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  • Working Around Discontinuous Timecodes

    Posted on April 6th, 2018 Alex No comments

    We often hear from users working with video that has a running timecode burned in to the video image. The most common issue is that the on-screen running timecode doesn’t match up with InqScribe’s default [00.00.00:00] starting point. You can easily resolve this by running a timecode adjustment. However, you may also have a gap in the middle of the footage that causes the on-screen timecode to becomes out of sync with InqScribe. A transcript with a gap like this is said to have discontinuous timecodes.

    The problem is that InqScribe can’t read the burned in running timecode and has no way of knowing about the gap. InqScribe bases its timecode on the total length of the video itself, not the on-screen footage that makes up the video.

    You can work around this limitation by offsetting your timecodes so that they match up after the gap. Note that this will effectively “break” the timecodes in your transcript. They will no longer be clickable and cannot be saved as a subtitled QuickTime Movie. With that said, it won’t affect your end results when exporting the transcript as a subtitle file, in formats like SubRip SRT, WebVTT, Plain Text, etc.

    Here’s what to do:

    1. Prepare your InqScribe transcript. Here’s a short sample text we’ll use for the purpose of demonstration:

    [02:17:58.00] John crosses the street
    [02:18:08.17] John enters a rickshaw
    [02:18:29.19] John exits the rickshaw

    2. Make a new copy of your transcript. This way, you have a backup to refer to in case you inadvertently make a mistake adjusting timecodes.

    3. Find the point in the video where there is a gap between the burned-in timecode and the corresponding timecode in your transcript. Click on the first timecode entered after this gap and note the burned in timecode that appears on screen. You’re going to subtract the value of the timecode written in InqScribe from the timecode burned into the video (or vice versa if there was a jump backwards in time). To make this easier, you may want to make use of this free timecode calculator from Michael Cinquin. (Tip: If you use this tool, make note of the timecode frame rate selector at the top of the calculator. This should match the frame rate of your InqScribe transcript. You can check the timecode frame rate of your InqScribe transcript in InqScribe’s Transcript > Transcript Settings menu. By default, it’s set to 30 fps.)

    In our example, let’s say we noticed a gap between the first entry at [02:17:58.00] and the second entry at [02:18:08.17]. When we click onĀ [02:18:08.17], we notice the burned-in timecode shown below:

    Burned-in Timecode

    Since the timecode jumped forward, we take the on-screen value [03:19:09.18] minus the transcript value [02:18:08.17]. This comes out to a gap of [01:01:01.01].

    4. Highlight the affected region of your transcript, from the offset point through the end of your transcript, and select “Transcript > Adjust Timecodes”. Select “Add” (or “Subtract” if there was a jump backwards in time) and enter the number you got from your earlier subtraction. Based on our example, we’ll enter [01:01:01.01]. Check “Adjust Selection Only” and click OK.

    5. You should now see the selected timecodes match up with the running on-screen time. If you find another gap in your running timecode later in the transcript, you can repeat the process as needed.
    Here’s how our sample text turned out:

    [02:17:58.00] John crosses the street
    [03:19:09.18] John enters a rickshaw
    [03:19:30.20] John exits the rickshaw

    If something didn’t go right, make sure to check that the timecode frame rate of your video, your InqScribe transcript, and the timecode calculator tool (if used) all match. Otherwise, if you have questions about InqScribe, you can contact us at support@inqscribe.com.