American Film Institute (online video players)

In the XMedia lab Nick Di Martino from The American Fim Institute (AFI) was first to demonstrate his wares, which included presenting a number of projects that are about to be released. He was quick to point out that “online video is exploding”.

Research funds seemed to be directed at very elaborate complex online video players. These players are attempting to integrate as many aspects of social media as possible into the interface. Another key issues is attracting users/viewers by optimising searching. Martino like many others in the conference stated that it is not worth trying to compete with meta-platforms like YouTube. The idea they argue is to distribute your content as far and wide as possible and look for follow-up or return traffic, along with channel partnerships with bigger platforms.

Martino demonstrated beta versions of the following AFI projects:

AFI Screen nation

An issue for the AFI is working out how to integrate User Generated Content (UGC) with high-end production content and overall it is about balancing “scale, usability, uniqueness, ubiquity…” In this player UCG content is clearly delineated from professional production material. Later in the conference others spoke about creating an even approach to both forms of content where both are integrated and given the same sort of respect and hierarchy.

This player had elaborate ‘tag feed’ drop downs and a ‘tag manager’ that enabled users to add and manage their own tags. There was also a video cloud (a video egg) that used image thumbnails in a type of tag cloud structure. A ‘molecule’ feature worked like a VJ type application where molecules are connected in a hypertext type structure. These are portable like a widget and can be transferred to mobile hardware. Down the side was a community feed which acted as a forum for users.

A note worth thinking about in relation to thinking about chapters and tagging is planning linear content in advance so that it can be fragmented and classified.

AFI Digital Content Lab
Filmocracy – PBS

Nic mentioned a semantic web type approach: Freebase about:

Freebase, created by Metaweb Technologies, is an open database of the world’s information. It’s built by the community and for the community – free for anyone to query, contribute to, build applications on top of, or integrate into their websites.

Already, Freebase covers millions of topics in hundreds of categories. Drawing from large open data sets like Wikipedia, MusicBrainz, and the SEC archives, it contains structured information on many popular topics, including movies, music, people and locations – all reconciled and freely available via an open API.

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