The Bots Are Alright
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The Bots Are Alright

If capturing the essence of truth and authenticity is at the core of documentary filmmaking then can we entrust creative decisions to our Large Language Models and Artificial Intelligence tools?

Pretty much, yes. Because:

1. Efficiency
There were the days of painstakingly transcribing every word from hours of interview footage. Sometimes we did it, sometimes we sourced it to third-parties. Now we upload the audio to Otter.ai, and it produces a viable / searchable / collaborative workspace with the full transcript ready in minutes vs. days. It’s become a game-changer.

2. Accuracy: Trusting The Words
Otter.ai’s adaptive algorithms can handle diverse accents, background noises, and speech patterns, providing mostly-reliable transcriptions that capture the essence of interviews and dialogue. “Mostly” and “essence of” are still doing a lot of heavy lifting in the process but for us it’s doing a surprisingly good job.

3. Search, Navigation and Collaboration
Documentary filmmaking is a collaborative endeavor, so the combined power of AI transcription and collaborative editing is empowering everyone involved to contribute their expertise, which leads to a better film.

Imagine the ability to search for specific keywords or phrases within transcriptions, and locating the valuable moments you want to highlight. With AI transcription and Adobe Premiere, this power is now part of our toolkit. We can search and jump to relevant sections in the footage, saving valuable time and mental energy and the time required to relate ideas to our collaborative partners. Many times helping to uncover the hidden gems within the source material. Those gems always tend to surface eventually, now it’s just less painful.

4. Integration with Premiere: Post-Production Heaven?
As mentioned, being able to import transcriptions into Premiere allows for synchronization between text and video footage. Navigating through extensive interviews becomes less overwhelming, as we can identify and work with specific quotes that align with the intent of the project, and get from “paper-edit” to cutting footage quicker.

This in turn allows us to focus on the story arc and developing the characters within. We always get there but the path is a little easier to tread now. Is it heaven? Do we have a magic button for that?

No.

But like a dictionary, spell check or a thesaurus they are damn good tools to have in the workflow and it helps make the creative process more joyful.

Thank you Bots, you’re on the team now … so far so good.

PS
This post was written with the help of ChatGPT bc of course it was.

Photo credit, MoDMaN. Hotel lobby, Montreal circa 2019