Video Annotation

Over the 2014 Christmas break, I created a paper and software on video annotating. The aim of developing the software was to gain a better understanding to the limitations of local video annotation tools and the process to creating a useable version. The timeframe of the software’s development spanned just a few weeks, with extra functions like slowing video pace and autosave implemented to improve the software’s functionality. I found the software very useful for my research and simple to create. Currently it is only available for Mac but would be simple enough to convert to Windows.

Any video file on the computer is playable in the software to annotate overtop.

The video annotation tool was created in openFrameworks, Xcode. It can play high quality videos with basic annotation interaction for anyone to use. It uses the Quicktime player with an addon called Perian, allowing for most videos as playable for annotating and at an acceptable framerate. The user can select any video on their computer to annotate and create a save file for the annotations. The save file was kept separate from the video so it is reusable on other videos if that is desired. Common video playback options are also included, like moving the current position of the video or changing volume.

The type of annotations possible range from text overlays to audio buttons, images, visual highlights and web hyperlinks. The annotating process is very basic to do, usually only requiring a few interactions. For example, creating a text annotation is through a simple button press, followed by typing in text. Replaying or rewinding the video will show the annotations in their given position and time. Annotations can also be created while the video continues to play or can be created while paused on a single frame. The tool is to work as a standalone application, easily transferable between computers and working with local HD video files.

Labelling objects is very easy and adjustable. Change the position and length of a label using the mouse and keys.

Even with simple functionality this video annotation software can create justifiable results for researchers to use. From the amount of time and effort put into the softwares creation it is plausible to see such programs available as a standard tool on personal computers made by big companies.

The paper for this software was submitted and presented at the Eleventh International Conference on Technology, Knowledge, and Society held in Berkeley, California.

If you would like to have this software please email me at and I will send you the standalone application or code.

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