Importing and transcribing recordings

Creating amazing content in Descript doesn’t mean you need to learn all the bells and whistles from the get-go. Starting with a basic understanding of transcribing recordings, importing files, and getting familiar with the concept of the script will put you well on your way to creating compelling content. This guide is crafted to ease you into these key features—transcribing, importing, and understanding your script—streamlining your path to producing compelling content with confidence.

Getting ready to start
  • Make sure you have an audio or video file ready to import and transcribe.
  • For optimal performance, if your file exceeds 15 hours in length or is larger than 100GB, please split it into manageable parts before importing and transcribing.

Uploading and transcribing a file

GIF showing how to upload and transcribe a file in Descript

If you haven't already, start by creating a new project or diving into an existing one. To get your file into the project, you can:

  • Drag them straight from your computer, or
  • Use a URL for videos you’ve found online.

Once you drop a file into Descript, it gets right to work by automatically transcribing it. Don’t forget to select the language of the recording, which you can set your default transcript in your settings.

Understanding the script and layers in Descript

The script is the central component of any Descript project. When you drag a file into the blank Script editor, it is seamlessly placed into your project's script. Think of the script as the backbone of your project; it contains all your transcribed video and audio, keeping everything aligned while you edit directly in the text.

A layer is any visual or audio that is not part of your script. Layers can be background music, b-roll clips, captions, GIFs, or images. Again, these are not part of the main script and can be used to enhance your final content.

To script or not to script? That is the question.

As a general rule:

  • If you're adding video or audio that you want to transcribe and text-edit, it’s going to be part of your script.
  • If it's a visual or sound that doesn't need transcription, like background music, random noises, or a b-roll clip, it's probably a layer.

Transcribing multiple files

When transcribing multiple files at, you have options depending on how you want to upload and transcribe them.

Image of transcription panel when you are importing and transcribing multiple files

  1. Combined into a sequence: this groups the recording to a sequence—a virtual container that groups related files allowing you to text edit them together as a unified script. This is ideal for situations like multiple speakers recorded in the session or different camera angles of the same video shoot.
  2. Keep separate: simply add the transcribe files to the script one after the other.

Importing Files in Bulk Without Transcribing

When starting a project in Descript, you can upload all your files at once, whether they need transcription or not. This approach is useful for organizing your project and collaborating with a team.

GIF showing how to import project files in bulk

Upload your files via the Projects tab icon Project panel. When you're ready, you can choose how to add each file:

  • Insert into script: Adds the file to your script and transcribes it if necessary.
  • Add new layer: Adds the file as a layer without transcribing.

There's a lot more you can do from the Project panel, including manually transcribing files before you add them into the composition and start working with them. Files that have been transcribed will have a double quotation mark at the top of their icon.

Transcribed and untranscribed files in project panel

Build your foundation: start with the script

If you're a new to Descript, we recommend adding project files to your script first. Once your script is solidly in place, start spicing things up with layers.

Adding Content to an Existing Project

As you create in Descript, you might need to add more recordings or files to an existing. That's totally normal and just as easy as creating adding script content to a blank project.

Gif showing how to add an additional file into an existing script

  1. Place your cursor where you want the new content.
  2. Press Enter or Return to create a blank line.
  3. Select Add file, or simply drag in the file you want to add to the script.

Just getting warmed up: what’s next

Congratulations on exploring one of the most crucial aspects of content creation in Descript! You've now learned how to import, transcribe, and files project, and the foundational concept of the script and how it's different from layers. This foundation is key to any successful project in Descript.

Now that you've got the basics down, why not explore adding layers? Enhance your projects with background music, images, GIFs, and more to make your content even more dynamic and engaging. Dive deeper into Descript's features and continue creating impactful content that stands out.

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