Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Working with videos in Transcribe!

In this post, I'll show you how to set up Transcribe! with Apple's Quick Time and use it to transcribe music from video found on the web (under Microsoft Windows). All of this information is available in the Transcribe! documentation, but it took me a little digging, so I'm doing a step-by-step here.

  • Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7 (this procedure was tested on Windows XP)
  • Transcribe! from Seventh String Software
  • Quick Time from Apple
  • Mozilla Firefox web browser (for downloading video from “tube” sites).
First, download and install the latest Quick Time from Apple. If you have iTunes, then you probably have Quick Time installed on your computer already. Next, download and install the latest version of Transcribe! from Seventh String Software. Now, get the latest Firefox from Mozilla, if you don't already have it. Finally, get the Video Downloader from While viewing this post in Firefox, click this link to go to the download page. Click on the green “Add to Firefox” button. In the resulting dialog, click the “Install Now” button to install the Video Downloader.(Ctrl.+click images to view them at larger resolution in a new tab or window.)
Firefox will prompt you that it needs to be restarted to finish the installation. Go ahead and click the “Restart Now” button to restart Firefox (your session will be saved and any pages you were browsing will reappear when Firefox is finished restarting).

Now we're ready to go to YouTube and get a music video to work on. Point Firefox to YouTube and search for a music video.

Now, YouTube shows videos using the Adobe Flash plugin. But for Transcribe!+Quick Time, we need video that's in Quick Time format. Fortunately, most of the videos on YouTube are available in Quick Time format as an alternate. To get the alternate format, you have to alter the url in the address bar by adding "&fmt=18" (without the quotes) to the very end and pressing “Enter” on your keyboard. The browser window will now refresh, loading the Quick Time version of the video.
Now that we have the right format, download a copy of the video using the Video Downloader. On a toolbar above your browser tab, notice the colored “filmstrip” icon with the words “Save Video” to the right. Click this icon. If you're given a choice among different titles, choose the one that matches the title of the desired video and also has the extension *.mp4, which is the extension for Apple Quick Time format.
Choose a convenient location to save the file. If Firefox downloads it to a default location, and you don't know where that is, open the “Downloads” window (Tools: Downloads or Ctrl.+J), right click on the file from the list and choose “Open Containing Folder.”

Now you can close Firefox and open Transcribe! Once Transcribe! is up, click the “Open” icon and browse to the location you saved the video file. Select the file and click “Open.” Transcribe! opens, along with a Transcribe! video window. You can now listen to and view the video, and harness the tuning and speed control features of Transcribe!