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News and Notes related to Digital Media Transcription, Analysis, and Captioning.
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  • Comparison: InqScribe vs. Express Scribe

    Posted on July 31st, 2014 Alex No comments

    At InqScribe, we strive to create the best, most reliable transcription software. But, as some of you are aware, we aren’t the only ones on the market. You may even use a combination of other transcription tools alongside InqScribe in your line of work. To help clarify and distinguish InqScribe from the competition, we thought a simple, honest comparison might be helpful. In this post we’ll be looking at Express Scribe, one of our popular competitors.
    InqScribe vs. Express Scribe

    First, let’s start with the basics. Both Express Scribe and InqScribe are designed to make transcription a faster, easier, and more user-friendly experience. Combing an audio/video player with a text editor, they both employ features such as adjustable play speed, foot pedal support, and custom keyboard shortcuts. Currently, InqScribe is built around Windows Media Player 11 and QuickTime 7 (though change is around the corner). This means InqScribe will play pretty much anything supported by these media players. Express Scribe has its own set of supported formats.

    InqScribe and Express Scribe offer a free limited version of the software, in addition to a more fully-featured 14-day trial. The biggest difference here is that the free version of Express Scribe limits you to only a few audio file formats (specifically, AIFF, MP3, WAV, and WMA), while InqScribe’s free version grants you full format support but limits your ability to save and export. It costs $40 to upgrade to the full version of Express Scribe, while a license of InqScribe sells for $99 with free updates and significant discounts for students, schools, and nonprofits.

    Although Express Scribe and InqScribe are designed to fill a similar niche, they were built with different features in mind. Taken from NCH Software’s website, Express Scribe is a “professional audio player software for PC or Mac designed to assist the transcription of audio recordings.” Express Scribe takes more of a focus on audio transcription, and some of its features reflect this, including the ability to “dock” dictation devices. Many Express Scribe users work with a separate text editor such as Word, controlling their media in the “mini” view or using system-wide shortcuts.

    In contrast, InqScribe was built from the ground up with professional video transcription in mind.  We focus on the ability to type a transcript in the same window that’s controlling a media file. Aside from allowing you to visualize what you’re typing, same-window transcription prevents juggling between programs and frees you from trying to locate which media file is associated with which text document. InqScribe does it all in one compact place.

    If you’re transcribing audio recordings and prefer working in a separate text editor, then Express Scribe could be right for you. It does boasts a native spell-check and word counter, which are admittedly absent in InqScribe (for now, that is…).

    That said, InqScribe offers a few unique features of its own. Working in the same window allows you to take advantage of clickable time codes. As soon as you click on a recognized time code, InqScribe will take you directly to that spot in the video or audio file. Some of our users employ this feature to annotate their videos, using InqScribe to take notes on specific moments in their media file.

    One of my favorite features in InqScribe are snippets. The ability to quickly insert custom bits of text can considerably speed up a workflow. For example, I like to assign the “Enter” key to insert a line of blank space, a time code, and the main speaker’s name. Snippets can make typing faster and help ensure consistency in the transcript.

    Once you have your transcript proofed and ready to go, InqScribe allows you to export into a variety of file formats- such as plain text, XML, Subrip SRT, etc. You can even save your transcript directly into a subtitled QuickTime Movie. No matter if you’re creating high-quality professional videos or a quick draft, InqScribe will accommodate your needs. In fact, we encourage users to find the workflow that best suits them, whether it’s with Word, Excel, Final Cut Pro, or YouTube.

    Lastly, we welcome feedback from our users. Be it a support question, a feature request, or an honest opinion, we’re a small team that reads and responds to all inquiries. We hope you’ve found this a useful comparison. If you have any questions about whether InqScribe is right for you, feel free to email us at support@inqscribe.net

  • Guest Blog: Using InqScribe to Record the Wabanaki Experience

    Posted on July 17th, 2014 Alex No comments

    Many nonprofits use InqScribe to help transcribe interviews and spread their message. In this guest blog, Rachel George explains how she came across InqScribe through her work with the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare TRC.

    By: Rachel George, Research Coordinator

    Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare TRC ChildrenThe Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission is charged with clarifying the experiences of Wabanaki Native American children and families involved with state child welfare. Historically there has been an incredibly high rate of removal of native children who were placed into non-native homes, resulting in continued intergenerational trauma and loss of culture. The 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act implemented new placement priorities recognizing the ties that native children have to their tribes, as well as the tribe’s interest in their children. This made it harder for native children to be placed in non-Native homes, yet the State of Maine continued to have high rates of removal.

    The TRC is investigating these removals by hearing the experiences of native children and families, and also from state officials, case workers, service providers and adoptive and foster families. From these investigations we’ve gathered a number of video and audio recordings from private statements, interviews, and focus groups. With the help of a few volunteers, we are currently working on transcribing an increasing pool of interviews and statements which are all approximately an hour long.

    Prior to coming across InqScribe, we were simply running the video through QuickTime and having a word document open simultaneously. I am sure I don’t need to tell you that this was a lot less effective than using InqScribe. Having the video and text in a single window streamlined our process. Since we’re working with long videos and multiple transcribers, it’s great to have a program that helps us stay organized and consistent. And, unlike some other transcribing software, InqScribe allows us to transcribe video as well as audio recordings.

    Overall, InqScribe has been a really valuable resource for us and has sped up the process of transcribing statements and interviews. It’s a system I am very happy to support and was very keen to push to my staff and colleagues.


    Research Coordinator Rachel GeorgeAbout the Author

    Rachel is a young indigenous scholar from Vancouver, British Columbia. As a member of the Ahousaht First Nation, she has grown into an advocate for indigenous rights. She has a genuine and enthusiastic commitment to strengthening the voices of indigenous peoples, and seeking methods of redress that are complementary to indigenous needs and rights.

    Thanks Rachel! Interested in learning more? Check out the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare TRC website and read Rachel’s generous endorsement of InqScribe.

  • Guest blog: A Filmmaker Uses InqScribe for Translations and Subtitles

    Posted on May 22nd, 2014 christina No comments

    InqScribe is popular among filmmakers for a variety of reasons. In our latest guest blog, Scott Squire shares his workflow to translate and create subtitles for his documentary.

    by Scott Squire, Independent Producer & InqScribe user

    Our movie, The Girl Who Knew Too Much is a feature documentary about women’s empowerment, the complexities of globalization and the crisis of mental health support in Nepal. We shot our movie over seven years on six different cameras, with varying degrees of asset management rigor. We ended up with nearly 200 hours of footage to be logged and/or translated and subtitled. This project taught us the value of having solid workflows—from managing footage in the field through the process of translation. We cannot stress the importance of having a process (that works with every camera!) before you shoot a single frame.

    Our translators at work

    Our workflow includes the use of InqScribe and Final Cut Pro to produce translations and final subtitles for our movie. Critical to our process is having a clear folder/file structure that essentially depicts our workflow. I will refer to the folder/file names used on our project, but obviously these would change based on your own project details.

    Folder structure to organize our workflow

    Set up

    We make sure that the top-level directory is accessible from all of our workstations. Our workflow begins with our editor placing callouts for the media that needs translating in the folder called In1. Fiona Highlighted Documents. Sometimes these are snippets from a clip, sometimes a whole reel. She reads our transcripts and highlights them, and then sends us scans of the highlighted pages as PDFs. (Unfortunately, on this project, we didn’t have InqScribe at the start, which means our original transcripts were in a variety of formats.)

    Review the translation and verify time code in InqScribe

    We assemble all of the relevant translated files and then create an InqScribe document for each clip. Our workflow involves moving the InqScribe transcripts through a series of reviews by native speakers who verify the accuracy of the translation and the placement of time codes. Time code references should be at least at 10-second intervals (we recommend every 4-5 seconds). Be careful with InqScribe’s sensitive time code selection so that you don’t time codes out of order. And be sure to have opening AND closing time codes in InqScribe or else your subtitles will run too long.

    Export XML file from InqScribe to Final Cut Pro

    Once the translation is complete and the time codes are reviewed, we use InqScribe to export an XML file to be used in Final Cut Pro. It’s good to keep your XML template easy to access because you’ll be using it a lot. We keep ours at the top-level folder of our shared directory: /Master Wrapping Subtitle Template v1.3 (use this one).xml.

    Instructions for creating a custom FCP 7 XML export template can be found in InqScribe’s Knowledge Base.

    Very important is the naming of files. InqScribe will show the default name as “export.xml.” Click the “Choose” button to select a destination to save the file. Navigate to /Out2. Subtitle XMLs for Final Cut Pro > Interview XMLs from InqScribe. The name of the XML needs to match the file it came from. The best way to do this is to navigate to the original InqScribe file, select and copy the name (all but the “.inqscr” extension) and paste this into the pane of the export dialog. Double check your naming and destination—this is a big pain if you get it wrong. CONSISTENCY and ACCURACY in naming and filing are CRITICAL.

    If you’re lucky, when you click “Export,” the export window will just close and your shiny new XML file will turn up in the proper place. If InqScribe alerts you to a non-consecutive time code you will need to go back and correct where needed. The error will only tell you approximately where to start fixing first. Cancel out and go back to check all of the time codes where the error message is indicated.

    Import XML files to Final Cut Pro (FCP)

    In Final Cut Pro, you will create a project (Subtitle_Master_Project) and import the first InqScribe XML file in the scene you just created. When you import the InqScribe XML, it will come into FCP as a sequence with the generic name that matches your text generator template (Master Wrapping Subtitle Template…). You must change this back to the name of the original file. As before, navigate back to the file and copy and paste the name in the FCP browser to replace the template name.

    Drag the newly imported sequence into the timeline. It will contain only a subtitle track. Next, import the associated master footage or locate the clip and drag it into the FCP browser window. When the media clip has been imported, be sure it’s in the right folder inside the browser. Drag the clip into the timeline so that you have both footage (video and audio) AND a subtitle track above the video. These should be the same length, but there may be gaps in the transcription file. If the closing time code was correctly input in the InqScribe file, the endpoint will match the end point of the media.

    If you’ve done your job in InqScribe, the clip lengths should all match up and you’ll have a subtitled sequence! You can now export the sequence from Final Cut Pro as a XML to send to your editor.


    About the author

    Scott Squire is a filmmaker who, along with his wife Amy Benson, is the producer of The Girl Who Knew Too Much.

  • Modernizing InqScribe

    Posted on March 7th, 2014 eric No comments

    InqScribe is closing in on ten years old. It’s been a point of pride that InqScribe still runs on older systems — with InqScribe 2.2, as far back as OS X 10.4 and Windows 2000.

    Now, however, the media playback engine changes we discussed earlier are forcing us to reconsider that approach for future versions of InqScribe.

    To recap, InqScribe’s media playback engines will be moving from QuickTime to AVFoundation on OS X, and from Windows Media Player to DirectShow (or possibly Media Foundation) on Windows. The new engines come with their own system requirements (for AVFoundation, OS X 10.7) that force us to abandon some older systems.

    Another important consideration for us is whether Apple and Microsoft support the system versions that InqScribe supports. Here, too, change is coming. Apple is no longer releasing security patches for OS X 10.6, which effectively means they no longer support it. Similarly, Microsoft has announced that they are discontinuing support for Windows XP next month.

    We are hesitant to recommend that our users continue to use an unsupported system, primarily because of security issues. With XP in particular, once Microsoft stops issuing security updates, XP systems will be at greater risk for malware.

    A benefit of moving to more modern OS versions is that InqScribe will be able to take advantage of some of the features that these systems provide (native spell checking!), without having to worry that users of older systems will be left out.

    We think it will be in our users’ best interests to upgrade to a supported system. Combined with the higher system requirements of the media engines, we are planning to update InqScribe’s minimum requirements to the following.

    • OS X 10.7. AVFoundation requires OS X 10.7 or newer, which makes this an easy decision.
    • Windows 7. Dropping Windows XP support is a given, since Microsoft is doing the same. We could support Windows Vista, but our internal use data suggests that the number of current Vista users using InqScribe is vanishingly small. So we’re planning to jump directly to Windows 7.

    If you have an older system, InqScribe 2.2 will continue to work for you. The new system requirements only apply to future versions of InqScribe.

    We’re excited for the next release of InqScribe. Talking about system requirements isn’t as exciting, but it’s necessary. We’re announcing these changes now so that users who will be impacted by the system requirements change will have to time to explore their options for upgrading their system before the next version of InqScribe is released.

    If you have questions or concerns about these changes, feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to clarify. We’ll be continually updating this support article with frequently asked questions and answers. And you can always contact us via our support page.

  • Retiring QuickTime

    Posted on March 7th, 2014 matt No comments

    When Apple released QuickTime in 1991, it was revolutionary. QuickTime provided a straightforward means to open and play a wide variety of audio and video formats. Over the years, Apple enhanced QuickTime, adding support for additional formats, subtitles, Windows support, and even a handful of interactive features.

    When InqScribe debuted (nearly 10 years ago!), QuickTime was arguably in its prime. InqScribe has always relied on QuickTime to handle media playback: for a long time our support slogan was “if QuickTime can play it, so can InqScribe.” InqScribe also relied on QuickTime’s subtitle track support to give our users a straightforward way to produce standalone subtitled movies.

    We’ve been very happy with the relationship between InqScribe and QuickTime. But the writing is on the wall: QuickTime is now over 20 years old, an eternity in software terms. And Apple has been very clear that QuickTime is no longer the way forward. Apple has officially deprecated QuickTime, to the point of warning developers that apps submitted to the App Store will be rejected if they continue to use QuickTime.

    (InqScribe is not sold through the App Store, so this warning doesn’t impact us directly. But we get the point.)

    So we’ve made the decision that future versions of InqScribe will no longer use QuickTime. Which raises two key questions: how will InqScribe manage media playback, and how will our users be able to quickly produce subtitled videos?

    For OS X, InqScribe will use AVFoundation for media playback. AVFoundation is Apple’s official replacement for QuickTime and offers decent subtitle support. AVFoundation has the additional feature that it is also used for media playback on iPhones and iPads, so moving to AVFoundation should simplify the process of producing subtitled content for Apple’s mobile devices.

    For Windows, InqScribe could probably get by continuing to rely on Windows Media Player, but we want to look closely at moving to either DirectShow or its modern successor, Media Foundation. Of these options we’d prefer to use DirectShow, because Media Foundation doesn’t yet have strong support for subtitles. (Unlike Apple and QuickTime, Microsoft continues to support DirectShow).

    Beyond the native media engines for OS X and Windows, we are also looking at whether InqScribe can support alternative media engines that would enable playback of additional media formats or provide additional functionality that the native engines lack. Examples of engines in this class include VLCGStreamer, and web-based solutions to play back online content like YouTube or Vimeo.

    InqScribe will continue to export a wide range of subtitling formats, and we will make sure that it will continue to be easy to generate subtitled content that can be viewed with standard apps on OS X and Windows.

    It’s worth noting that moving to more modern media playback engines will mean that future versions of InqScribe will not run on some older systems. We’ll have a separate post soon talking about the next release and InqScribe’s minimum system requirements.

    If you have questions or concerns about these changes, feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to clarify. We’ll be continually updating this support article with frequently asked questions and answers. And you can always contact us via our support page.

  • Create Subtitles with InqScribe and Final Cut Pro 7

    Posted on March 6th, 2014 christina No comments

    InqScribe’s integration with Final Cut Pro has made it a popular tool among filmmakers, particularly when their projects require generating subtitles.

    Sometimes we come across interesting blog posts from users about how they put InqScribe to use. Here’s one from Jessey Dearing of Talking Eyes Media about how he uses InqScribe along with Final Cut Pro 7 for subtitling. Take a look at his step-by-step guide for how to integrate these applications to quickly and easily produce subtitles for  film projects.

    Using InqScribe with Final Cut Pro

    Do you have an interesting story about how you’re using InqScribe? Please contact us at support-at-inqscribe.com if you’d like to share a story about a workflow or a project that uses Inqscribe.

  • Guest Blog: InqScribe Saves Time When Logging Hours of Footage

    Posted on February 18th, 2014 christina No comments

    Filmmakers like InqScribe for a multitude of reasons. In our latest guest blog, Charlie Samuels talks about how he’s using InqScribe on his first film project.


    I am working on a film documentary about my skateboard team. Even if I make many films after this, Virgin Blacktop will be my opus. I’ve been working on this project for decades but until recently, I didn’t realize how important it would be to transcribe all of the footage that’s been shot. That is, until I got to the post production stage and ran into a wall. I realized that I would need a writer, and was reminded of something my mentor once told me: “No self-respecting film writer will take on a project without complete transcriptions of the footage—how else can they find anything?”

    I needed a fast way of documenting all of the footage with time codes and descriptions. I have party scenes, action footage and general mayhem that can’t possibly be transcribed by dictation software. And accuracy in detail is paramount. That’s where InqScribe comes in.

    I got an army of interns and set them loose with over 125 hours of footage and copies of InqScribe. I needed to make good use of their time and get the footage transcribed in the fastest way possible. InqScribe came in handy because it allowed my interns to transcribe much faster than if they were just viewing the footage and logging in Word. One of the interns told me: “Having the footage connected to the transcriptions makes all the difference in speed and ease. It’s simple and intuitive and makes typing and stopping and starting the footage much faster. InqScribe actually doubles the speed of my ability to transcribe footage.”

    My project is still in development, but my dream of finishing this film will be realized sooner because I used InqScribe.


    About the author

    Photographer/filmmaker Charlie Samuels is known as the “50-year-old skateboarder” activist who led a 1.5 year effort to unearth a skateboard pool in Saratoga Springs NY. Charlie has been a freelance contributor to The New York Times since 1990. His images of skate legends Harold Hunter, Andy Kessler, Joe Humeres, Tony Hawk and Tony Alva have appeared in Sports Illustrated, New York magazine, Transworld Skateboarding, ESPN, People, Thrasher, the seminal N.Y.C. and the skate book FULL BLEED, as well as on Burton snowboards and Vans sneakers. He skated to the altar on his hands, helped build the first of NYC’s skateparks and has been issued a ticket for skating in the subway. Charlie now teaches skateboarding and is in post production on a skate documentary called Virgin Blacktop.

  • InqScribe Tips: Format Transcripts as Tables

    Posted on January 29th, 2014 christina No comments

    We often get inquiries from our users about how to format text as tables in InqScribe. Because InqScribe’s transcript window is “plain text,” it does not support tables. However, we can suggest these methods for converting InqScribe transcripts into table format.

    Many of our users use the Tab key to delineate columns and the Return key to delineate rows. You can export your transcript as “Tab-delimited text” from within InqScribe and then open in a program that supports tables, such as Word or Excel.

    Word

    1. Export the transcript as Tab-delimited Text…

    File > Export > Tab Delimited Text...

    Click export

    2. Open the exported text file. Select the text, and then copy and paste into a blank Word document.

    Open the text file

    Copy the text

    Paste into Word

    3. Choose Table>Convert>Convert text to table to convert the text to a table.

    Table > Convert > Convert to Table

    Click OK

    Text formatted as a table

    To further format your table (e.g., change the color of the cells or borders) choose Format>Borders and Shading…

    You can also export your transcript as HTML, which creates an HTML-based table format. You can open the HTML file directly in Word and repeat the steps above to create a table with borders.

    Excel

    1. Open the exported text file. Select the text, and then copy and paste into a blank spreadsheet.

    Copy the text

    Paste into a blank spreadsheet

    Text in Excel


    Your tips and ideas

    Do you have another way of formatting transcripts created in InqScribe? Need additional features? Let us know via our customer feedback pages.

  • InqScribe 2.2.1 Released

    Posted on January 1st, 2014 eric No comments

    We’ve just released an update to InqScribe: version 2.2.1.

    This is a free upgrade for all users that addresses a number of known issues.

    Download the update here.

    If you’re currently running v2.2 or earlier, select “Check for Updates” and InqScribe’s internal update checker will offer to download the update for you.

    What’s changed:

    • Fix an issue where a corrupted backup file could hang InqScribe indefinitely.
    • Better handling of low-ASCII control characters when exporting to Final Cut Pro XML.
    • Better preflight validation of Final Cut Pro XML exports, which should prevent errors once the file is imported into Final Cut Pro.
    • All export formats better report errors during the export process, instead of failing silently.
    • Minor documentation updates.

    A Note on Installation For Windows 7 and Windows 8 Users:

    Microsoft has introduced a new system for verifying the authenticity of desktop applications called SmartScreen that may trigger warnings when you download and install InqScribe.  It may report messages such as “This program is not commonly downloaded and could harm your computer.” or “Windows protected your PC. Windows SmartScreen prevented an unrecognized app from starting. Running this app might put your PC at risk.”

    While this new system does insure that you are downloading an application that has not been tampered with, it also introduces errant warnings, especially with newly released software applications and updates, such as InqScribe version releases.  See this Microsoft article for technical details.

    Rest assured that the InqScribe application is signed and has a valid certificate (You can check it yourself by viewing the Properties of the installer application).  We (Inquirium LLC, the developers of InqScribe) follow industry best practices in insuring the security of our software.

    However, as we mentioned earlier, due to the nature of how Windows is handling security, it is common for newly released applications to experience false warnings about security.  Such is the case with the latest version of InqScribe, as we have added a new signing certificate.  This warning will eventually go away as more folks download and install the software and the reputation increases over time.

    Here are some detailed installation instructions to help you install the update:

    To Install on Windows 7

    1. Go to http://www.inqscribe.com/download.html
    2. Click on the “Free Download” button.
    3. If your browser asks “Do you want to run or save InqScribe_2.2.1.253.exe (4.71 MB) from files.inqscribe.com?” click “Run”
    4. Your browser might report “InqScribe_2.2.1.253.exe is not commonly downloaded and could harm your computer.”  Click on “Actions”
    5. Click on “Run anyway”
    6. Continue with the InqScribe installation instructions.

    To Install on Windows 8

    1. Go to http://www.inqscribe.com/download.html
    2. Click on the “Free Download” button.
    3. After downloading and running the installer, Windows might report “Windows protected your PC.  Windows SmartScreen prevented an unrecognized app from starting.  Running this app might put your PC at risk.”
    4. Click on “More info” to reveal other options.
    5. Click on the “Run anyway” button
    6. Continue with the InqScribe installation instructions.

    As always, please contact us if you should have any problems or questions with installation.

  • InqScribe and Final Cut Pro 7: Subtitling Workflow for Filmmakers

    Posted on November 15th, 2013 chad No comments

    We occasionally feature guest bloggers who can offer insights into different workflows. For the beginning documentary filmmaker, managing Final Cut Pro (FCP) workflows in a foreign language in combination with InqScribe can be daunting at first. This is why we asked Chad Braham, an experienced InqScribe and FCP user to describe his workflow in detail. While you may find that your specific workflow needs to be slightly different, we hope that this offers some insight into one approach, or gives you some ideas about how you can set up your own.


    Hi, my name is Chad Braham. I’m a media producer, filmmaker, and a big fan of InqScribe. So when Inquirium invited me to write about how I create subtitled sequences using FCP 7 and InqScribe, I jumped at the chance.

    This tutorial is written for the beginner filmmaker and focuses on time code syncing and template editing. This tutorial will teach you how to:

    • set up a workflow for adding subtitles to all of the clips in an FCP project;
    • assemble a custom InqScribe Export Template in FCP for subtitle slide creation;
    • and produce subtitled sequences in FCP that you can use to put together your film.

    This workflow is particularly useful when working with foreign languages. The addition of subtitles makes it possible for an editor not familiar with the language to put together a film. This process can be applied to projects using full-resolution/online versions of clips, or low-resolution/offline versions (ProRes Proxy).

    Step 1:
    Create a new bin and sequence

    A. In FCP, create a new bin in your project to keep copies of the clips to be translated and subtitled: File > New > Bin. Name the bin “For Translation.”

    InqScribe subtitles

    B. Create a new sequence in the “For Translation” bin:

    1. Choose a clip that needs to be translated from your project.
    2. Select the “For Translation” bin and then choose File > New > Sequence.

    Example: We named our clip “Interview Clinic Director 03” and named the sequence “Clinic Director 03.”

    C. Overwrite-Edit the clip to be translated on to V1 and A1/A2 at the very start of the new sequence in the timeline.

    InqScribe subtitling

    Tip: You can also export a clip directly from FCP without putting it in a sequence to be prepped, which will produce the same result: A sequence that includes the clip on V1 and the subtitle on V2. Creating the sequence now and prepping the clips is a best practice.

    Step 2:
    Prep the sequence for export

    A. Insert the “Timecode Reader” filter on the sequence by selecting the timeline window with the appropriate sequence and choosing Effects > Video Filters > Video > Timecode Reader.

    B. Tweak the filter’s parameters and copy it to your “For Translation” bin for use on other translations:

    1. Double-click the clip in video track 1 (V1) in the “Timeline” to load the clip into the “Viewer” window.
    2. Choose the “Filters” tab in the viewer window for filter settings. We chose these “Timecode Reader” settings: “Size” = 12, “Center” = 0 – 468.5.
    3. Apply the filter by dragging it from the viewer into your “For Translation” bin.

    InqScribe subtitling

    Tip: Having time code “burnt” onto the video file can be very useful. It can serve as a reference to crosscheck when importing subtitles and when collaborating or sharing low-res (raw) clips from a project. The presence of time code on a clip reminds people (including opinionated clients) that the clip is for reference only and not ready for general public distribution.

    C. Do a rough mix of the audio in the sequence to ensure that the translator can hear the audio clearly. We isolated the mic on track A1 for the interviewee and kept the interviewer’s mic on track A2, only at the open and close of the clip so we had context for the interview content.

    Step 3:
    Export the sequence into a low-resolution clip for transcription

    A. Set In-and-Out points at the start and end of the clip in the sequence. The accuracy of the In-and-Out points is vital to having your subtitles sync to this clip later on:

    1. Click on the clip in the video track (V1) in the sequence.
    2. With the clip selected, choose Mark > Mark Selection.

    InqScribe subtitling

    B. Export the sequence by selecting File > Export > Using QuickTime Conversion:

    1. When the “Save” dialog appears, choose “Options” from the lower-left corner of the box to open the “Movie Settings” dialog.
    2. Settings will largely be dependent on the native format of the video you are editing in FCP. In our example, the native format is 1080p 23.98fps – audio at 48khz. To downsize from this widescreen aspect ratio we used these settings:

    - Video Settings -
    Compression Type: Photo – JPEG
    Depth: Color
    Frame Rate: “Current” fps
    Quality: Medium
    Video Size > Dimensions: Custom 320×180

    - Sound Settings -
    Format: Linear PCM
    Channels: Mono
    Rate 48.000 kHz
    Render Quality: Normal
    Linear PCM Settings – Sample Size: 16 bits (Little Endian)

    - Deselect “Prepare for Internet streaming”

    Tip: There are modern video compression types such as H.264. As beautiful and compact as the newer compression codecs are, they are also processor intensive during playback. On some computers, especially older ones, this can adversely affect the performance of InqScribe, causing the video to skip or the audio to drop out. We found the Photo – JPEG compression to be more reliable, even on older PCs.

    Step 4:
    Create subtitle template and organize bins and sequencesInqScribe subtitling

    A. Create a sub-bin inside of your “For Translation” bin and name it “Subtitle Templates:”

    1. Select the “For Translation” bin and control-click on the title and choose, “New Bin” from the drop-down menu.
    2. Select the new bin and name it “Subtitle Templates.”

    B. Create a new sequence in the “Subtitle Templates” bin:

    1. Select the “Subtitle Templates” bin and control-click on the title and choose “New Sequence” from the drop-down menu.
    2. Open the “Subtitle Templates” bin and rename this new sequence using the same name as the InqScribe subtitlingformat of your project. In our example: “1920x1080_23.98fps_Template01.”

    C. Add a single Text Generator and adjust the text generator font, settings, etc.:

    1. In the “Browser” window, click on the “Effects” tab.
    2. Open the “Video Generator” folder by clicking on the disclosure triangle.
    3. Open the “Text” tab by clicking on the disclosure triangle.
    4. Double-click the “Outline Text” generator.
    5. Choose the “Controls” tab from the “Viewer” window to set the characteristics.

    Here are some recommended settings:

    Font: Arial Narrow
    Style: Plain
    Alignment: Center
    Size: 23
    Tracking: 3
    Leading: 0
    Aspect: 1
    Line Width: 50
    Line Softness: 38
    Center: 0, 326 (You may need to adjust the center Y point depending on the size of your movie)
    Text Color: White
    Line Color: Black

    D. Overwrite-Edit the Outline Text video generator from the “Browser” window into the very beginning of the sequence timeline.

    InqScribe subtitling

    Step 5:
    Save the sequence


    InqScribe can export certain types of XML files that FCP 7 can display as subtitled text on top of your original video clip. But first, you need to define a template of the text for InqScribe in a format that matches your project. Refer to InqScribe’s detailed support document on creating a FCP 7 subtitle template when troubleshooting any template issues.


    Step 6:
    Export the subtitle template sequence as an XML template for use in InqScribe

    A. Choose the subtitle template sequence located in the “Subtitle Templates” bin (“1920x1080_23.98fps_Template01,” in our example). Control-click on the title and choose “Export > XML…” from the drop-down menu.

    InqScribe subtitling

    B. Select “Apple XML Interchange Format, version 1” in the export dialog box.

    C. Click “OK.”

    D. If prompted, Save the project.

    E. You’ll then be prompted to save the XML file. For this example, lets call it “ClinicDirector_InqScribeTemplate.xml.”

    Step 7:
    Send the file to the transcriptionist

    In most cases, transcription work is performed by someone other than the filmmaker. The beauty of InqScribe is that it is so easy to use even people who have never subtitled or transcribed before can get the job done efficiently. By marking time codes for each short phrase, the translator creates the subtitles in InqScribe as well.

    It is best to keep the instructions to the translator as simple as possible; you want him/her to focus on translating, not the technical issues. In the next step, the filmmaker will open the translator’s InqScribe file (.inqscr) and make any necessary adjustments. For our workflow, the exchange between translator and filmmaker looks like this:

    A. The filmmaker sends the time code burn-in reference movie and notes to the translator (in our example, the time code burn-in reference video file that was exported in Step 3):

    1. Use a service like Google Drive or Dropbox instead of email to send the video files.
    2. If possible, send notes to the translator to provide some background on each clip, such as who the person is in relation to your film, an overview of the questions asked, the setting, etc.

    B. The translator launches InqScribe, imports the time code burn-in reference video, and sets the frame rate of the video (see details below).

    C. The translator transcribes the video making sure to put time code stamps after each short phrase. You want to break up the transcription into many pieces for the purpose of subtitles.

    D. After the translator is finished transcribing the video clip, only the .inqscr translated file needs to be sent back to the filmmaker (this file is usually small enough to be attached to an email). Having the source .insqscr file allows you to make last minute tweaks and troubleshoot any exchange issues that may arise.

    Step 8:
    Export FCP XML from InqScribe

    This step picks up after the initial transcription is complete, and assumes that the translator has delivered the completed transcript with plenty of time code stamps to break up the text into small phrases for subtitles. The filmmaker will repeat many of the steps in InqScribe that the translator has done, just to ensure that everything is in order for the FCP XML export:

    A. Launch InqScribe and open the transcript.

    B. Be sure the frame rate matches your project:

    1. Select the “Transcript Setting” button on the top right of the InqScribe interface.
    2. Select the correct frame rate from the transcript settings dialog.

    C. Set the Media start time to match the time code window burn on your video clip:

    InqScribe subtitling

    1. Open the Media Source dialog: Media> Select Media Source.
    2. In the dialog box, choose “Start at Custom Time:” from the “Time code” drop-down, and type in the time code that is burnt on the opening frame of your video file. This setting will ensure that any new time code marks you put in will match your time code.

    D. Match the time code in the transcript to the video time code. For example, if your transcript time codes start 0:00:00.00, but the time stamp starts at 0:01:12.00, then you want to adjust the transcript’s time codes to match your clip’s time.

    InqScribe subtitles

    1. Open the “Transcript Settings” dialog: Transcript > Adjust Time Codes.
    2. Choose the “Add” option from the drop-down menu and enter the start time from your video clip’s time code burn-in window into the time code field. If your transcript time code doesn’t starts at 0:00, then enter the difference between the transcript time code and the clip’s time code.

    NOTE: Unfortunately, FCP can run into problems if the time code is greater than 12 hours (eg. 12:09:22:15). If the time code is greater than 12 hours, apply steps C and D AFTER the transcript is exported as an FCP XML.

    Tip: Before exporting an XML file, it’s often a good idea to make sure that the time codes provided by the translator are not out of sequence (this actually happens fairly often) by exporting as HTML first.

    E. Export the FCP 7 XML:

    1. In InqScribe, select File > Export > Final Cut Pro XML to open the export dialog.
    2. Click the “Load From File…” button in the export dialog to choose the template file that was exported from FCP (“ClinicDirector_InqScribeTemplate.xml,” in our example).
    3. In the “Target” field, rename the file so you can easily find it (“ClinicDirector_InqScribeExport.xml”). Click the “Export” button.

    InqScribe subtitling

    Tip: Before leaving InqScribe, it’s a good idea to also export a tab-delimited version of the transcript with the proper time code that is burnt into the time code window. This can be matched against camera recorded time code for referencing clips in the future. Again, if your time code was greater than 12 hours, go back and set the time code following steps C and D before exporting the tab-delimited version.

    Step 9:
    Import the Subtitles XML from InqScribe into FCP 7

    A. Open your FCP project.
    B. Create a new sub bin in the “For Translation” bin of your project and title it “Subtitles Temp.”

    1. In the “Browser” window, open the “For Translation” bin.
    2. In the “For Translation” bin control-click on an empty area in the far left column and choose “New Bin” from the drop-down menu.

    InqScribe subtitling

    3. Title this bin “Subtitles Temp.”

    C. Import the subtitles XML exported from InqScribe (created in Step 6):

    1. Choose File > Import > XML… and select the exported XML (“ClinicDirector_InqScribeExport.xml,” in our example).
    2. Leave the default settings and click “OK.”

    NOTE: In FCP, the XML file exported from InqScribe is renamed automatically to the original template name with the word “InqScribe” at the end and placed in the main project window. For example: “1920x1080_23.98fps_Template01_InqScribe.”

    D. Rename this file to what it was when exported from InqScribe by selecting the file name in the FCP project and replacing with: “ClinicDirector_InqScribeExport.”
    E. Drag the clip into your “Subtitles Temp” sub bin located in your “For Translation” bin.

    Step 10:
    Sync the original video clip to your subtitles

    A. Open the subtitle sequence you placed in the “Subtitles Temp” bin by double-clicking the title (“ClinicDirector_InqScribeExport,” in our example) and prep the subtitles to be copied and pasted onto your video clip sequence:

    1. With the subtitle sequence open, make sure the first frame of the subtitle is extended all the way to the very beginning of the sequence (this will ensure that the sequence stays in sync when copied).

    InqScribe subtitling

    2. Create a new video layer by control-clicking on the far left-hand column in the “Timeline” window above the “V1” label in this sequence and choose “Add Track” from the drop-down menu.

    InqScribe subtitling
    3. Select all of the subtitle slides by choosing Edit > Select All and click -drag them to video track 2 (V2). Be sure that all of the titles are selected and that the selection is kept in sync to the opening of the sequence (there should be no gap between the opening of the sequence and the start of the first subtitle).
    4. With all of the titles still selected, choose Edit > Copy.

    B. Place the selected subtitle slides on top of the video clip sequence:

    1. Open the video sequence to be subtitled from the “For Translation” bin in Step 1. In our example, the sequence “Interview Clinic Director 03” is located in the “For Translation” bin.
    2. Create a second video track on the video sequence by control-clicking on the far left-hand column in the “Timeline” window, above the track “V1” label and choose “Add Track” from the drop-down menu.
    3. Move the timeline play head to the beginning of the sequence in the “Timeline” window by selecting the “Timeline” window and choosing Mark > Go to > Beginning.
    4. With the play head at the beginning of the sequence (to keep in sync) paste the subtitles by choosing Edit >Paste. The subtitles should insert on video track 2 (V2) above the video on (V1).

    C. With the “Timecode Reader” filter still active on the original video clip in video track 1 of your sequence (V1), you can cross-reference the time code with the time code marks in your original InqScribe transcription to make sure that everything matches.

    InqScribe subtitling

    D. Once you have everything lined up in the sequence, you can hide the “Timecode Reader” filter:

    1. Double click the clip in video track 1 (V1) in the “Timeline” window to load the clip in the “Viewer” window.
    2. Choose the “Filters” tab in the viewer window and uncheck the box next to “Timecode Reader.”

    E. For each additional clip/interview that you need subtitled, you can repeat most of the steps above, re-using the XML template created in Step 3.

    Once your subtitled sequence is completed in FCP, you can play through the sequence, tweak the subtitles and drop markers to designate “Subclips” that you want to highlight within the clip to organize the content. When ready, you can mark In and Out points from segments of this sequence and edit them into your main edit sequence as you begin to build your film.

    As stated earlier, this tutorial is based on an on-line/full-resolution workflow. If you plan on using an off-line workflow (such as logging and capturing offline RT first and then converting to a higher ProRes later) the workflow is the same, except you will need to conform the sequence to the full resolution media. The beauty of this FCP/InqScribe workflow is that it relies on FCP’s text generator, which will rebuild the subtitles to match the resolution of whatever FCP sequence you copy and paste them into (no re-exporting from InqScribe/FCP required).

    Read more about:
    • The process of using the “Media Tool” in FCP7 to conform ProRes Proxy media to Full-res media in your project. (PDF)

    FCP7 Offline/Online workflows.

    For additional support on using InqScribe and Final Cut Pro, review the FCP section of the InqScribe online user guide and the FCP section of the InqScribe Knowledge Base.

    A final word about subtitles

    Good subtitle work is subtle and done in a way that doesn’t distract from the emotion of the story. Here are a few tips to turn you into a subtitling master in FCP:

    • When possible, stack the text into two lines on the screen, but no more than two lines at a time. Subtitles are quicker to read in chunks rather than one long string.
    • When two people speak during one title, the second speaker’s text goes on the second line with a “-” before the text:

    Hey Chad, do you like these subtitles?
    -Yes, of course I do, Ben. Thanks for asking!

    • Look for times when you can reasonably break one really full subtitle slide into several smaller, less full screens.
    • Keep in mind that the average viewer will only be able to read 11 characters per second. This can help you determine how long a subtitle should be onscreen and how much text should be on each subtitle slide.
    • In FCP, consider adding 3-5 frame spacing between each subtitle slide to increase readability.

    The timing and cadence of subtitles is an art in and of itself and goes hand-in-hand with the video edit. Because of this, the final touches on your subtitles will most likely be done back in FCP as your film editing and post-production process unfolds. As other elements are added (SFX, music, etc.), you may need to finesse the duration of one title, break another into shorter ones, or stack lines on top of each other. That’s really the beauty of this system: Once the titles are in FCP you can edit the text and duration without any loss in quality to the text or the video.


    I certainly hope this tutorial has been helpful. As always, there are many different workflows and methods to get the job done. Regardless of method, I hope this tutorial has impressed upon you the importance of taking the time to be organized during each step of any workflow. As beginning filmmakers, you will be required to wear multiple hats (director, editor, producer, etc.) and staying organized is the only way to efficiently balance all of these tasks, especially as your projects get bigger.

    About the author
    Chad Braham is a media producer with over 13 years of professional broadcast and multimedia experience. He freelances as a videographer, video editor, and audio producer on projects ranging from :30 TV spots to documentary films. When not spending his days and nights in a dark editing bay, Chad (for some reason) enjoys following the Chicago Cubs.