Interactive Transcript / Video Viewer

The Interactive Video / Transcript Viewer or IVT, is an application developed by First Nations and Indigenous Studies (FNIS) to provide a more functional way to view video archives, especially for academic purposes.

Features and Capabilities

The IVT is designed with the following features and capabilities in mind:

  • It allows users to view video and transcripts simultaneously. As users view the video, the transcript updates automatically. If users move in the transcript, the video updates to maintain synchronization.
  • It allows users to move through a video/transcript (what we call a “session”) easily: page forward and back buttons are provided to allow users to move quickly, a transcript page at a time.
  • It allows users to move easily between sessions: a drop-down list of available sessions is provided on-screen, and users may select another session at any time. The IVT also comes with provision for a pop-up menu to be displayed at any time in which you can provide more detailed descriptions of sessions: users may select a session from this menu and it will load automatically.
  • It allows you to provide chapter markers for user navigation in sessions. A drop-down menu for chapters in the current session is built in to the standard interface, and a supplemental chapter menu pop up, available from the pop-up session menu, allows you to provide more detailed descriptions that may be selected by users for automatic navigation.

To see an IVT implementation integrated into a website, go to our Indigenous Foundations resource.

Search Functions

The IVT includes a built-in search function. Users may select the search function from a button on the lower menu bar of the standard interface. A pop-up search screen appears. If a session has already been selected, the search screen shows a scrollable transcript of the current session. If no session has been selected, the transcript is of the whole series, and this “series view” may be selected at any time by a button provided.

The standard “Find” feature of the user’s browser may be used to search the full session or series transcript by word or phrase. When a section of interest is located, the user may load it and return immediately to the viewer by clicking on the index mark preceding each page in the search transcript. Users may return to this search function at any time by clicking on the search button again.

The provision of this search function was the motivating concept behind the development of the IVT. It is one thing to have hours of video in an archive made available to users, on disk or on line, and quite another to provide ways for users to find sections of video that they would like to see and get to them quickly. That is what the IVT is designed to do.

Reference and Citation

The IVT has also been designed to provide users with a stable way to refer to specific locations in video sessions and return to them easily. Each page of each session is marked with an index, e.g., “5.13” for the 13th page of the 5th session, and that index appears on-screen in the standard implementation at all times. Users may enter a reference in the index box on-screen and press the “ENTER” key on their keyboard to update the viewer to the session and page requested.

This feature makes standard academic citation of materials placed in the IVT possible, even in an internet implementation, as long as a stable address is provided. A pop-up guide to academic citation is included on the main screen in the standard implementation. This indexing feature also allows users to refer other users (or teachers to refer students) to specific passages that they may then go and view at their convenience, or for people using the IVT in classrooms or other public venues to go quickly to specific passages for reference or display as the occasion demands.

An additional feature of the IVT now in beta-testing allows for instant linking to the viewer from embedded references (i.e., “hot citations”) in other documents on the same server. This allows for the formation of an interactive document (an article, for instance) with “live” video references that users may access by going back and forth between the document and the viewer. It is better than a video clip, since the viewer allows users to see the reference in context, and to explore the surrounding context at will as they might in a book an author referred to, with the difference that the video is available instantly without having to find the source or search for the passage or page. Another application might be the formation of a “playlist” of references a teacher might use, to display a sequence of passages in a lecture, or quickly locate specific passages in response to issues as they arise in questions or discussion.

In these respects, the IVT gives users a new way to explore and to think about video as a usable structure of information. For us in FNIS, exploration of these possibilities for working with oral information is critical to working effectively in our field and with the communities with whom we work, but we think the implications are there for everyone to explore.

Play List (added April 2008)

Versions of the IVT released after 8 April 2008 also include a “Play List” function (if you have an older version, see the update page below). The “Play List” function allows you to compile a list of selected passages and turn them into a menu that allows you to go to them very quickly, if, for instance, you are using the IVT in a class or lecture presentation. The “Play List” function is accessible from a button on the left side of the IVT main screen. Clicking on this button pops up a narrow window that you can keep on the side of your screen. At the top is an entry box in which you can type or copy a list of session and page references that you would like available as hot links. When you complete your entries and press the ENTER button, your entries appear as a set of hot links in the lower part of the window. You can add to this list at any time by entering more coordinates in the entry box. You can then click on any one of hot links at any time to go directly to that session and page. If you change your mind, or have a new list you’d like to use, just close the window and reopen it to start over. The “Play List” pop-up window includes a HELP button that provides additional information. After you are familiar with the basic operation of the IVT, give the “Play List” function a try to see what it can do for you.

Developing Your Own Implementation

Developing your own implementation of the IVT can be relatively straightforward if you are keeping customization to a minimum. The downloadable IVT files include everything you need for a standard implementation: all you need to do is insert your own title, set the color scheme of your choice, and prepare your video, transcripts, and indexing files, but be sure to read the licensing information before you begin. The IVT editors and documentation can help you establish a relatively smooth workflow. Once you have set up your title and colors (a 15 min. job for a capable HTML editor), compressed your video, and secured reliable transcripts (ones that don’t require further content editing), it takes about 1-2 hrs of processing for each hour of source to index and enter your materials in the viewer. Documentation files on preparing the viewer, preparing your video, and processing your text, are included in the DOCUMENTS directory. You will find it advisable to have access to at least one person who is well-versed in Javascript as you proceed to assist in resolving any problems, but many of the routine tasks may be done by others without formal programming skills, as long as they are systematic, methodical, and careful about what they do. Please let us know how it goes, and be sure to tell us when your project is on line!

Downloading and Viewing

To download a copy of the IVT Template, please click on the link below. The IVT downloadable template includes full documentation, licensing information, and source code. Implementation has been made easier with many automated features: the document will explain it all.

Please note that the IVT relies on your web browser, its implementation of javascript, and the Apple Quicktime plugin to function. Web browesers occasionally change their implementations of javascript in ways that impair IVT functions. For this reason, we provide an update page that has current information on browser capability. Click here to see this page. The implementation package includes the code to include this pop-up in your implementation, or you can simply include a link to this page: IVT Browser.

We are constantly working to improve the IVT and its documentation, and to correct problems as they are identified. Each archive you download is identified with a date stamp in the form yymmdd, and you will find a brief description of what has changed in each release on our Update History page (link below). In some cases, you can update just by replacing a file, but sometimes you may need to replace code within a file you have already modified. The information there will explain it all. Please note that we released a major update (v. 3.0) in September 2012. If you are using an older version, and especially if some of its features no longer work as they should, you may want to have a look at this update.

Download Latest IVT Template (120924): a major upgrade

Found a bug, or like to contact the author? Let us know! click here.