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How SpeedScriber starts transcribing a 20GB video file in the same time as a 20MB audio file

We took 2 files with the same 10m30s duration:

  • ProRes 4444 video file (file size: 20.36GB)
  • MP3 audio file (file size: 20.2MB).

Each file was imported into SpeedScriber and we timed how long it took from clicking the Transcribe button until the file appeared in the main file list with “Processing” status.

The test was repeated 10 times and here are the results:


Yes that’s correct, both files took 18 seconds to start transcribing.

How is that even possible?

Let’s go back… back to the time when human-based transcription first appeared as a service on the web. Media files were (and still are) large but internet connections were very slow. So to upload a file to one of these services you’d first have to convert it to a compressed audio format such as MP3.

Fast forward 15 years or so, and while internet connections have got much faster, there are no benefits to uploading a large video file because automated transcription only requires audio. Even today, all web-based transcription services suggest uploading a compressed audio file such as MP3.

So what’s the secret?

Whether 20MB or 20GB, the original file size makes no difference to SpeedScriber because the imported file is never uploaded. The magic is done behind the scenes — any imported file is converted to a mono audio-only compressed file which is uploaded and used for the transcription.

With SpeedScriber, there’s no need to spend extra time making a special ‘export for transcribing’ because the app does it for you. Automatically.

How to select words

When viewing a transcript, SpeedScriber works in word mode. As the media file is played, each word in the transcript highlights in real-time to match the speech.

During playback you can click on any word in the transcript to locate the media file to that word. Playback will resume automatically.

When playback is stopped you can:

Select a single word by clicking anywhere on that word.
Select multiple words by clicking the start word then dragging forwards to the end word (or if you’re a rebel, by clicking the end word then dragging backwards to the start word).
Extend the selection to the right by pressing Shift‑Right (or to the left by pressing Shift‑Left).
When multiple words are selected, the number of words and their duration is displayed in the lower toolbar.

SpeedScriber 2.2.2 released

We’re pleased to announce that SpeedScriber 2.2.2 is now available on the App Store. This update features the following changes:

• Added workaround for problems with MP3 files exported from Final Cut Pro X which are not handled correctly by AVFoundation framework in macOS. In previous versions, this resulted in waveform creation failing so the file could not be transcribed.
• The time range used on a file transcribed using free minutes is now displayed when viewing the transcript.
• Email address of current user is now shown on tooltip when cursor is moved over the account name.
• Fix for file not opening correctly if the file is closed with media position after the last word.
• Fix for problems with Final Cut Pro X multicam clips containing mix of supported and unsupported codecs not displaying correctly.
• Fix for media offline message not respecting when user chooses not to show warning again.
• Fix for incorrect message shown when editing a transcript and clicking “Viewing Only” button where there is no current internet connection.
• Further fixes for word editing errors including when using spelling suggestions from MacBook Pro touch bar.
• Fixes for minor cosmetic issues.