The Guide to Transcription Services and Software

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A paper edit can be the fastest way to get things moving in your editing timeline. These resources can get you there even faster.

A paper edit is a time-coded list of the bits and quotes that you want to use, in the order you’d like to use them, often accompanied by some notes on what illustrative footage (B-roll) you will use to cover the cuts and add depth. Paper edits are especially helpful in corporate or documentary projects, where much of the footage is interview-based. So what makes a good paper edit?

A good paper edit is accurate, specific, and well-structured. Getting to a good paper edit, especially with interviews, depends on good transcriptions of your interviews that you can quickly scan through and highlight.

Historically, transcription was expensive, as you actually had to pay a typist to listen to the audio and manually write out everything, word by word. These days, computer-based speech-to-text services can provide highly accurate transcripts at up to ten times the speed of real time. This improvement in the technology, along with the falling costs of cloud-based services, means that now more than ever, transcription is readily available to everyone.

In this post, I’ve rounded up some of the best online transcription services, including a couple of free options.

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