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.

All the scripts are posted up on Mac OSX Hints, but for convenience I’ve also posted up a .zip file with them broken out individually. You can grab them here.

Z-Type: HTML5 Typing Game
Using Quicksilver Triggers To Create Instant Web Searches: Google, YouTube, Wikipedia, IMDB

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