DIY Network – Four Legged Fashion

Video production professionals are used to finding that perfect look for themselves; why shouldn’t that extend to man’s best friend? Take a look at this new infomercial by the DIY Network, starring Word Wizards Operations Manager Ben and office support dog Heather. Now pooches can get some high style of their own to match their human counterparts. Highly recommended for dog lovers everywhere!

DIY Network – Four Legged Fashion




Tech Time With The RollerMouse Free2

RollerMouse_Free2

While there are many who think that professionals in the media-and-video-production industry don’t spend much time behind a desk and computer, they could not be more wrong. Media professionals can end up spending just as long as any information worker, and often even longer, slaving away on a computer behind a desk. And as some people may or may not know, long hours at a desk and in front of a computer screen in any type of work can have some very serious repercussions on a person’s health, causing back, shoulder, elbow and wrist pain, among other issues. The human body was not made to be in the same position every day. Doing the same motions that put so much cumulative strain on it that can ultimately lead to serious issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.

Fixing The Problem

RollerMouse

Fortunately for those slaving away in this less than ideal situation, a number of ergonomic keyboards and mice have been coming out in recent years to help reduce the strain. One of them is the RollerMouse Free2 designed and made by Contour to help combat this problem. The mouse, which sits at the base of the keyboard, eliminates the need for the user to constantly reach up and over for the mouse. It puts less strain on hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulder. You move the mouse by utilizing a roller that spans the width of the keyboard, and sits between you and the keyboard. Centralized buttons control the functions of clicking, right-clicking, scrolling, copying, pasting and double-clicking. The double-click button, as well as the cut and paste, reduce the fine motor movements required by a traditional mouse, which can be tough on the joints.

A Real Life Testimonial

Here at Word Wizards, one of our very own has been using the RollerMouse Free2 for a few months and having great success with it. Devra G., Web Developer and 508 Accessibility Specialist, has suffered wrist, shoulder and elbow pain for a number of years from using a standard mouse. To help alleviate these problems she’s tried various mice and made a big leap forward by using a roller-bar mouse.

Devra’s first big improvement in mousing was using a roller ball mouse, which moves the cursor via thumb movement, not shoulder movement. Moving the cursor with the thumb reduced some of her shoulder pain. But since she still had to reach over to the right, her shoulder was still aggravated.

After some time, Devra ended up seeing a physical therapist about wrist, elbow, and shoulder pain. It was the physical therapist who suggested getting a roller-mouse after telling Devra the wrist and elbow issues were coming from her shoulder.

User Approved

Heeding this advice, Devra purchased the first roller-mouse model, the RollerMouse Pro2 (retail $199.95). While she did enjoy this model, it ended up not being the best working fit since she uses two monitors and needed something that can handle a larger pixel range.

Devra recently got the newer module, the RollerMouse Free2 (retail $239.95), which she feels has reduced her shoulder pain significantly. The roller on this model is also wider and easier to access.

Some Friendly Advice

While using ergonomic mice can be a great alternative for some, there are a few basic tips you can follow with any mouse type that should help reduce strain on your joints. A good one is to take a few minutes break every hour, and stretch your wrists, arms, and shoulders. This will help you relax and make sure your body does not stay in the same position for too long. Another is to occasionally get up and speak to colleagues instead of just sending them an e-mail, since moving around pumps new blood into your body and gives you more energy.

 




Silverdocs No More

AFI Docs

A New Partner

Silverdocs, the premiere documentary festival in the Washington DC area, as well as a huge boon to the Silver Spring area, is getting some major changes. Its new iteration, which was announced just last week, will be known as AFI Docs Film Festival and will be backed by car manufacturer Audi instead of Discovery Communications. The new festival, running from June 19–23, will have an expanded presence as well as panels with greater focus on politics and other D.C.-centric issues. The festival will no longer take place solely in its home base of Silver Spring but will be presenting films at DC venues such as the Newseum, The National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American History.

Changing Sponsors

The change is a consequence of the festival’s rising prominence on the national documentary circuit, as well as Discovery Communication’s change in corporate focus that has seen it move away from documentary storytelling, according to festival director Sky Sitney. Sitney sees the change in sponsors as positive and thinks it will help the festival to grow and gain an even more vibrant topical focus as it moves further into the heart of DC. She also said that, rather of thinking of it as scattered, instead think of it as incorporating two compact campuses.

silverdocs

The festival was started in 2003 as a joint venture between Discovery Communications and the American Film Institute. It should be noted that both of these organizations were major catalysts in the rejuvenation of the Silver Spring Area.

The Silver Spring Community Reacts

While it’s being stressed that the festival will still have important events and screenings in Silver Spring with no plans to leave it behind, the reaction locally has been mixed. Many locals as well as those in the production and documentary community feel that something is being lost with the expansion and name change. For years, the fact that the festival took place entirely in this one area has made it an important part of the community. The festival, which has grown to be the pride of Silver Spring, helps shine the spotlight on independent filmmakers and the important stories they have to tell. Smaller companies such as Word Wizards Inc., which thrives on transcription footage and the talking heads footage that are the meat of most documentaries, think it important these festivals go on, even if they’re in new forms.




Social Justice and Web Series at Filmfest DC

film fest

If your looking for a fun little excursion and have a hankering for a different kind of cinema, check out the Filmfest DC. They’re collection, which plays till Sunday the 21st, is pretty impressive with over 80 features, documentaries and shorts from all corners of the earth. Word Wizards, Inc. of course loves docs, since their so jam packed with talking heads footage which means transcription, but encourages visitors to see all the festival has to offer. The festival which takes place at various commercial theaters throughout Washington, D.C. have a program that can be downloaded from the website at http://www.filmfestdc.org/filmlist.cfm  

Social Justice

One of the unique highlights of the festival includes a Justice Matters Focus group of documentaries which uses the powerful medium of film to take a look at important social justice issues. Some of the subjects include affordable aids treatment, life in refugee camps, global change through entrepreneurship and protecting indigenous people. Word Wizards. Inc, loves these documentaries for a few reasons since they not only bring important topics to the masses that might be over looked, but also use lots of interview footage which requires transcription to great effect. For more information, check out their link here: http://www.filmfestdc.org/filmListSel.cfm?selSeries=Justice%20Matters 

Another unique panel looks at the outstanding quality of the different web series’s produced in the DC area entitled Best of the D.C. Web Series. Over the past decade a number of made for the internet shows, called webisodes, have sprung up in the area. They tend be the length of an average television show and are becoming increasingly popular since they’re cheap to make and can be distributed so easily. While they are intended for the internet, they are still make via the conventional production means. This entails shooting it with a camera which is followed  by plenty of transcription, logging and editing. For more info: http://www.filmfestdc.org/highlights.cfm  

Film festival’s like Filmfest DC are important since they give a voice to many films that otherwise would not be able to find an audience. Yes, some things like the internet and video sharing sites have made self distribution easier than before but its still tough to get them in front of people. Film festivals take only the best which means audiences have a certain quality to look forward to and that filmmakers have better chances to be recognized. To find out about all the screenings and films, check out the Filmfest DC website at  http://www.filmfestdc.org/.

 

 

 




Marketing Documentaries to Academia: The Perfect Recipe

logo-Docs_in_Progress_477x165

One of the obvious reasons why Word Wizards, Inc. loves Docs in Progress (DIP) http://docsinprogress.org/ is that they coach for projects with tons of interview footage.  We at “The Wiz” thrive on transcribing dozens of hours of talking head interviews per week. Transcription is very important to any documentary film maker, whether they use Word Wizards, some other company or (in most cases for people on a tight budget,) do it themselves.  Therefore Word Wizards is proud to sponsor DIP and we attend many of their meetings. Last weeks meeting on marketing to academia was a special treat.

Judith Dancoff

The guest speaker was film marketing Coach Judith Dancoff of New Film Marketing http://www.newfilmmarketing.com/about.php  She spoke about distribution of educational Docs using a strategy called “Distribute It Yourself” (or DIY).  Her strategy is applied specifically to marketing educational documentaries, but can be used to market and sell any Doc.  DIY takes a little bit of extra work but you get to keep all the money as a payoff.  Dancoff wants you to think of the documentary producer as a business person marketing and selling a valuable product to people who need it.

She says to plan two marketing campaigns a year, one early in the fall semester and another in early winter but never Xmas or Spring breaks. The easiest way to break down her strategy is into an easy to follow 3 step recipe:

Step 1: Buy lists of potential academic buyers such as librarians and school content providers from private list providers like R.J. Dill.  rjdill@gmail.com or to reach out to the American Library Association: Contact Personal and Organizational Members using http://bit.ly/Z01rBy 

Step 2: Put together a simple website to market to these people via email blast followed up by personal phone calls.  Academics hate flash so keep your site simple. You can build a very simple Doc site yourself for free using http://www.wix.com.  Or, Word Wizards can design the shell and you fill in the text. For those that want customization, Word Wizards can design a template using a content management system such as WordPress. Your budget will drive the bells and whistles of your website. Check out our portfolio page at https://www.wordwizardsinc.com/design/our-work/.

Step 3: State right at the beginning, both in the subject line of your email blasts; and at the top of your web site what is different, educational and compelling about your film.  Why is your film especially relevant to the academic types that you are trying to sell to?   Review issues of Public Use Doctrine at http://www.movlic.com/k12/faq.html.  Set your price by seeing what other people charge, www.bullfrogfilms.com/

 

 Tom Dziedzic

The fascinating thing about Docs in Progress is that professional film makers like Tom Dziedzic use DIP for coaching (see his award winning Redemption Stone at http://www.redemptionstone.net/ ) as well as want-to-be Doc makers from every walk of life.  With the upcoming tenth anniversary of DIP coming up next year expect to see a lot more about them in our upcoming blog articles.




How Not To Promote Your Work in the Digital and Social Media Realm

images

 

In making any kind of media, there are two main stages. The first is actually making the thing which involves pre-producton, shooting it and then having it transcribed and put into post production. That’s where Word Wizards comes in, we’re happy to work with you on the transcription and conversion side. We want to make sure your work is the best it can be but the part that comes after is one that people just don’t think about as much as they should. That would be marketing and getting your work out there. This process has changed drastically thanks to facebook, youtube, twitter and the fast moving realm of social media. In the old days, you could just send it a few websites, put up a posting or two, send it to a few boards and you would not have to work on maintaining as much of an online persona. Boy howdy, has that gone the way of the dinosaurs, today you need to be constantly staying in touch with your audience and always reaching out or else just get left behind. Follow these steps to ensure that your audience stays small and your work unknown.

 

1. Not utilizing your social links: If you have twitter or facebook accounts, etc.. Do Not Let Them Lie Dormant. If you do this, not only is there no point in having, it also makes you like you just don’t care about communicating with your audience and are just too lazy to give a darn. You should be constantly putting new things on these sites at all times.

2. Never updating your site or blog: One of my biggest pet peeves is going to companies site and seeing that they haven’t updated it in several months or even, gasp, a year. Automatically this makes me think the company just is not paying attention or is very slow. Even if  you don’t have any big projects going on, put something up there almost daily even if it’s something as trivial as some new photo’s related to your work or blogging about news related to your industry.

3. Unwilling to take feedback: Don’t put you video’s or any of your work online if your not willing to take feedback or comments from visitors, even if its criticism. The entire point of a good website and social media in general is that you can actually get instantaneous communication and can interact with people in a way that no other mediums allow. So pay attention to that comment section since people are often giving constructive advice that may just improve the project your working on. In fact you should be asking for feedback when you publish anything online so you can get a good idea of what the industry thinks.

4. Having a negative attitude: While this one may sound silly, it’s quite vital to your site becoming popular and a place people want to visit. While  it’s fine to discuss serious issues people face, don’t dwell or focus on these issues. Yes, people may not agree with what you put on you’re site and can be vocal about it but do not let that drag you down. Not only is engaging them a waste of your time it, also makes you look bad, unprofessional and not some place people would want to visit. Try to maintain a more up beat tone or voice to your site and not get drawn into trivial arguments with trollish followers.

5. Not caring about relationships: Do not abuse or ignore your followers, if you want to get comments and feedback from those who visit your site. You need to respond to the messages or comments you get and try to do it fairly promptly. One of the highlights about social media in general is the fact you get to build these great relationships and can really give your company that human touch. If you can get a regular repertoire going with online visitors, that means repeat traffic to your site and more business as well!!! Do not just let those comments or questions pile you up, it makes people feel like they being ignored and will not want to come back to your site.

 

 

 

 




Transcription Tips – Transcriptionist Best Practices

Hello out there in cyber space! On this wonderful Friday at the end of September, I want to share some tips that will help you be a more professional and trusted transcriber, whether you’re working for a company, or you’re a freelancer. Business, government agencies, private institutions and everyday citizens rely on transcriptionists to get the job done with minimal hassles. By following a few simple guidelines, you can make yourself a more valuable asset to your transcription clients.

Be Realistic

My first word of advice is to never accept more work than you think you can handle comfortably and within the deadline specified by the client. People will usually understand if you can’t take a high volume of work, but they will be very upset if you DO take work, and then you fail to complete it up to snub or on time.

In addition to the needs of the clients, you have to consider the long term implications of how much work you take in over time. Pace yourself! Many transcribers burn about because they start by taking as much work as possible and get in way over their heads. For a while you might manage to get it all done but remember, you’re in it for the long haul.

Be Honest

Honesty is always the best policy. Stick to the truth and the facts and people will begin to trust you. Never inflate your page count or labor metrics in any way. Sure, you might be tempted sneak a few dollars extra here and there, but people notice, and they do NOT like it. Like I said earlier, your in this game for the long haul. The best asset you have is your reputation, and honesty get you a long way to trust, once you can be trusted by a client they will be much more willing to send you their work.

Another point about honesty, if you happen to make a mistake, fess up to it right away! Be honest and genuine and fix the transcript errors without complaint or additional charge. Everyone makes mistakes, were only human after all, but if you make them, own them, and show your merit as an ethical person and learn from your mistakes.

Get the Details and Get It Right

Make sure to ask for every specific detail about the job BEFORE you receive the transcription work. Prepare yourself by reviewing the exact requirements of the project and you will spend more time typing and less time fixing problems at the end. You only get paid for the work performed, not for figuring out how everything should look once its all done. With that in consideration, make sure you and the client are on the same page (pun intended) on all the specifics before the typing starts so that you don’t ever have to go back and fix things that could have been avoided.

Here are a few things to hash out with the client before starting a new transcription project:

  • Transcript template
  • Formatting
  • Font and style of text
  • Margins
  • Time code requirements and formats
  • Headers and file names

There are many more things to consider, once you build a relationship with the client they will appreciate you knowing exactly what they want and how they want it.

Do Your Best Every Time

Always do your best work, its simple. I think were about done for this article, but if your interested in receiving more articles like this via e-mail, please sign up for our mailing list (below or on the right hand side bar.) We provide tips on transcription like this, industry updates, technology spotlights, and much more.

Keep your fingers nimble and you shoulders loose, oh yea and if possible, use an ergonomic keyboard (click to read an article about the benefits of ergonomic keyboards).




The ONLY I.T.A.R. Compliant Transcription Company

When it comes to a project of a sensitive nature, be it legal, militaristic, classified, or otherwise not intended for unauthorized eyes, who are you going to trust? Now, we are not trying to put down firms who have chosen to enter the transcription industry utilizing offshore labor, in fact we capitalists respect and encourage the process of international competition. However, just ask yourself, when push comes to shove, who are you going to trust with your sensitive media? Unknown, untested, and uncertified offshore options, or the only transcription company in the world (Word Wizards) that fits the qualifications for the U.S. State Department’s stamp of approval.

U.S. State Department - DDTC Logo

Compliance with I.T.A.R. (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) does not come easy. This certification, issued by the U.S. State Department, is generally intended for organizations involved with international arms and military applications. When filing for this certification, we laughed as we checked the “other” category to describe our services, other is located somewhere between nuclear warhead production and experimental particle beam weapon research.

Trust But Verify

What transcription compamny do you trust?

Why would a transcription company choose to get I.T.A.R. compliance? In a global economy, our organization now faces extreme pressure from international competition. One of the stipulations of I.T.A.R. compliance is a strict “on shore” policy for work performed due to the often sensitive military nature of the content of these projects. Well, it appears that our modest U.S.A based transcription company is one of the last of its kind. Yes,  our short term profits may have suffered slightly when the economy tanked and clients explored cheaper, lower quality, offshore transcription options. However, our commitment to providing premium quality transcription services and maintaining a workforce of well paying American jobs has paid off once again.

Why are there no other I.T.A.R. compliant transcription companies, simply because nobody else in the world qualifies.




Video Transcription – A Tool for Pros and Joes

Video transcription companies like Word Wizards have been assisting the professional video production industry for a long time, making the lives of editors, producers, and audio mixers much easier. As with any industry, time is money, and wasted time in post can be reduced significantly with the use of a standard or time coded transcript. On the other hand, we are noticing a recent trend of an increasing amount of amateur film producers and regular house hold consumers starting to utilize the power of transcription services to make their lives easier and make their media more accessible.

Save The Predators

A “predator” is someone who acts as producer and editor on the same project, and in some instances they are the writer as well. Typically, “predators” work for those companies who lack big corporate budgets and are operate out of small, typically unsung post hoses and production companies. A transcript with time code can help these individuals manage their media, organize their product, and make their cuts and refinements with a complete written account of their video reels and the gems they seek within. The predator may be unsung, but they are often responsible for seemingly impossible work loads, and are often known to produce broadcast quality media at astonishing prices. Keeping your predators healthy and happy is paramount, with long hours, insane expectations, and impossible deadlines always weighing heavily on their, and only their, shoulders. Transcripts help these heroes of small cap production stay on target, saving time, money, and stress from being otherwise wasted.

Save the Predators (use transcription services)

Media Management for the Consumer

More and more consumers are turning to transcripts with time code for a cost effective solution to manage personal media such as home movies, video clips, and family audio recordings. Let me play out a scene for you; you have all your old home movies sitting in a box (or boxes) somewhere. Slowly they loose quality over time and so you decide to digitize the footage and store it all on a hard drive. Someone wants to watch the part of your high school graduation ceremony when the speaker says her famous quote that inspired you to achieve greatness. You could spend hours looking for that one tape, and even more time searching for the spot where the graduation speaker says her legendary piece. With a time coded transcript you can use the “find” feature in your word processing software to find her quote and exactly where in the tape it was. Time coded transcripts allow you to search for anything in your media and identify exactly where it is and what it says. Home movies 2.0!

Got tapes? need transcription? Were here to digitize and clarify!

Pros, Joes, and Twinkle Toes

Whatever your reason for shooting video or recording audio, transcription services can make your life better and more efficient. Our mission here is to give you the told to make your media project as easy and efficient as possible while protecting your limited budget and resources. If your new to the concept of transcription, we invite you to try it out and see for yourself how powerful this tool really is.




2012 Interagency Disability Educational Awareness Showcase

The 2012 IDEAS conference (Interagency Disability Educational Awareness Showcase) is right around the corner, and this year, Word Wizards is preparing an exhibit that demonstrates our 508 accessibility capabilities. The U.S. Government is dedicated, and legally bound, to provide accessible resources for individuals with visual and auditory disabilities on their various internet outlets. Word Wizards has developed an acute expertise at remediating documents, interactive forms, and online videos to achieve compliance with section 508 of the National Rehabilitation Act.

Accessibility vs. Compliance: Whats The Difference?

The demand for section 508 accessibility compliance services has never been greater. With a huge volume of companies, organizations, and independent consultants now claiming to offer 508 compliance solutions, it is increasingly difficult to know who is who in the industry. From our experience there are two different types of player in the world of 508 compliance services.

The first is are firms looking to marginally increase their revenues by accessing the emerging market for 508 compliance services. These companies claim that they are 508 compliance experts, who then turn around and outsource to firms that are very good at meeting the legal requirements of compliance without a concern for the accessibility of the final product. In this case, the client meets its legal requirement, yet fails to provide true accessibility. Unfortunately, the end result is a low cost solution to a potentially expensive problem and people are willing to ignore the obvious short comings for minimal cost savings.

The second type of player are the firms that are honestly dedicated to providing accessible content solutions for their clients. Companies of this nature (like us here at Word Wizards) actually know how this process is done because they do it in house. These companies make it a priority to go beyond the legal requirements of the section 508 accessibility law, ensuring that the services they provide for their customers result in media content that is accessible and of significant value to those with visual or auditory disabilities.

The difference is all about context, its about creating something that takes the limitations of those individuals with disabilities into account. Something could be considered “compliant” with no real advantage to the end user, aka someone with sensory disabilities; and, in our minds, that is worse than doing nothing in the first place. It is our continuing mission here at Word Wizards to work towards a more accessible internet experience for the U.S. Government and beyond.

Some Good IDEAS

So, we invite you to join us this year at the IDEAS conference and decide for yourself, just remember, when your age finally catches up and your senses no longer work like they used to, are you going to expect the bare minimum when it comes time to interacting effectively with the government, or would you rather someone had gotten the job done right before it was to late for you.




Web Design: There’s No I in Team

Web design in its various forms has become big business around the world. From the most basic amateur pages to complex multilevel corporate projects, producing a website always depends on the resources, requirements, and time constraints of the individual. The lower end web design projects are moving increasingly towards automatic content management systems; where users can pick a template, customize and in a very short time create a functional website. At Word Wizards we focus more on custom solutions for our clients, nothing we do here is “cookie cutter” and each project we take on results in a professional quality, fully integrated, web solution.

Sounds cool, right?… But what does it take to design and implement a professional grade website? It takes a team effort, and specifically, it requires a team of unique individuals, each with their own expertise in various aspects of web design. We have noticed that there are usually three “gurus” required to make a web design project effective. These three flavors of design experts each focus on a different critical aspect of the web design process, and work together to ensure that the three top priorities of website development are handled with expert care.

The three main things to manage when creating a new website are, functionality, appearance, and implementation. Functionality is responsible for making sure that the structural design effectively satisfies the intended function of the website and creates an effective, non-confusing user experience. Appearance takes structure and functional organization and translates it into a graphic design that is visually appealing to the users and consistent with the brand and intended purpose of the client. Implementation is the back-end guts of the website; which includes all the coding, hosting, domain support, CMS workflow, and database support.

The Functional Expert

Generally, this is a person who really understands the way individuals use the internet for different purposes. This individual is responsible for creating a structure that provides easy access to all the important information. In addition, this web expert must understand and manage the constraints of SEO and weave them into the fabric of the page from the beginning. Possibly the most important role of the functional web designer is the creation of a user friendly workflow, providing a user experience that works for the intended purpose of the website and doesn’t confuse any less than savvy internet users.

The Appearance Expert

To transform conceptual structure and theoretical workflow into visual form takes the expertise of a master graphic designer. This expert must know how to utilize advanced graphic design software and create visual components from scratch that will be used to create the physical appearance of a web page. It is the responsibility of this person to come up with an exciting and effective visual experience for the users, making sure that everything is in plain sight, and being creative with the way everything will look, while still maintaining functional integrity.

The Implementation Expert

Sometimes known as the “webmaster” or, in our office, “the code warrior!” This individual is gifted with an intimate knowledge of the ever evolving world of programming languages. The functional and visual elements of a website are mute if you can not host it, integrate it, and keep it working smoothly. When designing a new website, this person holds the reigns, because all of the work your team produces will reflect their level of talent and proficiency. It is this person’s responsibility to put your plans into action, keep the web page updated, and hard code any interactive or data driven elements into a functional machine known as a web page.

Thus, we have created a trifecta of experts, but there is still one person missing from the team…

The beloved SUPERVISOR. Yes, its is the supervisor that truly brings it all together. This person doesn’t need to be an expert at any one function, but the they must have a working knowledge of all of components of the website and coordinate between the various members of the design team. This person is responsible for organization, cross coordination, and managing the needs of the client as reflected by the design and capabilities of the team.

So now you know what it takes, and if you don’t think you can squeeze it all by yourself, the Word Wizards Web Design Team is here to give you a helping hand!




Understanding Professional Transcription Services

When the Word Wizards go out into the world, we often get asked the question, “what does a transcription company do and why would someone need that?” As always, simple questions require not so simple answers. As defined by Wikipedia, “A transcription service is a business which converts speech (either live or recorded) into a written or electronic text document.” In truth, the function and value a transcription service provides depends on the clients’ specific needs.

For example, a video producer with 12 hours of raw documentary footage will look to us for a much needed time code transcript. Our expert transcriptionists provide a time stamp every 30 seconds that corresponds directly to the footage, as it would appear in the video editing software. This enables a producer or editor to quickly search through their footage and identify and isolate specific portions of their media.

Example of a transcript with Time Code for use by a video producer.
An example of a transcript in MS Word with Time Code for use by a video production company.

Another example, consider a legal expert that has recorded the audio from a 5 hour deposition. In this situation, our clients require transcription services for the production of an accurate text document containing a verbatim account of everything spoken in the session. Thus quality, accuracy, and timeliness is essential to ensure the legal integrity of the transcript.

A cartoon demonstrating the stress of not using a good transcription company.

The world of professional transcription services is always changing and evolving to meet the demands of the current marketplace. Some professionals no longer use a service to provide transcripts preferring instead to implement less than accurate speech to text software like Dragon Naturally Speaking. In the past medical transcription was a highly specialized and highly valued service, now with speech to text, the same service comes off the shelf in a shiny new box.

When Word Wizards began providing transcripts for professional use, we were literally the only game in town. Now we must fight to compete in the global economy, where budget concerns are causing our clients to look overseas for cheaper options, ignoring the lack of quality, accountability, and confidentiality.

A Graphic depicting the global economy in the form of a sphere with flags of each country in 3 D
Welcome to the global economy!

To our great delight, the old saying holds true; you get what you pay for. Furthermore, we wouldn’t be called Wizards if we didn’t have some innovative new ways of adding extra value to our transcription process such as captioning and I.V.L (Interactive Video Logging). Even now we are working on a secret new project that will change the game in the industry, just like we did when we first started adding time code to our transcripts in the early 90s.

A manilla folder with the words top secret in red inside a red box
Shhh!!!

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion with release of our new transcription service, but for now, “The Mogul Project” will remain top secret.




TIVA-DC at the Government Video Expo

There were some impressive booths this year at the world famous Government Video Expo, held in Washington, D.C. Big industry names like Panasonic, JVC, and Roland put together incredible demonstrations of their latest and greatest products. Innovation was abounding, and at the heart of it all, TIVA-DC, long time supporter and organizer of the GV Expo, hosted a record breaking promotional membership drive and prize giveaway.

A topside view of the Government Video Expo
A look from above at the GV Expo

TIVA-DC and Discovery’s Military Channel, with the help of Word Wizards, Inc. was responsible for organizing two wildly successful panel sessions this year. This years keynote was “Lights, Camera, Military Action.” When you need to get footage of the real U.S. Military in action, you call one of the Hollywood Military Liaison Officers.

Lights Camera Military Action Guest Speaker Panel
Lights Camera Military Action Guest Speaker Panel

Ken Hawes, (Army Wives, Men of Steel), U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Colonel Jason Johnston (Battle Los Angeles, Avatar) U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel Fransisco “Paco” Hamm (Transformers, Iron Man 2) and U.S. coast guard Commander Sean Carroll (The Adjustment Bureau, Deadliest Catch) offered a discussion and Q & A session talking about their diverse work coordinating the private video industry with The U.S. Armed Forces. TIVA-DC solutes all of our honored men and women who serve this great nation proudly, and we thank these distinguished guest for their contribution to this year’s GV Expo.

The TIVA booth signing up new members
New recruts for TIVA

The TIVA booth was hot like spicy sauce this year, as conference goers leaped at the chance to join our ever growing organization. Volunteers worked constantly to inform potential new members and sign up for TIVA – DC. TIVA sponsors donated several different items (usb flash drives, TIVA hats, and a gift certificate for dinner at The Woodmont Grill, donated by Word Wizards) to be raffled off at the end of the day.

TIVA's GV Expo prize giveaway
Jerry Griffith, Current TIVA-DC President (left) Tun Flaherty, Previous TIVA President (Center) Scott Gordon, Word Wizards CEO and TIVA Sponsor (Right)

Another successful GV Expo! Word Wizards would like to thank all of our TIVA-DC volunteers, guest speakers, and new TIVA-DC members who made this year a smash hit!




TIVA-DC Presents The 2011 Peer Awards

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Word Wizards!

Do you like glitz, glam, stars, and swanky awards shows? Sure, they have plenty of that out on the west coast, but did you know that right here in DC we have a thriving video production industry of our own?

Logo for the DC Peer Awards

Last weekend, TIVA – DC (Television, Internet and Video Association of DC) hosted the 2011 Peer Awards, an awards show dedicated to recognizing the best of the Mid Atlantic region’s Video Production Professionals. Word Wizards has been an active sponsor of “The Peers” since its original inception, and this year we pulled out all the stops. Hosted at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C., The Peer Awards offers a unique opportunity to honor the best and brightest actors, producers, writers, and post houses in our region.

TIVA-DC Peer Awards
TIVA-DC Peer Awards Program

The evening began with a fantastic spread of hors d’oeuvres and a hearty dinner buffet. My personal favorite was the peeking duck station, providing freshly cooked Chinese delights, customized to your order, and cooked right there in front of you! After a few hours of dinner, drinks, and casual networking, the attendees were invited into the lavish ballroom to take their seats and enjoy the show.

The official MC for the evening was Wendy Rieger, a distinguished Emmy winning Local news anchor, who grabbed the room with her radiant stage presence and witty charm. Guest presenters included, Actress Joy Haynes, Voice Talent Will Rosser, Actress and Peer Awards organizer Gale Nemec, and Actor Joe Hansard.

Wendy Rieger Host of the 2011 DC Peer Awards
Wendy Rieger Host of the 2011 DC Peer Awards

Awards were given out based on a set of strict judging criteria, submissions received either a bronze, silver, or gold award based on an objective evaluation of the piece. The categories included everything to be expected, scriptwriting, sound design, acting, editing, and overall excellence. For a complete list of the categories and winners see The Peer Awards website.

After the grand ceremony, we enjoyed a unbelievable desert spread (seen below) , coffee, and congratulatory conversations with our peers. It was a night to be remembered and were already thinking about next years event!

Peer Awards 2011 Desert Spread
Peer Awards 2011 Desert Spread

Word Wizards was proud to be a gold sponsor of The DC Peer Wards for another year. In honor for our long term commitment to TIVA-DC and The Peer Awards, we were even given the opportunity to run a video promotion during the awards ceremony! This was the first time that our company has ever produced a piece of video marketing, and we made sure to utilize the chance to send our message to the video production community. Word Wizards thanks TIVA-DC for all of the hard work that has gone into The Peer Awards and we congratulate all of the winners for their continued dedication to excellence.

 




Word Wizards Publishing: I Have a Story to Tell by Pat Troy

Pat Troy is a man who has lived an amazing life. From rags to riches, his story is one of the great successes of the American Dream. Now, Pat has teamed up with Word Wizards Publishing to bring his story to the world like never before. The new book, I Have a Story to Tell chronicles the fantastic adventures of an Irish born American Immigrant; from humble beginnings, to distinguished Irish castles, presidential encounters, and the creation of a community of beloved friends and family.

I Have a Story to Tell by Pat Troy

 

Word Wizards, Inc. Press proudly edited, proofed, organized, designed, and printed this wonderful account of a gentleman who built a community around his loving and supportive personality. In November, Pat, also know as “The Living Legend”, will be hosting a group of his closest peers for a launch of his new book. In early 2012 Pat Troy will be returning to Ireland for a spectacular tour of the country of his birth, culminating in a official international release party hosted at the Coat of Arms Hotel in Birr, Ireland. The book will be launched by the Earl and Countess of Rosse and Mr. Brian Cowen former Prime Minister of Ireland. We tip our hat to Mr. Troy for his lifetime of success and accomplishment, and for giving our organization the opportunity to work on such a meaningful project.

Pat Troy, “The Living Legend”

Erin Go Bragh!

(Traditional Galec phrase meaning Ireland Forever!)




Word Wizards Inc: New Website Launch

After over a year of development, Word Wizards Inc. is prepared to launch our brand new website. 100% of this website has been developed in-house by our highly skilled web design team. New design, new content, and new services are just some of the highlights of this important step for our organization’s future. We invite our clients and interested readers to explore our site and let us know what you think.

 


After!

 

Enjoy, and remember, we can do the same for your business too!

 




Final Cut X vs. Adobe Premier: What is the future?

Here at Word Wizards, some of us are passionately involved in a silent love affair with Apple products and software. The mac users among us have grown to rely on the unparalleled speed and incorruptibility of Apple based desktops and cinematic size monitors. I personally prefer to do my work on my MacBook Pro, which is synced and linked to all of my professional agendas, activities, contacts and projects. For streamlined, cross-platform integration, Apple is clearly the champ for pros and average Joes alike.

Apple has a unique way of providing software products that are easy to use for the novice and yet loaded with powerful tools for the professional user. Here at Word Wizards, we have been utilizing the advanced features of the Final Cut Pro video editing software for a long time. Using the previous version, Final Cut Pro 7, we even pioneered a completely new service for our customers called Video Logging Interactive (VLI). Using our proprietary VLI method, we log b-roll, add metadata, and sync our transcripts to the video; then we create a compressed QuickTime file of the media, which can be easily shared between members of the production team for instant access, anywhere, anytime. We once relied on Final Cut Pro 7 for this and other professional services, but then came Final Cut Pro X

The software engineers at Apple made a game changing decision when they developed the new version of Final Cut Pro that was released earlier this year. We here hold no criticism of the choice they made. However, it has impacted a significant number of small and large video production firms who were looking to FCP X as the future. The choice was to aim the new version of FCP to be more consumer oriented, abandoning some key features like Final Cut Server, and failing to upgrade the supported file types to reflect formats professionals are using (like P2 and proxy files). The bottom line is that the future of Final Cut looks to be more focused on consumers, as reflected by a recent TIVA meeting Word Wizards attended, at which the topic of FCP X for professional use was discussed at length. Our old copy of Final Cut Pro 7 still works like a dream, but soon it will no longer be “supported” by Apple as they gear up FCP X.

So what is a small transcription, logging, design, and 508 compliance company to do in the face of such ground-shaking industry changes?

Enter Adobe Premier! Already, our design team relies heavily on Adobe CS products for creative design projects. We have over 20 years of experience working with Adobe products, from Acrobat to Dreamweaver and beyond. The latest version of Adobe’s masterpiece of software tools, Creative Suite 5.5, does not disappoint. The Software engineers at Adobe are fully aware of the shortcomings of FCP X, so much so that they are offering a 50% discount for a limited time on Adobe Premier for those who switch from FCP. They even have a page dedicated to highlighting the benefits of choosing the newly upgraded Adobe Premier over the downgraded FCP X (Click here to visit that page).

Word Wizards, Inc will continue to provide our industry leading services using our tried and true methods. However, as the world grows and changes to reflect new innovation and technology, so must the business that want to stay relevant look towards the future. The future looks bright with Adobe Premier, and at half the normal price, it doesn’t hurt to gain a whole new set of tools to do our trade.

So who wins the FCP X vs. Adobe Premier 5.5 battle? I guess it depends on your point of view. Here at Word Wizards, Inc. we’re staying ahead of the curve and not taking any chances!




Word Wizards Launches Video Logging Interactive Service

Word Wizards Inc. was an original pioneer of the commercial transcription industry. We were one of the first firms in the world to offer transcription with time code, and have continued to innovate throughout our years in business. Our original service package of transcription and graphic design services has grown to include a laundry list of post production and design solutions.

Write up on the “new” transcription with time code service by Word Wizards Inc. in VIDEOGRAPHY Magazine, 1997

Word Wizards’ latest innovative service is called Video Logging Interactive (VLI). With VLI we seek to further simplify the post production process by combining our expertise in different areas like never before. This new project is years in development and enables our video production clients access to their transcriptions and logging meta data like never before. For more information on Video Logging Interactive, click here to see the VLI page on this website.




Word Wizards Now On GSA

 





After 2 years of applications, tests, reviews, and countless hours, Word Wizards Inc. is proud to announce our acceptance to the highly revered GSA (U.S. General Services Administration) schedule network. Getting approved for the GSA is no small task, and we are extremely grateful to the kind people at GSA that assisted us during the process. Now that we have been awarded GSA status, we are poised and ready to reach out to potential new clients and continue to grow our business. Visit our GSA page for details about our schedule, SIN #s, and anything else related to GSA projects.

 




Word Wizards Moves to Silver Spring

In March of 2011, Word Wizards Inc. finalized the move to a new Headquarters location on 16th street in Silver Spring, Maryland. The new office is bigger, better, and more efficient, utilizing the most advanced technology to maximize the effectiveness of our workspace.

Our new office building in Silver Spring, MD

When the business first opened in Bethesda, Maryland, we were located at 7900 Wisconsin Avenue. Originally, Word Wizards shared office space with another business in the same building. Within a short time, the organization grew to occupy an entire suite of our own.

Our former office building in Bethesda, Maryland

Word Wizards has continued to grow over the years and made the decision to move into a bigger office in the winter of 2010. As anyone who has moved an office knows, it was a big investment in time and energy. Now our staff has settled in, and we have begun a new phase of growth, development, and innovation here in our new home.