's guide to DVDSynth is up.

Update June 19: I added a partial translation of The Castle of Cagliostro, and a somewhat primitive SSA-to-DVDSynth converter. There will be no more updates for a few days as I will be out of town.


DVDSynth is an open platform for developing various "virtual devices," particularly virtual CD/DVD-ROM drives and virtual discs to put in them. One of the most interesting things it can do is apply filters to physical devices in the system. Filters can change the contents of a CD or DVD in arbitrary ways on the fly. This early release of DVDSynth contains only the filtering support together with the following three filters:

Also available are two timed scripts for the DVD subtitler: a replacement English translation of Gauche the Cellist, and English subtitles for the five-minute preview of Spirited Away on the Japanese release of Kiki's Delivery Service.

Supported systems

DVDSynth runs only under MS Windows. I would like to make a Linux version, but that's still in the future.

I have tested DVDSynth on three machines: one running Windows 2000 (my development machine), one running the original Windows 95, and one running Windows 98 SE.

DVDSynth is untested, but should work on Windows 95 OSR2, Windows 98, Windows ME, and Windows XP.

DVDSynth will not work on Windows NT 3.x or 4.0, Win32s, or Wine.

Download the distribution

Executable code

If you are running Windows 95, 98, or ME, then you want this file:

If you are running Windows 2000 or XP, then you want this file:

If you dual-boot, you can safely install both versions in the same directory (overwriting duplicate files).

Source code


Here are scripts for use with the subtitler (unzip them into your DVDSynth directory):

Script converter

Here's a SSA-to-DVDSynth script converter, with source code. It's still fairly primitive. It's a command-line tool which takes an SSA script on standard in, writes a converted script to standard out, and logs errors to standard error. To do a PAL conversion, use the "-p" option. (The default is NTSC.)

Online documentation

The main documentation page has information on how to install DVDSynth and how to use it, as well as a list of known bugs and missing features.

A format specification for the subtitler's script files is also available. If you're interested in that, you should also look at the draft XML subtitle language spec.

The programmer's guide to DVDSynth describes how to write your own plugins.

Feature request voting form

Please vote below on what you'd like me to spend my time on in connection with this project. I'm not going to tally the results in any scientific manner; I just want to get an idea of what people are interested in. You can cast more than one vote if you want.

If I don't get many responses I will take it as a vote for "don't do anything," so please do cast a vote if you want to use DVDSynth.

Feature request voting form

What you want me to work on: (in alphabetical order, sort of)

Linux port
New subtitles for R2 Cagliostro DVD
New subtitles for another Ghibli DVD feature:
Sub Station Alpha script support
Subtitles for interviews on Ghibli DVDs
Subtitles for previews on Ghibli DVDs
Avisynth or HuffYUV ^^;;
Something else:


Bug report form

Use this form to send me feedback on what I've already written. At this stage in development all bug reports, no matter how minor, are greatly appreciated.

Bug report form

Bug severity (choose one):


Your name (optional):

Your email address (optional, but without it I can't reply):

(I will not disclose your email address to anyone.)