The Importance of Transcription in Post Production – guest post by Valerie Randall

I love learning about all aspects of writing and production. One area I hadn’t ever properly considered before, though, is how transcriptions are done. Being a fan of foreign languages, I often make use of subtitles on TV shows and movies. But it’s not just about subtitles – transcriptions cover a lot and it’s not an easy job. Valerie from TAKE 1 TV is here on the blog today to make sense of it for us!


With news technologies forever developing and consumer demand through the roof, media and entertainment are the fastest growing industries today. This also indicates that the need for reliable post-production transcription is also growing at expediential rates. Post-production transcription services are currently used by TV and film production teams more than any other sector and is needed during video editing, focus group recordings and depositions to name a few important procedures in post-production.

What is a post-production transcript?

  • Post-production transcription is a complete accurate word for word account of a film or video. These transcripts are always produced after the production process is finished and are a crucial element for any production team and recorded with precision and intense mastery.

  • This type of work is usually outsourced to a company or professional that specialises in this form of transcription, although some production teams (rarely) choose to produce the work in-house, but the lack of experience can often lead to a lesser quality transcript.

  • To produce a post-production transcript, the complete video recording of the production is needed. Many would question the time saving elements of doing it scene by scene, but it could become pointless if specific scenes or dialogue don’t make the final cut.

  • As well as a written script, post-production transcripts also include onscreen captions, music cue titles and details of each shot. Every moment that passes through the transcript can be easily identified via a timecode which is handy when specific scenes or dialogue need to be referred to during post production.

  • Time stamps are also used to match up transcribed text with a specific seen. This makes it easy for editors to locate the segments they want during the post-production stage.

  • How do transcripts benefit the post-production process?

  • Post-production transcripts have a number of various uses that make them a vital aspect for a production team. For example, if you need to translate a film into several different languages, the transcript can be passed on to a translator which speeds up the process.

  • They also come in handy when producing subtitles for your production. Whether it is in the primary language of the title or other languages, this caters for an audience of those who are hard of hearing or deaf.

  • If you thought they weren’t useful enough, imagine having a number of sections of dialogue to remove or if the length of the production needs to be cut – the timecoding within the transcript makes this super simple to action.

  • Therefore, having a professional post-production transcript is an essential part of the production process that will also save your production time and budget.

  • Is it essential to hire a professional transcription company?

    Quite simply, the answer is yes.

  • Businesses that offer professional transcription are fully trained and qualified specialists who offer a reliable service. Many offer more than just transcription including meta data lists, closed captioning, subtitling and translation in some cases.

  • It has happened on many occasions whereby the DIY transcriptionist may be attempting to edit a video that may not be compatible with the device or browser where the content will be viewed (think online content).

  • Experienced companies are able to encode these types of files and save the video editor precious amounts of time. You could just imagine how useful this is for a big production team who are working to strict deadlines.

  • Encoding the files essentially allows you to convert from one format to another, ideal for closed captioning and web applications. But in the majority of cases, encoding is used to compress large files in order for them to be viewed with ease.

  • Are transcripts a video editor’s dream?

  • Video editors face many challenges during the post production stage of a video recording. This is the part of the process where special effects, colour correction, images and music are added – a complex process that brings the video to life.

  • When the finished product is ready for distribution, the video editor may be required to provide as-produced and as-shot scripts along side. The as-produced script is basically the finished product but also includes scene breakdowns and descriptions, act breaks, speaker identifications and 100% accurate dialogue.

  • valerie-randallSo, whether you’re working on a feature length film, TV show, documentary or interview, the transcription process can be a pretty complicated task which involves several pages that exemplify a number of scenes.

    Valerie Randall is Marketing Manager for transcription services specialists, Take 1 TV, who provide expertise to all major production networks across the UK and USA.

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