Video links

Author: Ury Smirnov. Category: Smart things. Date:05.02.2010, 22:33.

The other day I prepared a small survey on “The future of television”. We must pay tribute to the developers, through which we will soon get a huge range of convenient ways to deliver us the desired video content. Along the way a proposal to developers of interactive TV resulted: to create a technology that would provide an interactive transition between the various contents online through the characters and the objects of stories themselves.

Video creators need a tool that allows them to assign easily so-called video links to the “Moving Pictures” of characters and objects of TV shows, movies, videos. “Clicking” on video links with mouse, stylus, hand, special remote control and so on, the viewer can easily navigate to additional video about the characters, to the parallel story lines, etc. Additional option: with the appropriate technological capabilities video links can be a convenient and intuitively understandable interface to communicate authors with the audience a video (for example, when you click video link the control command goes to the studio).

As you can see, video links are similar to the traditional text hyperlinks, moved in video space (more closer analogy are interactive animated banners, videos and games).

Video links’ sense is to create video to eliminate completely or minimize the traditional text-based menu while creating so-called interactive video. Text-based menu is in any case turning the viewer into the reader at least for a few moments (that is a distraction from the story.) Video links is navigation within the cluster of videos by means of videos themselves. This is a deeper involvement in the video, the possibility to “reach” the objects of video reality, to join with them in the “emotional connection”.


1. Video links will generate a separate line of TV / film / video art, based on a kind of “hyperlinked installation”. The spectator himself “will mount” in real-time finite film determines the overall length and the sequence of scenes. The task of a writer, director, operator is to pick up a set of fragments and link them with video links so that a viewer to view at any order received fragments have a whole, complete impression and logically coherent plot. It’ll be very cool to provide a possibility of various understandings of film as a whole (including the opposite the meaning) while see in a different order of fragments.

2. Video links will allow to overshadow a lot of secondary plot inserts and transitions that often only bring down rate of show and the viewer interest. Transmission will be more dynamic, and the audience will themselves choose what additional information to use. Really, every viewer will prefer to know more about heroes nice for him and less – about those to whom he is indifferent.

3. With feedback from the live studio video links provide remote viewers to influence events in the studio. The audience, sitting on this side of the screen, will not only vote for the show participants, but also produce a lot of other activities, from choosing camera angles to change the leader.

4. Video links will make advertising truly interactive and involving. For example, imagine that during the viewing a show the screen suddenly begins to fill …with fish. The transfer will renew only when you have them “to catch”. If your catch during the month will be, let’s say, 1000 fish – you will obtain a discount right in the fish store net.

Processing technique

But how is it possible to turn regular TV show or Yutube video into an interactive game?

Manually determine the contours of objects (for later use them as video links) – the process is time consuming (though it is acceptable for short clips.) Program systems of recognition at this stage of their development, perhaps, will do too many mistakes. But there is a way to make them “smarter” in our lifetime. 🙂

I remember the legend that the participants of the first color TV show had to be thickly spreadable with monstrously bright makeup: otherwise the equipment at that time turned them into the walking “dead”. Well, we too can “help” the current system of recognition.

So, the heroes of the show are heard special RFID tags and digital video camera is recompleted with detector of that tags. Every tag into focus, moving and fixed, are automatically imposed on the flow rate and is encoded with the video data. In post-processing the video recognition programs, focusing on the tags, automatically finds the edges of the object. Boundaries of objects can be quite rough, for example, interactive area for a person can serve as an oval for the car – a rectangle, etc. The main thing that the boundaries of “ovals” and other pieces never met and do not stray too close (when approaching, say, two players on the field their “ovals” will dynamically shrink in size). Then the audience will be comfortable enough to manipulate the video objects.

Video Surfing

Depending on the device, it can be done with the mouse, style, hand, control with laser pointer targeting and activation button of video link etc.

Very interesting and creative task is to ensure a return to the previous clip (or any other one, in which you came to this story branch). Usual text menu or “crumbs” are not organic to the technology. Perhaps the authors will excel and invent all kinds of options: from rotating at the top of the screen with balls “Avatar” of characters from earlier movies – to the emerging light of characters at the end of movie, through which one can return.

In general, I believe that clusters enclosed and half-closed clusters of video footage will be mostly distributed, for the viewer will not go too far away from the main plot, but always come back to it and see it up to end. Because surfing video is even more fascinating, captivating and unpredictable “sport” than “text” surfing.

Half-closed cluster is a group of subjects related with video links, some of which lead to other video clusters either to regular Web pages (for example, television or advertiser site, in the roll author’s blog, etc.).
Closed clusters have no external outputs at all (it’s as pdf-file with only internal navigation).

Open clusters with multiple outputs to external sources, will be characteristic for educational, encyclopedic video projects, thematic film collection, formed by social networking technology, etc.

Also, the use of an open format in fiction and documentary films, television author’s programs will testify that their creator confidence in his abilities (“my audience will not go away from me: they will have a little walk, breath enough with “Online Reality” – and still come back to my film).

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