transcribing FCPX poster

There are many ways to boil down an interview so that it makes the most sense and comes out at the right duration. Slavik Boyechko has an ingenious method to transcribe his interviews to make life easier.

It's a fact that most people don't talk in nice soundbites that get to the point succinctly. Well, unless you are interviewing a politician who will easily achieve the first but probably not the latter. If you really want to get the most out of an interview, then nothing beats having the transcribed text in front of you.

We will let Slavik explain...

 

One of the best things you can do for your videos is to transcribe your interview, which makes the story edit so much better. Basically, you transcribe the interview and then copy and paste the best pieces of the interview and arrange them into a story in any text editor. After that, you start laying those interview pieces down in Final Cut, smooth the transitions, and voila, the radio edit of your video. (Or 'head cut' 'skeleton' 'sync' or 'bites' -Ed)

I think the transcription method is superior to paraphrasing interview segments for a “paper edit” – which doesn’t allow as much precise storytelling as a full transcription.

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A paraphrased interview turned paper edit using the Mac OS “Stickies” app

transcription-and-storyedit

A transcript on the left, and a story edit on the right

vpedalFor the transcription, I whole-heartedly recommend getting a vPedal. The vPedal is essential for use with closed captioning software, like InqScribe and MovieCaptioner, and costs about $75. But more than that, with the Mac vPedal app, you can control Final Cut Pro X with the pedal, whilst writing in TextEdit or any word processing program. The setup is super easy.

 

 

 

 

 transcribe fcpx 3

 

The goal is to Play/Pause a FCPX project that has your interview clip(s) in it, while typing the contents of the interview in TextEdit. Then you blade the clips in between questions asked (or other major pauses), and rename the clips with the full contents of the paragraph of text. Cutting the interview into paragraphs of thoughts makes finding the precise sentence or word easier.

transcribe fcpx 4 

 

But what if you don’t have a vPedal? I’ve been trying to figure that out for a while now, so I can transcribe interviews at home or on-the-go when I don’t have the pedal around. Here’s what I’ve come up with. The CAPS Lock key is the best option for playing and pausing, at least for me, but you could certainly pick other keys.

Step 1: Download PCKeyboardHack – After installing, open the program, check “Change Caps Lock” on, and then under “Keycode” enter in 101, which is the F9 key. By default, my Mac OS didn’t have F9 attached to any hotkey, so it was the easiest “empty” hotkey to pick for me.

pckeyboardhack-screengrab

 

So at this point, the CAPS Lock key is now a shortcut for “F9,” which does nothing, yet.

Step 2: Open AppleScript Editor, and copy and paste this:

tell application “System Events”
activate application “Final Cut Pro”
keystroke space
activate application “TextEdit”
end tell

Then save this script, call it “FCPX Play Pause” or something.

applescript-fcpx-transcription

 

Step 3: Download Quicksilver – after installing, go into “Triggers” and create a new trigger, have it run your Applescript you just created, and assign hotkey F9 to it.

quicksilver-fcpx-applescript

 

That’s it! Now while you’re typing in Textedit, you can press the CAPS Lock key to Play/Pause your interview project in FCPX. This is my first Applescript ever, so it’s pretty rudimentary – so if you have a better way to play/pause FCPX while it’s running in the background, please let me know!

If you’re having an issue with it requiring you to press CAPS Lock twice in order to Play/Pause, there are a couple things that could help. 1) Don’t use a bluetooth keyboard, and 2) Try turning off CAPS Lock in the System Preferences keyboard options, like so:

capslock-off

 

If you use a different editing program or word processor, you could try substituting that application in the Applescript, assuming that the spacebar plays/pauses in your editor.

And finally, when you’re done transcribing, make sure to close Quicksilver and turn off the CAPS Lock option in PCKeyboardHack, so you can have your Caps lock button back.…

 

slavik boyechkoSlavik Boyechko is a documentary filmmaker and Digital Media Director at Alaska Public Media, where he develops TV programs and shoots and edits the PBS Digital Studios series INDIE ALASKA - exclusively on Final Cut Pro X. He maintains a blog at alaskavideoshooter.com and you can follow him on Twitter @akvideoshooter.