The practice of making fansubs is called fansubbing and is done by a fansubber. Fansubbers typically form groups and divide the work up. The first distribution media of fansubbed material was VHS and Betamax tapes.
Early fansubs were produced using analog video editing equipment. First, a copy of the original source material or raw was obtained, most commonly from a commercial laserdisc. VHS tapes or even a homemade recording could be used as well, though this would produce a lower quality finished product. The dialogue was then translated into a script, that was then timed to match the dialogue, and typeset for appearance. The two most popular programs used in this process were JACOsub for the Commodore Amiga and Substation Alpha for MS Windows. The next step was to produce one or more masters, a high quality copy of the finished fansub from which many distribution copies could be made. The fansubber would play back the raw video through a computer equipped with a genlock in order to generate the subtitles and then overlay them on the raw signal. The hardware most often used was an Amiga PC, as most professional genlocks were prohibitively expensive. The final output of this arrangement was then recorded. The master was most often recorded onto S-VHS tape in an attempt to maximize quality, though some fansubbers used the less expensive VHS or Beta. Once completed, the master copy was then sent to a distributor