Universal Subtitles + Popcorn.js

When we were finishing off the first demo and initial popcorn.js work. Popcorn is a library for defining all sorts of semantic data to a video keyed on time, so when the video hits this time, show this data. We kept our data in xml and quickly noticed writing all that xml was not a fun job, and not necessary. As a programmer, I feel xml is meant to be written by a machine, and not a person, so how can I expect a film maker to write it?

We talked about later going back and writing a front end gui page that could be used to create data, and spit out an xml file you can download.

We also knew of a project called Universal Subtitles which was another open source project that was very similar. I am not sure who contacted who, but we ended up collaborating with them so their interface could be used to create a popcorn file of semantic data. We started with wikipedia, google maps, and twitter, then later put in the base subtitle.

This is much better than our initial plan of downloading an xml file, because now the data is kept in a central location, instead of on someones local machine, making it easier for everyone to share their subtitle work.

The idea of how to use this is, you subtitle a video keyed by the video’s url using Universal Subtitles, and then for the popcorn data source, you just use that same link, and popcorn should take care of the rest.

This is still a very early hack, and not yet released on either Universal Subtitle’s official webpage, or in the most recent version of popcorn… yet.

Another thing I would like to mention is adding a geo location required finding the latitude and longitude of the location, then pasting that into the xml, which was also not fun. So I created a bookmarklet that would should a google map, you could pan to your location, and hit done and it would paste in the latitude and longitude for you.


One Response to “Universal Subtitles + Popcorn.js”

  1. […] read about it from the developer’s perspective here […]

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