Carsten Orlt is the co-founder of Kaufmann Productions with his wife Gisela. He’s been using SpeedScriber since November 2016 when the product was in beta testing. He speaks with SpeedScriber designer and developer, Martin Baker.
Thanks for joining me Carsten, let’s start by talking about your background as an editor.
Sure, I’m from Germany originally and I’ve been an editor for 34 years now. In the beginning it was all tape-based of course, with the big mixers and lots of equipment. Then when Avid came on the scene I was lucky enough to get to NAB to see it in the flesh and I knew straight away that would be the future. I mean especially compared to the current tape-based editing where everything was linear…
Quite painful basically!
Yes, lots of fun but painful compared with what you could see these computers were promising. So then I hopped on the bandwagon and I think got Avid number 25 in Germany. So I went freelance and did that for several years, so much was changing and it was a fantastic time, but the upgrades were so expensive. Then Final Cut Pro came on the scene and I was extremely interested. I tried it out and straightaway fell in love with it and for the money it was a no-brainer.
I stayed with Final Cut Pro up to version 7 and when Final Cut Pro X was announced I like many of us was a little bit “Hmmm. What’s that?!” We were doing productions that would take two years to complete so there was no rush and I could slowly start getting into it. Now I just really love Final Cut Pro X and working with it on the road is absolutely fantastic. It’s a super-easy workflow that just makes what we do, absolutely painless.
Having transcripts of interviews can be a huge benefit when editing documentaries, had you used transcripts on previous projects before discovering SpeedScriber?
Yes, sometimes we would outsource to transcribers in Sydney but most of the time I would transcribe interviews myself manually. Because I’m a slow typist, that took a very long time, but it was useful in one way because you are listening very carefully to interviews so you really get into the person’s head.
SpeedScriber is geniusly simple and fast.
But when SpeedScriber came along I thought “Wow, that’s really enhancing the game”, and the main thing that I saw straightaway with your software was the design of the user interface. SpeedScriber is geniusly simple and fast. It’s a joy to work with and your support is second to none.
We interview people with a wide variety of accents so I doubt automated transcription will ever be 100% accurate so I have to check through it and make corrections. But again that process gives me a chance to review the interviews and I quickly start forming ideas on how they might be edited together. SpeedScriber’s keyboard shortcuts are very powerful — with a few keystrokes you’ve changed the punctuation and it capitalises the next word automatically — it’s those details in the app that makes it really easy and quick to work with.
Do you use SpeedScriber for any other tasks?
Yes, I really like using it for captions. Our current documentaries are about six minutes long and they’re basically all interview-based. So once the story is finished, I’ll export again to SpeedScriber, get the transcript, make corrections and export to SRT for Facebook and YouTube.
Tell me about your current project, Visible Farmer
In the past, we’ve done a lot of natural history documentaries for international channels such as National Geographic and Discovery in the US and WDR in Germany as well as broadcasters in Australia. Right now, we’re on the edge of shifting our focus because our past work has been quite educational and science-based, and unfortunately there seems to be less interest in that type of programming at the moment.
Last year we did a documentary for the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) about technology in the agriculture sector and through working on that we heard about a study out of Melbourne called ‘Invisible Farmer’ which uncovered the hidden contribution of females in agriculture. They’ve always been there but they’ve traditionally had such a low profile — if you Google ‘farmer’ then you’ll get images of one man and his dog.
As we were looking for a change, we thought “what a fantastic idea”, and decided to go on the road. We packed everything up into a camper trailer and 4WD and we’re now travelling around Australia for a year, filming female farmers and producing everything as we go on a laptop.
How has it been going so far?
Extremely well, I mean the response is amazing. I think we’ve really tapped into something here. Food production is going to be a huge problem in the future with population increase, gender equality is a huge issue and there are challenges with climate change, so it’s a super interesting field.
We’ve always really lived in cities and are city people basically, but the network out here in the country is just absolutely amazing. We get so much help and everybody is so welcoming. It’s just actually really fun!
That’s great to hear. Best of luck with the rest of the project and thanks again for your time.
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