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What do you think of "automatic editing" technology?

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Timothy J. Allen
What do you think of "automatic editing" technology?
on Aug 9, 2007 at 3:20:59 pm

I've always enjoyed trying to get faster and better at editing, and I enjoy learning alternate workflows to see what works "better". I appreciate the last few threads about bin organization and editing workflow.

So...I've used Avid Media Composers for a while now, but I've never used their "ScriptSync" program. Evidently, it's been in Avid MC since version 7.1, but it's been seriously upgraded for Adrenaline 2.7.

ScriptSync uses voice recognition software to analyze audio waveforms and sync the clips with dialog recorded with the corresponding lines in the script. This automates the process of organizing clips. "Each line of dialog in the scene is lined and marked with all the takes containing that dialog. The editor then can simply click the line in the script to see every take with that line of dialog. The takes can then be color coded to identify the best takes."

You can then tab through multiple angles of the same dialog. The articles I've read say that once you've tried it, you'll never want to go back to editing from a bin again.

We typically have about 40-minute long interviews with astronauts before their scheduled mission. The topics of the interviews cover everything from their personal backgrounds, to specific flight duties, to explaining specific experiments or space hardware. For a typical shuttle mission, we'll have seven astronauts and a couple of flight directors all talking about similar subjects, but since it's unscripted interviews, they all say different things about the topics.

We get verbatim transcriptions of the raw interviews before editing, so I'm hoping that this ScriptSync technology will help all of our Editors and Producers locate the quotes they need in a more efficient manner, by locating those "key phrases". For instance, I'd like to be able to click in the transcripts and quickly pull up where each astronaut says "second spacewalk", so we can get a comprehensive listen to what all was said about the second scheduled spacewalk for the mission.

I'm not trying to advertise for Avid, since I haven't tried this workflow yet. I'll let you know how it goes, but meanwhile, have any of you tried similar "automatic editing" technology? Has it been worth your time learning the different workflow? For reference, here's the link to a web page covering the specific technology I'm talking about:


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Pixel Monkey
Re: What do you think of "automatic editing" technology?
on Aug 10, 2007 at 1:10:37 pm

Yeah, we had this explained to us at a Carl & Bob Avid Interplay demo at our station a number of months ago. The thought of it impressed our Executive Producer to no end... to the point he wanted to recommend the Interplay purchase to all the producers just to get it. (Techno-tard!)

As an editor of PBS docs, the idea intrigues me. With so few hours in the day, any opportunity to remove a mundane task is most welcome... for me or the producer. It translates into more time dedicated to the story. I can't wait to see it in action! Honestly I don't care if it works or not, so long as producers have new things to do OUTSIDE of the edit bay.

`(=)`/...Pixel Monkey

A picture says 1000 words. Editors give them meaning.

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Timothy J. Allen
Re: What do you think of "automatic editing" technology?
on Aug 11, 2007 at 12:14:27 am

Well, we are getting Interplay anyway, especially now that one of our staff members is one of the first Avid Certified Support Representative certified in it.

Hopefully after installing it, we'll never have ANY video or audio tech issues again, we'll all get our work done in half the time, and we can spend the time we save towards ending world hunger, telling funny jokes and truly understanding why shows like "Teletubbies" became so popular.

(Not necessarily in that order.) Maybe I'm a bit too optimistic? ;-)

But seriously, we won't get to use ScriptSync until we install the upgrade to 2.7. and we'll start using Interplay. We are planning on that happening next month. Once I use the software, I'll write a review for the COW.

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Re: What do you think of "automatic editing" technology?
on Aug 11, 2007 at 10:47:57 am

I'd like an auomated drive through. Like not have to talk over the dude's car in front of me, hope I'm not yelling too loud, too soft or gettin my order all jacked on a count of my thick accent. Just push a button, add some options and get a total. Yes, this takes out all the personal interaction that use to pull people to dine but it's much more efficiant in the assembly line of life.
a little editorial parody for ya there.
My view on automated editing is the same way. Voice recognition will most certainly replce many editors. Don't think it won't As sure as I am sitting here it surely will. It will not repace an artist though. The thread above mentions editors dabblng in the artistry of 3D. While automations will grace the 3D world as well, there will always be a place foran artist to stitch visuals together and enhance with a personal touch.
That said, dude I better see some freakin bug fixin goin on at Avid before I get presorted bins based on what the little man in the drive through window thinks someone said.

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mark Raudonis
Re: What do you think of "automatic editing" technology?
on Sep 8, 2007 at 11:41:27 pm


Call me a pessimist, but I don't think this feature is going to help you at all!

I've been chasing the holy grail of "automatic transcription" for years now. I figure if the CIA can pull specific words out of their "Echelon" monitoring of cell phones, why can't I get a simple interview transcribed automatically. They best that I've seen is what's called a "shadow talker" who repeats what he hears on the tape. The difference is that the shadow talker has "trained" the software to recognize his voice, yielding a much higher accuracy. He can also add punctuation, which a "real" interview would/could not do.

All this to say that in practice, all this "script integration" is going to require a whole lot of "manual massaging" to bring the accuracy within an acceptable range.

I hope I'm wrong, and this stuff works great.... but something tells me NOT to get my hopes up.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.


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