So much new stuff that this post’s headline wraps to a second line! As we prepare for NAB, we’re releasing a slew of features across multiple modules. And, we have some even newer stuff in development which we can show at the event. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange getting together with us. What’s available now, and demonstrated below, includes:
Clear & present instructions on basics of using Annotative Player to help new users get started
Refined layout when adding comments in Player making advanced features more discreet and basic features more obvious
Toggle to switch video play between higher quality and better bandwidth efficiency versions including automatic prompting when bandwidth challenges are encountered
Schedule reminder emails to be sent in advance of Tasks being due
Copy entire scenes of Collaborative Script including any uploaded media within a project or across projects (which can be especially useful to achieve templates on episodic content that tends to follow the same pattern)
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
Exciting day! First one back in the office, seven days after surgery. Among commute, lunch out & some other stuff, probably put half a mile on the crutches. Feeling strong & looking forward to continuing recovery. Also looking forward to finishing this series of posts. Five straight days of identifying issues & writing opinions, while also doing the post-surgery rehab and trying to keep pace on the rest of the job. Phew.
Also exciting today were some interactions with customers to schedule meetings in a couple weeks to go over some new functionality we’re building right now. But there was also some interaction with customers about fact that our online service could be faster. Yes, it’s true. Apects of video.Market7 should be faster. And we’re on that too. This is a pivotal dilemma among software companies with emerging bases of customers — how to balance getting out the next set of services that drive higher usage and attract the next customers, with also constantly maintaining and enhancing the performance and reliability of what’s already provided.
As a start-up guy, I admit to a bias towards the thrill of conceptualizing and building new functionality in response to our expanding understanding of user needs. But as a maturing start-up guy I also increasingly recognize the need to complement that innovation with constant, diligent evaluation of how’s our performance and what we can do to optimize what our customers already have. So my deeply thought answer on this fifth day’s question is to balance constant emphasis on both maintain and build.
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)
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org 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).