At the forefront of innovation in audio and video storytelling | Executive interviews

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At the forefront of innovation in audio and video storytelling | Executive interviews
At the forefront of innovation in audio and video storytelling | Executive interviews


Jeff Coffman certainly never expected to become a tech entrepreneur. As an Emmy Award-winning network television news foreign correspondent and war correspondent for ABC, CBS and CBC News, he spent more than three decades reporting on some of the biggest stories of our time. These include: the Iraq War, the Arab Spring, Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf Oil Spill, and the mine rescue in Chile.

However, his exasperation with some of the more time-consuming aspects of his job eventually led him down a slightly different path. Like many journalists, Coffman has lived with the frustration of manual transcription throughout his career. Indeed, he couldn’t believe he was still transcribing interviews, speeches and press conferences by hand in the 21st century.

After a chance meeting at MozFest, the open source coding conference in London, he teamed up with a group of developers to explore the use of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques such as automated speech recognition (ASR) and natural language processing (NLP). for audio and video transcription.

The growth of Trint

By the end of 2014, Coffman had left his job at ABC News and started building Trint. “It took a few years to get it to market. We had to raise the money and going from news reporting to building a startup meant I had to learn so much,” he said. Now, on New York Times is Trint’s lead investor, while other investors include Associated Press. “They’re also two of our biggest customers,” Coffman said.

While Trint counts many of the world’s largest media organizations as clients, its client base extends beyond media to include marketing agencies, major technology platforms, government and universities. With its military-grade security and servers in the EU and US, Trint is positioned to serve customers on both sides of the Atlantic.

The company has 100 employees, with headquarters in London and North American headquarters in Toronto.

Coffman is only half joking when he says he invented this product for himself. “It solves a pain point I was experiencing [with] and the part of my job that I liked least. I saw an opportunity to use artificial intelligence and software to do the heavy lifting of content creation and free us up to do the fun stuff.”

“I call myself the accidental entrepreneur,” he added. “No one is more surprised than me that I’m sitting here as a technologist, an inventor, a CEO.”

Coffman’s moment of light

Coffman devoted his career to television journalism. But his life changed after a “lightbulb moment” when he saw the potential to free reporters, editors and others from the more mundane tasks of their jobs.

Oil spill

“I just saw an opportunity, I saw the future. And I said, well, the thing I hate most about my job as a broadcast journalist is transcribing my overly long interviews and having to dig through them to find the moments that matter,” he said.

His role at Trint is certainly a challenge he never thought he wanted in life. “But it turns out to be really, really interesting. It is also very difficult. But I invented Trint for myself and people like me, that was the original inspiration.”

Trint is a speech-to-text productivity platform that uses AI to convert speech to text, then gives users the tools to find what they need in their audio and video content. ASR and NLP are applied to decipher the sounds that make up human speech. It matches these sounds with the corresponding word in its dictionary and displays them in the Trint Editor. The video or audio file can then be searched, edited and shared.

Improving content workflows

Trint can deliver live transcripts with a delay of just seconds. It works in 32 languages ​​and is translated into 50 languages. Live transcription is compatible with common streaming formats including push (RTMP) and pull (RTMP, RTSP, HLS, Icecast, FFMPEG).

Coffman said the vision has always been to build more than just an automated transcription tool, noting that basic conversation transcription, whether audio or video, is “rapidly commercialized.”

“Where [Trint] where it becomes valuable is the ability to build content into a seamless workflow to actually take those moments that matter and say, “I like this quote or soundtrack, let me put it here. Let me go to this interview and find another one. And then let me write something in between,” he said.

Building a platform for collaboration is key. “For most people today, the process of creating content involves enlisting others,” he said.

The next step is to enable live content creation. “We’re in the process of launching a mobile product that will allow me to do an interview where I’m sitting, and people wherever they have access to the internet will be able to listen and eventually watch that interview, sign in with live transcripts and take moments, seconds after they’ve been said and say, “Oh, she just made the news. Let’s use this to check if the automated transcript is correct, if we don’t fix it quickly. And bam, it’s out on Twitter.”

Always a journalist

Coffman said journalists need products like Trint in part because of the extent to which the nature of news and journalism has changed.

“When I started in television in the 1980s in Toronto, I did a two-and-a-half minute story and that was my day. No one in journalism today does. Now you’re running it on four or five different social media; you get it online from the field; you can make an audio report; you will debrief; you might do something for a podcast. The same piece of content is now being pulled in so many different directions at the same time. And so people need tools to do that,” he said.


As for Coffman, he still thinks of himself first and foremost as a journalist. In fact, he is still very active in the field, providing regular commentary on global affairs for the BBC and also teaching journalism, among other activities.

“I really feel like journalism is in my DNA, and I actually expect to be doing more journalism, not less, in the coming years,” he said, hinting at other projects to come. But for now, his energy is devoted to making Trint even more useful for enterprise customers and individual users. “The possibilities for innovation in this space are endless,” he says. Stay on the line!

Exhibitors at IBC will be able to see a demonstration of Trint at Content everywhere scene from 4pm on 9/11


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