How to use Flow for Transcription and Subtitling
You can use Limecraft for transcription and subtitling. You can choose to do it by yourself or to let Flow do all the hard work.
1. Transcription Application
1.1. Enter application
Find the Go to transcript action on a clip thumbnail and click it.
When you open the Transcript for a clip which has not been transcribed, you’ll see a window similar to the one below:
In cases where the audio and the quality of the speaker are good enough, you can take a shortcut using automated transcription. However, as you intend to start writing our transcript from scratch, click ‘SKIP‘.
Note: Automatic transcription is explained below
A blank transcript appears:
1.2. Start Writing
At the top left corner, you see the VIEW | EDIT toggle. Click ‘EDIT’ to edit your transcript. Some extra buttons appear in the player controls at the bottom of the screen.
To write the transcript, we will “record” time ranges and provide text for them.
Let’s explain that a bit more. Play your video with the basic player controls. When you hear something you want to transcribe, press the SET IN button. The player starts playing and the following dialog pops up:
After a few spoken words, press the SET OUT button. Type the words you heard, and press confirm. That’s it! You just added your first words to the transcript, and they all have timecodes linked to them. The start of the first word corresponds to the IN timecode of the dialog, the end of the last word corresponds to the OUT of the dialog, and all words in between get interpolated between those.
Now click the SET IN button again to start recording a new time range (which starts at the OUT of the last added range) and repeat the same process. While the dialog is open, you can tweak the timecodes by typing a new timecode, or by moving the playhead and pressing SET IN (to change the IN timecode) and SET OUT (to change the OUT timecode).
To get the most out of the transcriber, use it via its shortcuts F9 (or fn+F9 on a Mac) to SET IN, F10 (fn+F10 on a Mac) to SET OUT and Enter to confirm the dialog. No mouse needed!
We strongly advise using the shortcuts to control the player and setting IN and OUT points. We use the F1, F2, … keys on your keyboard. So pressing the F9 key on your keyboard will have the same effect as clicking the SET IN button on the screen. Using these shortcuts will maximize your transcription speed.
If you are using a mac (and on some other devices), the shortcut is fn+F1, fn+F2, … So you have to press and hold the fn key while pressing the F1 key (and similar for F2, F3, …). As this is a bit clunky, you might consider configuring your Mac to use F1, F2 etc. as standard function keys as explained here.
Where to find the fn and the function keys on your keyboard.
1.2.2. Navigating and correcting the transcript
We explained above how to add timed text to our transcript. What happened behind the scenes is we took the in-point (where you clicked SET IN) and the out point (where you clicked SET OUT) and assigned that to the start of the first word and the end of the last word you typed. Then we guessed the timing of the other words, so all words get linked to a position.
When you play your media, you’ll see the spoken word will be highlighted in the transcript text. It is also possible to seek the player to a given word in the transcript by clicking the word while holding down Ctrl (Cmd if you’re using Mac).
1.2.3. Changing the text of a selection
You can put your text cursor in the transcript and type to correct some small mistakes. However, we don’t recommend typing large chunks of text inline, as the timecode link will become less and less accurate. It is better to select the wrong text, and use the “Edit text of selection” tool.
Select some words in the transcript. You’ll see some blue buttons at the bottom become active:
Click the “Edit text of selection” button (the pencil icon). A familiar dialog pops up:
Type the correct text and press the Confirm button (shortcut Enter). The text will be replaced in your transcript, but the timing of the first and last words remain the same.
1.2.4. Changing the timing of a selection
Sometimes you want to tweak the exact timing of some words. Select some text in the transcript, and press the “Change timing of selection” button at the bottom of the screen (clock icon). This dialog pops up:
Change the IN and OUT timecode as desired. Press the Preview button, you should end up with hearing the text you selected in the transcript.
The “each word has the same duration” button will distribute the available time between IN and OUT evenly over all words (recommended). If you uncheck this box, the words which were longer before using the tool will still be longer after using the tool.
Note: Changing the timing of a selection can introduce a timing overlap with other words in the transcript. The application will notify you about this. When confirming the change, the overlapped words will be removed from your transcript.
Each paragraph in your transcript has an associated speaker. We default to names like ‘Speaker 1’, but you can change the speaker by clicking them and typing a different name:
While typing, you might see a dropdown appear with speaker suggestions. This is a nice way to keep your speaker names consistent.
For multiple paragraphs spoken by the same speaker, we don’t show the speaker name so as not to disturb the flow of the transcript. To reveal the speaker name, either use the F4 button or shortcut, or click the colored line in front of the paragraph.
1.2.6. Bulk speaker rename
You can change the name of a given speaker (in all paragraphs spoken by this speaker) using the Edit Speakers tool. The tool is launched using the button at the top of the transcript text
The following dialog appears
With the tool, you can navigate through all speakers using the big gray buttons on the left and right side of the dialog, and give them a name. After giving a speaker a name, don’t forget to press the ‘Save Speaker Name’ button.
To help you identify the speaker, a paragraph of text spoken by this speaker is highlighted in the transcript. You can press the ‘Listen’ button to start playing the paragraph in the video player. Press the ‘Next paragraph’ button to listen to another paragraph spoken by the speaker.
1.3. Use automated speech recognition
Limecraft Flow’s transcript editor is also integrated with our powerful automatic transcription engine. Instead of creating a transcript manually, you can let our machines do the hard work for you.
Open the transcript editor for a clip which hasn’t got a transcript yet. It should look like the image below:
Pick “Start Automatic Transcription”. A dialog will ask you for some parameters:
Click the START button and the automatic transcription will start. Automatic transcription might take a while depending on the length of your material. You don’t have to keep the page open for the automatic transcription to continue. When the automatic transcription has finished, the right side of the screen will be populated with the transcript, like shown below.
Note: While in the Flow library, you can select multiple clips and click the Start Speech Recognition action in the More Actions menu of the toolbar:
You will now have a starting point for your transcript, based on speech recognition. Go into edit mode by clicking the EDIT button above the transcript text. Each word is synced to a position in the video. Clicking a word while holding down the Ctrl key will seek the player to that position.
You can simply edit the transcript like you would do in a text editor. The software will keep the link with the timecode positions in you media intact. To correct more than simple typos, we recommend using the “Change text of selection” tool.
2. Mark quotes
If you want to use the transcript to mark interesting parts and create quotes, click the VIEW button. Also make sure that the subclips sidebar is visible by clicking the subclips button in the top right corner:
The interface now contains a player at the left, the subclips sidebar at the right and the transcript in the middle.
Note: The player controls and the subclips sidebar are explained in detail here. This article is about using the transcript text to create subclips.
Creating a new subclip using the transcript is as easy as marking the text in the transcript, and then clicking the ‘add subclip’ button.
1. Select the text in your transcript:
2. Click the “ADD SUBCLIP” button
3. The timing is filled in automatically, and the quote is included. You can add a description with tags and mentions as usual.
4. Subtitle Editor
You can create subtitles based on your transcript or create them all by yourself. In this part of the tutorial you'll learn how.
4.1. Enter the Subtitle Editor
Find the Edit Subtitles action on a clip thumbnail and click it.
When you open the Subtitle Editor for a clip which has no subtitles yet, you’ll see a window similar to the one below:
In cases where the audio and the quality of the speaker are good enough, you can take a shortcut using automated subtitling. For now we’ll focus on manually creating the subtitles from scratch, so click ‘SKIP‘. Automatic subtitling is explained at the end of this article.
The right side of the screen will show a list of existing subtitles (this will be an empty list at first), and some extra buttons appear at the bottom of the screen.
4.2. Create your first subtitle
To write subtitles, you have to use the same buttons and shortcuts as in the transcription application (see above).
The application will show a live preview of the subtitle over the player:
When you are happy with the results, save the subtitle by clicking the button with the floppy disk:
You have now created your first subtitle! The subtitle will appear in the subtitle list on the right of the screen:
4.3. Edit existing subtitles
To edit an existing subtitle, simply click it in the list on the right and it will go into edit mode. Clicking outside the subtitle will save your changes. Pushing the Esc key on your keyboard will abort your changes.
4.3.1. Change appearance and disappearance time
While editing a subtitle, the appearance and disappearance time of the subtitle are shown at the top of the subtitle. You can type in a new timecode, or use the arrow keys to change the timecode one frame at a time.
But the best way to change the timing is to move the playhead to the desired location in the video and press the little green circle
next to the timecode. This will copy the current playhead position into the timing field. This is the same as clicking the SET IN (F9) or SET OUT (F10) buttons.
Note that you can use the “Play IN to OUT” button (F8) to preview the time range!
4.3.2. Change the subtitle position (top / bottom region)
By default, the subtitle is rendered in the bottom region. As an alternative, the subtitle can be rendered in the ‘top region’ by clicking the region button
. The icon of the button will change, and the subtitle shown over the video will change its position to something like the example shown below:
4.3.3. Change the text colour
Select some text in the edit box, and press the button with the brush icon
. A menu with text colours will appear. In the example below, we changed the text colour to green. If no text is selected and you change the colour, the entire subtitle will change colour.
4.3.4. Delete a subtitle
Press the button with the trash can to delete a subtitle
4.3.5. Subtitle warnings
While editing a subtitle, you might see an exclamation triangle appear on the subtitle. This means you are violating one of the subtitle specifications set in the production configuration. The example below has too many characters on a single line and too many words for the subtitle duration.
The subtitle will be verified while editing
4.3.6. Subtitle overlap
The icon might even turn red, which means you are in trouble. A red icon means the subtitle overlaps other subtitles, which will prevent the subtitle from saving. For example, this subtitle overlaps the next subtitle:
If you try to save this subtitle, the subtitle will turn orange and inform you of the overlap:
You can either press ‘back’ to manually solve the issue, or press ‘fix’ to shorten the subtitle automatically.
4.4. Automatic Subtitling
4.4.1. Start Automatic Subtitling
Limecraft Flow’s Subtitle Editor is also integrated with our powerful automatic transcription engine.
First, automatically create your transcript in the Transcriber Application as explained here and correct any mistakes as explained here. Once you are happy with your transcript, open up the subtitle editor. It should look like this:
Press ‘BOOTSTRAP USING TRANSCRIPT’. The subtitling workflow will start, and the screen changes to
Automatic subtitling might take a while depending on the length of your material. You don’t have to keep the page open for the automatic subtitling to continue. When the automatic subtitling has finished, the right side of the screen will be populated with subtitles, like shown below.
Note: If you have to wait too long for the subtitles to appear, you might try to refresh the page.
The controls at the bottom of the screen change to the subtitle editor controls. Editing these subtitles is done in the same way as explained above.
Note: It is also possible to start automatic subtitling without using the Transcriber application. Behind the scenes, this first creates a transcript in the Transcriber application and then creates subtitles out of those. Because automatic speech recognition isn’t flawless, and the Transcriber is better suited to correct these mistakes, we advise you to always use the Transcriber first, and only afterwards generate subtitles.
4.4.2. Subtitling Status
Once you are happy with your subtitles, click the button ‘Mark Completed’ at the top of the Subtitle Editor. This will change the subtitling status on this clip to completed. Why would you bother doing this? Because in the Flow Library, it is possible to filter on the subtitling status of a clip. This makes it easy to find all clips which have no subtitles yet, or for which subtitles are completed:
Note: you can always revert the status to ‘editing’ if you marked a clip ‘completed’ by accident.
4.4.3. Reset subtitles
If for any reason you want to restart your subtitling work, click the small arrow button next to ‘mark complete’ and you’ll be presented with a menu like below. Click ‘Delete Subtitles’. Note that this will remove all your work and reset the subtitling status to ‘not yet started’.
5. Export Subtitles
You can export your subtitles in several formats. It's possible to import them in to an editing programme.