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Review: video.Market7.com

The "script" tool is designed in the traditional two-column layout, with video elements on the left and audio elements on the right (Figure 3). Broken down by scenes, the script can be worked on by multiple writers and an even greater number of commenters, as comments can be posted for each scene.

Figure 3
Figure 3. Market7'scollaborative scripting tool hasstandard video and audio columns, butit also includes commenting, mediaupload capability for each scene, andan estimated audio duration.

The auto-complete feature we found during the Braintrust Digital portion of testing in scripting is useful, although it is geared to work for whole phrases, or database entries, rather than auto-completing words like a typical word processor would. The scripting is a basic HTML template over a PHP/XML database link, which means that a full window refresh is required. The need to constantly refresh the screen within a collaborative environment is a bit disconcerting if real-time script writing is being done. This is also an issue we found with Adobe Story’s beta application, but that appears to have been linked to an issue with auto-saving the document and has been corrected.

In addition, media can be uploaded to serve as a representative storyboard for each scene. Media types that can be used include PDFs, still images, and video, with the Market7 tool automatically pulling a representative thumbnail or picture icon (picon) from the video clip. The media browser is Flash-based, with uploaded content expanding to full size when the cursor goes over it.

While Flash integration into a collaborative tool may cause problems for nonstandard browsers or for users who have a Flash blocker installed, the reality is that Flash is relatively ubiquitous across operating systems, and it works well with PHP/XML. Users should make sure the Flash player is updated prior to launching video.Market7, as Flash figures heavily in all media within the Market7 collaborative tool, including the annotated player.

The final portion of our script testing was commenting. Comments must be enabled (choose "show") to add comments. Adding a comment and clicking submit reveals the comment to the submitter. But a full refresh of the browser window—or the addition of another comment for the same scene—is required for any other collaborator to see the original comment. A little bit of AJAX magic (as in Gmail, where updated portions of the screen are refreshed) might help eliminate this issue. Also, while the commenter’s name is available in each comment, the addition of the commenter’s email address in each comment takes up too much space.

One other clever addition to the scripting module is a timing or estimated duration feature. Based on spoken words per minute (wpm), with 125wpm as an average, this feature can be used to set scene duration or to gather the estimated length of a scene’s dialogue.

Once a script version is completed, it can be set as a draft or a final. A script, or even a project, can be locked or deactivated. Project deactivation is part of the pricing scheme, as some pricing models allow for one or several projects. But deactivated projects do not count against the number of available projects.

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