Two terms that are similar and related, but also different, are scripts and transcripts. A script is a written document that you use when producing a video. It contains what you hear and what you see. A transcript is a written log of what was said. Author Richard Harrington explains how to prepare script files for captioning.
- Let's talk about scripts and transcripts. A script is typically the written document that you use when producing a video. It often contains the narration that's going to be said, or the dialog, as well as a description of the visuals. This often needs to be modified before it can be used. Now we'll talk about transcripts a little bit later, but a transcript is usually created after the fact. It's a written log of what was said during an interview, or generated afterwards for a live event.
Let's start by working with a script. In the Exercise folder, you'll see a folder called Scripts. And these are a series of documents in different formats. Let's take a look at what's here. I have an Apple Pages document. Well, while this is the word processor that we use in my office, this is problematic for a few reasons. Let's take a look. First up, it's a relatively proprietary format. An Apple Pages document can only be opened on a Mac or an iOS device.
This means that people working on PCs or other formats can't open it, unlike a doc, which is also proprietary, but cross-platform. Additionally, this document has some problematic areas. You'll notice that there are some cross-throughs and modifications, change tracking that's been made. Plus, everything over here in the Visual column isn't terribly useful. This was great when we were shooting the commercial, and helpful for the client to understand what was going to happen, but not useful for the actual on-screen captions.
You'll also notice that sometimes things might be spelled out, like N-F-C-C dot org. Or Debt Advice dot org for the URL. That's because we want the narrator to say the dot for clarity. But when this is put up on screen, we don't need that, and it would go back to the traditional period. Now there's a few things that have to be done and prepared here. Back in the folder, you'll notice a plain text file. Let's open that up.
In this case, the entire Video column has been removed. Now, what's happened here is quite simple. Just selected all of the information in the other two columns, and deleted it. Got rid of the information I didn't need. And then selected the text that I did. Copy, and go to a word processor or a text editor, and simply paste that information in.
And you see it comes in as pure text. Now in this case, there's things that I may decide to leave or not. For example, leaving music up and under. Well I don't need the up and under, but music might be useful to see on screen as a caption. For people to know that there is no dialog, but music is playing back. I tend to also look and split things up into shorter blocks. That looks good.
And in this case here, I'm gonna simplify to just the second URL, or visit debt advice, and let's remove the dot, and replace that correctly. There we go. Now what I have is a properly prepared text file that I can easily use with other software. Now, later on, depending upon how you use this, whether you're going to have captions auto-generated through voice recognition, or take the voice recognized text and then replace it with the actual script, or perhaps you're going to just type in captions and manually time them out.
In any case, a text file is very useful. And how you save that text file matters. Under the File menu here, I would strongly suggest that you choose to actually export this, or save it. Let's choose Save As for a moment, and you'll notice here, you have control over how the text is encoded. The format does matter. The most broadly compatible version is going to be UTF-8.
So I would suggest saving it this way and adding the text, UTF-8, to the end of the file name. I'll click Save, and the file is written to disk. Now, you're welcome to take a look at some of the other options here. You'll see some other text files to look at. But here's an example of a problem. This one lost the file extension, and it's having a hard time being previewed. So it's important that you take a look at what's happening there.
Here, it's reading as a text file. This earlier version is not. Now, we can force that to open up, and it might come in correctly, but I would suggest that you also make sure that the files you have saved have an extension. You can press Command + I on a Mac, and take a look at the file, and I see that the extension is currently hidden. Looking at this, I can get a little more information, and it's reading as a text file.
If we take a look at the different options here, you'll see that they're being handled a little bit differently. A text edit document versus a plain text document. So, make sure you take a look at what's happening and how it's saved, and consider adding that file extension. Let's go ahead and add a version two here, and I'll add the extension .txt. There we go, now you'll notice that the computer was better able to interpret the file.
It can more plainly recognize what type of file it is, and it's able to preview the file. These sorts of things are important, particularly if you're going to be emailing the file to an outside vendor who helps you with your captions. Making sure that you have proper formatting and proper extensions is essential so that the attachments don't get mangled when transferred electronically, such as when sending with an email, or posting to Dropbox.
- What is accessibility?
- Understanding accessibility needs and issues
- Working with scripts and transcripts
- Optimizing video for visual impairment issues
- Optimizing video for audio impairment issues
- Captioning in Adobe Premiere Pro
- Captioning in Digital Anarchy Transcriptive
- Captioning in Final Cut Pro X
- Including captions and transcripts on web and social media video