News and Notes related to Digital Media Transcription, Analysis, and Captioning.
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  • 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.

  • 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 $19. 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.

    You can find more information about Submerge, including directions on how to get started at their website: http://www.bitfield.se/submerge.

    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.

  • How to Add Captions to Facebook Videos

    Posted on October 8th, 2014 Alex No comments

    As you may or may not have noticed, Facebook has been making some improvements to its video feature. Part of this campaign includes newly added support for caption/subtitle display. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Can I use InqScribe to add subtitles to my Facebook video?” The answer: yes, yes you can.

    Facebook video screenshot

    Here's what your subtitles will look like in Facebook

    The following process entails creating your transcript, exporting it to the Facebook-compatible Subrip .srt format, and finally uploading your video along with the .srt file to Facebook. Note that, at this time of writing (October 2014), adding captions is only available in the US for the English language, and it won’t work on mobile or tablet. This is subject to change as Facebook continues to develop their video features. In the likely event that Facebook alters their subtitling process, we’ll keep these instructions updated in our Knowledge Base here.

    Facebook is a little picky when it comes to the format of the Subrip .srt captions, so pay special attention your filename and line endings (see steps 3 and 4). With that in mind, here’s how to add in your captions:

    1. Open up InqScribe and prepare your transcript with text and timecodes.
    2. Once its ready, export your transcript as a Subrip .srt file by selecting “File > Export > Subrip Format.”
    3. Select a name for your file and specify its save location with the “Choose…” button. Here’s the important part: Facebook requires you to place “.en_US” at the end of your filename. So, your file will end up looking something like “Example.en_US.srt.”
    4. Now, in the Export Settings menu, click “Advanced” to bring up the Advanced Options. Set Line Endings to “Windows (CR/LF)” and click OK. Don’t forget this step! In our testing, Facebook will only accept Windows or Unix line endings.

      line endings screen shot

      Make sure to set Line Endings to "Windows (CR/LF)"

    5. Press OK and your Subrip .srt subtitle file will be saved in the location of your choosing.
    6. Now, login to Facebook and upload your video (instructions from Facebook here).
    7. Once you have located your video, select “Post” and the video will begin uploading. Then, select “Edit This Video.” You’ll be taken to the menu pictured below where you can add in your subtitle file.facebook video upload screenshot
    8. Under the Captions section, select “Choose File” and locate your Subrip .srt subtitle file.
    9. Select “Save” and the subtitles will be added to your video!
    10. To display subtitles, press the “CC” button at the bottom of the video player on playback.

    If you didn’t name the .srt file correctly, you’ll see the message “You uploaded a .SRT file with an incorrect filename. Please use this format: filename.en_US.srt”

    If you don’t see any subtitles after uploading your .srt file and clicking the “CC” button on the video player, then you might not have selected the correct line endings in step 4.

    You can also add subtitles to a video you’ve already uploaded. To do so, select the video and expand it. Click “Options > Edit This Video” at the bottom of the video player and refer to steps 7-9.

    Questions? Comments? Contact us at support@inqscribe.com.

  • Play a Subtitled Movie with Windows Media Player

    Posted on September 22nd, 2014 Alex No comments

    You can easily create Subtitled QuickTime Movies directly in InqScribe, and in general we recommend using QuickTime with InqScribe. However, there is another method to play a subtitled movie by combining your video with an exported subtitle track in Windows Media Player. How you ask? Windows Media Player doesn’t natively support subtitle importation, so we’ll be using the DirectVobSub add-on.

    Before proceeding, note that you’ll need to download and install the freeware DirectVobSub media codec, hosted by free-codecs here: http://www.free-codecs.com/DirectVobSub_download.htm. DirectVobSub is an unofficial add-on that allows Windows Media Player to read external subtitles files such as subrip .srt, which you can create through InqScribe. Be aware that, depending on your version of Windows, adding subtitles with DirectVobSub is limited to .avi files (see below for more info).

    This option isn’t for everyone, and we’d like to point out that DirectVobSub is a third-party, unofficial add-on. We don’t support it, and your mileage may vary. That said, it is a quick and easy way to display subtitles without installing an additional media player.

    Here’s what to do:

    1. Prepare your transcript in InqScribe
    2. Export your transcript as a Subrip .srt file by selecting “File > Export > Subrip Format…”
    3. You’ll see the Export Settings menu. In the Target section, you’ll have the option to name your .srt file. It is important to give this .srt file the same title as the video you’re subtitling. For example, if your video is titled “My Subtitled Movie_123.avi” you should name your exported .srt file “My Subtitled Movie_123.srt” It is also important to save your .srt file in the same folder as the video you’re subtitling. You can specify the file’s location with the “Choose…” button in the same Export Settings menu. So, if your video file is located in a folder called “My Favorite Videos” make sure to save the .srt file in the same place.
    4. Download the DirectVobSub media codec, hosted for free by free-codecs here: http://www.free-codecs.com/DirectVobSub_download.htm
    5. Install DirectVobSub by double clicking on the .exe file you downloaded. It should be called something like: “VSFilter_2.41.322.exe”
    6. Once it’s finished installing, open up the video file you wish to subtitle in Windows Media Player. Bring up the menu by pressing the “Alt” key, and select “Play > Lyrics, captions, and subtitles > On if available”
    7. Your video will now display the subtitles you created in InqScribe!

    Note that there are a few restrictions to using DirectVobSub and Windows Media Player for subtitle display:

    • Although this method will work with .avi video files, it won’t work with the common mp4 file type on Windows 7 and up. This is because DirectVobSub relies on DirectShow to display subtitles, but later versions of Windows use Media Foundation, rather than DirectShow, to decode mp4 files. On Windows Vista and lower, however, mp4 files are decoded with DirectShow. So, on earlier versions of Windows you should be able to use DirectVobSub to add in your subtitle track to mp4 files.
    • Be aware that you won’t have any control over the appearance of your subtitles. They will appear “flush with bottom” (near the bottom of the screen), centered, and white with black outlines and drop shadow. In other words, they will look close to how it would look in a film.

    Do you have experience using DirectVobSub with other file types? Do you use an entirely different method to add subtitles to video with Windows Media Player? Let us know! Contact us at support@inqscribe.com.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 WORDonCancer.org 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 support@inqscribe.com if you’d like to highlight your work.


    by Chad Braham, Editor, Director of Media Production, WORDonCancer.org

    WORDonCancer.org 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 <http://nomorethemovie.com/>. 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 <http://inqscribe.com/> 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 www.nomorethemovie.com.