Backtrack feature for audio/video files

At present, you can play an audio/video file in the upper pane, write what you hear in the lower pane and hit cmd-return to pause/resume the recording.
Would it be possible to add a key combination to allow the recording to resume playing the track, say, 2 seconds before it stopped? (This is called “Backtrack on pause” in Transcriva 1.1 by Barthas Technology).
A neat interface solution could be alternating the “Play Media File” command to “Play with backtrack” by adding the option key.
It seems nothing at first, but it is indeed a time-saver for journalists or anybody who needs to transcribe messy audio files, interviews in foreign languages, etc.

I appreciate Stefano’s point, having used professional video tape machines when I worked for the local TV Station … backtracking makes things so much easier. But I can see a big potential conflict here … I’m surprised that it seems not to have been picked up.
I’m new to Scrivener and haven’t had time to play with it yet, and certainly haven’t had time to try playing audio/video in one pane while writing in the other … But Cmd-Space is the standard system keybinding for switch keyboards, something I’m doing all the time. What happens in Scrivener to someone who wants to transcribe an audio file where they need to switch keyboards in the process?

It’s cmd-return, not cmd-space, so there’s no conflict with the default keyboard-switching key.

I especially like the opt-cmd-return idea for “resume playing with 2-second backtrack.”

Oh how it would help to have this available: I’m spending way too much time this morning transcribing a two-hour interview conducted in a noisy restaurant. Scrivener would be perfect for this if it had an easy way to rewind slightly.


ooops :blush: I misread! :blush:

I was going to post this exact same request.

I use Transcriva for my transcripts, but I find it buggy and slow, at least on my iBook. (I’ve been in contact with Bartas and they’re very helpful but can’t reproduce my crashing bug, so I don’t really blame them.) I’d love to just use Scrivener for this; I don’t need most of Transcriva’s snazzy features, but the two-second rewind is key.

Perhaps I am missing your point, but is there any reason that you cannot use alt-cmd-{ / alt-cmd-} (step backwards / step forwards - listed in the View > QuickTime menu)? These will allow you to move the play point back for forward slightly without your hands having to leave the keyboard…

Keith, that would be perfect, except (as discussed previously on the forum) that only steps backwards a tiny amount–one “frame”'s worth, it seems. For transcriptions we really need a larger amount.

I asked elsewhere if anyone knows of a hack (if necessary) to change the default QT step-backwards amount. But I also wonder if this is in fact accessible to you through the framework you’re using, because it’s definitely possible to specify a step-backward/forward amount when using the QT player via Applescript. Is there any chance that functionality is exposed through the API you’re using? Two or three seconds is a pretty good default, whereas the current amount is useless.


Hoping to retrieve my embarrassing howler earlier. I have just started using VLC ( )rather than QuickTime for viewing and working with videos. I don’t know if it would be possible to integrate VLC with Scrivener in the same way, but were it possible, that would be good, as VLC has “very short”, “short”, “medium” and “long” forwards and backwards jumps with keyboard commands, though I haven’t checked how long any of them are … I’ve just discovered the feature. Seems like just what the original poster is asking for.
Incidentally, I also find the video definition is cleaner with VLC than with QuickTime.
As far as I can see, the main drawback of VLC is that it can be a bit “jumpy” with a 5400 RPM disk like the HD in my MBP, when viewing a .dv file for instance.

Unfortunately there is no way of doing this at this time. QuickTime is an Apple framework, which means that it is very easy - and free - to integrate it into a Cocoa app. Integrating VLC would mean a whole ream of coding issues, and I have no idea if there would be licensing problems as well. Sorry. :slight_smile:

Thanks Keith. That’s what I suspected. A pity, but I still thought it worth mentioning.

try my LOOPYLOOPX an app I made for transcriptions:

If Scrivener was able to work with applescript I could make a special version for it.
But you can write inside Scrivener AND use LoopyLoopx in the background.

You can do a lot of things with LPL (macros, interactive timecodes, offsets, 12,15,24,25,drop frame, 30 frames, snaphots, pedal, use a second screen for video etc)
See also preferences for “resume playing with 2-second backtrack”
here you can also set command+shift to play/pause, command control to rewind and command option to forwind.
The user manual is not very big but I hope it can help.
Currently I have not enough time to work on LoopyLoopX because I’m finishing an Opera thanks to Scrivener and it takes me all my energy (not Scrivener, the Opera…)


Looks interesting, but the page on VersionTracker says 10.4 PPC, not Intel. Will it run under Rosetta?

yes it plays well on my MacBookPro.

Right, thanks. I’ll give it a try. :slight_smile:


I’m a Men’s Health feature writer ( I recently arrived at Scrivener after a long, miserable road that lead me thru Word, Mellel, and Copywrite. Scrivener gives me pretty much everything I need – except for the transcription. So I’m here to echo the above requests for enhanced transcription versatility: not just configurable controls (step back 1 second, 3 seconds, 5 seconds, etc) but also configurable hot key controls. (For instance I find shift-return is a much easier start/stop control, and shift-space much easier for step-back).

Pre-Scrivener I used Listen & Type, a nifty little app, for transcription. But man, if I could get it all in one package…

2.0 provides better controls over all - the step back and forward is better, for instance. However, you can already redefine the hot-keys, just as you can for any menu command on OS X. Just go to System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Keyboard Shortcuts. Add Scrivener as the application, “Play Media File” and the menu item name, and the keyboard shortcut you want instead of cmd-return. (You may need to add “Stop Media File” as well given that the menu command name changes depending on play state.)

Hope that helps.

Thanks and all the best,

Sorry if I’m being dense but… 2.0 of what? Scrivener? I’m using v1.11, which I understood was the latest.

Thanks for the other info on key-mapping.


Also, it appears that in Sys prefs you can only specify hot keys using command, control, or option – not shift, which is sort of a pity, bc when you’re really rocking through a transcription, it’s good to be able to hit those backtrack keys quick – not so easy when the pinky’s gotta grope down for those awkward command keys…

Sorry, didn’t mean to be misleading - Scrivener 2.0 is due out later in the year; I should have said “will provide…”.

As for keyboard shortcuts - you can assign the shift key, but probably only in combination with command, alt etc. This is because most shift+a key usually has a meaning already, I suppose.

Many thanks. I look forward to 2.0.

And that’s the beauty of Listen&Type – shift-return and shift-space have no pre-assigned functions. (Also in L&T, the step back function simply steps the audio back, it doesn’t also pause it, which is helpful, because usually when you step back it’s to give something another listen; generally you don’t need to stop the recording. But I cavil!)