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

  • Keyboard Shortcuts for Film Editors

    Posted on January 24th, 2012 ben No comments

    One of our customers, a professor at a film school, suggested this tip:

    For those of you used to using industry standard editting software like Final Cut and Avid, you can map “j”, “k”, and “l” with modifier keys to back/pause/forward.  Since you need the j/k/l keys for actually inputting text during transcription, you’ll need to use modifier keys (Ctrl, Command, etc.).

    On the Mac you would use the “Command” and “Option” keys to set up something like this:

    • Command-j => Play Backwards at Custom Rate 1.x
    • Command-Option-j => Play Backwards at Custom Rate 2.0x
    • Command-k => Pause
    • Command-l => Play at Custom Rate 1.x
    • Command-Option-l => Play at Custom Rate 2.0x

    In Windows you would use the “Ctrl” and “Shift” keys to set up something like this:

    • Ctrl-j => Play Backwards at Custom Rate 1.x
    • Ctrl-Shift-j => Play Backwards at Custom Rate 2.0x
    • Ctrl-k => Pause
    • Ctrl-l => Play at Custom Rate 1.x
    • Ctrl-Shift-l => Play at Custom Rate 2.0x

    You can obviously tweak these to suit your workflow.

    Note that by setting Command-l/Ctrl-l to “Play at Custom Rate 1.x” you can toggle back and forth between the fast speed and the slow speed.  If you set it to “Play” instead, hitting Command-l/Ctrl-l would only continue playing at the current play rate.  So if you’re already at 2.x, the play rate won’t change.

    An alternative approach would be to set Command-Option-l/Ctrl-Shift-l to “Change Play Rate” by 1.x.  Then every time you hit Command-Option-l/Ctrl-Shift-l the play rate would increase to 2.x, 3.x, etc..  And you can hit Command-l/Ctrl-l to get back to the 1.x rate.  This would more emulate the behavior of FCP.

    For instructions on how to set up shortcuts: http://www.inqscribe.com/docs/keyboardshortcuts.html

    Comments are turned off in this blog, but head on over to our Facebook page for to leave comments: http://www.facebook.com/InqScribe

  • Guest Blog: “This is definitely the fastest transcription we’ve ever done.”

    Posted on September 13th, 2011 ben No comments

    Filmmakers like InqScribe for a multitude of reasons. In this latest guest blog, part of our ongoing series highlighting how folks use InqScribe, Bongiorno Productions, an award-winning filmmaking duo, talk about how they’re using it with their latest project.

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


    Screenshot from The Monks

    Monks in the Hood

    Emmy-nominated, award-winning, husband and wife filmmakers, Marylou and Jerome Bongiorno (http://www.bongiornoproductions.com), are in production on a new documentary called The Rule. It’s the story of Benedictine monks working in inner city Newark, NJ, as a successful model to combat the plight of urban America – to read more about the production, please see this news article.

    Filmmakers’ comments on InqScribe:

    Since we shoot a lot of footage when we’re creating a doc, including both vérité and lengthy interviews, there is no way to remember it all for editing. So, we log and transcribe the footage. We then read over the transcripts, highlight key sound bites, and edit the bites into a smooth story.

    This process requires InqScribe – an exceptional, flexible transcription software that allows you to:

    1. Customize controls on your keyboard to facilitate quick typing.

    2. Type directly into a user-friendly, neat looking console that plays back the video or audio file. Plus, the console is intuitive, meaning you can start transcribing almost immediately.

    3. Punch in timecode as you’re transcribing, without stopping the playback – a great feature. We used to transcribe by using an editing program (so that we can copy the timecode) and a word processing program. The time spent switching back and forth – copying and pasting timecodes – doubled the transcription time. Punching in timecode is now easy, and we do it frequently for a more efficient transcript.

    4. Start your timecode from zero, set a custom timecode, or the software can read the media timecode (essential for editing).

    5. Slow the audio or speed it up. InqScribe does both at custom rates.

    6. Export the user-friendly files to many different file types to facilitate reading or printing. Even if some footage doesn’t make the final cut, transcribing is essential in archiving everything into a searchable format for future use.

    Bottom Line:

    If you have some typing skills and your time is valuable, InqScribe is the “it” software. It makes transcribing fun and highly efficient. This is definitely the fastest transcription we’ve ever done.

  • Second Language Learning Using Films

    Posted on April 19th, 2011 ben No comments

    A part of our occasional series highlighting interesting uses of InqScribe

    In addition to transcriptionists and documentary filmmakers, researchers make up a large portion of InqScribe users.  Although, in this case, we hit two of our favorite topics simultaneously: research and education.

    Alex Gilmore, a professor at the University of Tokyo, just published a book chapter on using InqScribe to produce film-based teaching resources based for second language learning.

    InqScribe screenshot

    Why film?  Think about it, wouldn’t you rather learn a language by watching a film than reading boring text or hokey audio tapes? Films are a naturally motivating platform for teaching language. They’re also useful because they have contextual and discourse features like colloquial language, politeness strategies, and vague language that make them valuable for developing listening skills. They represent a much more authentic use of language.

    Why not just use the subtitles present in many DVDs? Subtitles are actually often condensed versions of what is actually said. In language learning, it’s important to have the full text. So you have to take the time to produce quality learning materials.

    In the chapter, Professor Gilmore details a procedure in which he uses InqScribe to produce teaching materials for an episode of Fawlty Towers, a British comedy television series. This includes subtitles as well as classroom materials. He covers ripping from DVD all the way to producing subtitles, so it’s a pretty thorough tutorial.

    He’s generously provided a PDF of the chapter. You can download the paper here.

    Gilmore, A. (2009). Catching words: Exploiting film discourse in the foreign language classroom. In F. Mishan & A. Chambers (eds.), Perspectives on Language Learning Materials Development. Oxford: Peter Lang AG.