Twenty Years of Transcription


Dom Bourne TV-Bay Magazine
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In 1998 Dom Bourne dropped out of university and started a business providing transcriptions to production companies. The company operated from his childhood bedroom and Dom hoped it would keep him in beer money for a year or two before he decided what he really wanted to do with his life.

Twenty years later and, this year, Take 1 celebrates two decades of service to the broadcast and video sectors an achievement that Dom attributes to their ability to anticipate and accommodate change in the industry. And there have been plenty of changes to accommodate over the last two decades.

PAPER EDITS IN THE NINETIES

If you want to get an idea of what the world was like when Dom started Take 1 in 1998, all you need to know is that Google was launched in the same year. Back then video was shot on tape and the only way to log or view your footage after the shoot was to either book expensive playback machines by the hour or transfer your footage to VHS with burnt-in-time-code.

Take 1 offered an alternative and more effective - way for production companies to prepare for edit. Instead of spending hours viewing VHS dubs of their shoot footage, producers sent these tapes to Take 1 where Dom’s team would transcribe the time codes, dialogue and action onto paper. These transcriptions were then posted or biked back to Soho and used to prepare paper edits. The process took a few days to turn around, but the service was affordable, and it solved an industry pain-point at the time.

DIGITAL WORKFLOWS IN THE NOUGHTIES

In the nineties, tape-based workflows limited Take 1’s client base clients had to be located close enough to the business to either bike or post tapes and transcripts back and forth within limited production timeframes. But the move from analogue to digital workflows was about to revolutionise production workflows.

The first PC-based non-linear editing system was launched by Editing Machines Corp in 1980 and Avid released the first Media Composer system running on the Apple Macintosh platform soon after. In 1991 QuickTime was introduced and in 1995 Ikegami and Avid spearheaded tapeless video recording with the introduction of the Editcam. By the early 2000’s tapeless acquisition and file-based workflows were widespread.

Digital workflows were a game-changer for Take 1 turnaround times were halved, and the company’s client-base was no longer limited by geography. In 2008 Dom boarded a plane to Los Angeles and, with Take 1’s “we type while you sleep” proposition, landed a number of US reality shows such as Top Chef and Little Couple, many of which they continue working on to this day.

ACCESSIBILITY LAWS AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY

While expanding into the US market, Take 1 also diversified their service offering to help broadcasters meet new legislative responsibilities. The company started working with production and post companies to provide networks with post-production scripts, captions and subtitle information for broadcast.

Closed captions existed decades before Take 1 was formed. They were first demonstrated at the First National Conference on Television for the Hearing Impaired in Nashville, Tennessee in 1971. But it wasn’t until 1990 that technology allowed and legislation demanded that closed captions and subtitles become widely adopted on both sides of the Atlantic.

Two key acts pertaining to closed captions were passed in the US in 1990. The first was The Television Decoder Circuitry Act which required all analog television receivers of a certain size to have the ability to display closed captioning, and the second was the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which required that public facilities provide access to subtitles on televisions, films or slide shows.

Similarly, in the UK the first piece of subtitling legislation is in The Broadcasting Act of 1990 which required public broadcasting stations to provide minimum amounts of subtitling for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. This Act was updated in the Communications Act of 2003 which made provision for sign language, subtitles and audio descriptions and introduced the Office of Communications (Ofcom) as the new industry regulator.

More recently, Take 1’s services have been further expanded to help online content distributors comply with updated laws.

In 2010 the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act was passed in America to bring previous accessibility laws up to date with new technologies. Under the CVAA, content owners have to ensure that video programming that is closed captioned on TV is closed captioned when distributed via the Internet. In the UK, a campaign by Action on Hearing Loss prompted the amendment of the Digital Economy bill in 2017 and gave Ofcom the power to compel broadcasters to provide subtitles on video-on-demand content.

GLOBAL CONTENT IN THE INTERNET AGE

The recent explosion of video platforms has changed the production and delivery of video content forever. Increased bandwidth, the prevalence of video on social platforms and the introduction of OTT delivery have created a marketplace centred around global moments, and content distributors are under pressure to deliver original broadcasts and local versions simultaneously.

The Take 1 team was given an early glimpse into this global content distribution future in 2014 when the company was contracted as the sole transcription supplier to Discovery Communications LLC. Discovery’s reversioning team used Take 1’s transcriptions and systems to repurpose their content for distribution in multiple languages across the world in 2014 in the same way that Netflix does today. Take 1 has applied this experience to establish themselves as reliable localisation partners, providing everything from post-production and “as broadcast” scripts, to translations, subtitles, spotting lists and the myriad of reports needed for syndicated delivery.

PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE

There’s a lot of debate about the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the industry of the future, and there’s little doubt that the way transcriptions are created will be affected by this technology over time, but Take 1 believes it’s the data within these transcriptions that holds the key to making future workflows more efficient. This belief has prompted the company to develop Liberty a system which converts transcriptions into XML metadata so that it can be repurposed into the various documents and reports needed throughout the global content production workflow - promoting the post-production script from a single purpose document into the blueprint for the entire localisation process.

Take 1 believes that Liberty can change the future of localisation by deriving data once and applying it throughout the value chain which may sound like a lofty ideal until you consider the company’s track record.

Here’s to the next twenty years of transcription.


Tags: iss132 | transcribe | take 1 | ott | cvaa | closed caption | xml metadata | Dom Bourne
Contributing Author Dom Bourne

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Contributing Author Alan Wheable Click to read or download PDF
NAB is all about people
John Smith -new The relative success of NAB is down to people. The individuals we meet, the relationships we make and renew with customers and the desire to work together to develop a technology solution to any given challenge.
Tags: iss130 | media links | nab | mdp 3020 | md8000 | John Smith -new
Contributing Author John Smith -new Click to read or download PDF
Interview with Peter Rowsell, Polar Graphics
Polar If you don’t recognise the name Peter Rowsell instantly you no doubt would recognise him in person, from the famous ‘Pink Coconut’ parties during IBC (Brighton) in the 80s or the name ‘Polar Video or Polar Graphics’ both companies which he’s built up over the years.
Tags: iss130 | polar graphics | apantac | bluefish | cinedeck | focalpoint | mediaproxy | stardom | storagedna | Polar
Contributing Author Polar Click to read or download PDF
Why OTT needs multicast ABR
Damien Lucas Last year, Netflix’s global revenue reached $11 billion, with 24 million new names added to its subscribers’ list. Viewers are certainly making their preferences heard – and voting with their remote controls to show that over-the-top (OTT) content is here to stay.
Tags: iss130 | ott | abr | adaptive bit rate | cdn | dsl | lte | Damien Lucas
Contributing Author Damien Lucas Click to read or download PDF
Reliable back-up at the Music City Bowl
Sam Gordon WLEX – LEX18 – is the NBC affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky, and part of the Cordillera Communications Group. As a very popular local station with a broadcast area that covers 40 counties across central Kentucky we have a big commitment to news, broadcasting more than seven hours of live programming on a typical day.
Tags: iss130 | wlex-tv | dejero | engo | gobox | cellsat | Sam Gordon
Contributing Author Sam Gordon Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new

On the most recent occasion I was trimmed, my hairdresser had just returned from a holiday in Hawaii.

Where she thought she was going to die. She thought this because the state’s emergency alert system was triggered, sending messages across all available platforms, for 38 minutes, that a ballistic missile was about to strike. That, I suspect, is the sort of thing that casts a pall across your holiday.

Why did it happen? Essentially it happened because an operator selected the wrong menu item. “I feel very badly from what’s happened,” he is quoted as saying, in a somewhat mangled version of English which may at least in part explain his difficulties with menu items.

Tags: iss130 | alertsense | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Six steps for award winning sound design with Jungle Studios
Chris Turner Few can argue that great sound design is one of the most important elements to any moving picture. Mute most horrors, and the difference in fear factor will be enormous. Visualize Jaws or Star Wars, and John Williams’s iconic score will instantly come to mind.
Tags: iss130 | jungle studios | fairlight | blackmagic design | davinci | Chris Turner
Contributing Author Chris Turner Click to read or download PDF
Tried and tested: DPA d:vice
KitPlus KitPlus recently took delivery of an interesting piece of equipment for review. We like our iPhone gadgets here. For us, useful iPhone gadgets started when the Olloclip lens gave us a wide angle adaptor. This was a good start, finally evolving into a proper tool when Ziess produced the Exolens system for the 5,6 & 7 series iPhones. Around the same time as the Olloclip came out we were testing the Fostex AR4i which was a very exciting development at the time. You have a portable device, that you carry everywhere with you, connected to the world but with very limited audio capabilities. A stereo interface with decent microphones was a real boon!
Tags: iss130 | dpa | dvice | iphone | journalist mic | filmic | ios | microdot | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
VR and the importance of tracking
KitPlus I would like to begin this article by clarifying what we at Shotoku mean when we talk about VR in live production. It’s not the production of immersive, 360 content where you need to wear a headset; we are talking about virtual studio (VS) and augmented reality (AR) work, such as placing graphics into a green screen environment or physical set. The technology used for this work is entirely different, though equally specialist – therefore it is important to understand the challenges of this kind of production in order to make informed kit choices.
Tags: iss130 | shotoku | vr | live production | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
How IP-based KVM can improve workflow in broadcast control rooms
John Halksworth One of the most significant shifts the broadcast industry has seen over recent years is the adoption of IP technology as a standard infrastructure across the entire broadcast workflow. IP provides a network suitable for routing audio, video and control around a broadcast facility and is providing the answers to many industry challenges.
Tags: iss130 | kvm | adder | adderlink | alif100t | John Halksworth
Contributing Author John Halksworth Click to read or download PDF
The Outlook for 2018
Duncan Payne January has arrived…and the New Year promises great opportunities for those prepared to seek them out, with the one certainty that change is constant.
Tags: iss129 | adamantean | finance | cvp | netflix | amazon | arri | hdr | sadie groom | rise | Duncan Payne
Contributing Author Duncan Payne Click to read