Tag Archives: captions

Adobe Transcripts and Captions & Transcriptive: Differences and How to Use Them Together

Adobe just released a big new Premiere update that includes their Speech-to-Text service. We’ve had a lot of questions about whether this kills Transcriptive or not (it doesn’t… check out the new Transcriptive Rough Cutter!). So I thought I’d take a moment to talk about some of the differences, similarities, and how to use them together.

The Adobe system is basically what we did for Transcriptive 1.0 in 2017. So Transcriptive Rough Cutter has really evolved into an editing and collaboration tool, not just something you use to get transcripts.

The Adobe solution is really geared towards captions. That’s the problem they were trying to solve and you can see this in the fact you can only transcribe sequences. And only one at a time. So if you want captions for your final edit, it’s awesome. If you want to transcribe all your footage so you can search it, pull out selects, etc… it doesn’t do that.

So, in some ways the Transcriptive suite (Transcriptive Rough Cutter, PowerSearch, TS Web App) is more integrated than Adobe’s own service. Allowing you to transcribe clips and sequences, and then search, share, or assemble rough cuts with those transcripts. There are a lot of ways using text in the editing process can make life a lot easier for an editor, beyond just creating captions.

Sequences Only

Adobe's Text panel for transcribing sequences

The Adobe transcription service only works for Sequences. It’s really designed for use with the new Caption system they introduced earlier this year.

Transcriptive can transcribe media and sequences, giving the user a lot more flexibility. One example: they can transcribe media first, use that to find soundbites or information in the clips and build a sequence off that. As they edit the sequence, add media, or make changes they can regenerate the transcript without any additional cost. The transcripts are attached to the media… so Transcriptive just looks for which portions of the clips are in the sequence and grabs the transcript for that portion.

Automatic Rough Cut

Rough Cut: There are two ways of assembling a ‘rough cut’ with Transcriptive Rough Cutter. What we’re calling Selects, which is basically what I mention above in the ‘Sequences Only’ paragraph: Search for a soundbite, you set In/Out points in the transcript of the clip with that soundbite, and insert that portion of the video into a sequence.

Then there’s the Rough Cut feature, where Transcriptive RC will take a transcript that you edit and assemble a sequence automatically: creating edits where you’ve deleted or struckthrough text and removing the video that corresponds to those text edits. This is not something Adobe can do or has made any indication they will do, so far anyways.

Editing with text in Premiere Pro and Transcriptive Rough Cutter

Collaboration with The Transcriptive Web App

One key difference is the ability to send transcripts to someone that does not have Premiere. They can edit those transcripts in a web browser and add comments, and then send it all back to you. They can even delete portions of the text and you can use the Rough Cut feature to assemble a sequence based on that.

Searching Your Premiere Project

PowerSearch: This separate panel (but included with TS) lets you search every piece of media in your Premiere project that has a transcript in metadata or in clip/sequence markers. Premiere is pretty lacking in the Search department and PowerSearch gives you a search engine for Premiere. It only works for media/sequences transcribed by Transcriptive. Adobe, in their infinite wisdom, made their transcript format proprietary and we can’t read it. So unless you export it out of Premiere and then import it into Transcriptive, PowerSearch can’t read the text unfortunately.

Easier to Export Captions

Transcriptive RC let’s you output SRT, VTT, SCC, MCC, SMPTE, or STL just by clicking Export. You can then use these in any other program. With Adobe you can only export SRT, and even that takes multiple steps. (you can get other file formats when you export the rendered movie, but you have to render the timeline to have it generate those.)

I assume Adobe is trying to make it difficult to use the free Adobe transcripts anywhere other than Premiere, but I think it’s a bit shortsighted. You can’t even get the caption file if you render out audio… you have to render a movie. Of course, the workaround is just to turn off all the video tracks and render out black frames. So it’s not that hard to get the captions files, you just have to jump through some hoops.

Sharing Adobe Transcripts with Transcriptive Rough Cutter and Vice Versa

I’ve already written a blog post specifically about showing how to use Adobe Transcripts with Transcriptive. But, in short… You can use Adobe transcripts in Transcriptive by exporting the transcript as plain text and using Transcriptive’s Alignnment feature to sync the text up to the clip or sequence. Every word will have timecode just as if you’d transcribed it in Transcriptive. (this is a free feature)

AND… If you get your transcript in Transcriptive Rough Cutter, it’s easy to import it into the Adobe Caption system… just Export a caption file format Premiere supports out of Transcriptive RC and import it into Premiere. As mentioned, you can Export SRT, VTT, MCC, SCC, SMPTE, and STL.

Two A.I. Services

Transcriptive Rough Cutter gives you two A.I. services to choose from, allowing you use whatever works best for your audio. It is also usually more accurate than Adobe’s service, especially on poor quality audio. That said, the Adobe A.I. is good as well, but on a long transcript, even a percentage point or two of accuracy will add up to saving a significant amount of time cleaning up the transcript.

Importing an SRT into Premiere Pro 2020 & 2021

(The above video covers all this as well, but for those who’d rather read, than watch a video… here ya go!)

Getting an SRT file into Premiere is easy!

But, then it gets not so easy getting it to display correctly.

This is mostly fixed in the new caption system that Premiere 2021 has. We’ll go over that in a minute, but first let’s talk about how it works in Premiere Pro 2020. (if you only care about 2021, then jump ahead)

Premiere Pro 2020 SRT Import

1: Like you would import any other file, go to File>Import or Command/Control+I.

2: Select the SRT file you want.

3: It’ll appear in your Project panel.

4: You can drag it onto your timeline as you would any other file.

Now the fun starts.

Enable Captions from the Tool menu
5: From the Tools menu in the Program panel (the wrench icon), make sure Closed Captions are enabled.

5b: Go into Settings and select Open Captions

6: The captions should now display in your Program panel.

7: In many cases, SRT files start off being displayed very small.

You're gonna need bigger captionsThose bigger captions sure look good!

8: USUALLY the easiest way to fix this is to go to the Caption panel and change the point size. You do this by Right+Clicking on any caption and ‘Select All’. (this is the only way you can select all the captions)

Select all the captions

8b: With all the captions selected, you can then change the Size for all of them. (or change any other attribute for that matter)

9: The other problem that occurs is that Premiere will bring in an SRT file with a 720×486 resoltion. Not helpful for a 1080p project. In the lower left corner of the Caption panel you’ll see Import Settings. Click that to make sure it matches your Project settings.

Import settings for captions

Other Fun Tricks: SRTs with Non-Zero Start Times

If your video has an opening without any dialog, your SRT file will usually start with a timecode other than Zero. However, Premiere doesn’t recognize SRTs with non-zero start times. It assumes ALL SRT files start at zero. If yours does not, as in the example below, you will have to move it to match the start of the dialog.

You don’t have to do this with SRTs from Transcriptive. Since we know you’re likely using it in Premiere, we add some padding to the beginning to import it correctly.

Premiere doesn't align the captions wtih the audioIf your captions start at 05:00, Premiere puts them at 00:00

Importing an SRT file in Premiere 2021: The New Caption System!

(as of this writing, I’m using the beta. You can download the beta by going to the Beta section of Creative Cloud.)

0: If you’re using the beta, you need to enable this feature from the Beta menu. Click it on it and ‘Enable New Captions’.

1: Like you would import any other file, go to File>Import or Command/Control+I.

2: Select the SRT file you want.

3: It’ll appear in your Project panel.

4: You can drag it onto your timeline as you would any other file… BUT

This is where things get different!

4b: Premiere 2021 adds it to a new caption track above the normal timeline. You do need to tell Premiere you want to treat them as Open Captions (or you can select a different option as well)

4c: And Lo! It comes in properly sized! Very exciting.

5: There is no longer a Caption panel. If you want to edit the text of the captions, you need to select the new Text panel (Windows>Text). There you can edit the text, add new captions, etc.

6: To change the look/style of the captions you now need to use the Essential Graphics panel. There you can change the font, size, and other attributes.

Overall it’s a much better captions workflow. So far, from what I’ve seen it works pretty well. But I haven’t used it much. As of this writing it’s still in beta and regardless there may be some quirks that show up with heavier use. But for now it looks quite good.

Transcriptive and the new Adobe Captions

As you’ve probably heard, Adobe announced a new caption system a few weeks ago. We’ve been fielding a bunch of questions about it and how it affects Transcriptive, so I figured I’d let y’all know what our take on it is, given what we know.

Overall it seems like a great improvement to how Premiere handles captions. Adobe is pretty focused on captions. So that’s mainly what the new system is designed to deal with and it looks impressive. While there is some overlap with Transcriptive in regards to editing the transcript/captions, as far as we can tell there isn’t really anything to help you edit video. And there’s a lot of functionality in Transcriptive that’s designed to help you do that. As such, we’re focused on enhancing those features and adding to that part of the product.

Also, it also looks like it’s only going to work with sequences. It _seems_ that when they add the speech-to-text (it’s not available in the beta yet), it’s mostly designed for generating captions for the final edit.

However, being able to transcribe clips and use the transcript to search the clip in the Source panel is one powerful feature that Transcriptive will allow you to do. You can even set in/out points in Transcriptive and then drop that cut into your main sequence.

The ability to send the transcript to a client/AE that doesn’t have Premiere and let them edit it in a web browser is another.

With Transcriptive’s Conform feature, you can take the edited transcript and use it as a Paper Cut. Conform will build a sequence with all the edits.

Along with a bunch of other smaller features, like the ability to add Comments to the transcript.

So… we feel there will still be a lot of value even once the caption system is released. If we didn’t… we would’ve stopped development on it. But we’re still adding features to it… v2.5.1, which lets you add Comments to the transcript, is coming out this week sometime (Dec. 10th, give or take).

One thing we do know, is that the caption system will only import/export caption files (i.e. SRT, SCC, etc). From our perspective, this is not a smart design. It’s one of my annoyances with the current caption system. Transcriptive users have to export a caption file and re-import that into Premiere. It’s not a good workflow, especially when we should just be able to save captions directly to your timeline. Adobe is telling us it’s going to be the same klugy workflow.

So if that doesn’t sound great to you, you can go to the Adobe site and leave a comment asking for JSON import/export. (URL: https://tinyurl.com/y4hofqoa) Perhaps if they hear from enough people, they’ll add that.

Why would that help us (and you)? When we get a transcript back from the A.I., it’s a rich-data text file (JSON format). It has a lot of information about the words in it. Caption formats are data poor. It’s kind of like comparing a JPEG to a RAW file. You usually lose a lot of information when you save as a caption format (as you do with a JPEG).

It’ll make it much easier for us and other developers to move data back and forth between the caption system and other tools. For example: If you want someone to make corrections to the Adobe transcript outside of Premiere (on Transcriptive.com for example :-), it’s easier to keep the per-word timecode and metadata with a JSON file.

Historically Adobe has had products that were very open. It’s why they have such a robust plugin/third-party ecosystem. So we’re hopeful they continue that by making it easy to access high resolution data from within the caption system or anywhere else data/metadata is being generated.

It’s great Adobe is adding a better caption workflow or speech-to-text. The main reason Transcriptive isn’t more caption-centric is we knew Adobe was going to upgrade that sooner or later. But the lack of easy import/export is a bummer. It really doesn’t help us (or any developer) extend the caption system or help Premiere users that want to use another product in conjunction with the system. As mentioned, it’s still beta, so we’ll see what happens. Hopefully they make it a bit more flexible and open.

Jim Tierney
Chief Executive Anarchist

Downloading The Captions Facebook or YouTube Creates

So you’ve uploaded your video to Facebook or YouTube and you’d like to import the captions they automatically generate with Artificial Intelligence into Transcriptive. This can be a good, FREE way of getting a transcript.

Transcriptive imports SRT files, so… all you need is an SRT file from those services. That’s easy peasy with YouTube, you just go to the Captions section and download>SRT.

Screenshot of where to download an SRT file of YouTube CaptionsDownload the SRT and you’re done. Import the SRT into Transcriptive with ‘Combine Lines into Paragraphs’ turned on… Easy, free transcription.

With Facebook it’s more difficult as they don’t let you just download an SRT file. Or any file for that matter. So you need to get tricky.

Open Facebook in Firefox and go to the Web Developer>Network. This will open the inspector at the bottom of you browser window.

Firefox's web developer tool, the Network tabWhich will give you something that looks like this:

Using the Network tab to get a Facebook caption fileGo to the Facebook video you want to get the caption file for.

Once the video starts playing, type SRT into the Filter field (as shown above)

This _should_ show an XHR file. (we’ve seen instances where it doesn’t, not sure why. So this might not work for every video)

Right Click on it, select Copy>Copy URL (as shown above)

Open a new Tab and paste in the URL.

You should now be asked to download a file. Save this as an SRT file (e.g. MyVideo.srt).

Import the SRT into Transcriptive with ‘Combine Lines into Paragraphs’ turned on… Easy, free transcription.

So that’s it. This worked as of this writing. It’s entirely possible Facebook will make a change at some point preventing this, but for now, it’s a good way of getting free transcriptions.

You can also do this in other browsers, I’m just using Firefox as an example.