This is a guest post by Franck Tankoua, founder of ViJump.
Online videos are part of our life now. We get exposed to them every day. Today, there are over 4 billion visits per day on YouTube alone. 300 hours worth of videos get uploaded to YouTube every single minute. Not surprising.
Despite that humongous number of online videos and users, not so much efforts are being put on easing the use and digestion of those videos. Video players/providers remain basic and fail to answer upcoming challenges. From players for example, all you get is a play/pause button and you can go to minute X. That’s it!
Could you do more? Is there a way to make your video experience better? Absolutely. There should be more technologies focusing on answering those needs and ViJump proposes an interesting approach.
We need shorter and more focused videos: Video trimming
Back when the internet was an emerging technology, we were happy to see a page show up after a minute. Now it is not an option for any internet user anymore because speed matters so much to us. Well, videos are getting longer and longer and that’s not a bad thing, as long as they are useful. It is okay to cover different aspects and topics in the same video. While we get information from video, in the coming years it will be crucial to get the information we are looking for very fast. The challenge is not that people producing videos need to change the way they do things but that the ones watching the videos should be able to easily focus on the interesting sequences.
Have you ever watched a video and thought: “wow these parts are interesting, let me save it for later for myself or show to my friend John”? Not that you have a friend called John but you get the point… When you take a book or a magazine, you can read it in the order that you want, skip parts (diagonal reading), highlight parts and even read abstracts ( short summary) made by others. With videos, all you can do right now is to try to memorize the time intervals corresponding to your points of interest. That’s not possible.
Video trimming is addressed by ViJump thanks to the segment bar that helps you to quickly highlight a collection of crunchy parts and literally save it as a crunchier version of the original video. You create your own video abstract with a shorter and focused experience that you can share with others or watch later.
Searching inside videos:
Who thinks searching inside videos thinks voice and images. Let’s focus on the voice as it is the best way to search a specific topic or context with precision.
Video transcription has been a hot topic lately and many big players, such as Google, worked very hard on this problem. There has been a lot of progress made but it still is insufficient. With the best recording conditions (not too much background noise, not too much accidents like someone coughing in the background, not too much music, etc) some software can achieve good results in English. But let’s admit that those video recording conditions are way too unusual. I am pretty certain that we will achieve great results in the future, but we are not there yet. Other languages such as French and German are suffering from their syntaxes’ complexity and the natural language processing software has a hard time producing good automatic transcriptions.
Searching inside videos is all but doomed. We tend to forget that the main goal of video authors is to have as much viewers as possible. Enabling a user to search in their videos increases the attractiveness of their content no matter how long they are. This is because every single moment can be consumed in a flexible way, and people will not tend to leave the video as soon as they start feeling less interested about the part that they are currently watching. It is therefore important that video players enable a simple method for the authors or supporters to quickly add text annotations to their video. This will be a huge help to their audience.
A feature to search inside videos has been tackled by ViJump as a help for video trimming. You basically search not only to know where parts that interest you are, but to obtain a shorter and focused version that you can readjust as needed and save.
Save/Share Video Cuts
Let’s go back to the first problem: we have too much and too long videos. Once the videos are trimmed into video cuts that are more focused and shorter, putting the result back online or sharing it with others allows the community to access parts they would have never watch before. The main reasons that come to mind are:
- Some are not patient enough to wait for the eventual right parts of the video they were interested in to show up. Some of you might be saying: “Duh! Why would I wait?”.
- The lack of search inside videos in players is a missing tool to jump straight to the interesting parts.
Given the humongous number of online videos available to us, we are facing some challenges in using them effectively, as the video players innovation speed is not moving as fast as expected. We had a glance at a challenging topic that is the digestion of a massive number of online videos and we tried to point out where the next innovation should be taking place to answer the growing needs. Trimming videos for your personal interest and sharing it with the community appears to be a good solution as it helps creating more focused and digestible videos. Searching inside videos is a neat feature that will help trimming even faster and I foresee a bright future in the world of video annotations and automatic transcription.
What are you doing today to cope with this? Do you have other hints on how to tackle this problem? Have you tried ViJump?
Software Architect and Developer
Web and New technologies evangelist
CEO of Applite SARL
Twitter: @FranckTankoua, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org