transcribe and edit videos with descript

A Beginners Guide to Descript: What Makes Text-Based Video Editing So Unique?

Descript is a video editing software that uses AI to simplify and speed up the video editing process. Unlike traditional timeline-based editors, Descript allows users to edit their content using a transcription of their video in a text-based interface, similar to a word processor (think Google Docs for video editing).

How Descript Makes Editing Easier

Most video editing software today are solely timeline editors. In these editors, you can cut, splice, layer, and edit video footage. While these traditional editors are extremely powerful, there’s one thing they don’t address… text.

Many software options like Adobe Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve have auto captioning tools, but Descript takes this one step further. Descript allows you to make edits to your footage by simply changing a sentence in the automatic transcription. It’s as simple as pressing ‘delete.’

An Overview of the Descript Dashboard

After you download and open the Descript desktop application, you will need to create a free account. The first thing you’ll see is a prompt to create a Drive. You can name the Drive whatever you want and even upload a logo. This drive will be the central place for collaboration as well as where all your projects are stored. The dashboard is also called the Descript ‘Drive View’

edit media clips in the descript dashboard

Recent Projects

Under the recent projects tab, you will find all the projects you have worked on most recently. You also have the option to create a new project here. The project list will automatically update to display any projects you have created as well as any projects you’re collaborating on.

descript ai editor recent projects

Quick Recordings

Descript has a built-in screen and webcam recorder, this feature can be accessed through the notifications area on a PC or the menu bar on a Mac. When you create a recording it will automatically save to your Quick Recordings tab in Descript. In addition to viewing recordings, this tab will also let you create a new project from a recording.

quickly record your screen with descript

Quick Recordings are different than in-project recordings because all the tracks are recorded directly to one video file rather than recording separate tracks for audio and video, in-project recordings record each audio and video track separately.

Shared With Me

Descript is a collaborative software. Many of the features built into their video editor are designed to optimize video projects for easy sharing with other collaborators. This tab is where you will see all the projects that other editors have shared with you via Descript.

live collaboration with descript


This section houses all the projects and recordings you have downloaded locally in Descript. You may also find these files in a directory within your files, but this is the main way to access them.

manage projects and audio files on your computer


This is where things get exciting! If you’ve ever worked with voiceovers you know how hard it is to fix a mistake in post. You can spend hours trying to edit the video so it sounds natural only to wish you had caught the mistake during the recording.

Well, Descript has a solution to this issue: a custom AI voice model. Under the voices tab, you can train your voice as an AI model, you can then use Descript’s text-to-voice features to create a custom voiceover or an overdub that sounds just like the real deal.

edit filler words in your media clips with voiceover AI

To train the model you can either use their custom script or by uploading footage from a podcast or long-form video. Descript recommends uploading 30-90 minutes of audio for an accurate voice.


Every content creator’s nightmare is starting a project and staring at a blank screen. With templates, there’s no need to worry. Descript makes it super easy to create and save templates to your templates tab.

speed up editing in descript video editor with templates

All you have to do is right-click on a scene, name it, and save it as a template. The best part is there’s no need to link media clips or source files. Once your template is saved all it takes is a single click to open it and start a new project.

Private Workspace

We mentioned earlier that Descript is essentially built for collaboration, but sometimes you might not want to share your work. This is where the private workspace comes in handy. This workspace will only be visible to you unless you choose to make the projects public.

single click editing in private workspace

Descript Drive Workspace

Remember when you first set up an account and had to create a drive? Well, this is that drive. The Descript Drive is a shared location for all files that you want your collaborators to have access to. This is the best way for you and other members of your organization to work together.

live collaboration and review made easy with descript

Descript Video Editor Review

Now that we’ve explored the Descript drive view, let’s take a look at how Descript is using AI tools to revolutionize video editing.

auto captioning and filler word removal with ai tools

The Video Editor Interface

Have you ever opened up a video editor like Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve only to be met with a multi-step process to resize and transform your video? Well, Descript has that covered too.

easy audio editing for media clips in descript

Descript has taken a unique approach to their user interface. Instead of editing using multiple windows and confusing X and Y coordinates, you can just edit layers like any slides or presentation software. To resize, just click the corner of a video and drag!

Edit Videos Using a Transcription

If there’s one reason why we recommend Descript, it’s this.

analyze audio and use auto captioning to edit media clips

Editing videos with Descript’s text transcription feature takes the editing experience to a whole new level of efficiency. Editors no longer have to manually scrub through hours of footage to find the perfect clips and cut filler words.

With Descript, you can transcribe your videos with impressive accuracy and edit them like a document. The text transcription allows you to easily navigate through your video by simply clicking on the corresponding text. Want to make a cut? Just delete the text, and the video will automatically adjust accordingly. This feature saves an incredible amount of time and is especially useful for things like podcasts and filler word removal.

Even though the transcription is where Descript wants you to make most of your edits, they do have a hidden timeline at the bottom that lets you fine-tune your selection.

AI Background Removal

While the star of the show is the Descript text editing tool, it does have a lot of other useful AI-powered features, namely AI background removal.

remove video background with free editing tools

Let’s face it, unless you’ve got a big budget for lighting, green screen backgrounds never quite look right, and isolating a moving subject through rotoscoping and keyframes is a multi-hour nightmare. But what if AI could do that…

In Descript all you have to do to achieve the subject isolation effect is toggle on ‘Green Screen’ under the effects tab and watch Descript work its magic. It’s as simple as a single click and available in the free version of Descript. Because this is so useful, Descript isn’t the only company harnessing the power of AI technology for video editing. Runway ML is another notable player in this field, actively working towards implementing similar AI capabilities into their video editing tools.

Publish vs Export

Perhaps one of the most innovative features of Descript is the way they treat video exports. At the top right of the video editor you will see a publish button, but when you click on it, there are two options: Publish and Export.

publish audio and video quickly with descript

For most videos, publish will work the best. This is an extremely fast way to render your video because it uses the cloud instead of your computer. However, if you do need more control over render settings, the export tab is your best bet.

How Descript Manages Your Files

Have you ever been terrified to accidentally move files on your desktop and unlink all your media clips in the project? Descript solved that too.

descript makes editing podcasts easier with file management

When you add media clips to your project, Descript will automatically create a copy of the file and save one to a destination folder on your PC and one to the drive. This is perfect for live collaboration because you no longer have to worry about external file linking.


So far, all the features we have discussed are part of Descript’s free plan. But to really unlock the software, and to export higher than 720p, these are the current price plans.

free auto captioning tools in descript

Overall Impression

Descript is definitely a tool we recommend looking into. It has the potential to save you huge amounts of time during the editing process and has features that will leave you wondering why some of the other bigger video editors haven’t caught on.

The learning curve is considerably smaller than most other video editors and for those who want to learn more, Descript has a huge database of information about the software.

As a content creator it’s important to stay up to date with the latest technology, especially as more and more AI video tools come out so quickly. We think Descript is definitely one of the top tools to keep on your radar, especially if you make podcasts or high quality social media content.

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