Storisphere is a storytelling system developed at Lancaster University which allows a group of disparate users to produce stories collaboratively from shared video clips on various types of user devices and networks.
Storisphere encompasses the four essential functions including an integrated content and metadata management system (Mediaplex), a media asset referencing system (MARS), a unified user interface (Storiboard) and a content networking framework (SCN) to form a complete eco-system for story telling. Each function is designed to address specific challenges in content retrieval, story making and consumption, and copyright management. Although Storisphere is a comprehensive system with many advanced features integrated, most of the background operations such as content analysis, smart caching and quality adaptation are carried out without human intervention. Users interact with the Storisphere system via the Storiboard web interface which is accessible on various types of user devices.
Visit Storisphere at: http://one.lancs.ac.uk
Storisphere: Community Video Storytelling Application
Conventional television services have been increasingly challenged by the more interactive and user-centric video sharing applications. With the growing popularity of social networks and video services, users are becoming the editors and broadcasters of their own stories. User-generated video content, which provides unique perspectives from individuals, is likely to be the new medium to complement professional broadcast TV for story sharing, especially in user communities of specific interest. We have developed Storisphere to provide a web-based collaborative video content workspace for members of a community to compose and share video stories, using desktop or mobile devices. Storisphere is currently being evaluated for video story telling by various user communities.
Media Assets Referencing System
The growing popularity of social networks and video sharing services initialize a global trend of citizen journalism and storytelling using both professional and user generates content. Unlike text streams and still images, using shared video content for collaborative story making and editing places high demands such as computational capability and network connectivity on user clients. We designed and implemented a media asset referencing system (MARS) to drive storytelling application through flexible definition and referencing of media assets in large video objects . As a result, MARS enables individuals or a community to edit and share video stories on light-weight user devices.
Video Storytelling Frontend Interface
HTML5-based frontend interface to support features of video storytelling, including content ingest, video preview, search engine, storyboard (drag and drop edit), EDL parsing and cache management.
Video and Subtitle Analysis Package
Metadata analysis and extraction software to derive semantic key frames for shots and scenes in video objects. Subtitle analysis tool extracts subtitles embedded in freeview and freesat MPTS streams.
Video Chunk Stitching and Caching
The software is designed to facilitate the efficient and scalable caching of content. By strategically caching selected content closer to the client, It avoids inefficient requests for identical content soon after the initial request. This avoids congestion on existing network links, and negates any additional expenditure required to increase network capacity.
The University of Salford have developed a Location-based Content Search function, allowing the search through any meta-data index of content to be tailored to the user's location, as supplied voluntarily by the user's browser. This limits the results to any item tagged within (say) 10 miles of the user. Salford and Lancaster have demonstrated the possibility of integrating this system with Storisphere, by building a parallel database of geographic co-ordinates of selected content available through Storisphere, and embedding Storisphere's video playback in on-line results of the Location-based Content Search.
User evaluation in Wray Village
User engagement with the Storisphere platform has been made to evaluate the FIRM development and its impact to the user community. To ensure that we have a thorough understanding of the how the platform performs and how the Storiboard application is used to both upload videos and then “cut” them into a user’s story, we have carried out fieldwork in Wray village at the time of the Scarecrow festival. This allowed us to capture dozens of small videos which we are currently in the process of using, along with existing material, to tell a small, scarecrow-based story. This process has already provided a number of interesting insights to what using the Storisphere platform means. It has also helped to identify a number of possible future development areas.
User engagement for community video storytelling at Salford Lads Club
The collaborative research approach between the Goldsmiths' Storycircle team and the Salford Lads Club which seeks to explore a multi-layered digital storytelling process has been further extended and elaborated by a joint partnership with the Storisphere team at Lancaster University. The Storycircle, Storysphere, and Salford Lads Club 'triangle' has proven to be a success that weaves the empowering narrative principle, creative community video storytelling and waves of user experiments. This particular user engagement front has been a continuation of the work with Salford Lads Club and the Lancaster Storisphere team has made a number of trips to the club to meet with the participants, help to train them in using Storiboard and to collect video data that we have then uploaded for them. (This latter activity has been necessary because of the limited bandwidth at the club.) The initial phase led to one of the club members putting together a short video about ball games at the club over the years. Although quite short, this has provided some interesting feedback. For example, the person in question was essentially shown how to use the Storiboard interface once and was immediately able to start putting clips together – suggesting that the application really does deliver in terms of ease of use. Perhaps more interesting, though, was the process of him talking us though the clips he had used – which we captured on camera. This helped to confirm that the notion of a “moving photo album” is a powerful metaphor for story created in Storisphere. The next phase of this case study is underway – with club participants having just been away to their annual camp where, we hope, they managed to captures lots of video which will be used to create a story about the camp.