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.

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