Video Recording for Transcription – It May Not be Worthwhile
If you’re planning to make a video recording for transcription the first thing you need to consider is the reason for recording video rather than audio. If you have other reasons for wanting video – for instance to record the body language in a training session or meeting, or because you’re recording TV or film footage, then you may want to consider transferring to audio before sending to your transcriptionist. This article explains why.
If you’re planning to make a video recording for transcription, whether digital or analogue, the first thing you need to consider is the reason for recording video rather than audio. If you have other reasons for wanting video – for instance to record the body language in a training session or meeting, or because you’re recording TV or film footage, then you may want to consider transferring to audio before sending to your transcriptionist. I’m not aware of any transcription machines that will play back video footage, and there is significant time involved in transferring video to audio tape in order to transcribe it. If you are recording video in a meeting or focus group, in order that the transcriptionist can better identify speakers, then you need to carefully consider how best to set up the cameras or the effort may go entirely to waste. You also need to consider your location and that of your transcriber – for instance as we are based in the UK we only accept videos in European format (PAL) rather than NTSC as used in America.
If you have recorded video in order to help the transcriptionist identify speakers, the transcription has to be carried out first from the audio tape, and then read through while watching the video tape to check that speakers have been correctly identified. As the video does not have transcription-style playback controls this is again time-consuming.
If you have a video made of a focus group, meeting or round table discussion for instance, please remember to provide us with a seating plan so that we can actually identify the different speakers from their positions in the room. This may not always be 100% effective, as it depends on the positioning of the camera, but it will help. A client once sent us a video and said ‘Oh you won’t need a seating plan; everyone has a name card in front of them.’ However, the video camera was situated in the corner of the room and looked over the shoulders of six of the twelve participants, meaning that their bodies entirely blocked the view of the place markers. It also meant that we couldn’t tell with 100% certainty who was speaking as we could only see the backs of half the participants!
It is important to understand that it takes around four hours to transcribe one hour of clear, good-quality one-to-one interview from audio tape, and it can take much longer if the quality is poor in any way. The additional time taken to record the audio from the video and then check back will probably be in the region of 1 to 2 hours per hour of video recording. So an hour of analogue video recording may take from five to seven plus hours for an interview and substantially more for a group session.
Other factors that increase the time taken, such as strong accents, background noise or a need for verbatim transcription (please see the information on our website about the differences between verbatim, intelligent verbatim and edited transcription) will also increase the time taken to transcribe.
Digital recording is becoming more affordable all the time and it has many advantages over analogue recordings, so if you are making analogue recordings consider switching to digital. Digital video has many of the same issues as analogue video but you will at least have a better quality recording in almost all cases! It may also be practical to make a video (analogue or digital) for your purposes e.g. examining body language, but make a digital audio recording at the same time for your transcriptionist. Although you will then need to check through to ensure voices have been identified correctly, the cost of transcription will be considerably less than if the transcriptionist has to convert the recordings to audio and then check back using the video.
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Penguin Transcription is part of Penguin Office Services, www.penguinofficeservices.co.uk, and offers an affordable transcription service by tailoring each quote to the exact requirements of the client. The more information the client can provide us with, and the better the quality of the recording for transcription, the more affordable the transcription service will be. Why not visit our site, www.peguin-transcription.co.uk, and fill in an enquiry form to receive a quote for your transcription requirements.