ViddlerViddler is a new video sharing site which launched last month offering a great set of features. You will be pleased to find that Viddler is not “yet another Youtube clone.” With Viddler, users have the ability to tag and comment any particular moment of time in a video, essentially enabling users to annotate and add searchable metadata to any video. This also means more relevant search results for specific queries on any person, object, or place. Additionally, Viddler offers a whopping 500MB upload limit for each video, live webcam recording, and true video streaming. Pretty impressive.

Viddler Upload Process

Uploading to Viddler is a snap. You can upload videos in bulk through a simple Flash-based uploader with real-time progress indicators and upload videos in 14 different formats (.avi .dv .mov .qt .mpg .mpg2 .mpeg2 .mpeg4 .mp4 .3gp .3g2 .asf .wmv .flv). Viddler’s also very generous in allowing up to 500MB each video while Youtube and Google Video only allow up to 100MB. This should definitely win some users over as it allows for longer and higher quality videos. To add videos to your account, just head to the upload section of Viddler, add all your videos to the list, and click upload. Then wait for all of your videos to finish uploading and click on the “Encode” tab which will covert your videos for viewing on Viddler. Once your videos have been encoded, they will appear in your account at which point you can view to edit your title, description, tags, and privacy settings. It’s a fairly straightforward process, although I feel the encoding should be handled automatically rather than the user having to select it themselves.

Another nice feature is the ability to record a video directly on the website using a webcam. You simply browse to the “Record” section of Viddler and start recording at the click of a button. Users can also set their computer’s audio card and video card if needed. The ability to record video is a great addition and is sure to please video bloggers, especially if they are new to video or lack video editing software. Of course you can’t edit a recording as you would in say iMovie, but sometimes a simple recording is all you need to get things going. Not surprisingly, Youtube launched similar webcam recording functionality last month.

Viddler Video

So what is all this timed tagging and commenting stuff about? Viddler has created a system in which you can add time specific information to your videos in the form of tags and comments, similar to basic video captioning. You can simply play a video and stop it at any point to add a tag or comment at that particular moment. If a video already has tags and comments assigned to it, you will clearly see them at the bottom of the video as black and white dots. Black dots represent tags and white dots represent comments. It’s very easy to use. Just click the plus (+) icon on a videos progress bar at any time and select whether you are adding a tag or a comment, then fill in the field and submit.

Tim has recently put Viddler to the test for a writeup about our office on a service which he will be reviewing here shortly. He setup the camera and recorded the office from top to bottom and later uploaded the video to Viddler. He then tagged certain objects around the office in the video and added comments as a form of annotation to explain certain areas. It worked out very well and served as a good example of how to use Viddler’s timed metadata, not to mention the video received more than a half thousand views. You can find his video here.

What’s also neat about the video player having timed metadata is that when you embed (share) a video on your site, your viewers can see the timed tags and comments without leaving your site. Also, Viddler allows you to embed a video on your site that starts at a particular moment rather than starting at the beginning. This way, if you are referring to something specific in the video, you can have the video start playing at that moment making it easier for your viewers. What’s also neat about the video player is that it plays videos with true video streaming, unlike Youtube where it can only play what has been loaded. This means that you can skip to any point of a video and immediately start watching. This also explains how you can immediately skip to a particular moment in a video when clicking a timed tag.

Viddler Search Results

Perhaps Viddler’s most difficult task is making search results relevant, a problem in which many companies have been aiming to solve for years with online video. The relevancy of results in Viddler’s case depends on user assigned tags for a video globally and throughout the video itself. Video descriptions and users are also put into account when performing a search.

To use Tim’s video as example again: Tim added the global tags, “office” and “design” as well as a description for his video. He also added various timed tags for objects around the room as they appeared throughout the video: mac, mini, speaker, and ikea, to name a few. The beauty of all this is that when I am to search on Viddler for the term “mac”, Tim’s video comes up twice in the timed tags area showing the two times that the Mac Mini appears in the video. Likewise, searching “speaker” brings up Tim’s video again, this time showing a picture of our office speakers. Clicking a result would then bring me to the video and automatically skip me to the moment the tag appears in the video. Pretty impressive, although after some testing, I feel that the search still can use some work but is potentially powerful. For starters, it would be nice if you had the option of making a search with multiple tags that would return videos containing all tags (ie: “mac AND mini” for returning videos matching both tags).

Viddler also does a great job at presenting search results. Making a search will return results in four different areas: global tags, timed tags, related videos, and related people. Global tags shows results for tags matching a video itself; timed tags shows videos with matching timed tags; related videos returns videos that match information in the description; and related people returns Viddler users that match tags the users assign to themselves. You can then filter out the results by search type. I found one thing missing though: sorting options. When making a search in Youtube, I often sort results by view count or by date added. It just helps narrow things down and gets me to what I am looking for faster.

Viddler

The site itself is well designed and passes all the visual guides of a Web 2.0 design with bright colors, large fonts, gradients, and rounded corners. You will also find Ajax used strategically throughout the site for editing information and viewing additional pages of a section. Take the Explore section of Viddler for example. The Explore section is the center of all activity around Viddler and contains areas utilizing Ajax so you can seamlessly browse through pages of results.

In all, Viddler offers a great service with some top notch features. Users can assign time specific tags, add comments at particular moments in a video, record video directly on the website using a webcam, and even upload videos with sizes up to 500MB (five times Youtube’s limit). But of course, there’s always room for improvement. For one, I feel the video pages should show user comments below the video player instead of only being shown in the video itself. This would make it easier to get an overall look of comments and maybe even help Viddler with content for search engines. I also noticed that if you were to embed a Viddler video on your site, the comments window can sometimes gets cut off if the player is too small. Lastly, I felt that the search result page was missing some basic sorting options, such as ordering by date and view count. Other than that, Viddler is off to a great start and I’m excited to see where things go from here.

Disclosure: I know a member of the Viddler team through the 9rules Network.


8 Comments on “Viddler: Enhance Your Videos with Timed Tagging”

  1. Steven Bao says:

    Viddler is great – their website in general is fast and simple, and their upload process is easy and intuitive, unlike YouTube’s processing, it is fast to encode. It took me five minutes to upload a three-minute video to Viddler and encode it, whilst it took me more than an hour for YouTube to do so.

  2. Chris says:

    Hi Brian, great writeup! Thank you. Just wanted to clarify that the encoding is done on Viddler’s servers and you don’t actually need to click to start that process. It’s a bit confusing the first time you do it as there is a status window allowing you to see the progress. Thanks.

  3. BrainFuel » Solution Watch Reviews Viddler says:

    [...] Solution Watch just did a great review of Viddler and I wanted to point it out. If you’re not familiar with Solution Watch, it is a great online resource for finding Web 2.0 applications. [...]

  4. Giovanni Gallucci says:

    Brain,

    Thanks for the head’s up on Viddler. I’m trying it out now.

    -giovanni

  5. Al Delgado says:

    While in Mexico, I uploaded about a minute and a half video captured on my DV camcorder. Everything worked well. Only problem was watching the movie afterward. The start and stops was horrendous when trying to watch the video. Bandwith problem?

  6. Viddler.com - Upload, Enhance, Share at EduGenic says:

    [...] I decided to try Viddler based on a SolutionWatch post I read that goes into fairly good detail on this service’s features. Viddler is a free videocasting service that lets you upload or record video to the web. The service is free and in public beta. I made an account and took a 1 1/2 minute of video from my dv camcorder and recorded it directly to the web. The service is straight forward and easy to use. It took a few minutes for Viddler to render the video. My dissapointment came when I tried to see the video. Too many starts and stops due to buffering issues, made the experience end on a bad note. I was working from a DSL line, so I wonder why the service was so slow on showing the video. Things that make you go hmmmmm. Maybe the service works better in the USA. I will find out when I get back to Chicago this evening. [...]

  7. Craig Vidler | Weblog. » Typo saves start-up: legal rottweilers still on leash says:

    [...] by craig and posted on January 10, 2007 at 2:13 pm and filed under Development, Video. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback:Trackback URL. « Matt Cutts on making a how-to archive [...]

  8. ahlmha says:

    why i can’t open viddler website…?