Transcription Tech: A Salute To The Foot Pedal

When we first got into the transcription game, the technology of the foot pedal was top secret and complicated. In fact, we had to pay a private engineer to make our transcription foot pedal system to work properly in conjunction with our secret time code technology. Almost every component in the primordial transcription system was analog, and our competition still doesn’t know how we did it. (little do they know, it was magic! Remember, we’re wizards :)

Your a wizard!
Never forget, we're the original Word Wizards!

Snap to the modern day and we find that foot pedal transcription systems are a dime a dozen, and can be bought cheaply off the shelf. Unfortunately, the innovation of controlling audio or video transcription software by foot pedal is vastly under appreciated. So today I just wanted to give a quick salute of appreciation to the the one that always works “under foot” and never seems to complain. We remind all of our fellow transciptionists that when foot pedals hit the scene, productivity increased to the point where this industry became a full time job.

Always under foot of a good transcription and never complained once!
Respect the pedal...

If you don’t agree with me, just try to transcribe your next 5 hour job without one of these little wonders to help you. Manually pressing the play, pause, and rewind button reduces transcription productivity and efficiency by 50% or more! The transcription world will forever be in debt to the one who took this secret time saver and brought it to the masses. Now the only question is which one do you choose?

Beware The Foot Clan!
Just don't team up with the Foot Clan! (please forgive the Ninja Turtles reference)



Red Alert: Stop SOPA From Destroying the Internet

It is not usually our policy to get political here at Word Wizards. However there is a largely under-discussed item of legislation that could change the free internet forever. Our friends at WordPress covered this issue quite well, so we have broken our normal habit of only publishing original articles to bring you their post in its entirety. If SOPA passes, our entire domain could be taken down for something like this without any chance to prove our innocence. Luckily that hasn’t happened yet and we know our friends at WordPress will understand the use of some of their material to spread this message.

The following was graciously extracted from the official WordPress blog:

Help Stop SOPA/PIPA

Posted January 10, 2012 by Jane Wells. Filed under Community.

You are an agent of change. Has anyone ever told you that? Well, I just did, and I meant it.

Normally we stay away from from politics here at the official WordPress project — having users from all over the globe that span the political spectrum is evidence that we are doing our job and democratizing publishing, and we don’t want to alienate any of our users no matter how much some of us may disagree with some of them personally. Today, I’m breaking our no-politics rule, because there’s something going on in U.S. politics right now that we need to make sure you know about and understand, because it affects us all.

Using WordPress to blog, to publish, to communicate things online that once upon a time would have been relegated to an unread private journal (or simply remained unspoken, uncreated, unshared) makes you a part of one of the biggest changes in modern history: the democratization of publishing and the independent web. Every time you click Publish, you are a part of that change, whether you are posting canny political insight or a cat that makes you LOL. How would you feel if the web stopped being so free and independent? I’m concerned freaked right the heck out about the bills that threaten to do this, and as a participant in one of the biggest changes in modern history, you should be, too.

You may have heard people talking/blogging/twittering about SOPA — the Stop Online Piracy Act. The recent SOPA-related boycott of GoDaddy was all over the news, with many people expressing their outrage over the possibilities of SOPA, but when I ask people about SOPA and its sister bill in the Senate, PIPA (Protect IP Act), many don’t really know what the bills propose, or what we stand to lose. If you are not freaked out by SOPA/PIPA, please: for the next four minutes, instead of checking Facebook statuses, seeing who mentioned you on Twitter, or watching the latest episode of Sherlock*, watch this video (by Fight for the Future).

Some thoughts:

  • In the U.S. our legal system maintains that the burden of proof is on the accuser, and that people are innocent until proven guilty. This tenet seems to be on the chopping block when it comes to the web if these bills pass, as companies could shut down sites based on accusation alone.
  • Laws are not like lines of PHP; they are not easily reverted if someone wakes up and realizes there is a better way to do things. We should not be so quick to codify something this far-reaching.
  • The people writing these laws are not the people writing the independent web, and they are not out to protect it. We have to stand up for it ourselves.

Blogging is a form of activism. You can be an agent of change. Some people will tell you that taking action is useless, that online petitions, phone calls to representatives, and other actions won’t change a single mind, especially one that’s been convinced of something by lobbyist dollars. To those people, I repeat the words of Margaret Mead:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

We are not a small group. More than 60 million people use WordPress — it’s said to power about 15% of the web. We can make an impact, and you can be an agent of change. Go to Stop American Censorship for more information and a bunch of ways you can take action quickly, easily, and painlessly. The Senate votes in two weeks, and we need to help at least 41 more senators see reason before then. Please. Make your voice heard.

END OF ARTICLE

Word Wizards is united in our outcry against this unconstitutional limitation on our freedom to express ourselves and operate our small business. Our business would be instantly and negatively impacted by this legislation. So on behalf of our executives, developers, and everyone else that relies on this business for a good American small business job, STOP THIS MADNESS BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.




Time Code: Old Dog New Tricks

Time Code, the stuff that editors once dreamed of. A continuous stream of data (usually audio) that allows video footage to be edited digitally in a non-linear format. Providing transcripts synced to time code was once a very technical and labor intensive process. In fact, when Word Wizards first explored Time Code transcription, the equipment used to generate it took up an entire room! As time went on, the technical barriers involved with time code manipulation for transcription purposes have disappeared, as has the appreciation for this once highly regarded tool.

Timecode displayed on a scene marker.
SMPTE Timecode displayed on a scene marker.

Most production software workstations, professional video editors, and transcription companies use SMPTE Time Code. The following is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on SMPTE Time Code:

“In video production and filmmaking, SMPTE time code is used extensively for synchronization, and for logging and identifying material in recorded media. During filmmaking or video production shoot, the camera assistant will typically log the start and end time codes of shots, and the data generated will be sent on to the editorial department for use in referencing those shots. This shot-logging process was traditionally done by hand using pen and paper, but is now typically done using shot-logging software running on a laptop computer that is connected to the time code generator or the camera itself.”

Interesting stuff huh? At least it used to be, but time code doesn’t seem to command the respect it once did, even though it is the key to all digital editing in the industry today. However, this old dog has recently learned some new tricks, and time code is now being used for live entertainment like never before.

Presenting: Serato Scratch Live DJ Software and Video Scratch Live VJ software

Photo of the Serato SL3 package contense
A new spin on time code

Serato SL and other products like it now use time code to control audio signals for live DJ performances and studio production. Using a vinyl record pressed with continuous time code, a DJ can control their entire music library with turntables thanks to the magic of time code. This new application of time code is now the standard for live DJ performance, and it doesn’t end there. With Serato’s Video SL, you can control video footage with the turntable as well,  (now available for pro tools for you pro users). Allowing music videos with synced audio to be “VJed” using turntables as well.

You have to see it to believe it, so check out the video below demonstrating Video Scratch Live.