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Transcription Test

This project was done 2023-08-21.

Code checked in here:

Here's the README which is basically a full writeup of a simple test to try to transcribe and use a variety of LLMs to lightly edit the output:


This is a simple transcription project done in 2023-08 intended to see what's possible with local AI tools.


The assumption is that you are familiar w/ ML (UNIX/Python/Conda/Mamba), here are the required packages.

You will need CUDA.

# Basic environment
conda create -n transcribe
conda activate transcribe
# if you have multiple GPUs and just want to use one
conda env config vars set CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES=0
conda activate transcribe
mamba install pip
pip install yt-dlp

# WhisperX
mamba install pytorch torchvision torchaudio pytorch-cuda=12.1 -c pytorch-nightly -c nvidia
pip install git+

# LLaMA-2-7B-32K
pip install transformers==4.31.0
pip install sentencepiece
pip install ninja
pip install flash-attn --no-build-isolation
pip install git+

pip install accelerate
pip install bitsandbytes

# OpenAI
pip install openai


WhisperX transcription of 33m file took 1m15s of wall time on a 3090 w/ large-v2 model.

WhisperX is great - super fast, and with the additional HF-gated models, you can do diarization effectively.

# get file

# run whisperx

# assign speakers, etc - let's not stress the LLM too hard

I wrote a simple script to assign the speaker names manually. I used the VTT (although the SRT would be almost the same) - the TXT output does not include the speakers.

Additional Cleanup

Initial Try

The end result is about 10K tokens. For cleanup, my original intention was to use on of the new "long" context (16K, 32K) windows a try. I started with the (recently released) togethercomputer/Llama-2-7B-32K-Instruct model.

The problems I ran into:

  • complaints
cd /usr/lib
ln -s
  • FlashAttention 2 having lib complaints - couldn't fix so just skipped it
  • Could not run on 24GB GPU? (maybe if we had FlashAttention 2...)

I spent a fair amount of time already trying to get this to work already at this point so just moved on:


It also was not happy. 0/2 for using transformers

Next I tried:

So, it ran...:

❯ ~/llm/llama.cpp/main -ngl 99 --temp 0.1 --rope-freq-base 10000 --rope-freq-scale 0.25 -n 11000 -c 11000 -m /models/llm/llongorca/llongorca-7b-16k.ggmlv3.q8_0.bin -f prompt.txt > edit.txt
main: warning: scaling RoPE frequency by 0.25 (default 1.0)
main: warning: base model only supports context sizes no greater than 2048 tokens (11000 specified)
main: build = 1003 (097e121)
main: seed  = 1692631014
ggml_init_cublas: found 1 CUDA devices:
  Device 0: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090, compute capability 8.9
llama.cpp: loading model from /models/llm/llongorca/llongorca-7b-16k.ggmlv3.q8_0.bin
llama_model_load_internal: format     = ggjt v3 (latest)
llama_model_load_internal: n_vocab    = 32003
llama_model_load_internal: n_ctx      = 11000
llama_model_load_internal: n_embd     = 4096
llama_model_load_internal: n_mult     = 5504
llama_model_load_internal: n_head     = 32
llama_model_load_internal: n_head_kv  = 32
llama_model_load_internal: n_layer    = 32
llama_model_load_internal: n_rot      = 128
llama_model_load_internal: n_gqa      = 1
llama_model_load_internal: rnorm_eps  = 5.0e-06
llama_model_load_internal: n_ff       = 11008
llama_model_load_internal: freq_base  = 10000.0
llama_model_load_internal: freq_scale = 0.25
llama_model_load_internal: ftype      = 7 (mostly Q8_0)
llama_model_load_internal: model size = 7B
llama_model_load_internal: ggml ctx size =    0.08 MB
llama_model_load_internal: using CUDA for GPU acceleration
llama_model_load_internal: mem required  = 1089.91 MB (+ 5500.00 MB per state)
llama_model_load_internal: allocating batch_size x (512 kB + n_ctx x 128 B) = 944 MB VRAM for the scratch buffer
llama_model_load_internal: offloading 32 repeating layers to GPU
llama_model_load_internal: offloading non-repeating layers to GPU
llama_model_load_internal: offloading v cache to GPU
llama_model_load_internal: offloading k cache to GPU
llama_model_load_internal: offloaded 35/35 layers to GPU
llama_model_load_internal: total VRAM used: 13140 MB
llama_new_context_with_model: kv self size  = 5500.00 MB

system_info: n_threads = 16 / 32 | AVX = 1 | AVX2 = 1 | AVX512 = 0 | AVX512_VBMI = 0 | AVX512_VNNI = 0 | FMA = 1 | NEON = 0 | ARM_FMA = 0 | F16C = 1 | FP16_VA = 0 | WASM_SIMD = 0 | BLAS = 1 | SSE3 = 1 | VSX = 0 | 
sampling: repeat_last_n = 64, repeat_penalty = 1.100000, presence_penalty = 0.000000, frequency_penalty = 0.000000, top_k = 40, tfs_z = 1.000000, top_p = 0.950000, typical_p = 1.000000, temp = 0.100000, mirostat = 0, mirostat_lr = 0.100000, mirostat_ent = 5.000000
generate: n_ctx = 11000, n_batch = 512, n_predict = 11000, n_keep = 0

 [end of text]

llama_print_timings:        load time =  3120.85 ms
llama_print_timings:      sample time =    66.84 ms /   158 runs   (    0.42 ms per token,  2363.78 tokens per second)
llama_print_timings: prompt eval time =  6052.65 ms / 10134 tokens (    0.60 ms per token,  1674.31 tokens per second)
llama_print_timings:        eval time =  4101.42 ms /   157 runs   (   26.12 ms per token,    38.28 tokens per second)
llama_print_timings:       total time = 10251.37 ms

But gave frankly, terrible output. I didn't even bother saving it (bad! and this was w/ proper RoPE scaling)

ChatGPT 4 Code Interpreter

It was getting late at the point so I decided to break out the big guns and see if ChatGPT-4 Code Interpreter could do better.

Here are the results:

The output it generated was not quite correct. It was trying very hard to use Python code to do all the fixups for some reason, and when I asked it to try to make more corrections, It went down the path of writing worse and worse regexes instead of being an LLM.

So, I started a new chat and I took that output and w/ a fresh context asked it to fix the transcript:

This output looks prety good, although I didn't validate it. I had to have it review piece by piece however, and it took quite a long time.

If we wanted to use a local model to do cleanup we would have to write our own code like w/ the CI to split lines, then pass into the local LLM to fix. If we used a llama2-70b it would be smart enough; we should try to figure out what's the smallest model that could help us...

OpenAI Playground

Before the end of the night I did decide to see if just plain old gpt-3.5-turbo-16k could do the job, and while it ran out of tokens, it wasn't bad:

Properly Chunking w/ gpt-3.5-turbo-16k

The next day, I decided that the gpt-3.5 results were good enough that I should try to do it properly. This resulted in the script. It was relatively easy to chunk and submit and took about 5 minutes to run:

real    4m53.263s
user    0m0.481s
sys     0m2.186s

And the output from a spot check looks like the best version so far.

Can we do it locally?

Since I had the chunking code, I decided that I would try again with local models, especially with so many claiming to have reached parity with gpt-3.5...

If we do chunking, we don't need to futz w/ the long context models, so I tried some I had on hand (mostly Llama 2 models). Here are the results of some tests:

  • - if you have a few min to give these a read, some of the output is hilarious, but most is just sad.

It looks like a 70B q4 model is maybe the smallest language mode that can actually instruction follow well enough to reformat text (This takes about 40GB of memory).

Here's the final results running with the strongest model, a quant of Orca Mini v3 70B... it starts off OK, but sometimes goes terribly off the rails.

real    12m7.522s
user    12m23.434s
sys     0m16.600s

I gave a few other "strong" 70B models a try as well:

While several open models have benchmarks approaching or even beating gpt-3.5, for instruction following it looks like there's a long ways to go to match OpenAI for a pretty "basic" task.

Anthropic Claude

A friend tried Claude and it failed (potentially due to front-end safety filtering?). Still, now that I'm deep into it, why not write a script and see if the API will work or not? With 100K context, in theory, Claude should be able to give us a usable transcript without any chunking.

Hilariously, if you ask it for an sample script, Claude will hallucinate an API for you. Here's the [actual Python API](GitHub - anthropics/anthropic-sdk-python).

Our first try dies at exactly 300s, so that's probably when the system kills a long-running call. Anthropics logs shows:

{"client_error":true,"code":499,"detail":"Client disconnected"}

(I didn't disconnect..)

I adapted the gpt chunking code and here's the output from the second try.

  • I didn't time it but from the logs it looks like took about 12 minutes, with most chunks (8) taking ~100s and a few a bit faster. (100 line chunks, 3000-4000 characters, unknown # of tokens, maybe 1000 tokens per chunk?)

  • It looks like does a decent job, probably on par with gpt-3.5

  • It manages to actually italicize all the Dutch, but also italicizes some non-Dutch as well.

  • I noticed one or two line break errors.

  • It does not remove "um"s (neither does gpt-3.5 though)