Saturday, October 21, 2006

Searching Multimedia at the ETH Zürich

On Wednesday, I was invited to give a presentation about 'Efficient Search in Multimedia Presentations based on Automated and Collaborative Annotation' at the ETH Zürich. We - Jörg Waitelonis and myself - have been invited by Olaf Schulte (Leiter Video Services at the ETH) to present our solution of lecture recording (at the FSU Jena) and of course the possibility to make the content of the recorded video lectures accessible via content based search - with as little human interaction (i.e. manual annotation of video data, etc.) as possible. Just right before we started with our presentation, we realized some problems with the real player interface that occured when synchronizing different video streams not from the start, but from the point in time that is returned as a search result (we're working on it...). Right now, our lecture recording system records the video signal with the lecturer and the desktop being presented by the lecturer as two separate video streams that have to be synchronized for replay (with SMIL). If both streams are transferred via internet, sometimes we have realized serious synchronization problems...Maybe we should put both streams together (including a table ofcontents for in-video navigation) into a single Mpeg4 container...we'll see.
When it came to the point that recorded video lectures should be archived for a long term period, the argument was about which video format to choose (...with real media not being on the favourite side).
Zürich is a rather nice place...but also really expensive. We had a room in a rather nice hotel (designhotel plattenhof) nearby the ETH including 'designer lamps', 'designer furniture', and 'designer bathroom'. Thus, I almost amalgamated with my surrounding by wearing my 'desinger stubble' :-). Travelling to Zürich by train is somehow stressful...simply because of the 7-8 hours you need to get ther from Jena (Weimar).