“…and Action!” Semantic technologies creating an EU market for video clips
A Europe-wide project coordinated by the Department of New Media Technology has shown that sharing video clips and earning fairly from their further exploitation is now possible with the help of the intelligent use of semantic technologies.
The completed project has succeeded in uniting representatives of the European media industry with a view to jointly use, refine, and establish semantic technologies. It has successfully demonstrated the possibilities of a market based on Semantic Web technologies, primarily by making concrete examples of successful implementations. In addition to an e-learning video website, the technology has also been integrated into the dashboard of webLyzard, a leading European web intelligence platform.
Digital content such as photos, song tracks and videos are big-business, but the utilization possibilities have by no means been fully exploited, particularly in the video sector. Unlike photos and songs, for videos even short clips can be helpful and valuable. Creatively spliced or embedded in new content, they can reduce the need for expensive new productions and provide rights holders with a fresh source of income. However, what sounds so attractive and lucrative in theory fails in practice: a lack of implementation of innovative technologies by the industry, non-uniform standards, and unresolved issues concerning the management of rights all pose a hindrance. Through coordinating this international project, MODUL University Vienna has tackled this problem and has done an impressive job in showing the way forward for the common EU market.
Added value with MediaMixer
MU’s Institute for New Media Technology team has united numerous key players in the European media industry within the MediaMixer project; in addition to digital video producers, they also include suppliers and traders. Dr. Lyndon Nixon, project coordinator and researcher at the Institute, commented on this community-building exercise: “Winning a critical mass of players in the European media industry was extremely important. In doing so, we created a platform for constructive exchange within the sector with the help of forums, webinars and sector meetings that will remain in place after the project has ended. Only in this way will the necessary technologies be able to gain a foothold in the heterogeneous European market.”
The basic technologies served to fragment and annotate video sequences. These technologies are instrumental in making the content of individual video sequences available to search engines and software agents, thereby creating the most important prerequisite for added value in the digital marketplace.
The problem is to discover those sequences that are personally relevant to the searcher. To overcome this obstacle, technologies were used that automatically identify language, faces and even contextual concepts, thereby defining the video fragments. Leading semantic technologies were then used to annotate the fragments, thus enabling people to search for content by key words.
In cooperation with the Austrian technology startup webLyzard technology, these possibilities have now been implemented in YouTube videos. Professor Arno Scharl, head of the Institute for New Media Technology and CEO of webLyzard technology explained: “Innovative semantic technologies are being used to detect similarities between search terms and annotations. Users receive relevant search results even if the search terms do not correspond exactly to the annotations. In the future, the ability to process multimedia content precisely and in realtime will play a key role in our web intelligence platform.”
To this end, the team created prototypes of their own search function that detects short sequences in YouTube videos and lists them as search results in a structured format (if desired, it can also visually display an overview of the core content of the clips). So instead of tediously trawling through entire videos, the user can now access the most relevant video sequences in a fraction of a second.
Satisfying all concerned
“MediaMixer was not only a technical development project,” explains Dr. Nixon. “We approached the future use of videos on a much broader front. In addition to the actual technologies, processes for managing such fragments were also developed in the project. And – most critically – the management of copyrights on video sequences was also conceptionalized.”
It is precisely this comprehensive approach that has generated strong interest in MediaMixer within the European media industry. MediaMixer has been accepted as the pioneering platform that brings together key players, innovative technologies and successful examples, thereby ushering in the future of an expanded market for digital videos in the EU.
EU research project MediaMixer: www.mediamixer.eu
MediaMixer Community platform: community.mediamixer.eu
Institute for New Media Technology: www.modul.ac.at/nmt
webLyzard dashboard integration: www.weblyzard.com/video
The project was sponsored within the 7th EU Framework Program under number FP7-318101. The MediaMixer partners were: MODUL University Vienna, Austria; Centre for Research and Technology Hellas - CERTH, Greece; Condat AG, Germany; EURECOM, France; Lleida University, Spain; Acuity Unlimited, Great Britain; and Jožef Stefan Institute, Slovenia.