Adobe released a new transcript/caption workflow with the July, 2021, release of Premiere Pro. While captions were a part of Premiere for a while now, the automatic speech-to-text transcription is new. Here’s an overview of how this works.
BEFORE YOU START
While you can create transcripts at any time, there are two places where transcripts will be the most helpful:
Let’s take a look at both, however, there’s a glaring omission in creating text transcripts that make them far less useful than they could be. (I’ll cover this when we get to exporting transcripts.)
TRANSCRIBE BEFORE YOU START
Both transcripts and captions are created from clips in the Timeline.
Edit the clip, or clips, you want to transcribe into the Timeline. Make sure the audio volume in the clip is loud enough to hear. And, if there are tracks that just contain sound effects or music, mute them.
NOTE: As part of the transcription process, if you assign tags to your clips – like Dialogue, Effects, Music… you can specify that Premiere just create transcripts of Dialogue clips. This means you don’t need to mute other tracks.
NOTE: To mute a track, click the M icon in the track header for that track.
Select the timeline, so there is a blue box around it, then switch to the Text panel and click the Transcript button in the top left.
NOTE: The Text panel is new with this release of Premiere Pro. There used to be a Caption window in its place, which is now gone.
Click the Create Transcription button to start the transcript process.
The Create Transcript window appears. Most of the time, the defaults are fine but, if you are working with a language other than English, be sure to set the Language menu correctly.
Then click the blue Transcribe button to start the process.
Premiere extracts the audio from the sequence and sends it to the Cloud for transcription. As well, Premiere displays screens indicating the transcription process.
After a bit, which varies depending upon the length of the clip, the transcript appears.
To change the name of the speaker, click *** Unknown and select Edit Speakers
To change the name of the default speaker, click the pencil and add the new name.
To add an additional speaker, click the Add Speaker button.
NOTE: This window is very small. I added five new speakers and didn’t realize it because they weren’t displayed in this small space. To see a new speaker, scroll down using the small scroll bar to the right of the X.
To delete a speaker, click the X next to their name.
When done, click Save.
To change the speaker associated with a paragraph of the transcript, click the speaker name and pick the correct name from the list.
To edit a transcript, say to change a word, correct a spelling or add punctuation, click the paragraph you want to change and, like any text editor, edit it.
When the time comes to do something with that transcript, you have two choices:
Export Transcript is used to create a .prtranscript file that can be opened in the Transcript panel using the Import transcript option. Use this when moving the transcript from one Premiere system to another.
NOTE: Use Import Transcript from this same menu to import a transcript that was exported from another Premiere system.
Export to Text File. Use this option to create a .txt file for proof-reading, to share with a client, or to create written content for your video.
NOTE: Select Display pauses as […] to display pauses as ellipses so that the transcript shows where there are gaps in the dialog. This is very useful to know where you’ll probably need B-roll.
The problem – and it is a BIG! problem – is that the exported text file does not indicate speakers or timecode. So it essentially useless as a guide for client review or creating rough cuts.
It is my hope that Adobe fixes this before too long – because transcripts are not very valuable unless we can reference them back to the source footage or sequence.
NOTE: Adobe does allow searching for text associated with a single clip in the Text window. But that’s not the same as leafing through transcripts for multiple clips.
The second major use of transcripts is in creating captions. The first part of the process – creating and editing the text itself is the same.
Once a transcript is created and edited, coverting into captions is amazingly easy. Click the Create Captions button.
The Create Captions dialog appears. Most of the time, I just accept the defaults, but you are welcome to tweak.
Several things happen at once:
At this point, adjusting and trimming captions is the same as earlier versions of Premiere.
NOTE: When trimming captions, always use the red Roll tool. Trimming with a yellow Ripple tool will knock all downstream captions out of sync.
The new transcript/caption workflow is fast and easy. Best of all, Adobe is building the cost of transcription into your monthly subscription fee; at least for now.
This new speech-to-text transcription and caption workflow in Adobe Premiere Pro is fast and easy to use, with the potential to be extremely helpful. But Adobe also needs to add the ability to export timecode and speaker names along with the transcript for this to be truly useful.
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