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 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.

  • 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.

  • Taking and Sharing Notes on Video

    Posted on May 11th, 2011 ben No comments

    InqScribe’s free-form text editing is intended to support a wide variety of tasks. So while we often talk of “transcribing” video, in practice oftentimes it’s more efficient to simply take notes. I was reminded of this in recent conversation with one of our customers at a cable tv network: sometimes all you want to do is review a clip and call out highlights from the video that you might want to use.

    This is particularly useful in team environments: you can watch a video, insert a timecode and quick note about interesting moments, and then share the InqScribe document with your editor or director. The editor/director can click on the timecode to view the segment of video.

    For example, we need to edit our introductory screencast. I review the video and I write the following in an InqScribe transcript to tell Matt (who’s editing the video):

    Cut [00:00:06.00] through [00:00:14.23] -- we can jump straight into the intro.
    The audio at [00:00:27.00] is unclear.  Can you re-record that?
    End the clip at [00:01:06.03].

    Matt already has the video on his computer, so I can just email the InqScribe file to him. He’ll copy it to the folder where the video is, open the InqScribe file, and the transcript will automatically link itself to the media again. (Alternatively, you can reference a common file on a network somewhere). He can then click on the timecodes I’ve inserted to see exactly what I”m talking about.

    The “transcript” is only few lines, but it conveys everything he needs to know. And obviously, there’s no need for a line by line transcript. A few timecoded notes suffice.

  • 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.

  • Guest Blog: Using InqScribe for a Documentary on Native American Health

    Posted on March 4th, 2011 ben No comments

    We just love it when InqScribe is put to use for a worthy cause. As part of our ongoing series that highlights how our folks are using the tool, we’ve invited Kitty Farmer of Watersong Productions to tell us about her advocacy work for Native Americans, and how InqScribe helped streamline her workflow.

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

    What’s In The Heart

    By Kitty Farmer, Watersong Productions, LLC

    I am an advocate/activist who is new to filmmaking. My first experience with transcribing was starting and stopping the DVD player on my computer! As anyone can imagine, this was laborious, tedious and took forever. Last summer, a colleague recommended Inquirum’s amazing software. After spending time with the product, I can say in all honesty, I love to transcribe! It’s truly a remarkable product. My director, Dustinn Craig, White Mountain Apache, who has had several films broadcast on PBS, was thrilled to learn about it when we spent time together filming this last weekend.

    Donald Warne, MD, MPH, Oglala Lakota (Chief collaborator with Kitty Farmer on film)
    Photo credit: Alejandro Lopez

    We use InqScribe to log our video footage, especially to transcribe interviews. The director uses these transcripts to make edit decisions. During editting, we use the timecodes embedded in the transcripts to be able to quickly jump to clips we want to review.

    Leonard Little Finger, great-great grandson of Chief Big Foot, Deanne Fitzmaurice
    Leonard Little Finger, Photo © Deanne Fitzmaurice

    We are producing a 20-minute trailer to Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT) for a grant to create a documentary film to educate the general public and policy makers about the history and reasons why American Indians, despite treaties with the U.S. government that mandate basic social services, have the worst health disparities of any population in the nation. In addition, we highlight some remarkable people who through their resiliency and ingenuity have created programs and initiatives that are healing their communities. The film is sponsored by the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board (formerly the Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board).

    Help see the film finished: contribute on Indie Go Go

    Film Web Site: What’s in the Heart

    What’s in the Heart from Kitty Farmer on Vimeo.

    Kitty Farmer, Producer & Co-Director, What's in the Heart
    Kitty Farmer

  • 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:

    DigAllMedia

    DigAllMedia

    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 info@inquirum.net if you’re interested in highlighting your work.