Production Transcripts: When To Use Them, And Why

By: Verbit Editorial
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In addition to our standard transcription, closed captioning, and translation services, Verbit offers a service called Production Transcripts. This service is a bit different than our transcription and captioning services. Here is some information about when you would want to use production transcripts rather than our other solutions.

What are Production Transcripts?

One way to look at production transcripts is to think of them as something in between standard transcripts and closed captioning. Transcription captures the entire verbatim dialog of video or audio files but won’t contain any time stamp information. Closed captions, on the other hand, contain very frequent time stamps. The time stamps in caption files indicate when a caption should pop on the screen. When you’re playing videos with closed captions turned on, it’s not uncommon to have closed caption time stamps every few seconds. Time stamps in captioning files may even appear mid-sentence. Production transcripts contain some time stamps, but the frequency is a happy medium between ordinary transcripts (nothing) and the frequent time stamps of closed caption files.

Use Cases for Production Transcripts

When would you use production transcripts? Frequent use cases include interview footage for documentary films, focus group recordings, legal depositions, and daily footage for non-scripted or reality TV. In cases like depositions or focus group recordings, you may not need full caption files. For instance, if people who are Deaf or hard of hearing aren’t using the videos, the captions might not be necessary. However, the occasional time stamps are useful for searching videos. With the occasional time stamps, you can jump to the right spot whenever you need to review parts of long segments. Similarly, for interview footage or dailies, you need an accurate record of who said what and roughly when they said it. For these projects, though, you won’t need the full captions until you have the final cut of your show or film.

The labor involved in production transcripts is less than that involved in captioning. As a result, the cost of production transcripts is generally between that of transcription only and transcription and captioning.

What about Speech Recognition?

It is always likely that someone will try to offer cheaper solutions. When it comes to transcription, that option is likely to be automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology. The future of ASR is promising, and it is already playing a role in the automation of many tasks. For example, ASR supports interactive telephone systems and medical dictation. However, when it comes to many forms of video footage, ASR is simply not accurate enough. Videos that include free-form speech and more than one speaker can be too challenging for the technology to interpret. Some ASR has errors rates of 20% or more. Transcripts that some ASR technology generates would certainly not pass muster for legal depositions, and they are close to useless for the other cases described above.

Additionally, research on accuracy and comprehension shows that error rates of more than 3% have a dramatic impact on comprehension. In other words, the error rates of some ASR systems may create transcripts that are difficult to understand. With that said, speech recognition can serve as a first pass. ASR can make transcription much more efficient, but only if editors provide corrections that improve the overall accuracy. This process is what Verbit uses to quickly and accurately produce production transcripts.

The amount of time you can save by having a high-quality production transcript available during editing is substantial. When you consider the value of your video production team’s time, the usefulness of quality production transcripts becomes readily apparent. It’s often worth making a modest investment early in the production process to get accurate production transcripts. For more information about how professional production transcription can help you, reach out to Verbit today.