Text Transcription in Soundbooth CS4

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the November, 2008, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]


Lee Berger writes:

Earlier in the week I downloaded the beta version of Soundbooth as a test. I figured for $200 it would be worth it if it really worked. Here is what I discovered testing with my 2.8GHz Quad Core MacPro.


1. You cannot directly import a file captured by FCP (I used DV). It does not recognize the file type.


2. You can convert to some other QuickTime format including H.264, but the Timecode does not import. It resets to zero in Soundbooth.


3. I used an interview, close miked with a single Tram TR50 Lav in a quite room. Using the highest setting, the transcription got many common words wrong. I got slightly better results after normalizing the audio. I only transcribed about :20, but over a full interview it would be annoying and counter productive.


Perhaps there was an error in my workflow. Any suggestions?

Larry replies: Lee, yes, there is an error in your workflow.

Because Soundbooth is cross-platform, it needs all imported files to have extensions. Once you add a file extension (i.e. .mov), files will load perfectly; even those captured in Final Cut.

Second, as long as you bring in a QuickTime movie, Soundbooth will read timecode from the tape – however, it doesn’t display frames, it displays thousandths of a second. This is actually better because that allows it to support a wider variety of frame-rates.

And, while my tests showed the software was not perfect, it did get more than 80% of the words right – EXCLUDING proper nouns, which it does poorly at.

I remain very impressed with this first effort at text transcription and encourage you to take a second look.


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