Videos have famously lagged far behind text when it comes to searchability. Apart from the textual data associated with videos, it's been largely impossible to benefit from the many types of search engine optimization available for text

I was intrigued when MIT announced in 2007 that it had developed a video search capability by using speech recognition software to create a transcript and then applying textual search. The technology was available to students wishing to search certain MIT video lectures. Since then multiple iterations of this approach have been developed, some better than others. Two years ago MIT Technology Review reported on TalkMiner, a tool that scans lecture videos for words used in presentation slides , (The tool was developed by the Fuji Xerox Palo Alto Laboratory in California.) 

“It gives you a good shot at finding something that wasn’t mentioned in the title or abstract but is buried deep inside the video,” Larry Rowe, president of FXPAL, told the magazine.

The need for good video search capabilities is clear: who wants to wade through an hour or more of video just to find that passage that you remember and want to revisit? Even forwarding and rewinding through 15 minutes of video can be frustrating. Add to this the explosion in popularity of video on the internet and it's clear why so many smart minds have been focused on a breakthrough in this area. (This is the year that video will account for nearly 90% of all consumer IP traffic according to Cisco Visual Networking Index.)

So we're excited to make video search available on the Atlas Society site now, thanks to the brainiacs over at Wistia.com , in partnership with 3Play Media, What you get: a simple, intuitive interface which allows you to search and interact with video content. Examples are here, here and here .

So what the heck can you do with this?
Take a look at our Atlas University video on "Appreciating reason. " As you play the video the transcript scrolls along in real time. If you want to disable the scroll function, just click on the blue icon at top right.

Print a transcript
Right next to the blue lock icon is a printer icon. Click on that to open the transcript in a printer-friendly mode, click print, and you're good to go.


                                                                                                    Searching inside the video

You can search the transcript without interrupting video playback.

Once you enter a search term, the total number of instances of that term will be displayed graphically as white vertical lines above the search box. In the example at left, you can see that in this video lecture there are 5 instances of the term "religion." You can click on any of the white lines to jump to that instance in the transcript and the video will jump to that place. Or you can scroll down the transcript and view your term highlighted. Click on any highlighted term (or any word for that matter) and the video will jump to that point.

Wistia first grabbed my attention when I heard about their superior metrics, which include heat maps! (Yes, heat maps!) That led to us using Wistia's hosting services.

So if your liberty-based organization is looking for a way to up your video impact you might want to check out the Wistia value proposition.

And just to tantalize you, here's an image of one of their heat maps:

Drop me a line to let me know your thoughts on the video search function.

Sherrie Gossett

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