Anyone here involved in video de-linearization work?
Thread poster: José Henrique Lamensdorf

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:47
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Nov 23, 2008

I posted this on the subtitling forum because it's the closest video-related one available.

An example to illustrate: A client hires me to translate and subtitle a training, institutional, or other corporate video. Though it may come on VHS tape or DVD already, its structure is thoroughly linear. In either case, they want the output on a DVD, so I offer them interactivity, and they want it.

VHS tape is the exact paradigm of linear video, because it works like a railroad. You take the train at station A, and if you play it all the way, you'll get to station B. At any point, you may step off the train and take a fast car (CUE / FF with image) along the railway, so you'll have a somewhat blurred view of what's between the point you did it and where you stop. Nope, no sound, you won't stay long enough anywhere to hear a complete 'moo' from a cow, so skip the audio altogether. You may also step out of the train and board a helicopter, which will take you to some other point, but much fastar, so you you won't hear not see a thing from start to stop.

DVD is non-linear, it's data instead of a sequence of 'frames'. So, if properly structured, you can go immediately to any part of it.

Taking training videos as an example, everyone is familiar with the chart "Stop/Pause tape here for... (discussion | PPT presentation | exercises | whatever]". The leader / facilitator / trainer / instructor / whatever then stops the tape to do it. If they miss the shot and hit the wrong button, or if their timing is a bit poor, on linear video it's easy to get where they want.

The DVD remote control has a much larger number of buttons, so if they miss the shot and are unfamiliar with the structure of the DVD, they may never get back to where they wanted, at least before that class ends.

On the other hand, a DVD may be authored to stop playing automatically at any preset point, and open up a menu where the user may continue when they wish, often with many options for where to go then.

This certainly adds to the stress of a non-techie trainer, and makes it worse if they still have to switch cables for a PowerPoint presentation, and later back to the DVD player.

A non-linear interactive DVD stops playing automatically at these points, seamlessly includes all the PPT-like presentations (some still using OHD transparencies) at the right spots, and sometimes offers options to change the sequence or the parts being shown.


Okay, trainers rejoice when they use one of these, but my question is: Is there a market anywhere in the world for such de-linearization of corporate videos?, which were hastily transferred as-is from VHS to linear DVD, some of them with their 'slides' still on a separate CD-ROM. So far, I've never been asked to rebuild a linear DVD including interactivity like you did for that other video you translated last week. This is why I thought translators might be aware of it, if it exists.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Can one delinearise an end product? Nov 23, 2008

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
Is there a market anywhere in the world for such de-linearization of corporate videos?, which were hastily transferred as-is from VHS to linear DVD, some of them with their 'slides' still on a separate CD-ROM. So far, I've never been asked to rebuild a linear DVD including interactivity like you did for that other video you translated last week. This is why I thought translators might be aware of it, if it exists.


I'm sure there is a market for it. Can you delinearise an end product? I mean, if the corporate video already exists, can you put your fancy tricks on top of it? If yes, then that may be a way to break into the market -- offering people with existing corporate videos to improve those videos.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:47
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes Nov 23, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:
I'm sure there is a market for it. Can you delinearise an end product? I mean, if the corporate video already exists, can you put your fancy tricks on top of it?


Definitely! In the analog video days one would require a (sub-)master tape in U-malic and later Betacam format, as successive generations in VHS format would quickly deteriorate image quality. Digital video is DATA. Unless poor video compression techniques are used, image quality can be preserved.

When I get a VHS video to subtitle into a DVD, I usually have to use digital tricks to improve the image to some extent, as well as to clean the sound. Tape hiss is omnipresent, but relatively easy to clean up.

However a finished digital product is easier, though not less work-intensive to handle. It is necessary to convert the DVD-specific files into standard digital video files to subtitle them anyway, so this is feasible. Then it's necessary to re-author the DVD, which can be done either as-it-was, or, with some skilful editing, structuring and menu-building, with enhanced interaction, possibly including still slides. Some videos yet preserve untranslated charts and titles, due to the high cost of replacing them in analog video, now this is a lot cheaper.

Of course, there are ways to add (or replace) "one more subtitles file" to a finished DVD, but I've never done it, nobody ever asked. People tend to prefer the subtitles burnt onto the video image, so the risk of some careless or unskilled operator showing it without the subs will be down to zero.

Samuel Murray wrote:
If yes, then that may be a way to break into the market -- offering people with existing corporate videos to improve those videos.


This is the core of my question. The people who would approve a bid for such work seldom - if ever - face the embarrassment of having pressed the wrong button instead of STOP or PAUSE, and the ensuing desperate search for the proper spot to resume the show. The people who go through all this possibly don't know that such a user-lovingly (it's more than user-friendly) contrivance is possible. So I was asking Prozians who know of these endeavors being successful anywhere, on which flank they have seen the marketing work effectively, if it ever did.



[Edited at 2008-11-23 18:12 GMT]


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Anyone here involved in video de-linearization work?

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