They say that necessity is the mother of invention and it’s often the case that you don’t know what you need until a problem presents itself.
This week we needed to re-edit a video that had been made by a different production company, mostly interview but with some B-roll. The original interview, as so often is the case, had a music bed under it, so we made a request to the original production company for the assets. The project was over 4 years old and they were unable to supply us with the original project files.
After a few emails back and forth we were sent the original location audio takes from the interview, they are six files comprising of about 1 hours worth of interview, that made it into the final 3 minute interview edit. This meant the audio was neither in order or in sync and furthermore the edit has used audio from all 6 takes.
So we were presented with the proverbial audio needle in a haystack which meant;
First identifying what audio came from which take.
Syncing the audio with the original take for lip-sync.
Of course the hard way to do it is to go through the interview line by line, identify the line of audio and then go through the takes until you find the piece of the audio jigsaw puzzle. Then bring each audio clip into Pro Tools and manually line it up with the original dialog.
Our Workaround - Speedscriber
Then I had a brainwave, I decided to pull all the audio into Speedscriber, a fantastic application that transcribes audio into text and then allows you to export it into various formats, it’s even frame accurate so I use it a lot for creating subtitles. Of course it can be used for other things like ADR and production tasks such as transcription for legal checking etc. prior to transmission.
However it also has a search option so once it had converted all the audio to text then I simply had to phrase search for find the missing audio. A job that could have taken several hours was completed in a fraction of the time and I had the new clean dialog in place in no time. Speedscriber is a lifesaver, I can’t recommend it highly enough for those working with dialog
Avid Already Has The Technology
Had Pro Tools included the engine that powers ScriptSync and PhraseFind then it would have made the task of finding lines of dialog much faster, it would be a killer tool for many post-production professionals. The uses are numerous for ADR, narration, interview edits and more.
Mike works a lot in radio documentaries and these features would make the radio documentary workflow process so much easier and has spoken about this before. There are also Feature Requests covering ScriptSync and PhraseFind in the Pro Tools Feature Requests Lounge on the new Avid Link app, which has replaced the Pro Tools Ideascale as the single place to ask for Feature Requests.
Imagine having this technology in the Pro Tools Workspace and the Clip List? This would continue to keep Pro Tools at the number one slot for post work?
Avid has the technology - ScriptSync and PhraseFind are killer features which would be great to have in Pro Tools. Granted it’s not every day that I have to reassemble audio as I did this time but I think this would be a welcome feature for many working in Pro Tools. If it works on vocal tracks too then it’s also super useful for those with multiple vocal takes.
Avid, having bought the company that created ScriptSync and PhraseFind means that they are now part of the Avid owned intellectual property. I wonder how many would pay for this as an add-on in Pro Tools?