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

     

  • InqScribe 2.2.4 Released

    Posted on February 15th, 2018 Alex No comments

    We’ve just released InqScribe version 2.2.4, a minor update that addresses a few bugs. Here’s the full list of changes:

    • The export submenu now includes a link to labs.inqscribe.com, which offers some export formats beyond what the app provides.
    • Exported file names are now based on the document name instead of defaulting to “export”.
    • Preserve the state of the Anti-Alias checkbox when iterating on a subtitled movie export.
    • Minor documentation updates.
    • Better support for licenses whose owner names include accents and other non-ASCII characters.
    • Updated to support evaluation licenses that expire in 2018 and beyond.

    You can download the free update at inqscribe.com/download.  Note that evaluation licenses will require version 2.2.4 from here on out. For help with installation, head over to our article “How do I install InqScribe?

    For those of you eager for a more substantial release, rest assured we have bigger changes in store this year. If you have any questions about version 2.2.4, send an email to us at support@inqscribe.com.

  • Guest Blog: Standing Up for Nature with InqScribe

    Posted on November 9th, 2017 Alex No comments

    Amidst a busy travel schedule around remote regions of Kenya, Hannah & Jamie rely on InqScribe to capture inspiring stories of wildlife conservation.

    By: Hannah Pollock and Jamie Unwin, filmmakers and founders of Stand Up For Nature

    We believe visual media and films are an incredible tool for education and sharing peoples stories, but how do you reach people that live in the most remote areas of our planet, without access to electricity? We’ve designed and built a bicycle-powered cinema and we’re taking it to the most remote communities in Kenya for a 5-month expedition with our nonprofit Stand Up for Nature. Our aim is to find and film inspirational stories from Kenyans on the ground, doing remarkable things to conserve wildlife in the face of adversity, poverty and civil unrest. We’ll then show these films on our bicycle cinema with the aim of inspiring other local Kenyans to help protect their amazing wildlife. Stand Up for Nature

    Transcribing our videos is an incredibly important part of our project. Ultimately, the target audience of our films will be Kenyans, so they need to be made in the local languages. With over 60 different languages spoken in Kenya this is very challenging, so we’ll be working closely with a translator to ensure that nothing is lost or misrepresented in the editing process.

    Due to the timing of our project, we’ll be sending our footage back to the UK for editing so that by the time we’ve finished shooting all of the inspirational stories, we’ll be able to move straight into showing the finished films on our bicycle cinema. InqScribe is invaluable to this process as it enables us to sit with a translator in Kenya and accurately transcribe all of our local interviews . We’ll then send this transcript back to the UK for our volunteer editors to reference. This will ensure we’re not missing any key phrases and know exactly what is being said at what time. Previously we’ve tried everything from writing out scripts by hand to recording a translator speaking English and trying to match it up. It hasn’t worked out great, which is why we’re excited to use InqScribe for this project.


    About the Authors

    Hannah and Jamie are two recent Zoology graduates from the University of Exeter. They started the nonprofit Stand Up for Nature three years ago to combine their passion for wildlife and filmmaking. Their goal is to give a platform for unsung heroes around the world to share their stories and inspire others to stand up and make a change for wildlife. You can learn more about their work at standupfornature.org.

  • Windows QuickTime Vulnerabilities

    Posted on April 21st, 2016 Alex No comments

    By now, you may have heard about the security vulnerabilities posed by QuickTime for Windows.  Given the security vulnerabilities, if you’re a Windows user, we highly recommend uninstalling QuickTime.

    What does this mean for Windows InqScribe users?

    1. You will still be able to play and transcribe most media that Windows Media Player supports.  For more about the types of files supported by Windows Media Player, head over to our media format guide here.
    2. Unfortunately, you will not be able to export a subtitled QuickTime movie using the QuickTime 7-exclusive “Save Subtitled QuickTime Movie” feature.

    Currently, InqScribe requires either QuickTime or Windows Media Player to play back audio and video files. You do not need QuickTime to run InqScribe on Windows–you can still use Windows Media Player for most files.  If you choose to uninstall QuickTime, InqScribe will automatically switch over to Windows Media Player. As long as your media files are supported by Windows Media Player, InqScribe will be able to play them as it normally does, and you may not notice any difference.

    How Do I Make Subtitled Videos Without QuickTime?

    Since you won’t be able to use InqScribe’s built-in subtitled QuickTime movie feature without QuickTime, you may need to find a new method of creating movies from your transcript. Luckily, there are a number of different subtitling options available to InqScribe users via Windows Media Player, VLC Player, YouTube, Final Cut Pro, etc. For more about these options, check out our “What are the different ways to create a subtitled video?” article.

    Why Does InqScribe Still Use QuickTime?

    When InqScribe debuted 10 years ago, QuickTime was arguably in its prime. QuickTime supports a range of media files, and through subtitle track support, giving 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. With these vulnerabilities public, and Apple no longer supporting the software, it’s clear that QuickTime is no longer the way moving forward.

    Taking all of this into account, we’ve decided that future versions of InqScribe will no longer use QuickTime.

    What’s Next for InqScribe?

    We are currently working on a major overhaul of InqScribe.

    For OS X, InqScribe will use AV Foundation for media playback. AV Foundation is Apple’s official replacement for QuickTime and offers decent subtitle support. AV Foundation 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 VLC, GStreamer, 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. You can read more about future system requirements here.

    We hope this helps to clarify our direction moving forward. In the meantime, InqScribe will continue to rely on QuickTime and Windows Media Player. If you have any questions InqScribe, feel free to contact us at support@inqscribe.com.

  • Guest Blog: Refugee Stories

    Posted on March 11th, 2016 Alex No comments

    By now, you’re surely heard news of the “refugee crisis” affecting countries across the globe. Did you know that InqScribe is used in the field to document the stories of these refugees?

    By: Karl Schembri, Regional Media Advisor in the Middle East for the Norwegian Refugee Council

    Newly displaced Syrian refugees

    Newly displaced Syrian refugees

    As a humanitarian NGO, we respond to crises around the world. My job and that of my colleagues in the media department of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is to collect stories from among the millions of refugees and the internally displaced—from Syria to Yemen, from Iraq to Palestine—it is always innocent civilians who end up suffering the most and our job is to tell their stories and try to influence change on the ground as well as on the decision tables.

    I came across InqScribe during a particularly stressful time when we were rushing to gather as many filmed interviews as possible with very little backup for transcriptions and time coding. After looking frantically online for software that could help me with the task, I came across the InqScribe trial version and I was immediately hooked to it because of its versatility, ease, and friendliness. InqScribe has made the entire process of transcribing and timecoding so much easier for our staff dealing with real crises and emergencies where every little bit of help is essential. Now, with InqScribe, we can focus on the content and quality.

    Having the option to save QuickTime videos with subtitles is a great way to share draft rushes without going through the entire editing process. It helps a lot especially when there are translations involved and we need to double check interviews, making sure the right words are transcribed and translated at the right time, etc. Overall, it is a very useful feature that I love.

    Check out the NRC photo gallery below to see the lives of these refugees:

    Thanks Karl! If any readers out there are “looking frantically online” for the right transcription software, feel free to request a free 14-day trial of InqScribe. If, like Karl, you work at a nonprofit or academic institution, we offer 30% discount (details here) off your InqScribe purchase.

    Questions? Comments about this article? Contact us at support@inqscribe.com.

  • Guest Blog: Transcribing Spider Monkeys

    Posted on February 3rd, 2016 Alex No comments

    Did you know you can use InqScribe to transcribe just about any language? Yes, even the language of spider monkeys.

    By: Sandra E. Smith Aguilar, PhD student at the Interdisciplinary Research Center for Regional Development (CIIDIR) Campus Oaxaca, of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in Mexico.

    My research focuses on understanding the relationship between spider monkey social structure and space-use. As part of my project, I collected hundreds of hours of behavioral data which I am currently transcribing and processing. I’m specifically studying a wild group of black handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) which live in the Otoch Ma’ax Yetel Kooh protected area in Yucatan, Mexico. To conduct my research I spent 20 months living in a nearby village, going in to study the monkeys for 4-8 hours at a time with another PhD student and village experts.

    Each day, I chose one of the 22 monkeys from the group and recorded detailed accounts of its behavior, including interactions with other individuals as well as general information on grouping and movement patterns. Members of a spider monkey group are rarely found all together. Instead, individuals constantly join and leave subgroups on an hourly basis. This means that the identity of the members of any given subgroup is quite unpredictable (except for the infants and juveniles who usually stay together with their mothers). By following particular individuals, I tried to capture information on how social interactions can influence the monkey’s movement decisions and gain insight on the general principles which shape their social organization.

    Once I finished my field work, I ended up with 539 hours of behavioral records. Besides representing an exciting sample of 174 focal follows of all group members, this also meant that a long transcription process was ahead of me.

    What do you think they're saying?

    Initially, I considered using software for animal behavior research. However, the options I looked into did not allow for as many behavioral categories and extra data as I had. Given the narrative style of my recordings and the number of details I included in each entry, I needed something that allowed me to put as much information as I needed without the painful process of looking for the correct cell in a pre-designed giant spread sheet with columns for each piece of information.  At the same time, I needed to export the transcription in a format which allowed me to easily generate, manage, and format a database for further analysis. Both of these features drew me to InqScribe.

    In general, I’ve found the program is really easy to use. I’m particularly grateful for the ability to define personalized snippets and shortcuts, as well as the variety of export options which together have saved me endless hours in front of the computer.

    Thanks Sandra! We’re happy to hear InqScribe makes it easier to conduct your research. Whether you’re researching spider monkeys in the Yucatan or transcribing a simple dialogue, consider trying out InqScribe with our free 14-day trial. If you’d like to learn more, or if you have any questions about InqScribe, feel free to contact us at support@inqscribe.com.

  • How to Convert an Audio File

    Posted on October 16th, 2015 Alex No comments

    Have you ever come across an audio file that won’t play in InqScribe? Although InqScribe supports a wide variety of formats (generally anything that will play in QuickTime 7 or Windows Media player 11), one day you may run into an audio file that won’t play correctly. If this happens, don’t panic, you can usually resolve the problem by converting or transcoding the file.

    There are a few possible reasons why the file won’t play correctly. For example, it may be in an unsupported container or contain unsupported codecs. Converting the file will rewrite its data into a new, hopefully more legible format for InqScribe. In this article, I’ll explain how to convert/transcode an audio file using the free, open source software Audacity.

    Remember, converting or transcoding involves decoding the original file, and then encoding the file into a new format. It’s not quite as simple as renaming a file “Example.wma” to “Example.mp3.” If you’re totally confused, check out our blog post “What is a Codec Anyway?” for an explanation of codecs, containers, transcoding, and more. If you have a video file you need to convert, head over to our “Video Conversion Tools” article.

    Audacity screenshot

    Converting with Audacity
    http://audacityteam.org/ 

    Audacity is something of a standard in the audio world. Although many use it to record and edit audio, you can also use it to convert or transcode files.

    The first step will be downloading and installing Audacity (available here: audacityteam.org). Audacity is a free, open source software available for Mac and PC. It is unaffiliated with InqScribe. Once you have it ready, here’s what to do:

    1. Launch Audacity and select “File > Import > Audio”. Choose the file you’d like to convert and click Open.
    2. Audacity will begin loading the file. Once loaded, you should see at least one blue waveform appear on screen
    3. Select “File > Export Audio.” Here, you’ll be given some options. You’ll want to first choose a name and save location for your converted file. Then, select the format for the new file. To maximize compatibility, we generally recommend the MP3 format.
    4. If you want more control over the quality (the default is 128 kbps) and bit rate, you can customize your settings by selecting the “Options” button.
    5. Once you have the settings to your liking, select “Save.”
    6. Audacity will then prompt you to “Edit Metadata”. Here, you can enter artist name, track title, album title, etc. This is primarily useful for music files. Feel free to leave these columns blank– they are not necessary.
    7. Click “OK” and Audacity will convert the file.

    That’s it! Now load the new file into InqScribe (either by dragging it into the media window or by clicking “Select Media Source”) and transcribe away.

    If you still can’t get the file to play correctly, or if you have any questions for us, feel free to send an email to support@inqscribe.com.

  • Back to School Sale

    Posted on August 11th, 2015 Alex No comments

    Need some extra motivation to get started on your transcripts this season? Well, good news… Announcing our InqScribe Back to School Sale!

    From 8/11 to 8/31, we’ll be extending our 30% off Academic Discount to everyone. This will bring down the cost of InqScribe from $99 to just $69. Head over to inqscribe.com and use the code BACK2SCHOOL to claim your discount now. Limit 1 per customer.

    If you’re a member of an academic/nonprofit institution and you’d like to buy InqScribe now, just go ahead! No need to send us proof of status, unless you’re purchasing more than 1 license. If you’re a student, you actually qualify for 60% off of our full price of $99. For more about our student discount, head over to our discount coupon page.

    Questions or concerns? Send us an email to support@inqscribe.com.

  • Guest Blog: Using InqScribe to Run Your Own Business

    Posted on July 17th, 2015 Alex No comments

    Jessica Paxton recently started her own transcription business. In this guest feature, Jessica discusses how she came to InqScribe, and why it works well for her line of work.

    By: Jessica Paxton, Independent Transcriber

    Jessica PaxtonWhen I first branched out working for myself in the transcription business, I had no idea where to start; I had been working for a company who provided an editor in-house. For my first client, I began working with MS Word and Windows Media Player. The amount of time it took for just one transcript was painful. I had no way to start and stop my audio, slow it down, speed it up, nothing! It made me nervous about embarking on my business journey. Within a few months, I had new clients contacting me what seemed like daily and I knew that working with MS Word was not going to suffice.

    I began my search for transcription software that would meet my needs. I downloaded probably 6 programs before stumbling upon InqScribe. I requested the 14 day trial and began my thorough exploration of the program. I quickly found a few favorite features. The ability to create keyboard shortcuts similar to what I had been using with my previous company was great, it allowed me to go quickly as I do not use a foot pedal and rely on my quick shortcuts. I also really like the feature of creating snippets for my speaker names; it cuts down so much time when I can hit 1 key to put my speakers in without having to type them out. It saves me both time and keystrokes.

    I work with a lot of PhD candidates and professors all across the country, and I couldn’t envision working as much as I do with any other program.  The turnaround requirements for my clients varies from a couple days to a couple of weeks, and prior to InqScribe, I was lucky to be finishing a file every couple of days; now I can sometimes get 3 full 2 hour audio pieces done a day, thanks to InqScribe’s custom shortcuts and snippets.

    Thanks, Jessica! We’re happy to hear InqScribe makes your transcription work a little easier. For any readers interested in trying out our software, why not take advantage of our free 14-day trial? If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at support@inqscribe.com.

  • Guest Blog: Global Collaboration Made Easy for Dalit Women Fight

    Posted on June 26th, 2015 Alex No comments

    The Dalit Women Fight crew uses InqScribe to translate footage for their feature-length documentary. Read about their work, and how InqScribe helps them cross language barriers.

    By: Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Director of Dalit Women Fight

    #Dalitwomenfight!

    Dalit Women Fight is a transmedia documentary that looks at the issue behind the rape epidemic in India: caste-based sexual violence. Dalit Women Fight braids the stories of three women as they move from despair to courage during the events surrounding the global Dalit Women’s Self-Respect Movement, a transnational campaign calling for an end to caste-based sexual violence.

    Dalit is a term that refers to South Asia’s Untouchable people, and the Dalit women at the heart of this film are leading India’s largest historical challenge to India’s rape and caste culture through the Dalit Women’s Self­-Respect March. The strategies used by the Dalit movement mirror the U.S. Freedom Rides, mashed-up with the Take Back the Night marches. The goal of our documentary is to educate others about the Dalit Women Fight Movement and to challenge the current systems of violence.

    InqScribe: Where Everything Comes Together

    We use InqScribe to translate footage from all over the world. In India alone we have over 12 languages, often from very inaccessible rural areas where the dialects are difficult to translate. InqScribe allows us to upload footage and tap into local leaders working remotely, who can then create vital transcripts that are used for editing and titling. Our volunteers translate Hindi, Bhojupuri, Marathi and Urdu reels of footage, working remotely in locations spanning from Haryana to Los Angeles. We recruit many different sets of eyes and ears looking to be involved in the production process. Without InqScribe, our process would be so much more tedious as there would be no single platform that can handle all the tasks that InqScribe lets us centralize.

    #Dalitwomenfight! from Thenmozhi on Vimeo.

    In the past, we used several programs, playing video with QuickTime or Windows Media Player and transcribing with Microsoft Word or Notepad. It was such a problem, due to the lack of time stamps, sound control boards and other necessary controls. InqScribe is a single tool. Dozens of our volunteers are able to accurately utilize it with little to no difficulty. Our workflow has expanded greatly, and we have been able to produce vital footage within our time-sensitive schedule. With InqScribe, we’re able to make the most of our translation production time and increase the translation quality by hiring qualified translators who can easily be given access to the tool.

    Our favorite feature is the timecode shortcut and the options for multiple export formats. Since our project is multi-layered and requires extensive editing and reviews, we are able to adequately connect translators with footage. InqScribe has been extremely easy to use for our multi-lingual translators who have little experience with translation software, and we are always impressed by the high quality production.


    Dalit Women FightAbout the Author

    Thenmozhi Soundararajan is a Dalit American transmedia artist/activist and the Director of the full-length documentary Dalit Women Fight.

    Thanks Sharmin! Learn more about Dalit Human Rights and caste-based violence at ncdhr.org.in/aidmam. For any questions or comments about InqScribe, shoot us an email at support@inqscribe.com.