A release or two ago we promoted the new Annotative Player, previously available only by entering a special web address. This player is a comprehensive upgrade of functionality with faster load, smoother operation, multi-device (including iPad & iPhone) access, higher resolution video, immediate content download, and enhanced user interface. A few new features have made it in as well. This demo clip highlights compound filtering to avail more sophisticated application of tags on comments driving precise edit instructions and more control over communications about content.
As we complete intensive focus on converting our next-generation V2 Annotative Player, some focus is being re-directed to it’s pre-production counterpart, our Collaborative Script. Our newest release includes:
Published scripts lay out by page, for faster loading and more control over exactly what’s presented
Dedicated upload window when integrating media into script so that when large files (ex: b-roll) are posted, all functionality of service is available without concern about interrupting upload
Troubleshooting when log-in email address isn’t recognized to accelerate user’s access to service
Further enhancement of V2 Annotative Player including compact “toolbox” access to comment enhancement features
Here’s how someone can indicate Outlook account from Market7 My_Profile page:
And here’s how the personal calendar data (from either Google Calendar or Outlook) shows up when scheduling an appointment (the gold color is the appointment being scheduled, and the teal is pulled from someone’s personal calendar (and the darker blue is from other Market7 events)):
Lots of infrastructure work lately, pace of feature releasing will pick up towards full pace over summer. Most recent release includes:
improved script printing
enhanced robustness of dynamic stream delivery which provides video from current playhead location instead of only doing it from start to finish of video, so that if someone wants to skip ahead, no need to wait while download catches up (more on this functionality here) This is still not turned on across the application, but can be for certain accounts (previously it was just for certain projects) — please advise if you want dynamic stream delivery for all projects within an account, or for particular projects, by emailing to email@example.com
in response to a customer’s request, there’s now 1-step ability to remove certain members across multiple projects (including option to notify people of their removal by email) within a Market7 account, which the account holder can access from the My_Account link towards the upper right
Responding to enthusiastic customer requests, we are enhancing the sophistication of managing time in video.Market7 including managing personal time zones with the application completely accommodating (so if I’m set East Coast time & a team-member on the West Coast does something at 9AM her time, it will show up for me as having occurred at noon my time), AND conflict checking while scheduling events can be synchronized not only to other events in video.Market7 projects, but also personal calendars! initially Google Calendar but we’re on our way to delivering others as well.
That was a dense written description, but here’s a more visual demo (go full-screen):
Interesting day for us to get this up on the blog, as Google also put out some new capabilities around juggling different individuals’ schedules when coordinating appointments. They’ve certainly got some nice stuff in theirs too, but cool to see that ours also gets distinguished by certain capabilities it has. As the Chambers Brothers also sang, “now that the time has come, there are some things to realize.” (interpret inclusion of that quote however you wish)
Below this paragraph you’re looking at a significant advance in our securing content and information about production that’s run discreetly through video.Market7. The first modules in the application to feature access controls were collaborative script and resource management — in both of these people can be explicitly invited or excluded from access based on permission levels granted either to them personally & directly, or more indirectly through association of privilege with their roles. Roles in this context sort of act like tags. Thing is that until recently roles could be openly changed by anyone. So, if I’m locked out of a script I want to see, but I suspect the “crew” role (or of course some other one) does have access, then I can just expand my roles to include “crew”, and I’m in. We’re about to expand content security considerations to other parts of our service, so it’s become time to close the roles loophole, now done.
The above image is a project-owner’s perspective. This is the only person in a project who may determine which people in a project may assign roles. The red padlock towards upper-right indicates that some users are restricted from role assignment, and that button is only visible to the project owner who may press it to modify. When there are no restrictions set for any team member on role-setting, which is the default condition when a new project starts, the button is green instead of red, and reveals an open padlock. Then there’s the nearby floating rectangle containing text — it’s our new (& more on-screen persistent during mouse-over) style of text/information-revealing (aka tooltip). Looks nice, right? This message tells the project-owner about their being allowed to modify roles themselves, also indicated by the little, green, open padlock above the Team module’s Roles column, right by the pointer. When someone who’s denied role modification privileges by the project-owner looks at the Team module, the lock over that column is red and closed, the person can not add or modify (but CAN see) roles, and the tooltip includes identification & contact information for project-owner along with advice to contact that person for modification request.
As our base diversifies, including expanding use on bigger budget production projects that tend to involve longer footage, customers increasingly request that our player functionality be immediately and comprehensively available for any portion of small or large video files. Our initial player functionality has been based on progressive download, meaning that once a video is requested, it loads in timeline order, and later portions of the video aren’t immediately available until the download catches up. As part of our assessment, and after experiments with a few commercial streaming servers, we determined the best approach for us is to engineer and implement our own approach to dynamic streaming, which we’ve spent the past month or so developing, along with a few other cool annotative player features, demonstrated here:
To assure good customer experiences, and even though we’ve already extensively tested, we haven’t yet turned on the new dynamic streaming for everyone, and we’re asking for volunteers. If you would like us to turn on dynamic streaming for (a) particular project(s) of yours, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com letting us know which project(s) and we’ll do so. Once we confirm that video play and annotative interactivity works robustly across projects, video files and users, we’ll turn on dynamic streaming everywhere, which should occur during February 2010.
Dynamic streaming, like its name indicates, allows users to click anywhere within timeline of a video immediately upon load, and play of video from that requested point is immediately responsive. Also, in implementing the architecture we have also allowed for Flash (.flv) and H.264 (ex: .mp4, .m4v) videos to be in-the-clear in our player so they do not get transcoded, meaning that they are immediately available for play upon upload, and that they are played at full quality of the source content with no modification. Videos of other formats do still have to be transcoded to Flash for our player, although from the File Actions button in our player, the original states of those videos can be downloaded with full fidelity for file-transfer purposes including to see un-modified in a compatible player. One more change we made to our player is allowing j-k-l keyboard shortcut navigation back-play/pause-forward, and the same for left and right directional arrows and space-bar, with additional benefit of visual fast-forward and rewind by holding down the appropriate keys.
The player enhancements are demonstrated in the screen-capture video towards the top of this blog post. Other enhancements with this release include:
Continuing last couple of months’ theme, we’ve made still more speed improvements, especially this time for loads of project home pages
Improved layout and presentation on printouts of pages from Script, Task and Event modules
Easier flow for inviting new members to projects
Activity feed reflects the first time a new member logs into a project
And again, please do email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com letting us know projects of yours you’d like us to move to dynamic streaming immediately so that you can try it out (and please let us know how it works for you).
Thought it would be clever to pair the catch-phrase from Days Of Thunder at the start of this post with the catch-phrase from Talladega Nights at the end, but imdb reveals a different Tom Cruise vehicle as source of the line above: Top Gun, of course. My bad. Anyhow, that need, for speed: we’ve been feeling too, just like Maverick, and probably also Cole Trickle (name of lead character in Days Of Thunder — I had to look that up).
We love regularly adding modules and features which we know address real challenges and desires in production of media. The collection of all of these elements is an application suite on which people rely for vital activities of theirs. And delivering such an application suite, with its feature richness, over the internet, to browsers, presents performance challenges. The past couple of weeks have been one of our periodic times of assessing and implementing techniques for faster performance, and we are glad to already be hearing from users noticing the improvement. We come out of this release with a few more acceleration ideas that we’ll weave into our work going forward.
Besides being faster, one other significant initiative of this new release is that when people who already have video.Market7 log-in access, and are added to new projects, it’s automatic & instantaneous with no need for such new project members to accept invitations (although they do receive emails notifying them of being added). A few of our higher-project-volume customers have requested this, and we agree, so there it is & thanks for the correspondence.
Anyhow, like Ricky Bobby would say, do shake-n-bake some content in our faster video.Market7.
Of course, we do have several neat, new features implemented in this release (click any of the images to enlarge):
Shadow-text in draft mode of scripts to clarify where character-name & spoken dialog go:
Script Shadow Text
Ability to click into & manually overwrite comment placement time in annotative player for precise placement:
Comment Time Overwrite
Feedback tab prominently available on every page to interact with us on questions comments etc.:
That last one is part of a broader initiative of ours for better communication with our users about their use of video.Market7 integrated within the service itself, on which Shannon will expand in upcoming blog posts.