fansub meta-guide

Not actually a guide, just a bunch of links to good guides for specific things. If you follow all of them, you should end up with some at least semi-decent fansubs.

Covers most everything except the actual translation of the content, and kfx. (encoding is not a part of the fansubbing process)

Mostly oriented towards anime, but should apply to most things (with some exceptions).

Glossary - Most other stuff is relatively self-explanatory, or you’ll learn if you read the guides.


Windows: Shinon’s AegisubDC fork

Mac: wangqr’s fork

Linux: TSTools fork (AUR package), This PPA that builds git master (for ubuntu-based distros). Your distro’s package will probably be version 3.2.2, not a newer fork.

If you use 3.2.2, make sure to configure it correctly.

Aegisub Configuration

Upon starting up Aegisub the first time, you should change the following settings:
View > Options > Advanced > Video

Restart Aegisub for the changes to fully take effect. Note that script settings may override the colourspace.

See this page for how to fix scripts made in the wrong colourspace.

Also see the guide for why these settings are important, and some programs you’ll need if you do typesetting.


The Editor is responsible for making sure that the script reads well. Depending on the source of the script, this may mean grammatical corrections and some rewording to address recommendations from the Translation Checker. However, more often than not, the job will entail rewriting, rewording, and characterizing large portions of the script.

you must be fluent in your target language if you want your script to actually be good.

tun’s Fansub Editing Guide

Collectr’s Curmudgeonly Guide to Editing

Editorial Minimalism


Read WhyNot’s guide for the basics. Feel free to ignore what it says about settings.

Then read unanimated’s timing guide (every page) for slightly less basic and better settings.

I personally do something somewhere inbetween without-TPP and with. Just try stuff out and see what works for you.

Don’t just blindly trust the timing post-processor! Do a QC pass and fix any mistakes it may have made.

Generating Keyframes

You should generate your own keyframes, or things will probably be fucked.

Drag-n-drop (Windows)

There’s a nice batch script that comes with all the stuff you need. I believe you just drag your video onto it, but I haven’t personally tested it as I don’t use windows.

Command-line incantation (Everywhere)

get ffmpeg

get scxvid-standalone - you’ll need to compile it on not-windows, but this takes like a second so isn’t really an issue.

run ffmpeg -i $video -f yuv4mpegpipe -vf scale=640:360 -pix_fmt yuv420p -vsync drop - | scxvid $video_keyframes.log ($video is the path to your video)

If it misses keyframes, try removing the -vf scale=640:360 bit. It’ll take longer, but should be more accurate.


The ASS Tags and what they do

unanimated’s typesetting guide

Typesetting in Adobe Illustrator

More Illustrator stuff

Motion tracking with Aegisub-Motion

how to track things in mocha, and in blender

alternative non-fansub mocha guide


Underwater’s Styling Guide

Subtitle Appearance Analysis Part 1: The Font

Subtitle Appearance Analysis Part 2: Font Size

Remember, white text with a black border can be read on any colour!

  1. Use a very light colour as the primary colour (white).
  2. Have a very dark border (black).
  3. Use a readable font, in bold.
  4. Make it large enough to see without squinting.
  5. Things don’t cast bright green shadows.

TL;DR: Just steal GJM-Main and have done.


Quality Checkers (abbreviated QC) are often the last eyes on an episode before it is released. They are responsible for ensuring that the overall quality of the release is up to par with the group’s standards. They are also expected to be familiar with the workflow and many intricacies of every other role.

Light’s QC Ramblings (from MRF #general)

go read all the other categories

Lua Scripting

completely optional, but writing your own scripts for repetitive tasks can save you a lot of time in the long run.

read lyger’s guide, skim unanimated’s extra stuff, RTFM, and google anything you don’t know.

Don’t copy from UA’s scripts if at all possible.

prior knowledge of programming is helpful.

Programming in Lua

Lua Reference Manual

You can also use MoonScript, but figuring that out is left as an exercise for the reader.