Annotation Tool

Annotation Tool, a productive and useful tool for adding metadata to your media items.

../../_images/annotation_tool.png

Introduction

Annotation Tool has been designed so that you can create metadata entries with a timespan against a media item. Typical use cases for this are:

  • Making annotations to show potential edits
  • Adding notes that can then be imported into NLE’s such as Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere
  • Making compliance notes
  • Describing scenes and segments
  • Add searchable metadata to enhance the description of the item
  • Add Quality Control notes that can be shared among workgroups

There are many more applications not listed here that it can be used for.

Features

  • The Annotations that you will add can use Metadata Groups as created in the Portal product. When you are creating annotations you can choose from Metadata forms.
  • Timespan from one frame up to the entire length of the media that you are annotating.
  • Annotations can overlap one another.
  • Annotation tool uses the frame accurate HTML5 video player.
  • Keyboard shortcuts for fast and precise entry of annotations.
  • Dragging and pulling of annotations on the time line to make fast edits.
  • Annotations are made searchable by default.
  • Playback the video just for the annotation length
  • Zoom in and out of the timeline.
  • Frame-forward and back for precise entry of timecode
  • Manual entry of timecode

Requirements

For Browser and OS Requirements, see the Recommended Environment in the User Documentation.

For long form content (over 10 minutes), we recommend having at least Gigabit connectivity to the Portal installation, particularly when using Google Chrome.

Light usage

For light usage, and under 50 annotations the above browsers and operating systems should be fine with 2Gb or more of RAM with 1Gb available to the web browser.

Heavy usage

For more than 50 annotations or fast usage it is recommended to use modern multi-core processors (arriving after 2010, preferrably AMD Athlon Phenom II or Intel i3, i5 or i7) along with discreet graphics cards from Nvidia or AMD and more than 4Gb of RAM, at least 1Gb available to the web browser.

The reason for the heavy requirements is that the playing back of video together with rendering of many annotations can use a lot of processing power. Some browsers have the advantage that they can hand off the video playback to native playback of their operating system - and then taking advantage of the power of discreet graphics cards.

Note

Items with more than 200 annotations can become slow in rendering the page

Notes

Browser support

The Annotation Tool is created for use in modern browsers that can play back video natively without the need for plugins. See Recommended Environment in the User Documentation for more information.

It should also be noted that different browsers have different capabilities in running the tool as their Javascript engines vary in performance.

Preview files

To create annotations against a media item the Media item must have a preview file created that can be displayed in the web browser that you are using. Trying to annotate media items without Previews is not possible.

Audio annotations

We currently do not support audio-only annotations.

Zero-length annotations

It should be noted that you can not have zero length Annotations. This means that each annotation much have in and out timecodes that are at least one frame apart. This also means that we do not support annotations on files that have no timespan (images, placeholder, documents, etc..).

Sortable fields

The Vidispine backend can not have annotations annotated with sortable fields. If you are using a metadata group which contains a sortable field then annotation will not save correctly. It is recommended that a annotation metadatagroup is created with no sortable fields, and applied to the user groups that are going to use the annotation tool.

Using the Annotation Tool

Starting the annotation tool

The annotation tool can be started in two ways:

From the search results or other places where media pods are shown.

../../_images/mediaitem_pod_menu.png

Or from the Media Item page gear menu.

../../_images/mediaitem_page_menu.png

The annotation tool should be used on video content with video previews only.

When started the annotation tool will try and find the best video preview for your browser, and will automatically load up the preview and load up any past annotations for the item. It will then load up the list of available metadata groups for the current user, so that the user can choose one to add as an annotation.

If you are using a small player then some of the features might not be shown.

Annotation tool overview

../../_images/annotation_tool_sections_overview.png

There are three parts to the annotation tool which operate together to help you annotate your media.

  1. The video player shows the current media item and allows the user to scrub through the video, play it back and position the playhead so that you can mark in and out points for the annotation.
  2. Annotation list view shows all the annotations that have been made and shows up the form for adding a new annotation.
  3. Timeline shows an overview of the annotations overtime. You can also use it to make adjustments to the in and out point of annotations and drag them around the timeline
../../_images/annotation_tool_sections.png

Video player

../../_images/player_overview.png

The video player has two sizes, if you are using a small screen or if you started with the browser as a small window the video player will start up with some of the features not shown and it resize the playback frame down to try and fit in to the window.

The video player has the following functions:

  1. Shows the total length of the current Media Item being annotated in SMTPE timecode.
  2. Shows the playback speed (upto 8x - depending on browser capabilities)
  3. Shows where the current frame is in relation to the video. Click on the current timecode to have an input field which allows you to jump to a new timecode.
  4. Underneath is the video.
  5. The player timeline shows a timeline for the complete mediaitem and you can use the playhead to scrub to any point in time.
  6. The playhead shows the current position in the video. It is constrained to the timeline.
  7. The player controls allow you to use a mouse or touch screen to play, pause and move forwards and backwards so that you can mark in and out points.
  8. The in and out buttons allow you to mark points in time as the in-points and out-points of annotations.

The player has keybindings allowing you to use the keyboard on your computer to perform actions such as play, pause and mark in and out points. These are documented in another section of this document.

Tip

  • Get to know these keybindings as it helps to speed up the annotation process.

Annotation list

../../_images/annotation_list.png

The annotation list view shows all the annotations for the current media item. From here you can also add, edit and remove metadata from an annotation, choose a metadata form for an annotation and remove annotations.

  1. Previous and next buttons work if you are currently working on another annotation to be able to choose the annotations before and after, allowing you to quickly jump between annotations.
  2. Metadata group chooser allows you to choose which metadata form will get applied to an annotation. Choose the metadata group before adding an annotation.
  3. The tool menu allows you to go back to the item page of the current media item being annotated.

The annotation list shows all the annotation entries collapsed until adding a new annotation or you have toggled an annotation open to edit it. Un-collapsed shows the metadata form for an annotation, you can only have one annotation entry uncollapsed at a time.

Annotation entry in list view

../../_images/annotation_edit_form.png

The annotation entry in collapsed mode shows the following information:

  • Title
  • Type of annotation (usually video)
  • In-point of the annotation
  • Out-point of the annotation
  • Play button for playing just the current annotation from in-point to out-point.
  • The duration of the annotation.
  • Delete button for deleting the annotation.
  • Toggle button to edit the annotation.

When editing or adding a new annotation the annotation entry is shown un-collapsed with the metadata form shown (the metadata form for the metadata group above).

It will now have the ability:

  • In-point shows steppers for moving the in-point one frame forward or backwards from the current frame.
  • In-point has a text entry box allowing the change of the current in-point by typing. See below for formatting.
  • Out-point shows steppers for moving the in-point one frame forward or backwards from the current frame.
  • Out-point has a text entry box allowing the change of the current in-point by typing. See below for formatting.
  • Toggle button for closing this view.
  • Metadata form for adding metadata.
  • Submit button for saving changes.

When changing the in-point or out-point of an annotation it is saved with each change that you make.

Text entry to the in- and out-points allows entering the full SMTPE timecode 00:01:03:23, or the same without colons 00010323. Overflowing numbers are automatically corrected, for example an entry with 62 minutes, 00:00:62:01 is automatically corrected to 00:01:02:01. With colons also negative numbers can be used, for example in a 25 FPS video 00:00:04:-5 becomes 00:00:03:20.

In addition to the above functions a new annotation also has a cancel button to remove itself before it is saved, this cancelling the annotation.

Tip

  • If you find yourself changing your metadata group to another group all the time, consider changing your base metadata group in your user settings page. With custom templates, the default can also be overridden with the GET-parameter metadatagroup.

Timeline view

../../_images/annotation_timeline_view.png

The timeline view gives you an overview of the annotations in relation to the time of the clip. It also allows you to make quick and easy adjustments to the in-point and out-points and duration of annotations.

It has the following features:

  • Shows the annotations as bars as on the timeline.
  • It will try and keep the bars so that they don’t overlap.
  • You can zoom in and out
  • Has a playhead showing the current point in time that the video player shows.
  • The playhead can be moved forwards and backwards adjusting the current time,
  • Annotations can be clicked on to make them active.
  • You can click outside of any annotation to unselect the currently selected one.

Tip

  • Zooming repaints each annotation, if you have hundreds of annotations, it might take some time to zoom in or out.

Annotation entry in Timeline

../../_images/timeline_annotation_active.png

Once you have an annotation entry active additional features will show up on that annotation bar in the timeline.

  • In-point shows steppers for moving the in-point one frame forward or backwards from the current frame.
  • In-point has a text entry box allowing the change of the current in-point by typing.
  • Out-point shows steppers for moving the in-point one frame forward or backwards from the current frame.
  • Out-point has a text entry box allowing the change of the current in-point by typing.
  • In-point has a drag handle allowing you to drag the in-point to a new position.
  • Out-point has a drag handle allowing you to drag the out-point to a new position.
  • Dragging on the middle of the annotation will let you move the complete annotation around, keeping the duration intact.

When active the annotation in the annotation list will also be active and allows you to enter metadata. Clicking on annotation will take you to the first frame of that annotation in the video player.

Adding annotations

To add an annotation you need to create an in-point and an out-point on the timeline.

Move to the point in the timeline you want to start creating the annotation by one of the following methods:

  1. Playing the video
  2. Entering the timecode directly into the video player
  3. Scrubbing on the timeline
  4. Using the forward or backwards keybindings.

Then mark an in-point in one of the following ways:

  1. Using the buttons on the video player.
  2. Using the keyboard shortcuts.

Then move to the point in the timeline you want the out-point to be by one of the following steps:

  1. Playing the video
  2. Entering the timecode directly into the video player
  3. Scrubbing on the timeline
  4. Using the forward or backwards keybindings.
  5. Dragging the out-point of the annotation tool in the timeline window
  6. Entering the out-point timecode in the out-point entry in the annotation entry.
  7. Using the stepper buttons.

Then either mark the out-point in one of the following ways:

  1. Using the buttons on the video player.
  2. Using the keyboard shortcuts.
  3. Entering metadata into the annotation and clicking save.

Please note that the out-point for an annotation can’t be less than one frame greater than the in-point.

Editing annotations

Annotations can be edited by:

  1. Clicking on the annotation in the annotation list view.
  2. Clicking on the annotation in the timeline view and then editing in the list view.

Changes in the in-point and out-point are saved automatically. Changes to the title are saved automatically. Changes to the metadata need to be manually saved.

The length can be changed by entering the edit mode, or dragging the annotation around in the timeline window. The annotation is saved once you have stopped dragging.

Removing annotations

Annotations can be removed by pressing delete from the annotation list.

Growing annotations in Timeline

If you are playing back the media item and have selected an in-point, the out-point will change along with the current position of the playhead until you markout by using the keyboard shortcut or the buttons in the player.

Keybindings

The following are keybindings for the annotation tool.

Key Binding
I Mark In
O Mark Out
<space> Stop/Start playback
< Frame back
> Frame forward
J Backwards or reduce playback speed*
K Reset
L Forwards or increase playback speed
A Previous annotation
S Next annotation
ESC Unselect the currently selected annotation
Q Zoom out timeline
W Zoom in timeline
  • Only certain browsers can currently play backwards.