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News and Notes related to Digital Media Transcription, Analysis, and Captioning.
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  • Guest Blog: Global Collaboration Made Easy for Dalit Women Fight

    Posted on June 26th, 2015 Alex No comments

    The Dalit Women Fight crew uses InqScribe to translate footage for their feature-length documentary. Read about their work, and how InqScribe helps them cross language barriers.

    By: Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Director of Dalit Women Fight

    #Dalitwomenfight!

    Dalit Women Fight is a transmedia documentary that looks at the issue behind the rape epidemic in India: caste-based sexual violence. Dalit Women Fight braids the stories of three women as they move from despair to courage during the events surrounding the global Dalit Women’s Self-Respect Movement, a transnational campaign calling for an end to caste-based sexual violence.

    Dalit is a term that refers to South Asia’s Untouchable people, and the Dalit women at the heart of this film are leading India’s largest historical challenge to India’s rape and caste culture through the Dalit Women’s Self­-Respect March. The strategies used by the Dalit movement mirror the U.S. Freedom Rides, mashed-up with the Take Back the Night marches. The goal of our documentary is to educate others about the Dalit Women Fight Movement and to challenge the current systems of violence.

    InqScribe: Where Everything Comes Together

    We use InqScribe to translate footage from all over the world. In India alone we have over 12 languages, often from very inaccessible rural areas where the dialects are difficult to translate. InqScribe allows us to upload footage and tap into local leaders working remotely, who can then create vital transcripts that are used for editing and titling. Our volunteers translate Hindi, Bhojupuri, Marathi and Urdu reels of footage, working remotely in locations spanning from Haryana to Los Angeles. We recruit many different sets of eyes and ears looking to be involved in the production process. Without InqScribe, our process would be so much more tedious as there would be no single platform that can handle all the tasks that InqScribe lets us centralize.

    #Dalitwomenfight! from Thenmozhi on Vimeo.

    In the past, we used several programs, playing video with QuickTime or Windows Media Player and transcribing with Microsoft Word or Notepad. It was such a problem, due to the lack of time stamps, sound control boards and other necessary controls. InqScribe is a single tool. Dozens of our volunteers are able to accurately utilize it with little to no difficulty. Our workflow has expanded greatly, and we have been able to produce vital footage within our time-sensitive schedule. With InqScribe, we’re able to make the most of our translation production time and increase the translation quality by hiring qualified translators who can easily be given access to the tool.

    Our favorite feature is the timecode shortcut and the options for multiple export formats. Since our project is multi-layered and requires extensive editing and reviews, we are able to adequately connect translators with footage. InqScribe has been extremely easy to use for our multi-lingual translators who have little experience with translation software, and we are always impressed by the high quality production.


    Dalit Women FightAbout the Author

    Thenmozhi Soundararajan is a Dalit American transmedia artist/activist and the Director of the full-length documentary Dalit Women Fight.

    Thanks Sharmin! Learn more about Dalit Human Rights and caste-based violence at ncdhr.org.in/aidmam. For any questions or comments about InqScribe, shoot us an email at support@inqscribe.com.

  • Vimeo: From Transcript to Subtitles

    Posted on June 4th, 2015 Alex No comments

    Interested in sharing your subtitles with others? Consider uploading to Vimeo. Although YouTube is the more popular option, Vimeo entices users with their clean, professional, and ad-free interface. Vimeo also offers password protected videos, which will give you more privacy control compared to YouTube.

    Whether you choose Vimeo or YouTube, uploading subtitles is a cinch. Continue reading for more on Vimeo. See our Knowledge Base article “How do I upload subtitles to YouTube?” for our YouTube guide.

    Note that this article details how to upload captions that you can toggle on and off within Vimeo’s interface. To permanently write your subtitles into the video image, head over to this support article.

    Prepare Your InqScribe Transcript

    First, open up your InqScribe document and make sure your transcript and timecodes are in order. Once everything looks good, we’re going to export as a WebVTT file. This will require InqScribe version 2.2.3 or newer. Vimeo also supports the SRT and SCC format, but they recommend using WebVTT when possible

    Select “File > Export > WebVTT…”, name your file and choose a save location. Make a note of this location because we’ll need to access it again in a moment.

    Upload to Vimeo

    Before jumping into the directions below, first make sure to upload your video to Vimeo. You’ll need to log in or create an account, then select the “Upload” button at the top right of Vimeo’s site. It should be fairly self-explanatory, but if you need help, Vimeo has some tips here.

    Add Your Caption or Subtitle File

    Once you have your video uploaded, here’s how to upload your caption or subtitle file:

    1. Log in to Vimeo and navigate to the “My Videos” section of the topbar menu.
    2. Select your video and click on “Settings.”
    3. In the Video Settings menu, click “Advanced”. You should see the screen pictured below.
    4. Under “Add Captions & Subtitles”, select “Choose file”. Locate your subtitle/caption file and click Open.
    5. Your file should appear below in the Enable Captions & Subtitles section. Make sure to check “Status: ON” and select the language and file type.
    6. Select “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page and your video will equip with captions.

    Vimeo Subtitle File Upload

    That’s all! To watch your video with the new captions, just click the “CC” icon in the Vimeo player.

    If you have any comments or questions about InqScribe’s subtitle support, don’t hesitate to send an email to support@inqscribe.com.

  • What’s the Deal with WebVTT?

    Posted on May 1st, 2015 Alex No comments

    As you might have noticed, InqScribe version 2.2.3 includes a new subtitle export format: WebVTT. Why should you care? Although it’s a young format, WebVTT has quickly become a new standard, supported by HTML5, YouTube, and Vimeo. Here’s a quick overview of what you can do with WebVTT:

    What is WebVTT?

    WebVTT is a text-based format similar to Subrip SRT. What’s special about WebVTT is that it’s compatible with HTML. You can use WebVTT to provide extra information about HTML video, including subtitles, closed captions, descriptions, metadata, and chapters. Not only does this make videos more accessible, it helps keep them organized, and gives you a space to make notes or annotations.

    Here’s a sample of what a WebVTT file looks like:

    WEBVTT 1
    00:00:00.000 --> 00:00:15.365
    Start of video.
    
    2
    00:00:15.366 --> 00:00:17.432
    Puts down toy.
    
    3
    00:00:17.433 --> 00:00:25.632
    Picks up toy again.
    Calls out.

    How do I use WebVTT?

    To export a WebVTT file from InqScribe, simply prepare your transcript and select “File > Export > WebVTT…”

    Once exported, you could use the WebVTT file to create captions for YouTube and Vimeo videos. For instructions on how to take your InqScribe transcript into YouTube, head over to our guide here.

    To use your WebVTT file with an HTML video, just enter the appropriate references into the <video> tag of your HTML code. For more on how to integrate a WebVTT file into an HTML video, check out this guide by html5doctor.com.

    If you are using WebVTT for a browser-based HTML video, there are some additional styling options available. You can control formatting such as bolding and italicizing by adding HTML and CSS tags to your transcript. Although InqScribe transcripts do not currently support styled text, you can still use tags in your transcript to specify how the text will appear in the video. Below are some examples of acceptable styling tags:

    <b>Make this bold</b>
    <i>Make this italic</i>
    <c.myclass>Apply CSS class "myclass"</c>
    <v Sue>Identify who is speaking</v>

    Note that WebVTT also supports a few custom position and display options not supported by InqScribe. Specifically, if you’d like subtitles to appear karaoke-style or control per-subtitle positioning, you’ll need to manually edit your exported WebVTT file with a text editor. You can read more about these limitations in our WebVTT User Guide entry here.

    For more technical information, head over to the WC3 Community Group report. If you have any questions or comments about using WebVTT, send us email at support@inqscribe.com.

  • InqScribe 2.2.3 released

    Posted on April 12th, 2015 eric No comments

    We just released InqScribe 2.2.3, a free update for all InqScribe users. Get it here: https://www.inqscribe.com/download.html

    If you are currently using InqScribe 2.2.2, you should download 2.2.3 as soon as is convenient. 2.2.2 was accidentally released as a “development build”, which behaves exactly the same as a production build except that it has a built-in expiration date. That date is April 13.

    If your version of InqScribe refuses to open, stating that it has expired, it does not mean your paid license or evaluation license has expired. All you need to do is download and install InqScribe 2.2.3 and you’ll be up and running again.

    We are acutely embarrassed by this error and apologize profusely.

    In addition to removing the expiration date, version 2.2.3 adds support for exporting to WebVTT, which is becoming a common means to add subtitles to streaming video. Both YouTube and Vimeo, for example, allow you to upload WebVTT files to caption your videos. You can read more about InqScribe’s WebVTT support here.

  • Hard Coding Your Subtitles: Actually Not Hard

    Posted on April 1st, 2015 Alex No comments

    There are quite a few ways to creates subtitles in InqScribe (check out a list of them here). Using the built-in “Save Subtitled QuickTime Movie” option is probably the quickest and easiest, but if you or your colleagues don’t have access to QuickTime 7, sharing the exported video file can be a problem. If you’d like to ensure your subtitled movie plays the same across all devices, hard coding your subtitles may be the answer for you.

    “Hard coding” or “burning-in” subtitles means taking the subtitle track and writing it into the video itself. If a video file has burned-in subtitles, it ensures the video will look the same no matter how it’s played. Note that you won’t be able to toggle subtitles on or off; if they’re burned-in, they’re there for good. To be clear, you cannot use InqScribe to burn-in subtitles. You can, however, export your InqScribe transcript to a Subrip .srt file and use free online tools to create a video file with hard coded subtitles. In this post, I’ll explain how to use InqScribe with VidCoder and Submerge.

    First, you’ll need to create and prepare your InqScribe transcript. Once it’s ready, export as a Subrip .srt file by selecting “File > Export > Subrip Format…” Note the save location of the file- you’ll need to access it soon. Now that you have a subtitle file, it’s time to burn it into a copy of your source video. To do this, we’ll use the free VidCoder (Windows-only) and Submerge (Mac-only).

    VidCoder (Windows-only)

    VidCoder is a free, open source software that uses Handbrake as it’s encoding engine. Designed for DVD/Blu-Ray and video encoding, VidCoder also allows you to hard code your subtitles. Here’s how:

    1. Download VidCoder from their CodePlex website: https://vidcoder.codeplex.com.
    2. Install VidCoder by opening the executable file. It should be called something like “VidCoder-1.5.3.1-x64.exe.”
    3. Launch VidCoder. From the startup menu, select “Video File…” Locate your original source video and select “Open.” Note that you’ll want to load the source video, NOT a subtitled QuickTime movie created in InqScribe.
    4. Once the video loads into VidCoder, you’ll have a few more options. Under the “Subtitles” heading, select “Edit…” Then, select “Import .srt File” Locate your .srt file and click “Open.”
    5. You’ll see your subtitle file loaded into “External subtitles.” Make sure to check “Burn in” and then click “OK.”
    6. Now that you have your video and subtitle file loaded into VidCoder, select “Encode” in the bottom right of the menu. Once it’s finished, you should see the new encoded video file appear in your specified folder.

    Submerge (Mac-only)

    Submerge is a tool designed specifically for hard coding subtitles on Mac. You’ll find it comes with more options to adjust subtitle position and appearance than freeware like VidCoder, although Submerge has a price tag of $9. Fortunately, Submerge offers a free timed demo for new users to try out.

    Note that we are in no way affiliated with Submerge or its creator, but are simply offering it as a possible subtitle burn-in solution to InqScribe users.

    To get started with the demo version of Submerge, first select “Download Demo” from the website: http://www.bitfield.se/submerge. Once it’s downloaded, open the zip file to complete installation. Then, launch Submerge and follow the directions in the quick start video below (as a warning, it contains loud music you may wish to mute):

    Do you use a different tool to hard code subtitles? If you have any recommendations, we’d love to hear from you. Likewise, if you have any questions about creating subtitles with InqScribe, just shoot us an email at support@inqscribe.

  • inqscribe.com Is Momentarily Offline

    Posted on March 31st, 2015 Alex No comments

    4/01/2015 UPDATE: inqscribe.com is now back online!

    inqscribe.com is offline due to an upstream issue with our service provider.

    Until service is restored, feel free to direct any questions about InqScribe to support@inqscribe.com. Note that our support page is still accessible here. If you’d like to request a 14-day trial license of InqScribe, just shoot us an email with the subject “InqScribe Trial Request.”

    If you’d like to purchase InqScribe, you can still do so via our Kagi store page:
    http://store.kagi.com/cgi-bin/store.cgi?storeID=6FALD_LIVE&& 

    Apologies for the inconvenience.

  • EDITED: InqScribe Website Maintenance

    Posted on March 29th, 2015 Alex No comments

    UPDATE: We’ve just been informed that website maintenance for inqscribe.com has been pushed back to March 31, 2015 between 04:00 and 13:00 UTC. That’s midnight to 9am tonight EDT. The site inqscribe.com will be inaccessible for 60 to 90 minutes.

    On Monday March 30th, 2015 inqscribe.com will undergo some routine maintenance between 04:00 and 13:00 UTC. As part of this maintenance, inqscribe.com will go offline for 60 to 90 minutes. We apologize for any inconvenience.

    As always, if you have any questions or concerns, send us an email at support@inqscribe.com.

  • Speedy Shortcut Configurations

    Posted on February 17th, 2015 Alex No comments

    One of the easiest ways to speed up your transcription process is to setup shortcuts. You don’t have to be a professional transcriptionist to reap the benefits of quick-access commands. Whether you’re a newbie, a casual user, or aspiring to become InqScribe elite, improving your shortcut (and snippet) setup will help center your focus on the transcript, rather than on controlling media.

    To be clear, InqScribe already has some shortcuts pre-loaded. Your operating system also uses designates certain keys for system-wide shortcuts. We’ve listed these in-use shortcuts and suggested some available trigger keys in this Knowledge Base article. To sum it up, here’s what you’ll want to avoid:

    • Key combinations that are already in use by your system (system defaults)
    • Key combinations that are already in use by InqScribe (InqScribe defaults)
    • Keys that you’re likely to type in your transcript.

    To help get you started, we’ve created two sample configurations- one simple, one more advanced. These configurations should work on most systems, so you won’t have to worry about any of the conflicts described above.

    A Simple Shortcut Configuration

    If you don’t have much experience transcribing, here’s a setup that will be easy to learn:

    Cue Shortcut

    Tab Play/Pause (default)
    Ctrl/Command-Tab Skipback 8 seconds (default)
    Ctrl/Command-0 Insert current time
    Ctrl/Command-9 Cue
    Ctrl/Command-8 Review

     

    The idea is that these shortcuts are kept simple and are located within your field of vision, unobstructed by your hands. Even for beginners, we recommend using Cue and Review as opposed to Fast Forward and Rewind- it’s simply easier to control. In case you’re not familiar, the “Cue” command is essentially a modified Fast Forward. The media will play forwards at a speed of your choice until the trigger key is released, at which point it will resume playing. The “Review” command functions in the same way as
    a Rewind.

    An Advanced Shortcut Configuration

    After getting more acquainted with InqScribe, you may wish to incorporate more shortcuts and revamp your setup. Here’s a sample configuration for a more advanced user:

    Tab Play/Pause (default)
    Ctrl/Command-Tab Skipback 8 seconds (default)
    Ctrl/Command-0 Insert current time
    Ctrl/Command-9 Cue
    Ctrl/Command-8 Review
    Ctrl/Command-[ Change Play Rate -0.1x
    Ctrl/Command-] Change Play Rate 0.1x
    Ctrl/Command-J Go To Previous Timecode
    Ctrl/Command-L Go To Next Timecode

     

    Generally, the less you have to take your hands off the keyboard, the faster you can type. This shortcut setup will give you more independence from your mouse. One important addition is the ability to fine-tune the play rate to match your typing speed. The Go To Previous Timecode and Go To Next Timecode shortcuts now allow you to quickly review your timecode placement, which is crucial if you plan on creating subtitles from your transcript.

    Note this setup leaves Ctrl/Command-2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 open for custom snippets.

    If you use shortcuts with other programs in your workflow, you might try configuring InqScribe to match them. For an example, check out this previous blog entry about adopting Final Cut Pro/Avid shortcuts.

    Although the ideal setup will vary from user to user, these shortcut configurations should give you an idea of how to optimize your InqScribe experience. If you have any shortcut tips you’d like to share with other InqScribe users, send an email to support@inqscribe.com.

  • InqScribe Version 2.2.2 Released

    Posted on January 16th, 2015 Alex No comments

    We’ve just released InqScribe version 2.2.2. To download the free update, simply launch InqScribe and select “InqScribe > Check For Updates…” (Mac) or “Help > Check For Updates” (PC). You can also download directly from our website at inqscribe.com/download.

    What’s new in 2.2.2? Although it’s not the overhaul we’re working towards, we’ve made some improvements and fixed a few bugs. The update should help improve stability and clarify some of InqScribe’s error messages. To review a list of changes, click here.

    Along with these tweaks, version 2.2.2 resets our evaluation licenses. Unfortunately, this means if you requested a trial after January 1st, you may not have received our full 14-day trial period. If you’re in this affected group, you should receive an email containing a new 14-day trial license. Note that to take advantage of our trial offer, you will need to have InqScribe 2.2.2 installed.

    As always, if you have any questions or feedback about InqScribe 2.2.2, please contact us at support@inqscribe.com.

  • What is a Codec Anyway?

    Posted on November 13th, 2014 Alex No comments

    If you work at all with digital video, you’re bound to run into issues of media compatibility. What makes a video incompatible? Will it work in InqScribe? It’s a complicated subject. In this post, we’ll explain a few key terms that should help you understand how digital video works (and sometimes, how it doesn’t work).

    Codec

    Codec stands for coder/decoder, and it does just that. Raw video tends to take up large amounts of storage, and codecs allow us to shrink down the file size, usually without loosing too much quality. Codecs achieve this by taking the raw video data and encoding it into a shorthand. Once encoded, codecs also play a role in decoding this shorthand.

    Note that codecs are independent of a video’s file extension. So, .mp4, .avi, .mov, etc. are not codecs. A .mp4 file could use a H.264/AVC or MPEG-4 Part 2 codec, for example. You can see which codecs are supported by QuickTime via Apple’s support page here. To check which codecs you have available in Windows Media Player, follow Microsoft’s directions here (use drop-down bar on right to select your version of Windows).

    Although some are more popular than others, there are dozens of different codecs out there. Since each uses a unique coding language, it’s important to use codecs that are compatible with your workflow (and that you have access to- some codecs are proprietary). What should you do if you come across an incompatible codec? Transcode! More on that in a bit…

    Container

    QuickTime "movie could not be opened" message

    Look familiar?

    As its name suggests, a container file packages compressed video data. Containers identify and sort out codecs, which are the ones doing the actual compressing. Most common video containers are compatible with multiple codecs, so don’t assume one container is always going to have the same codec.

    Chances are, you’re more familiar with containers than you are with codecs. They’re more visible because the file extension is often associated with the container. A file with the name “Sample.mp4″ has a file extension of “.mp4″, which indicates the MP4 container. Other examples of containers include AVI, MPEG-2, FLV, and RM to name a few.

    In addition to a file’s codec, programs such as QuickTime and Windows Media Player will have their own specs for which containers they support. So, to drive this home: just because you have a compatible container for your video file, it doesn’t mean you have a compatible codec. And vise-versa.

    Transcode

    To transcode is to convert from one encoding to another. When you transcode a file, you are essentially changing a video’s codec or its container, perhaps both. The terms “transcoding” and “converting” are generally used interchangeably.

    It’s worth noting that transcoding a file will result in some loss of quality. The extent of this may or may not be noticeable.

    If you’re interested in transcoding, check out our blog post on Media Conversion Tools for more information.

    Mux

    To “mux” a file is to combine multiple channels into one. When referring to video files, these channels are typically audio, video, and/or subtitle tracks. Muxing is useful when compiling several of these tracks into one output, such as when you’re creating a DVD or Blu-ray disk.

    Since not all media player can process muxed files, you might not always want a file to be muxed. This is when demuxing comes into play.

    Demux

    To demux a file is to extract the individual tracks back into their separate channels. Demuxing is useful when you come across an unsupported muxed file.

    Since transcoding will rewrite a file’s video and audio data, it can actually be used to demux a file. So, when in doubt, transcoding can solve several different problems associated with incompatibility.


    Understanding these terms and concepts should equip you to deal with incompatible media. And remember, if you’re ever having trouble getting InqScribe to recognize your media files, just send us an email to support@inqscribe.com.