News and Notes related to Digital Media Transcription, Analysis, and Captioning.
RSS icon Home icon
  • Guest Blog: A Final Cut Pro Workflow for Editing in Another Language

    Posted on May 7th, 2012 ben No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Charity: Water

    Posted on October 3rd, 2011 ben No comments

    We’re proud to be sponsors of charity: water.  InqScribe’s ability to support transcriptions and subtitles in multiple languages make it ideally suited for work in the field, especially for organizations such as charity: water that rely on story telling.  Here’s how they describe their work:

    Boy drinking water

    Photo by charity: water

    In 2006, we followed women in Ethiopia to a tepid water hole, where they filtered muddy liquid through their headscarves into a Jerry can. They hauled more than 40 pounds of this water on their backs to take home to their families. This is the only drinking water they had and they had to make it work for cleaning their homes, cooking, and unfortunately- drinking.

    We filmed this. We shared their stories to show what millions of people in developing countries do each and every day. The response was overwhelming.

    Fast forward five years and we’ve funded more than 4,200 water projects around the world to serve over two million people with clean water. Why? Because we’ve stuck to telling honest and beautiful stories from people living through the water crisis. As a result, thousands have joined our mission by donating or fundraising alongside us.

    Each story we tell empowers giving as we return and share it with those willing to help… but we currently do all of our post-production work with very little equipment. Since we’re shooting in places that require a great deal of translation and subtitles, we also need to do a lot of transcribing.

    InqScribe’s software allows us to quickly transcribe in one program — instead of having to toggle back and forth between a video and an excel spreadsheet. Not only that, the shortcut controls allow us to customize each document, thereby streamlining our editing process. Speeding up our post production only makes us more efficient in sharing stories that need to be heard.

    Thank you for your time and all you do to improve video storytelling.

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

    Posted on May 2nd, 2011 ben No comments

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

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

    The Arizona Project

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

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

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

    Carlos Sandoval

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

  • 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.

  • InqScribe Training Videos for Deaf Community

    Posted on February 28th, 2011 ben No comments

    We have a fair number of users in the Deaf community who use InqScribe to transcribe and subtitle videos.

    Stacy Bick of Rochtester Institute of Technology has put together a really nice series of videos to introduce subtitling with InqScribe for the Deaf community. Actually it’s a pretty complete set of video tutorials that anyone might find useful.

    Here is the main video tutorial page (Unfortunately, this is just a list of the latest videos, so you may have to scroll down).

    For your convenience, here is a list of all the videos:

    1. Introduction
    2. Interface Overview
    3. Select Media File
    4. Controllers and Shortcuts
    5. Transcription and Snippets
    6. Proof Checking
    7. Export Movie from InqScribe
    8. Enable/Disable Subtitle Display
    9. Export Only Subtitles to FCP
    10. Modify Existing Transcript Timecode
    11. Conclusion

    Thanks, Stacy!

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

    Posted on October 16th, 2010 ben No comments

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

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

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



    By Dianne Griffin and Erica Jordan

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

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

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

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

  • New InqScribe Video Tutorials

    Posted on May 21st, 2010 matt No comments

    InqScribe is so easy to use, who needs tutorials, right? Well, a little background can’t hurt, so we created four new introductory video tutorials that provide (1) a basic overview of InqScribe, (2) an introduction to shortcuts and snippets, (3) tips on using timecodes, and (4) an introduction to subtitling. They’re all a part of our revamped home page.

  • Workaround for Final Cut Pro 7 Importing Bug

    Posted on December 16th, 2009 eric No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

    <generatoritem id="Text">

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

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


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

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

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

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

    3. Import the resulting export_fixed.xml into FCP7.

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

  • Exporting NTSC DF to Final Cut Pro

    Posted on April 29th, 2009 eric No comments

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

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

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

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

    Read the rest of this entry »