Continuities / Subtitles

Katina Productions has specialized for many years in the preparation of feature film “Combined Continuity, Dialogue and Subtitle Lists” (CCSL also known as CDSL), subtitle spotting scripts – both in foot and frames, 16mm and/or 35mm or timecode for video subtitling, both NTSC, PAL (25 frames) or HD (24p) and also DUAL SPOTTING, both TC and FT/FR.  In addition to CCSL preparation, we also do the translation and preparation of subtitles in English and from English into various foreign languages for both film and video projects, long form and short form and we specialize in the spotting, translation and formatting of DVD subtitles both in NTSC and PAL. For the preparation of CCSL or subtitles we can work in about any format – be it film, DVD, or various forms of tape – although we prefer to work with downloads of H.264 video from the web – preferably mp4 or .mov files.

Katina Productions can also place subtitles on your video – from our CCSL or subtitle spotting – on DVD, analog tape, Beta or Digibeta – PAL or NTSC, DVCAM, HD or higher formats and can work in a number of languages – all the Romance languages (Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian) and a number of Asian and Middle Eastern languages (Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Chinese) plus Slavic languages such as Russian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian among others.  Below are CCSL formats that we offer:

Format Samples

CCSL SPOTTING SPECS-Simple or Complex

SIMPLE CCSL sample

NEW_Complex_CCSL sample

DOCUMENTARY CCSL

CCSL DUAL CONTINUOUS TC AND FT_FR

Sample 24fr Subtitle List.

Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view these samples.

WHAT IS A CCSL?

(Also formerly known as a CDSL)

A CCSL (Combined Continuity and Subtitle List) is the name for a document that is part of most film distribution contracts.  The primary use of a CCSL is to either subtitle the film into various languages and/or dub them into foreign languages so they can be presented to a foreign public.

FUNCTION OF A CCSL

The major function of the CCSL is to provide the dialogue of the film and some visual graphics such as titles, written signage or text that are important to the story of the film. This may also include other important non-verbal or background dialogue (i.e. TV or radio broadcasts, music lyrics, of-screen sounds or words that advance the story, for instance.)

PARTS OF A CCSL

For the subtitling and/or translating into various languages – all the dialogue and signage of the film, episode, or show is broken down into the appropriate characters and lines – two lines per subtitle portion.  This portion is called a “slug.” This name originates back to early film subtitling which was done by a printing method that used lead slugs to make the words and then applied them to the positive film image using a “lost wax process.”

In a CCSL, these subtitles typically appear with the time code IN and OUT that corresponds to the timing of the dialogue or narration and the duration of the dialogue. The formatting of the dialog indicating the start (IN) and end (OUT) with time code is called spotting.  Each subtitle will have a distinct number to identify it.

Typically the format of the CCSL document will list the dialog in two columns one on either side of the page.  On the left side of the page the dialogue or narration will be listed continuously from start to finish for each character speaking. This side of the CCSL will normally be used by the dubbing crew and/or director to dub the film dialogue into a foreign language.

On the right side of the CCSL – the subtitle spotting side, the character speaking is identified for each line, as well as the person or persons he or she is addressing.  It is important to know if the character is addressing a man or a woman as in many foreign languages words denoting gender are identifiable.

SIMPLE VS. COMPLEX CCSL

Most production contracts or distribution contracts contain a paragraph whereas the producer or production company needs to present a CCSL – either Simple or Complex format.  In a Simple CCSL each scene is described in a concise brief description. This simple description is followed by the dialog for each character in the two columns as described above.

A Complex CCSL lists each shot with a detailed description of the subject, angle, and movement of the camera. In addition to the detailed shot description, the entire dialog that appears within a given shot is listed in detail following the two column format as described above.

REEL VS. CONTINUOUS CCSL FORMATS

In addition to being Simple or Complex, A CCSL can be provided in either a Continuous, or Reel-By-Reel format. The Continuous or (“streaming”) format lists the shots and dialog based upon a single linear time code. This time code runs from the first frame of action to the last frame of action.

The Reel-By-Reel format lists the shots and dialog based upon a time code that restarts every “reel”. Each reel is identified by using the hour portion of the time code. For example the time code for reel one would be 01:00:00:00, and the time code for reel two would be 02:00:00:00.

Typically a “reel” of media is around 20 minutes long.  This is an old remnant of the “film” era where “lab reels” were 1000 ft long in 35mm,  which translates to 10 minutes of media. When projected, two lab reels would be joined together to make a 20 minutes double reel.  Many foreign countries still show movies and shows in reels in theatres and these can be printed from digital media as well.

FRAME RATE

In general most film are, and have been shot and produced in 24 frames per second.  A few countries had adopted 25 frames per second (designated as PAL standard) because of the frequency of alternating current in many parts of the world.  However, in the last few years the 24 frames standard seems to have become the more accepted standard for motion pictures and many streaming venues (i.e. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, cable and many other providers of shows and media.)

CCSLs both Simple and Complex can be created in time code or feet and frames – and, occasionally both. Films can be done as continuous formats or reel-by-reel. This format is usually dependant on the marketing of the finished films.  Although rare, a CCSL for a film can have both continuous and reel-by-reel counts simultaneously. The trend today is to prepare most CCSLs – Simple and Complex – in time code and not 35mm feet and frames.

These are considerations left mostly to the distribution systems that handle films and shows and are definitely the role of “post-production” and in the hands of the post-production manager of the project.

TIME CODE

In the United States there is a peculiar consideration to take into account when reaching the CCSL stage: films that are produced in 24 frames that are completed digitally – are usually true 24 frames for reel-to-reel finishing and projection. However, when they are prepared for “streaming” or a continuous format – they are prepared in a hybrid format that is required by television and streaming standards that is actually 23.976 frames per second. This conversion is required for captioning (to accommodate the FCC rules of broadcasting to people who are hearing impaired) so often continuous movies and shows are released in this standard.  For a CCSL either Simple or Complex – 23.976 or 24 look and are spotted identically. There is no difference in the spotting.

There are other variations in CCSLs – such as descriptions of uncommon words or phrases, or clarification of slang words for foreign translators and translations into English of foreign words or songs that may appear in the dialogue.  These variations are usually annotated so that the foreign distributors and/or translators understand what is being said or written.