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Adobe MAX Conference Dazzles Audience with Video Innovations

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As Adobe wrapped up the second day of its MAX conference in Los Angeles, the company provided a series of "sneak peeks" at future technologies hosted by Rainn Wilson, otherwise known as Dwight Schrute of The Office. Ranging from coding tools-which Wilson mocked as "move a semicolon and the colon appears"-to audio and video tools, the technologies are designed to whet the appetite of MAX attendees for Adobe's next releases.

Crowd-sourced Video In-sync

One such technology sneak peek was a unique synchronization of crowd-sourced video. Nicholas Bryan, an Adobe Creative Technology Labs intern, showed the audience how he could use a series of video clips shot at a concert to create a documentary of the whole concert with just the single click of an Analyze button.

The clips were from a Taylor Swift concert in San Jose, California, and each video was from a different angle and a variety of cameras, from stage-mounted cameras to handheld cell-phone video clips. All video footage included some view of Taylor Swift's on-stage performance.

"If all the clips are viewed sequentially," said Bryan, "it's easy to see that some of the clips overlap each other, but by varying amounts."

There weren't enough clips overlapping to create a multi-camera option for on-demand content playback, but there were enough to fill in large gaps in the concert.

Using a command-line interface, Bryan's pre-alpha software tool analyzed each video, looking for salient points in the video that were either unique or matched those in at least one of the other videos. In addition, the tool used the audio waveforms to match audio patterns between as many clips as possible.

The end result was a timeline that used all the clips, with corresponding clips overlapping each other and aligned in a completely audio/video-synchronized timing. While the video quality varied from clip to clip, the end result could easily be a crowd-sourced end-to-end video recording of the entire concert, comprised of tens or hundreds of clips from dozens of concertgoers.

"We see this as a breakthrough to allow news events, concerts, and other public events to be documented in a way not easily possible," said Bryan, "and certainly not possible with today's current editing and on-demand video tools."

Watching TV in Psych Vision

Ben Forta, Android's director of evangelism, showed another video-centric opportunity, this time during the morning's keynote presentation.

Forta showed off the power of real-time collaborative viewing of prime time television content, using a companion viewing application geared toward prime-time content on USA Networks, which has shows such as Burn Notice and Psych.

Along with Jesse Redniss, vice president of digital at USA Networks, Forta showed a companion app that goes along with Psych, called Psych Vision.

"About 70 percent of tablet users are surfing the web at the same time as they're watching prime time television, said Redniss. "The Psych Vision app brining the water cooler into the palm of the viewer's hand during the time the show is actually airing."

As part of the integration with the show, the companion app pushes out videos and still images in real-time during the show, including user-generated content from YouTube and other online video platforms.

At the same time during the show, USA Networks displays keywords at the bottom of the television screen that can be used by Psych Vision app users to unlock exclusive content.

Entering the keyword "Gus" into the app, for instance, reveals a sneak peek of an episode that will air next week. Once the content is unlocked, there's a trivia section where users can gain points to purchase merchandise in the Pysch online merchandise store.

"We focus on great content," said Redniss, "but the use of Flash for development lets us push out the application to a variety of devices."

Forta noted that USA was able to use Flash Professional and Flash Builder to generate applications that could be then compiled for Apple's iOS or Google's Android mobile operating systems, depending on audience members' preferred tablet or handset device. Forta also revealed that the six applications showcased in Kevin Lynch's kickoff keynote (and mentioned in our coverage of Lynch's keynote) had been built in Flash, then ported to the Android and iOS operating systems.

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