Skyhigh TV is one of the Netherlands' leading production companies and produces TV programs for both commercial and public broadcasters. The company mainly produces reality TV shows, docusoaps and documentaries.
What is spotting? And why does it take so much time?
A crucial part of the post-production process is the 'spotting' of video material. Spotting is looking through filmed material and searching for useful parts for the final edit. During the production of broadcast programs, by definition, much more video is recorded than is actually used in the final edit.
It is the task of the director to finalize a final edit from dozens of hours of video material. In order to accelerate this process, spotters are used who record all suitable fragments with their corresponding time codes.
"Normally we use people for this, who type out all conversations in the videomaterial. With an interview of 2 hours a spotter can sometimes be busy for 10 hours. That is almost one and a half working days ", says Sanne, Producer at Skyhigh TV.
In addition, it is an operational job to manage spotters, often students or trainees. If a whole batch of 10 hours of material has to be worked out, 3-4 people are put to work who have to comply with deadlines and who have to spot according to certain standards. "This 'people management', of course, also takes a lot of tim.", says Sanne.
The scripts are then loaded into Avid so that editors and directors can quickly access a selection of the right video material.
Skyhigh TV recently started working with AmberScript to automate the process as much as possible.
AmberScript automates almost the whole process
SkyHigh TV uses AmberScript to have videos typed out using automatic speech recognition (ASR). Now video material can be loaded into AmberScript and be automatically typed out. Each word is provided with time codes and speakers are automatically assigned.
In order to type out an interview of 2 hours, spotters now need around 20 minutes. Subsequently, adjustments have to be made in some cases because speech recognition does not always work 100%.
"But for conversations with good sound quality like interviews, for example, it works well. We are not only saving work with it, but also time and money. The trainees are of course very happy and we as producers have much more time at our disposal because we spend less time distributing video files and deadlines. In the end, this is time we can now use for creating good TV programs."
Apart from SkyHigh TV, AmberScript also provides services to filmmaker Rogier Kappers, read more about that here!