Embrace the timeline….

On creating rich, flashy and immersive advertising experiences online by Owen van Dijk

The hard problem with (Flash) Video

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A few years ago, i blogged about Flash video and why i think would explode. I also mentioned some of the problems that i thought needed to be addressed by Macromedia. I received some feedback, aligned my thoughts with others and never really looked back at that posting.

Since I’m involved in a site that does video-on-demand and live web casting, i revisited that posting again. A little older and wiser and a bit more experienced, i suddenly realized i was talking about implementation problems that, yet have to be addressed by Adobe, but can be done very quickly. From a higher level, there are some really hard problems with video, and the sudden explosion of ‘user-generated content’ manifested through sites like You-Tube makes finding solutions for these problems even more urgent.

The root cause is that video is a linear story, from A to Z where you have to see part B before part C otherwise it’s harder to grasp the big storyline. On top of that, it’s all visual and audio based. No text. No Table of Content. No list of actors or Oscars. No mention of spoken language or dates. Nada.

The current solution is to add (lots of) meta-data to our videos ( i presume the proper Web 2.0 term would be ‘tagging’ 😉 ) trying to give them context. IMDB in it’s essence is one huge cloud of meta-data that can easily be linked to your stack of DVDs. "Give me all movies with Mel Gibson from the 90s please!" would only be one link away! However, this all requires human intervention, and while some people have no trouble spelling Mel Gibson, others do. And our experience from CDDB, freeDB and MusicBrainz tells us mistakes will happen, not to mention the whole debate over who actually _owns_ that data. Or if that data is even made accessible for machines.

And how do we link to that part in the movie where Mel Gibson jumps on his horse to chop of some soldiers arm? What’s the format? And in what environment do we get to see that movie? In the browser? In Windows Media Player? What about Linux? What if i don’t have the latest Windows version installed?

We have tapes full of memories. The wedding of your sister. Your son first steps. Your high school graduation. Because of better computers, faster broadband connections and user-friendly, cheaper software we can put these online with a single click of a button. And we do. On any given day, You-Tube users upload 35.000 new videos to the web. "Give me all movies that were recorded in Amsterdam this month" only returns me the videos which were uploaded and tagged with ‘Amsterdam’ ‘June’ ‘2006’. And even then it doesn’t guarantee me the correct result…

The last couple of months, all of the big guns announced or actually went live with new video initiatives. We all love video and we want to share them with our friends, our family and who ever owns a computer with an internet connection. "Making the world’s information universally accessible and useful." is Google’s mantra. Given that we’re still trying hard with static images makes me wonder if and when we solve the problems for moving images…



Written by ohwhen

June 15, 2006 at 12:26 am

Posted in Web/Tech

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