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Transcriber reviewed: creating subtitles with ease

1 minute read

Transcriber, from Ulti.Media, is a very neat, inexpensive piece of Mac software that really does just one thing, but does it extremely well.

If you’ve ever had to subtitle a film you know it can be quite a tedious task – particularly in chopping up the text into standard subtitle form and making it fit.

Transcriber transcribes your audio to text, surprisingly efficiently, and breaks it into subtitles which can be exported as a standard SRT file or saved as text. It supports Adobe Premiere Pro & After Effects, Final Cut Pro & Motion. And if you use Final Cut Pro it works even better – it writes the subtitles directly into FCPX.

Using Transcriber is simplicity itself. Drop a movie file on to the Transcriber window, select language (if necessary) and hit the transcribe button.

It’s not the fastest transcriber, though that depends on what machine you’re running. The manufacturers claim on Apple silicon it takes about minute per minute of film. While on an Intel iMac, a three minute film took about 15 minutes to transcribe. On a long film with an older Mac, this is clearly an overnight job.

After transcription though, you can play the subtitles on the film and edit the text, if necessary, as you go. Variables like line length, maximum number of lines and audio processing parameters can be easily adjusted but the default settings work fine for me. Music is identified as [Music] and, interestingly, rude four letter words have their vowels replaced with asterisks. Adjusting and editing the subtitles is very easy but, on this short film, I did not have to make any changes at all.

On Final Cut Pro, Transcriber works even better. It will export an fcpxml which, when opened in FCPX, drops the subtitles on the timeline automatically. They then can be edited converted or exported as any subtitle created within FCPX.

Transcriber is currently available for $39 from the FXFactory.

Tags: Post & VFX