Descript Exports a Second Set of Subtitles with My Video

How to remove unwanted subtitles in video files exported out of Descript

When you export a video from Descript, it will export the video but secretly add 'soft subtitles' to that video in the metadata as a subtitle track. There's no way to disable this in Descript, but you can remove them.

Not all players display these subtitles but most players that support subtitles will allow you to enable them. QuickTime on the Mac will show them by default I believe. The Video player on Windows or VLC can also turn them on.

I suspect this is an accessibility feature and that's probably the reason behind Descript's choice to export them by default. Some users are annoyed by this because if they also burn the subtitles on the video itself, using Captions (previously Fancy Captions), that video will also display those and it appears like the video has two sets of captions.

How to remove soft subtitles in Descript?

This is a common complaint from Descript users and at the time of this post, there's no way to disable this behaviour in Descript Storyboard.

The only way to get rid of these is post-export at this time is using an external tool such as Losslesscut.

Here's how to remove soft subtitles embedded in your exported video:

  1. Open the video in Losslesscut:
Free software Losslesscut allows you to cut videos into segments, inspect tracks and more

2. Go to the top-left where the "Tracks" are shown and inspect the tracks:

Losslesscut's track inspector allows you to view audio, video and subtitle tracks

You can see in this image, track 2 is mov_tetx3g – some kind of subtitle file. It shows on the Mac only, I suppose.

3. Click on the three dots on the right of that track and choose to 'Discard all subtitle tracks':

You can also click the green icon next to that track to disable it when saving:

4. Close the track inspector window and then choose "Export" to save your video:

Export the video. Losslesscut won't overwrite your original one.

5. On the final confirmation screen, you should see that the input has the full number of tracks but Losslesscut will confirm how many tracks it's 'keeping':

6. Click Export here again and you should have a new video file in that same folder where your original was (unless you've chosen a different location).

If you reopen that file in Losslesscut, you should now have only TWO tracks (video and audio). And because Losslesscut usually saves without reencoding, you don't lose any video quality and the process takes 1 second:

So that's how you remove those unwanted 'soft subtitles' from videos where Descript adds them by default.

By the way, Losslesscut is free, although when you visit the download page, you might notice that it takes you to app store links where it's not free. They have to make some money too, don't they? But if you keep scrolling, you should be able to find the free download links for it.

Let me know in the comments if this works for you!

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