Using Digital Video in Omeka: Development of a Video Segmentation and Annotation Plugin

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Cowan, Will
This presentation will showcase video segmentation and annotation functionality developed as a plugin to be used with Omeka, an open-source, exhibition software package. The plugin was made possible by a start up grant from the NEH Office of Digital Humanities. I will discuss two of the many potential functions this plugin provides for video in Omeka. First, it is able to represent interactive data on a timeline as videos play. This functionality makes it possible to use this tool in the classroom in a variety of ways, from presentation of data to students to the creation of videos and annotations by the students. In addition, this functionality is ideal for presenting video segments and annotation on an Omeka website so that you don't have to present entire videos but just important segments. Second, it is a tool that can be used for research, especially if it involves the representation of several streams of video. In their book The Maltese Touch of Evil: Film Noir and Potential Criticism, Richard Edwards and Shannon Scott Klute present the idea of an MTOE database, a collection of films noir that have been segmented and annotated and could be used to form the basis of new analyzes of the genre. How frequently and where do closeups occur in film noir? How dark is film noir, really? Do all men with guns wear hats in film noir? By segmenting the video and setting up side by side displays, this type of analysis becomes possible and provides a means to address questions that are often based on a few specially chosen films as opposed to many films across the genre. I will demo a preliminary version of this database using 20 public domain films noir and show how such an analysis could be done.
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