inverse of E.F. Hutton: When people
talk, Richard Brownstein listens - and transcribes hanging onto every word.
company, Trailblazer Transcripts, makes the lives of harried journalists and
entertainment professionals easier. He
does this by transcribing taped footage they provide into a meticulously
scripted version, complete with time codes, table of contents and even an index
by key words, to ease future editing.
300 clients - including "Inside Edition," "American
Journal," Disney, and Warner Bros. use his services, dropping off their
Beta tapes for him to dub to an audio cassette and videotape to precisely match
sound with pictures.
then puts on a headset and lets his fingers fly.
As he types, he controls the cassette player with a foot pedal, which
allows him to stop, start and pause the tape without taking his hands off the
"People who work here can't be afraid of technology and computers," the 35-year-old said.
got wind of a job opportunity transcribing tapes back in 1989.
The tedious, hair-pulling process, however, motivated him to find an
easier way to encrypt the times. For
six months he toiled with writing a computer program that would automatically
pop the time into the transcript, an effort that slowly led to the formation of
his two-office company in Brentwood and Burbank.
His staff includes about 10 part-time and full-time employees and
contracted off-site typists working around the clock.
built this company on sweat, late nights and 120-hour weeks," he said, not
to mention a lot of help from his wife, Patricia.
was midnight one evening when his company received volumes of footage from ice
skater Scott Hamilton's comeback performance after a bout with cancer.
There was a push to complete the transcripts by 5 A.M. for "Inside
Edition," which works by New York time.
potential job applicants must be able to type at least 100 words per minute to
meet usual 24-hour deadlines.
is a direct correlation
between speed and accuracy," Brownstein said.
"The faster they type, the more accurate they are."
UP THE VOLUME
an ideal situation, it should take a proficient transcriber three to five times
as long as the tape to convert the package.
when people speak distinctly, or are all micro phoned," he said, pointing
out that he establishes parameters with clients to determine exactly what they
would like to see on a finished transcript, for instance, he asks whether they
want the verbatim answers from an interview, complete with ums, ahs, coughs and
a telephone ringing in the background.
also needs to know whether they
want descriptive B-roll, those extra-wide shots of skylines and freeway traffic
that can land on the cutting room floor or serve as filler to the reporter's
those extras are what will cost the client, who pay hourly rates starting at
used to watch all the shows we would be working on," Brownstein said.
"I'd get a kick out of seeing what was in my hands yesterday is in
America's lives today."
also play the "sound bite game."
pick what I think what quote should be chosen," he said, referring to the
finished story that hit the airwaves. "More
often than not I was right."
the countless tapes the company has received, there have been images that no
doubt have seen the pause button due to their steamier nature, such as news
clips from Internet stories.
get a lot of skin," Brownstein said. "I've
had one person quit because of the explicit stuff."
Bottom line: They are privy to information before people even click on their remote.
know a lot of things we shouldn't know," Brownstein said.
- Story by Nola L Sarkisian, photo by Brian Pobuda
Original Article. Fancy, no!