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  • 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/filenames 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 timecode 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 timecodes. Timecode references should be at least at 10-second intervals (we recommend every 4-5 seconds). Be careful with InqScribe’s sensitive timecode selection so that you don’t timecodes out of order. And be sure to have opening AND closing timecodes 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 timecodes 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 timecode 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 timecodes 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 timecode 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.

  • 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 if you’d like to share a story about a workflow or a project that uses Inqscribe.

  • 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 timecode 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 timecode “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 timecode 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 timecodes 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 timecode burn-in reference movie and notes to the translator (in our example, the timecode 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 timecode 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 timecode 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 timecode 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 timecode 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 “Timecode” drop-down, and type in the timecode that is burnt on the opening frame of your video file. This setting will ensure that any new timecode marks you put in will match your timecode.

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

    InqScribe subtitles

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

    NOTE: Unfortunately, FCP can run into problems if the timecode is greater than 12 hours (eg. 12:09:22:15). If the timecode 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 timecodes 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 timecode that is burnt into the timecode window. This can be matched against camera recorded timecode for referencing clips in the future. Again, if your timecode was greater than 12 hours, go back and set the timecode 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 filename 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 timecode with the timecode 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.

  • Guest Blog: A Final Cut Pro Workflow for Editing in Another Language

    Posted on May 7th, 2012 ben No comments

    Finding the right workflow for a project can be a challenge, especially when you have multiple languages, multiple tools, and multiple collaborators in the mix.  In our latest guest blog, Chad Braham, an editor and Director of Media Production at describes in very helpful detail how they’ve developed a translation workflow that starts in Final Cut Pro and ends back in Final Cut Pro with a full resolution subtitled version that enables him to edit the film in a language he doesn’t speak.

    Got an interesting story about how you’re using InqScribe? Please contact us at if you’d like to highlight your work.

    by Chad Braham, Editor, Director of Media Production, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Indianapolis, IN, that aims to educate and raise awareness about women’s cancer.

    This summer, our organization is working on a documentary short film about a cervical cancer prevention program in the Peten region of Guatemala, entitled, “No More <>. Due to the location of where the film was shot, a large portion of the footage needs to be translated and subtitled (from Spanish to English) for the final piece.

    Much of this translation is currently being done by a small group of volunteers, most of whom have little to no subtitling/transcription experience. Because of this, we needed a solution that was easy to learn and use, was available on multiple platforms (PC and Mac) and could work within our Final Cut Pro 7 video editing workflow.

    As you probably already know, Inqscribe <> does all the above and more. As the editor of this film, I must say that I don’t speak much spanish, so it was critical that our translation workflow start and end with Final Cut Pro. With Inqscribe I can edit spanish speaking interviews, in Final Cut Pro, with subtitles, and find sound bites and edit points as if I were editing an english speaking interview. Our typical workflow is as follows:

    1. Export a clip of spanish speaking footage from Final Cut Pro as a small reference video file with a timecode window burned in. In an attempt to keep the physical file size small (and the duration short for our volunteers) we usually keep the file to around 7 minutes long (a 320×180 Quicktime file at Photo-JPEG with “Medium” compression seem to play-back better then “.mp4” files on slower PC machines).

    2. Upload the file to our FTP site or Google Drive (depending on the volunteer’s preferences) and notify the volunteer with an email that also includes a few notes about the file (who the person speaking is, why we chose to talk to them, etc.)

    3. Volunteer transcribes in Inqscribe and breaks up the transcription into phrases with timecode for subtitling exports.

    4. The volunteer then emails over just the “.inqscr” file, that the video editor opens in his copy of InqScribe, makes a few adjustments to ensure it adheres to basic subtitling best practices (amount of text per subtitle, etc.), and then exports out an XML from InqScribe for Final Cut Pro import.

    5. The XML export is then imported into Final Cut Pro and sync’d to the full-rez version of the translated clip. This is really the beauty of translating and transcribing with Inqscribe, the translation is already broken into full-resolution subtitling text “slides” in FCP and can be edited further without any quality loss to the video or text.

    One of the biggest challenges of producing any documentary, is organizing the massive amounts of footage and material, into a compelling story. This is especially complicated when a good portion of the material you are working with is in a foreign language. Luckly, there is a software like InqScribe that is so easy, anyone can use it.

    You can learn about this film at the film’s website

  • Guest Blog: Using InqScribe with Final Cut Pro and Multiple Languages

    Posted on May 2nd, 2011 ben No comments

    InqScribe’s ability to export transcripts to Final Cut Pro has made it particularly useful for documentary filmmakers working in multiple languages.  In this latest guest blog, part of our ongoing series highlighting how folks use InqScribe, Carlos Sandoval, an award-winning filmmaker, talks about how they’re using it with their latest project.

    Got an interesting story about how you’re using InqScribe? Please contact us at if you’d like to highlight your work.

    The Arizona Project

    We are currently working on a feature documentary tentatively titled THE ARIZONA PROJECT. The film takes on Arizona’s current struggle with illegal immigration and presents it from all sides of the issue: from the perspective of the recent immigrants, to that of native Arizonans who are seeing their communities change. Because we are dealing with material in both English and Spanish, InqScribe has been invaluable for our editorial and post production tasks.

    InqScribe allows us to quickly and easily access our footage and to create timecode specific documents that will reference said footage. This allows us to best isolate the material that will shape our story. We can create transcriptions of our interviews in English, and translations of those in Spanish. Even more importantly, we can create subtitles in InqScribe that quickly and easily get imported into Final Cut Pro saving us (literally) hours and hours of time. This versatility is instrumental for a project like ours.

    Thank you for making such a great product and for helping to bridge the gap between Spanish and English speakers. I wish we’d have had InqScribe when we were working on our award-winning film, Farmingville.

    Carlos Sandoval

    Camino Bluff Productions, Inc.
    752 West End Ave., 2F | New York, NY 10025
    p. 212 666 3266 | f. 212 864 4313 |

  • Guest Blog: How Documentary Filmmakers Transcribe and Subtitle With InqScribe

    Posted on October 16th, 2010 ben No comments

    InqScribe has many different kinds of users. But the majority of our users can be categorized into three groups: university researchers, professional transcriptionists, and documentary filmmakers.

    To highlight how our folks are using the tool, we would like to do an occasional feature where we invite our users to be guest bloggers.

    Here’s our first guest blog from a pair of award-winning documentary filmmakers. We were particularly interested in how they might be using InqScribe as part of their translation and transcription workflow, so we asked them to elaborate:



    By Dianne Griffin and Erica Jordan

    Digall Media, a 501(c)(3) organization founded by Erica Jordan and Dianne Griffin is currently in production on their one-hour documentary Painted Nails – a Vietnamese immigrant story of exotic nail art, pampered clients, and the serious health risks that lurk beneath the brightly painted surface.

    We’re excited about using Inquirium’s product InqScribe to transcribe dialogue and create English subtitles for our Vietnamese and Spanish speaking characters. We’re still fine-tuning the workflow of importing subtitles, generated with InqScribe, into Final Cut Pro. It took some time to figure out the importing and exporting specs, but it was worth trouble-shooting. We can now transcribe dialogue in InqScribe with timecode and export it as an XML file using a custom FCP XML template. When the XML file is imported into Final Cut, the subtitles (as text elements) magically appear on a new timeline. InqScribe’s support page offers to look at your files to help trouble-shoot subtitling issues. InqScribe works great with a foot pedal, saving valuable post-production time.

    Filmmaking is hard enough; it’s great to find a product such as InqScribe to make it easier.

    Please contact us at if you’re interested in highlighting your work.

  • Workaround for Final Cut Pro 7 Importing Bug

    Posted on December 16th, 2009 eric No comments

    Update: this bug is fixed in the 2.1 beta. Get the beta here.

    If you’re using Final Cut Pro 7 and importing InqScribe-generated FCP XML files, you’re probably pulling your hair out. As of FCP7, any imported subtitles beyond the two minute mark show up with a duration of only one frame.

    The problem is twofold. First, InqScribe is setting incorrect values for the in and out points for each generated subtitle. In prior versions of FCP, these values were essentially ignored on import, because in and out points for a static subtitle don’t really mean that much. (The start and end points for the subtitle, which determine where the subtitle goes in the sequence, were and are correct.)

    Unfortunately, FCP7 is interpreting those values differently, and any subtitle with an in point greater than the subtitle’s stated duration ends up with a frame length of 1. Since InqScribe was setting every subtitle’s duration to 3600 frames (because this value shouldn’t really matter: effective duration of the subtitle is based on the start and end values), most users will find that subtitles that start at the two minute mark or later are affected.

    We’re working on a fix for the next beta release. In the meantime, there is a workaround.

    Here’s an excerpt from an InqScribe-generated FCP XML file:

    <generatoritem id="Text">

    Note that InqScribe sets the duration to 3600 (regardless of the actual duration, which is based on the start and end values). InqScribe also sets the in and out points to the start and end values. The problem is that in and out values should technically never be greater than the duration.

    So the fix is to change every instance of in and out to this:


    With this change, in and out stay within duration’s range, and FCP7 won’t clip the resulting subtitle.

    To make this change easily, use a tool that supports regular expressions to find all instances of the in and out tags. Here’s a solution that uses sed, which comes installed on OS X.

    1. Export the FCP XML file from InqScribe as usual (let’s say it’s called export.xml).
    2. In the Terminal, navigate to the directory containing export.xml, and issue this command (which is one long line, make sure to copy the whole thing):

    sed -e 's_\(<in>\)[0-9]*\(</in>\)_\1100\2_g' -e 's_\(<out>\)[0-9]*\(</out>\)_\13600\2_g' < export.xml > export_fixed.xml

    3. Import the resulting export_fixed.xml into FCP7.

    If you want to dig into sed so you understand what that command is doing, here’s a solid sed tutorial. It’s a very powerful tool.

  • Exporting NTSC DF to Final Cut Pro

    Posted on April 29th, 2009 eric No comments

    There’s a bug in InqScribe 2.0.5 that affects FCP XML exporting. Currently the bug only affects exports that use XML templates that are based on NTSC DF.

    The bug is that InqScribe is counting the dropped frames when it converts from the timecode to a single frame count number. As a result, the converted timecodes will drift farther and farther from where they should be, the later in the movie you go.

    There is a workaround that you can use until we fix the problem.

    Update: turns out the workaround didn’t work. Drat. But the good news is that we’ve fixed the underlying problem in InqScribe 2.1. A public beta can be found here.

    Read the rest of this entry »