Michael Dale is an advocate for open standard and free video formats for the web. The past two years he has lead open source development for video on Wikipedia. To realize open web video Dale has worked closely with the Mozilla Foundation, Kaltura, and the Open Video Alliance. During the open video pre-conference Michael provided the audience a first technical insight into the possibilities of open video and collaborative video editing tools for Wikipedia.
The traditional problem and struggle with online video on the web are the closed or licensed codec’s and platforms such as the H.264 codec and Flash players. HTML5 provides the possibility to create open video platforms which is license free and is more open and adaptable compared to traditional flash websites. Flash can support a rich experience on websites and allows complex web design but the websites forms a closed system which doesn’t allow others to use or reuse content. Another important aspect is the content itself, more content should be released under the Creative Commons license, especially videos in the public domain so they can be uses, re-used, and distributed more easily.
The Video on Wikipedia project aims for HTML players embedded on the Wikipedia pages to enhance the information with the moving image. In order to achieve this the Wikimedia foundation is working on tools which support users to collaborate on video editing, transcribing content in multiple languages, and to allow for more complex search queries by connecting related videos and metadata. As an example he uses Metavid.org, of which he is a co-founder, that contains a database of US Congress videos, which are searchable by the speaker’s name, the spoken text, the date, and metadata from outside sources.
Recently the foundations released an early version of a HTML-5 sequencer which allows users to edit and render video in their browser by searching for public video sources. An example of an edited video for Wikipedia he showed a video which involves the cat (click sequence editor).
The presentation provided a technical insight in the new possibilities on the web when using the commons. The tools showed allowed the user to edit and add metadata to videos and reuse existing material into new community created videos. The projects of Wikimedia use open technologies and codec’s, and license free content making it a practical case for the pre-conference attendees.