Thursday, June 03, 2010

'get' for Final Cut

Graham Sharp from AV3 Software demoed their phonetic search tool ‘get’ at last weeks Boston Final Cut Pro meeting. It was a pretty impressive demo.

‘get’ is an application, though within Final Cut Pro it acts like a plug-in. You set up a watch folder, and any media placed in that folder will be analyzed and indexed phonetically. The program can index any audio media that Final Cut can understand. Indexing is fast; an hour of material can take as little as 10 seconds.

The search is purely phonetic; you can type out the words you are looking for phonetically, and it will find them. Note: this is not a speech-to-text tool. Evidently the phonetic analyzer was originally written for the military, and is licensed to AV3 Software.

The demo was quite impressive; searching for multiple word phrases, as well as short words like “the,” worked seemingly perfectly. There’s also a drop down called Score that can be used to adjust the accuracy of the search. Graham demoed searching through some “good” audio, as well as some fairly quiet audio clips and the searching seemed unfazed. There’s probably limits to how well it works with really noisy background audio, but in those cases the clips probably wouldn’t be useful without captioning anyway. When asked, he said they haven’t tested to see if it works with music!

The interface is fairly simple; type in what you’re searching for and the clips that match are displayed in a list. Clicking on a clip opens a preview window that starts playing the video at the first location of the matching word(s). A timeline indicates other matches in the clip, and you can jump between matches in the clip using the left and right arrow keys. You can go up and down through the clips list using the up and down arrow keys.

You can narrow the clips you want to search in, and also build Boolean searches. If media is stored on an external drive, the search will still find the clip, though it will tell you the media is not available.

Once you find the piece you’re looking for, you can “Send It” to Final Cut to be added to the Project (the final version will also send it to the Timeline.) The demo was alpha software, so he was unable to demonstrate setting in and out points, but that feature will be available in the final release.

‘get’ only works in Final Cut Pro at the moment and it’s expected to ship in the second week of July. It will cost $499, but you can “register” at their site and get a 10% discount at launch. There will be a 10-day trial version and it will ship with seven languages.

This looks like a really promising tool for the documentarian dealing with lots of material.

AV3 software: ‘get’

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