Kaltura Meetup on Nov 10th, 2009 :: 0:45:06 to 1:05:06
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Next category: OpenMeetings.org

0:51:00 to 1:11:17( Edit History Discussion )
Title: Group discussion

A give–and–take discussion about technology relating to open video.

0:51:01 to 0:52:07( Edit History Discussion )

Ben Moskowitz: It's a really good discussion, I almost feel bad for interrupting it. I'm a coordinator of the Open Video Alliance, which is a coalition of organizations who are focused on building open–video ecosystems. The idea of an open–video ecosystem is something that's really vague and abstract, and hopefully I can do a good job explaining what it means me and what it means to us. The people that started the Open Video Alliance, they are four groups:
 –Kaltura, obviously makers of the really good open–source video platform.
 –Mozilla, makers of the Firefox web browser and really big proponents of standardizing <video> playback in the web browser in a way that's not closed-source, in a way that's not "building a black box."
 –The Yale Information Society Project, which is a really strong research center focused on issues of access to knowledge and information society, which video, and the way that video is treated, is a big part.
 –And lastly, the Participatory Culture Foundation, who make the Miro player, a really good video aggregator, that's something they use.

0:52:07 to 0:53:16( Edit History Discussion )

Ben Moskowitz: The first project of the Open Video Alliance was a big conference, as we mentioned, it was in June of this year. I know a few people here have actually said you were there, George [Chriss] was there, I know. It was a really great event, because it was the first time that a lot of people who where working on this idea of a open–video ecosystem came together under the same roof and discussed all the different issues comprising open video. In many cases that's technology, in other cases it's how the law interacts with the technology, and then in other cases it's just social practice, how people are using video and what it means when people get their hands on cheap camcorders, cheap webcams, cheap software for distributing, and things like that.

0:53:16 to 0:53:58( Edit History Discussion )

Ben Moskowitz: For me, the idea of open video is the idea that the moving image belongs to everyone. It's the idea of democratizing the process of taking video content, sharing it with people, and doing stuff with it. It's the idea of enabling people to go beyond just watching. To do that, you need obviously web technology; for big institutions and for more complicated projects you'll need a video platform like the one from Kaltura. Some people just need video RSS, where everything's really simple. Then some people just need to be able to embed something in a web page. That's the technology. Even assuming that we have the technology to do that, in many cases what you're doing in open video is having a conversation with people. You're using video as a communicative method, almost as a vernacular, and you want to be able to do with video what you can do with text. By that I mean clipping, just copying part of a video, pasting it on a blog, and saying "look, this is really interesting," or re–purposing it or archiving it or indexing it. A lot of things that you want to do with video are hard to do because the technology isn't there or the law doesn't support the ability to do that.

0:53:58 to 0:56:01( Edit History Discussion )

Ben Moskowitz: So that's what we work on, and we mostly do community building and events and stuff like that. We'll obviously have another Open Video Conference, which will be really interesting. If you're in New York, it'll be next year, next summer. It's a little ways off, but you should make plans to come because it's really fun. (It's like a festival, it's less of a conference and more a festival.) We're also doing things to spread this idea of open video, and make it a topic of conversation on people's radar, people who aren't necessarily techies or necessarily in the video community. One of the things we're doing, starting this Monday, is launching a contest. We're asking people to make 60-second videos explaining what open video is and why it's important, and the winner will get to go to SWSX Interactive, a full–expenses–paid trip, and some runners-up will get cameras and interesting stuff like that. <Shay David: Are family members eligible?> Employees of Kaltura, Yale, PCF, and Mozilla are unfortunately ineligible as are their family members, but friends aren't ineligible, so if you want to put 60-sec video in you can be really creative. It can just be a web-cam video, it can be an animation, you can do whatever you want. We have some really cool judges too: Jimmy Wales is one of the judges, Mitchell Baker from Mozilla [Foundation] is going to be another judge, it could be a really good opportunity to get your message out there. Tell your friends too! We want to spread this idea of open video. We're also going to be doing meet-ups in select cities—it's still a little hazy, but what we want to do is to get people who are big lighthouses in the community, people who have a lot to say and are respected. People like Jesse Dylan (who's the son of Bob Dylan), who's really outspoken advocate for stuff like net neutrality just for democratizing video. [In] Boston, we're working with Lawrence Lessig. If you're into the social–political dimensions of what it means when more people get their hands on video, go to our website at openvideoalliance.org, follow us, and if you're interested you'll find a lot of stuff really worthwhile.

0:56:01 to 0:58:18( Edit History Discussion )

Ben Moskowitz: So really quickly, I want to make some examples of what I mean by open video, to fill–it–in a little bit. So George, I think what you're doing is like a perfect example of what the future of video should look like. You've talked a little bit about what OpenMeetings.org does, but do you want to give the pitch again, like "how's does it work?" and "what makes it unique?"

George Chriss: Sure, let me come up front.
Leah Belsky: Are you going to take yourself off-camera?
GC: I never do…

So, um, yeah. Two–three years ago I wouldn't have been able to tell you that my future has a lot to do with video; at the time, [I was] just working with open technologies, [focusing on] community ethics that were touched on here. That said, video is poised for explosive growth in the future, and it does matter how that works both on technical, legal, and social levels. The Open Video Conference I think was very high–impact in terms of starting conversations that are needed to make this actually happen. At the time, one week prior to that conference I actually started the OpenMeetings.org website on the basis that, working on a volunteer basis, I had recorded a whole bunch of meetings for extending conversations that are in those meetings to other communities. (Actually the same community too, because at Penn State it's very unique in the sense that you have an organizational turnover every 4-5 years – 25% of the brightest and most experienced people leave the organization, so it's very punishing for any sort of organizational memory.) That's how at least I got started, and from there I try to do this as quickly as I can, both helping facilitate or contribute in some way to the technical levels, making it really easy to work with open formats and actually get people to use it. You can shoot all the video footage in the world, but unless you actually make it compelling it doesn't really count. That is at least one of the challenges.

0:58:18 to 1:00:16( Edit History Discussion )

The other challenge is, "how do you get these communities that haven't talked to each other yet, because everyone's so new, talking to each other?" In that sense it's been very exciting to just show up to conferences across a whole broad range of topics of societal interest and to start this, and to start it in-earnest. The Open Video Conference was the first conference I showed up to (I had one camera there)—unfortunately, there's still a video backlog, so if you are interested in volunteering some of your time I'd be happy to give you lots of video to edit—the 2009 NYC Wiki Conference (Wikipedia/Wikimania, the people that lead those communities, that was here in New York City), then also other conferences, one from a new, non-profit organization called the Open Forum Foundation, they had a whole conference about Congress and it's geared towards essentially re-engineering the basic constituent–representative relationship and deploying web 2.0 technologies into the actual legislative process, to make government work better than it does now (across a whole range of different offices and organizations).

Ben Moskowitz: So OpenMeetings.org uses the MetaVidWiki code base, right?

George Chriss: Yes; one more conference then I'll wrap that up. Then also PublicMediaCamp down in DC, and that's geared towards discussing how non-profit, PBS–style radio stations and media stations will actually interact with this, because they will be one of the first ones active in this space. They have their own challenges, financially or otherwise. There's a lot of interest there.

1:00:16 to 1:00:52( Edit History Discussion )

George Chriss: To answer the original question, to come full–loop, of what I do: I record these meetings, edit them professionally, that goes to Ogg Theora, which is a new video format, which the open standard for open video at this point in terms of openness. Audience member: What is it?
George Chriss: Ogg Theora. T-H…
Audience: Ogg?
George Chriss: Theora.
Audience: Ogg Theora? I know Ogg, but I've never heard of Ogg Theora.
George Chriss: Ogg Vorbis is the audio equivalent, Theora is the video compliment. That's new, that was one of the premises of the Open Video Conference.

1:00:52 to 1:02:04( Edit History Discussion )

Anyway, so from there it's brought into this wiki, it is a video wiki, in that all the meetings are available and they playback [in-browser]. The transcripts don't yet exist, and so the challenge is to make the transcripts exist, and that's exactly what OpenMeetings.org is. It's just about growing that project and broadening the conversations.

Ben Moskowitz: I would say that OpenMeetings.org and MetaVid are two really good examples of websites that are lighthousing what you can do with video. In both cases, you have just a wealth of content, hours–and–hours–and–hours of footage, and if there're accompanying transcripts, instead of having to watch 20-40 hrs. of content until you find out what the most interesting things are, you can search the transcripts and find that "oh, this thing that I'm really interested in came in at 13:15" and you can jump to that part or reference that part or just pull that part out if your're interested in in ways that you couldn't if the video was just being served in a black box, and you didn't have all these cool, extensible web 2.0 things attached to them.

1:02:04 to 1:02:45( Edit History Discussion )

Audience: I was doing a lot of research working in a library for a couple of years, so that you're saying that in the future, we could be instead of "reading through magazines," actually searching right to media/video content? George Chriss: That's possible now, today. Ben Moskowitz: If that's the thing that you're interested in, I would check out MetaVid.org [and Kaltura.org].

1:02:45 to 1:04:31( Edit History Discussion )

Audience: Can I ask a question? The transcription part of it, do you actually have a full transcription of it or just the metadata and keywords figured out? And is that an automatic process, or is somebody transcribing it?
George Chriss: There's a bunch of 'nos' to answer that question. 'No' the transcripts don't exist; 'no' many don't at this point, because I'm the only one that transcribes them thus far; 'yes' the video can be broken into categories so that you can say "this is a 20-minute Q&A;" within that there are clips, "OK, this person is speaking," so it shows a picture of the person; [finally,] "here's a full–text transcription of what they said, including keywords that you can categorize all of this stuff on."
Audience: So how do you get the full–text transcription?
George Chriss: You type very fast.
Audience: That's what I didn't want to hear!
Shay David: There are also tools—one of the purposes of the [Kaltura] app exchange is [the listing of] a company that I think you'll be very excited to meet <Leah Belsky: They can type faster than you!>, that does phonetic indexing that allows you to index and keyword everything. They are basically able to do phonetic searches with a learning matrix, so you would be able to connect them using George's technology with the another technology, and when we've finished launching this it's going to be something that you don't even need to program to be able to do, it's going to be "check the box, give me that, give me that [search capability]." "Press the button." But we're going to come to that.

1:04:31 to 1:05:06( Edit History Discussion )

Audience: I think having those transcripts and increasing searchability is really compelling. I mean, I don't really watch videos because the information density is so low if you have to watch the whole thing to get what you're looking at. It's really nice to be able to go to Google, and type something in, and it magically searches though PowerPoints and PDFs and all these things that used to be not-all-that indexable. I have to admit that I'm a geekie, but I forget that I can't actually Google my physical book and get really sad. I think that being able to search that video content will make videos a lot more informative for people. That's very cool.

1:05:06 to 1:06:20( Edit History Discussion )

George Chriss: I'll actually add to that: the largest challenge at this point is availability, in terms of actually having video to start with, the next is discoverability, to actually find these moments of interest, and after that you can talk exciting work like pattern recognition. For example, I can guarantee you that future conversations about environmental sustainability at the local level – you know, they will repeat themselves for local communities and you can start to see patterns and recognize all sorts of cool trends. You can do all sorts of crazy stuff when you think into it. I just saw a newspaper article saying that you can cough into an iPhone, and depending on how you cough, it tells you what kind of disease you have.
Ben Moskowitz: That doesn't seem very reliable!
George Chriss: Well, maybe, maybe not! Based off of statistically–gathered coughs—
Audience: What was the developer thinking‽
George Chriss: I had to chuckle to myself because "if I had a nickle for every time somebody coughed on-video, I could probably do accurate disease prediction."
George Chriss: I think that I've taken up enough time at this point, but if there's any more questions?

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