Why Documentary Makers Should Use Transcription

Why Documentary Makers Should Use Transcription
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


Media and entertainment are among the fastest-growing industries today. Thanks to high-end smartphones, content distribution technologies, and the falling cost of data, more consumers are using their phones to do everything; from research to education, gaming to streaming.

For documentary filmmakers, the traditional route of Box Office releases is becoming expensive and ineffective. As a result, the majority of indie producers are now launching their projects on streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, and a host of other streaming platforms.

Consumers are no longer waiting for Friday nights to catch their favorite movies. Rather, they are streaming them on-demand. And for documentary makers, this is a great opportunity to tap into new audiences.

Getting your film seen by as many people as possible does not have to be expensive. You can easily get more people to consume your content through Transcription services!

With streaming services available beyond the traditional English-speaking markets, transcription is becoming even more important in post-production for documentary makers.

What is Post-Production Transcription?

Post-production transcription refers to a word-for-word account for a documentary film. The transcripts make the post-production processes run smoothly.

Generally, it is good practice to produce transcripts after production of the feature. This will help to save time and money.

But what if you transcribe the feature scene by scene as you go along?

Well, this could prove futile and expensive for a number of reasons:

  • The specific dialogue in the documentary could have to be changed in the last minute

  • The heavy-dialogue scene in your feature could be wiped from the final production

Documentary transcription requires accuracy. For this reason, documentary filmmakers often outsource the work to professional transcription and translation companies.

You may want to transcribe your film in-house to keep your costs down. However, if the person who’ll be undertaking the transcription is not experienced enough, you will end up with errors.

Also Read: Transcription Cost: How Much Should You Pay for Services?

Benefits of Transcribing Documentary Features

1. Make your content more accessible

Using subtitles and captions is one of the ways of improving the accessibility of your video content. Transcription serves as a precursor to subtitles and captions in videos. 

Getting your documentary film transcribed will make it more accessible to people who are hard of hearing or those that are hearing impaired. Target audiences that are not speakers of the native language will also be able to follow your documentary, thanks to subtitles made possible through transcription.

2. Speed up the editing process

Transcription speeds up the editing process by making it easier for video editors to find important segments in the feature. Video editors can check transcription timestamps to quickly find specific sections of their footage for editing.

Without transcript timecodes, the editors would have to watch and listen to the footage to find specific sections. This can be a huge timewaster.

3. Make content easier to consume

Mobile devices are increasingly becoming the ultimate entertainment devices for consumers. People are watching videos from different streaming services like Netflix, social networks like Facebook, and video hosting platforms like YouTube.

However, when watching videos on a smartphone, most people prefer to do it without playing sound. According to a report by DigiDay, 80% of Facebook videos are watched without sound.

By transcribing your documentary, you can get your message to these consumers in the format that they prefer, i.e., watching while reading captions.

Also Read: The Key Benefits of Academic Transcription Services

Why Hire a Transcription Professional?

Hiring a professional video transcription company to transcribe your documentary feature will save you time and money. The companies have qualified transcriptionists that are reliable, trained, and produce accurate transcripts.

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.