Digital Pro Sound: Boris Soundbite for Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro

by Heath McKnight, January 20, 2012


Producers, writers, one-man bands and interns can rejoice!

Soundbite from Boris FX is an excellent dialogue search tool developed in conjunction with Nexidia, a company focused on speech analytics. You can search for specific words and phrases easily with Soundbite, then import into Final Cut Pro or Premiere Pro, making it easy and quick to edit hours of interviews for a project.

Producers, writers, one-man bands and interns can rejoice while searching through hours of interviews. Say so long to logging video!

It's a very simple app to use, and the first thing you need to do is index a specific folder with video and audio you'd like go through, or through a Final Cut Pro (ver. X, 7, 6.0.2) or Premiere Pro (CS5.5, Mac-only) project, which you can add to the app itself. It supports multiple languages, along with allowing you to select which audio tracks you wish to choose. It happens quickly and in the background.

Once the indexing is done, an XML file is created for your NLE. While in your non-linear editor, you can select an icon on your top menu bar, which opens a search window. You can also search from within the Soundbite app itself, but it's easier and more streamlined to do it from your NLE. You can start searching for specific words or phrases, and set how the scoring will affect the results. The scoring goes from 95 down to 50. The higher the score, the fewer, but more accurate the results.

You can spell the words correctly or even phonetically; I recommend trying both, which can get you more results. You can search more than one word or phrase, which is pretty cool, to help you find specific clips quicker. You can also search by metadata, which is great when you mark notes in your NLE, or it can search by timecode, length, comment, and so on. Searches can be saved, so you can use them again.

Keyword search results in Soundbite

Soundbite's search results also include how many "hits" of your keyword or phrase are found in each clip, and you can preview by double-clicking or hitting the spacebar key. What I like is being able to go between each hit, if there's more than one in a clip, or going through each clip, one by one.

Marking an in and out in Soundbite

Exporting is easy, allowing you to export the entire clip to your Premiere Pro or FCP 7 project, or you can mark an in and an out, and just export a specific portion of the clip. You can choose which folder or bin to export the clip to. Make sure you leave enough footage for handles, so if you need to grab a little more video, it's there and you don't have to go back and re-export the clip from Soundbite.

Markers indicate where different keywords are located
There will be a marker indicating where the keyword or phrase is located, so you can easily navigate to it in your NLE. Different keywords spotlighted in multiple searches will have different colored markers.

If you don't want to import additional and duplicate clips you selected in Soundbite, you can export the markers to the footage in your NLE's project. This works when you indexed the project file itself, and when you export the markers, they'll appear in the clips in your FCP or Premiere Pro project.

You can export all the clips in the search results one time, and if you choose a name, Boris Soundbite will name them in sequential order, such as interview1, interview2, and so on. Again, this dialogue search tool makes it easy to find specific words or phrases, and get the selected clips into your NLE quickly.

My tests with Boris Soundbite went well; in 2011, I worked on a series of video projects for an autism treatment center, interviewing parents, therapists and the children themselves. Soundbite worked well, identifying words and phrases I typed in, even those spoken so quietly that I couldn't discern without using headphones. It saved me hours of time hunting and logging clips, allowing me to focus on editing.

My NLE of choice is Final Cut Pro X, but I tested it with FCP 7 and Premiere Pro CS5.5 for Mac, too, without any issues. When you export to FCP X, you'll be exporting an XML file that you import into Final Cut Pro X, and your selected clips will have the markers and in/out points. You can find out more about Soundbite on Boris FX's website.


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