Transcribing Audio or Video With QuickTime, Using AppleScript
Last week, one of my tasks for work involved transcribing a 10 minute video presentation. While I’m a fairly fast typer, I’m no court stenographer. I need frequent pauses to catch up to someone speaking, so this involves a lot of pausing and rewinding over and over again.
To make the process a lot less cumbersome, I decided to look around for some AppleScripts that might help with my transcribing. I found an excellent set of scripts by Jeffrey Bolden, and it was immensely helpful.
Rather than me having to switch applications and tab over to QuickTime, then hit pause/play repeatedly… I could let these scripts do all the work. And by associating these scripts with a Quicksilver trigger, this let me stay in one application while controlling QuickTime with a few keystrokes.
As usual, I prefer a three-finger salute (on a Mac, this would be Control + Option + Command). I ended up just using the rewind, fast foward and play/pause scripts, like so:
Three Finger Salute + [ = Rewind
Three Finger Salute + ] = Fast Forward
Three Finger Salute + | = Play/Pause
One particularly ingenious move I’d like to point out for you: In the Play/Pause script, when a movie is paused… the AppleScript automatically rewinds the movie by 1.5 seconds. This is absolutely perfect for transcribing, so that you can jump back a bit to ensure you’ve recorded everything correctly. For my part, I upped the time to 2 seconds, but you can adjust the time to whatever you like.
It was weird to spend part of my morning, looking up this stuff. In a way, it wasn’t work I was asked to do… but I knew researching this approach would help save me a lot of effort, later on. Spending time to save time. It’s the classic programmer’s approach: if you see a repeated task, get a macro/function to take care of it for you. It felt geeky and good to do this kind of thing.
Huge hat tip to Jeffrey for these scripts. They were really a tremendous help, as I’m certain I would have spent easily double or triple the time, trying to transcribe without these guys.