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What would be an efficient workflow to process (de-rush) voice audio recordings?

These recordings could be recordings of interviews, lectures, classes… whatever.

The idea is to scrub through them as fast as possible, split them, annotate them, drill down them, in order to extract the most interesting part of their content. Often (as in interviews), much of the content is uninteresting and needs to be skipped (fast-forwarded).

I tried automatic transcription software (MacSpeech Scribe), which is interesting and works surprisingly well, but not well enough:

  • oftentimes the audio quality of the recordings are not good enough for transcription to be accurate enough.
  • even when phonetically accurate, the output of the transcription is very hard to read: no paragraph, no punctuation, wrong spelling, wrong grammar…
  • even when the transcription is accurate, it still contains a lot of garbage, and the transcription still needs to be analyzed to extract the interesting part.

So automatic transcription doesn't help very much.

What I am envisioning is a tool that would allow me to vary the playing speed (not the pitch), split the audio into segments, annotate them (perhaps colorize them), and then produce a time-cued comment list.

Would Logic Pro X be useful for that? Or would Final Cut Pro be better adapted? Or yet another tool?

I tried Capo which can vary the playback speed, but is not very helpful for the rest. I tried Fission, which doesn't quite fit the bill either.

Obviously, I am a Mac user.

Secondarily, the comments would be dictated rather than typed. I believe Dragon Dictate could be used there (or Mac OS X dictation).

Thanks a lot

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1 Answer

The first thing I would actually recommend for this kind of thing is to buy a jog shuttle. It's a control interface that would allow you to adjust the playback rate on the fly to rapidly cue to different parts and move forward. They are super helpful for speeding up this kind of work.

For the pitch correction part, you just need software that supports pitch corrected scrubbing. I know I have been able to do this with Premiere in the past. I haven't done it in the most recent version, but unless they removed the feature it would still be there.

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Pitch correction is not needed in my case. These are voice recordings. But I can see how that might be useful in other cases. Thanks –  Jean-Denis Muys Nov 18 '13 at 16:09
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@Jean-DenisMuys - you said "What I am envisioning is a tool that would allow me to vary the playing speed (not the pitch)", that requires pitch correction on the speed adjustment because changing the speed changes the pitch and it has to be corrected back to where it was. If there was a sound at 2k, when you go through it at 2x speed, it becomes 4k, the software has to correct for this and make a new wave that takes half the time but keeps a 2k frequency sound. –  AJ Henderson Nov 18 '13 at 16:16
    
OK, I see where I was not clear enough. Capo varies the speed without varying the pitch. This is what I had in mind, however it achieves that. –  Jean-Denis Muys Nov 18 '13 at 16:46
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