Gas station without pumps

2020 August 9

Videos for Fall done!

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 09:35
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I think that I finished the videos for BME 51B last night—53 days before classes start.  There are 49 videos totalling 11 hours and 49 minutes (averaging 14 minutes, 28 seconds).

So far, only one of them has had the captions edited (, but the student doing the caption editing is beginning to get the hang of it and I expect the caption editing for subsequent videos to be done more rapidly.  The process is somewhat simpler than I expected, as we don’t need to do anything with time stamps.

  1.  Download the auto-generated transcript of the video using, which can provide the transcript in a simple text format without time stamps.  For some reason, YouTube does not provide an easy way to get this with their native interface—only providing a file in VTT format, which has lots of duplication of words in order to simulate scrolling.  The VTT format is much richer than the simple text format, but very hard to edit to correct bad line breaks and incorrect punctuation.  (I saved the VTT files, in case I need to restore the autocaptioning, but I don’t expect to use them.)There is a way to get the transcript on the native YouTube interface, but it involves screen-scraping and doing a cut-and-paste to a new file.  The download just needs the YouTube URL and keeps the title of the video as part of the file name, making a much more usable interface.
  2. Edit the text file, keeping all lines to 45 characters or fewer.  The point of the editing is to correct mistranscribed words (there were two or three in a 20-minute video, and for one of them even the student couldn’t figure out from my mumbling), to eliminate verbal glitches, to correct punctuation, and to put the line breaks at semantically meaningful places (where possible) to make reading the captions easier. Music at the beginning and end should be labeled as “[Music]”.
  3. Upload the edited transcript, as described in and  One step seems to be missing there—the upload silently failed the first time I did it, with YouTube still showing the auto-generated captions the next day.  I tried again, deleting the autocaptions when uploading the edited transcript file, and that seems to have worked.

The student hired by the university does steps 1 and 2.  I do one more editing pass over the transcript, correcting any places where the student was unsure of the transcription and looking for punctuation errors (mainly comma splices and hyphenation errors).  The comma splices are a natural result of spoken speech not being obviously broken into sentences—run-on sentences are a common speech pattern.  Judicious punctuation makes the captions easier to read correctly without changing the words of the utterances.  On the first video, I fixed half a dozen punctuation and capitalization errors, corrected one word that the student was unsure of, and corrected another phrase that YouTube had mistranscribed and the student had not caught.  It took me much less time and pain to do that final editing pass than it would have to do all the editing, so it was definitely worthwhile having the student do the initial editing.

I have not yet estimated how many videos I’ll need for BME 51A for the Winter, but I think that there will be closer to 20 hours of video than the 12 hours for BME 51B, so I don’t think I’m halfway yet through the whole course. I’ll probably not quite have finished them by October 1, when Fall classes start, but I might be able to get them done before the grading load for BME 51B crushes me.

I’ll also need to do some videos that won’t go up publicly on YouTube: 10 quiz solutions each for BME 51A and BME 51B.  I’ll probably also do an intro video for each course, calling student attention to important parts of the syllabus—the intro videos may go up on YouTube, but not be part of the playlist.

I’m probably going to rename the Applied Analog Electronics playlist to Applied Analog Electronics Part B, and create a new playlist Applied Analog Electronics Part A.  That will make it easier for students to find the videos they need, and it will make it easier for me keep the videos in order—it is much easier to add a new video at the end of a playlist than to add it somewhere near the beginning.


  1. Wow! That must be a relief, so far in advance. In the few auto-transcripts I’ve done so far I’ve had a lot of mistaken words (not in Youtube though, on Webex). I’m not sure if it’s my mumbling, technical terms, or my accent, or all three.

    Comment by profbillanderson — 2020 August 10 @ 13:04 | Reply

    • Try uploading one to YouTube and see. The YouTube algorithms have advanced enormously in the past 4 years, and I can well believe that Google is a year or two ahead of Webex in their speech recognition. (For that matter, Youtube captioning seems to be much better than what my Android phone delivers for voicemail, so different branches of Google are not in sync for voice recognition.)

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2020 August 10 @ 14:19 | Reply

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