In this review, Los Angeles based director, editor, colorist, and Creative Cow Contributing Editor, David Roth Weiss, takes a look at a product aptly named "Get," from AV3 Software. It's a speech recognition search app for Final Cut Pro editors that will undoubtedly help get your projects completed faster and on the screen sooner.
Get introductory video from AV3 Software
As any documentary producer, director, or editor will attest, the most timeconsuming and labor-intensive aspect of documentary post-production are the days, weeks, and often months, that are spent tediously and meticulously logging, organizing, and sifting through hours and hours of recorded interviews, searching for the comments and statements that will give our work meaning.
Hunting for those elusive sound bites, through page upon page of logs and transcripts, is a process that really hasn't changed much since the beginning of time. The old adage, "you're only as good as your logs," has remained as true as ever.
While the advent of computerized non-linear editing in the late 1980's did help to speed-up the process a bit by integrating logging, marking, and database search functions, even now, some twenty-plus years later, the process is still timeconsuming and labor-intensive. Searching for clips today is still primarily based upon searching typed text that's either transcribed or entered during logging and video captures.
However, things are finally looking up. Advances in speech recognition technology, combined with today's blazingly fast computers, have given rise to a number of exciting new applications, including AV3 Software's aptly named Get
, for Final Cut Pro, that is able to turn the information in recorded dialogue tracks into useful and searchable digital data.
HOW IT WORKS
is a standalone application that works in conjunction with Final Cut Pro. It enables your Mac computer to quickly index, search, and find virtually any spoken word recorded on the audio tracks of any media file.
Just imagine, with no transcripts and without typing a single log entry, Get
makes it possible to search intelligently through hours and hours of interviews in a documentary for any word or combination of words you choose. And, Get
is really fast; it took under seven minutes to index every audio and video file in a client's entire documentary, containing approximately thirty-five hours of recorded interviews.
Nothing yet devised replaces or eliminates the need for accurate timecoded transcripts, however, when time is short, or budgets won't allow them, Get is worth its weight in gold -- blindly scrubbing through hours recorded interviews can take hours, while Get takes only seconds. Images courtesy of AV3 Software
After creating its word index, keyword searches through all media in the project take only seconds. In my case, searching through every file in a documentary about animal rescue, Get
was able to find every occurrence of the word "dogs" throughout the entire project in less than four seconds. It uncovered fifty-six distinct uses of "dogs," and found occurrences where it was used in about three hundred and five instances in the project.
generates a list of what it finds, noting every occurrence of the chosen keyword(s) in every source file, and in every sequence where it's been used. And that's not all; Get
also searches Finder-level data such as file names and creation dates, and FCP browser-level information, listing that information as well.
Images courtesy of AV3 Software
The entries Get
lists can be instantly previewed in the Get
preview player with just a mouse click, or simply export to Final Cut Pro in just about any way you could ever want. You can send the results to the current project or to any other project you choose; you can place them in an existing bin or in a new bin; or you can have Get
open a new sequence with the chosen clips inside. It's all fast, easy, and very user-friendly.
PRICING & AVAILIBILITY
Happily, after a recent 50% price reduction, Get
is available immediately for only $249. It's a quick download from: http://www.av3software.com/products/get-for-fcp-application-v1-1-us-english
, and there is a ten day free trial offered. Every FCP user should at least give it a try.
If locating clips and sound bites is an important part of your job as a filmmaker, let Get
find them for you. Get
makes your life easier by handing the hardest and most mundane parts of searching over to your computer. Get
enables your computer to do what it does best; thereby freeing you to do the myriad of other things that you do best.
I use Get
in my day-to-day work on documentaries, and it's had a huge impact on the way I work. With deadlines looming, Get
helps me get to the finish line. Get
significantly improves my ability to find those elusive clips and sound bites now, when I need to find them instantly.
is one of the essential tools that should be in the arsenal of every Final Cut Pro user. It works very simply, and it simply works well. I find Get
is indispensible, and it easily deserves the Creative Cow's highest Five-Cow rating.
ARE TRANSCRIPTS DEAD?
Like most hardened editors who've learned their craft cutting long-form documentaries, there's nothing in my opinion that can replace accurate, timecoded transcripts when it comes to cutting loads of lengthy interviews.
I've heard just about every conceivable argument against them from producers trying to save a few bucks, and while I'll admit, they are time-consuming and relatively expensive to produce ($100 to $130 per hour), transcripts are still a necessary evil until someone creates something better. Every key creator on a project can carry a copy of the transcripts with them wherever they go, allowing writers, producers, directors, and editors to continue working, even while they're away from the edit bay or even out of the country.
It gets harder and harder all the time to convince budget-conscious producers to appreciate the value of transcripts; however, no one has yet come up with an ideal solution that replaces or eliminates them.