Finding that one piece of footage you are looking for can be hard with any large project with a variety of footage, especially documentaries with no script or improv heavy narrative projects. Transcriptions have long been a great tool for getting a handle on your footage, and Avid has Phrase Find and Script Sync ($199 and $499 respectively) for searching your footage based speech recognition or script integration.
Now, Digital Anarchy has released Transcriptive for Adobe Premiere Pro, a transcription tool that uses IBM's Watson backend to automatically transcribe your footage and sync the transcript with your footage.
Credit: Digital Anarchy
Setting up the plugin was slightly more complicated than normal because you need to create an IBM account, but once that is done, the process is very simple. Arrange your clips in a timeline, click "transcribe" and Watson does the work in the background. We deliberately choose test footage with a heavy regional accent (with the wonderful actor and musician Homer Hunter), and while Watson wasn't perfect, the transcription was usable enough to be able to work with.
By searching for a word at the bottom of the plugin, every instance of that word is highlighted and scannable in the transcript, and as you click on lines in the transcript, the cursor moves to the correct place in the timeline. When searching through massive footage sets, this could be a tremendous time saver. The transcripts can also be used to drive closed captioning or subtitles, when needed.
Credit: Digital Anarchy
Transcriptive supports exporting the generated transcript in a variety of formats, and can also import previously created transcripts. While the Watson transcripts were good, they weren't perfect, and human-driven transcription services still offer a benefit. However, with the plugin, a properly formatted transcript can be ingested and linked to a timeline to enable fast searching of the timeline and then linking to the shot you need, which can be a tremendous time-saver.
Combined with the other updates direct from Adobe for Premiere at IBC this year, the horse race between Premiere and Media Composer is getting very close.
Transcription is available now from Digital Anarchy for $249, which includes 16 hours of free transcription per month. After that, it will cost about $4 per hour of video, which is very competitive with online transcription services.