Monday, July 30, 2007

Adding emotions to online video

Having difficulty finding the right videos amidst the chaos on YouTube? A recent survey suggests you’re not alone.

But happily, there may soon be an easier way to tell whether the video in front of you will meet your expectations. A team of researchers led by Ling Chen of Zhejiang University in China is working on a new media player – called Emoplayer - that highlights the emotional state of the characters on the video timeline (see image, left).

Ultimately, they’d like to adapt technology that senses a person's emotional state to automatically add these tags to video clips. But that’s not possible just yet, so users have to add them by hand.

Still, experiments with Emoplayer suggests that these emotional markers let users navigate the content of a video much more easily and quickly than is possible with standard media players.

Testers were asked to search for a specific scene in a video, for example the moment when a character receives a gift from a friend. Those using ordinary media players randomly clicked around on the timeline until they found the right moment, but Emoplayer users, who made use of the emotion markers, were able to find it with ease.

Given this encouraging result, could the use of emotional tags improve sites like YouTube? Perhaps they’d help us all narrow down video searches and reduce our frustration?

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