Transcription Workflow

wordwizards's picture
Last seen: 5 years 4 months ago
Joined: 06/05/2012 - 3:12pm

Hello out there!

My name is Ben and I want to get a better understanding of how video professionals use transcripts in their workflow. I work for a small family owned transcription company called Word Wizards and I want to know more about how the pros, and "joes", really use transcripts. Here is my current understanding of the most common application for using transcripts in film making.

  1. Team shoots footage and creates a rough reel.
  2. The best sections of the raw footage are sent for transcription.
  3. Transcripts are used to write scripts, double check that the sound bytes and video clips work for the project, and finally use the time code associated with sections that "work" to direct the editing team to the desired cuts in the reel.
  4. The final script is compiled and used to edit and polish.

I want to know more about the process behind this workflow. What is the VALUE that you associate with these transcripts? Is quality important? What is the best way to use transcripts for video production?

Please let me know any thoughts you have and if I have oversimplified anything.

Ben Gordon

MediaFish's picture
Last seen: 4 years 10 months ago
Joined: 05/25/2011 - 2:06pm

Ben - welcome to the forum.

At Media Fish Productions we are not currently using transcription - most of our work is on short films or live production. I can see where transcription would be very helpful in full length productions but not sure how it could be used in what we do here at MFP. Honestly, I haven't taken a close enough look at how it could be used in the short films and live production broadcast work we do.

Jeff Media Fish Productions

birdcat's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 10/21/2005 - 10:09am

I know of only one person who did any transcription, and he did it himself due to budget constraints. I personally do not see a need in my immediate or mid-term future.

With products like Dragon Naturally Speaking the need for a service may be moot.

Bruce Paul 7Squared Productions

Jack Wolcott's picture
Last seen: 2 days 5 hours ago
Joined: 01/02/2008 - 11:51pm
Plus Member

We're currently working on a project involving the history of one of the region's theatres, to be shown on the occasion of the organization's 50th anniversary.

We have shot several 30-45 minute interviews with people who worked at the theatre in its early days. We delivered DVDs of each of these interviews with embedded time code. The client is using the time code as she creates an EDL from which we will eventually create a rough cut of this portion of the history. To integrate the video with as yet unrecorded still images and text interviews, she is making transcriptions from the DVDs to create a script from which the project will eventually be created.

I think you could get some interesting information regarding the relationship between video and transcription if you spoke with court reporters who, at least in our area, often work from both their own transcription and from videos shot at a deposition.


wordwizards's picture
Last seen: 5 years 4 months ago
Joined: 06/05/2012 - 3:12pm


I appreciate the insight everyone. In response to the three previous posts, here are my thoughts.

Media Fish - Live stuff is not in our target market because although we do captioning, live captioning is an entirely different animal, so your probably right that there is not much there for us to help with... As for short films I could see transcripts as potentially beneficial during the phase in which you are trying to piece together clips from many different sources and reels to produce something that's continuous in sound and video quality. It can save tons of money if you tell the editor exactly which segments of time code he / she should use to complete a sequence. It is my assumption that the more specific your directions to the editor, the cheaper your project turns out to be (correct me if I am wrong.)

7Squared - Dragon only works for single speakers under ideal audio circumstances, it defiantly has a long way to go before it completely replaces our service, that being said, I know that someday in the not so distant future this technology will improve and proliferate. More importantly is the point you made about budget, working with transcripts is intended to save time, and thus money. The more expensive the transcription becomes the less valuable it is to professionals watching their budgets. Furthermore, there a lot of interns out there that will gladly transcribe your material for free. We're faster, more accurate, and provide exact time code stamping, but at the end of the day, cost is king!

Jack W. - You have touched on one of our primary benefits to our clients. On projects with many different reels, shots, images, and other media elements, a transcript is extremely valuable when trying to write a script that brings all of these together in a coherent story and under consistent circumstances. Like I said earlier, you always want the editor to know the exact material you want used from the source and where to find it before they get to work! Time = Money...

Any further thoughts on this would be much appreciated.


saragomsa's picture
Last seen: 4 years 6 months ago
Joined: 11/02/2013 - 9:50pm

There is an auto way of doing it by different softwares which you can easily find online, and the other way is do it manually by hiring a person. The best way is to do it manually. Yes quality in this work is very very important


janetkissho's picture
Last seen: 4 years 4 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2013 - 9:45am

I would also go with sara quality is the main key to this work, transcription cannot afford bad quality. there is no shortcut to it as explained here