Application makes video library manageable with keywords

Application makes video library manageable with keywords

DOE's nuclear accident response group can sort thousands of hours of tape to use in disaster drills

By Megan Lisagor

Special to GCN

'Deep earth penetration.' 'W88.' 'D61.' Those are some of the key phrases Sandia National Laboratories can retrieve from several thousands of hours of videotape, thanks to a video content management application.

Sandia, a multiprogram laboratory operated for the Energy Department by Sandia Corp., a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp., has licensed Excalibur Technology's Screening Room as the core application for its archive of video footage taken during nuclear weapons disaster training exercises. Once compiled, the online resource will let users search and snip video assets'analog and digital'from the laboratory's intranet.

The tool is especially useful for the Accident Response Group, a team that practices defusing mock nuclear devices.

Excalibur Screening Room lets Energy's Accident Response Group view selected clips from extensive libraries of training videos by using keyword searches.

'We take video photos of different exercises and digitize them,' said Mike Krawczyk, group software engineer. 'When they want to view it, they have to watch the whole thing.'

But that will change. With Screening Room, team members can find exact points on the tapes at which key words were said.

'It's a full digital library. We don't have to watch the whole video in any format,' Krawczyk said.

Before choosing the Vienna, Va., company's product, Sandia tried developing its own software package, ELVIS, or electronic video information system. But 'ELVIS didn't quite do everything we needed,' Krawczyk said.

John Tissler, knowledge preservation project leader at Sandia, worked with the old system, which had a lot of bugs, he said. So Sandia turned to the outside world.

'We went out into the market to find [an application] that would meet our requirements,' Krawczyk said. The main requirement was the ability to integrate text files with time codes.

Excalibur offered the best solution, he said. 'We decided to purchase Screening Room. It was the only one that could meet our needs,' Krawczyk said.

Screening Room is an integrated modular system that provides video capture and analysis, indexing, acceleration of the video production process and instant publishing of video content to the Internet.

Still, Screening Room wasn't good enough straight off the shelf.

'We're not satisfied with the voice recognition,' Tissler said. Because of speech differences, there's normally only a 15 percent to 18 percent recognition.

So Excalibur is customizing its product for Sandia.

'We're doing what we've been doing all along: transcribing audio text into electronic text,' Tissler said. When Screening Room is uploaded, it will merge the typed text file and make it searchable, which is expected to give Sandia 100 percent recognition, Krawczyk said.

That rate will most benefit interns and instructors who use the tapes when preparing presentations.

Derek Gascon, vice president of product management at Excalibur Technologies, said the users have to adapt the new system into their work flow and understand its capabilities, such as grouping video clips into a bin that can be exported.

Other advantages include Screening Room's user-friendliness, pull-down menus and built-in help engine.

Screening Room was set to be installed on Dec. 5, Krawczyk said. 'The videotapes and [Microsoft] Word documents are ready to go into the system.'

Screening Room works with Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server or Sybase Adaptive Server relational databases, and the following streaming video servers: Windows NT Server NetShow Services, RealNetworks G2 Media Player and Oracle Video Server.

Users can access the archive using standard Web browsers.

Smooth searching is the goal. 'We want to be able to search by key word rather than spend time looking at hours of video,' Tissler said.


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