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New HTML5 Framework Makes Video Data Annotation Easier Than Ever

It’s only a matter of time until the internet speaks in HTML5. Although the language is still in its infancy, we can’t wait for it to salvage us from the evil Flash monsters eating up all our processing power. Ok, so Flash isn’t all bad, but one of the biggest benefits of HTML5 is its semantic capability for creating intelligent connections between data and content, which also happens to be one of Flash’s biggest failures.

Popcorn.js is an open source video framework developed by Web Made Movies that provides semantic information for your videos and would’ve made this art piece about the Egyptian government turnover a whole lot easier to create. Popcorn.js synchronizes media content by the simple use of code. You can incorporate a Google or Twitter news feed into your broadcast, tag people, embed their respective Flickr photos or Wikipedia articles, geo-locate them on Google Maps or go nuts with awesome audio or video mash-ups as seen in Donald Duck Meets Glenn Beck.

The satire uses clips from old Donald Duck cartoons and re-dubs them with snippets of the conservative Fox News host Glenn Beck. All the corresponding sources are displayed and updated in real-time, and a Wikipedia box adds background information and trivia on the topics, adding an intriguing contextual layer to the video mash-up. The political content of this particular video highlights the potential potency of this new video annotation format—imagine what sort of monstrous experiments in propaganda this tool could enable—but let’s hold off on the paranoia thing for now…

You can direct your own clips with the free to use Butter app. Its clean user interface does not require any JavaScript skills and is pretty much ready to go. However, the software currently runs in alpha stadium and is not really all that stable yet. You can join in the development and improvement of the project by joining them on the social coding platform GitHub. There you’ll also find the source code and extensive documentation to get ready.

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