A few weeks ago, Click.TV (Tilzy.TV Overview) released a sample of their latest project. Taking their inspiration from MetaVid, a UC Santa Cruz project that pits video clips of Congressional hearings alongside search-friendly closed caption feeds, Click.TV decided to incorporate the MetaVid transcript data into their video player for enhanced functionality. The end result is downright awesome.
While the MetaVid website shows Java video clips that sync up with chunks of transcribed dialogue from Congressional sessions, the Click.TV sample allows the same functions and so much more. Click.TV’s player, designed for impressive feats of blogging and information sharing like this, allows viewers to play the same video footage with accompanying text greeting each new second of film. That’s cool enough. But you can also wave your cursor over the video and jump to both the representative you want to hear make an address and what moment in their speech you’re interested in hearing. For example, you can click on Harry Reid and choose to listen and read his entire speech or you can skip straight to him saying, “This is a hard thing for me to say about another human being,” or “What we’re trying to get is a vehicle to the House.”
There are an innumerable amount of benefits to this kind of technology. Jesse Walker from Reason Magazine wrote an excellent piece called “The Imaginary Adventures of the U.S. Senate: Sorting Fact from Fiction in the Congressional Record” on one potential benefit. Apparently, Click.TV exposed a common practice among Senators and Congressmen where entire speeches are not only added to the official Congressional transcripts, regardless of whether the representative was even present for that session. So no matter how long you wait to him say it in the video clip below, Sen. Barack Obama will never utter the words, “Paris Hilton tax break,” as the official record for that June 8, 2006, hearing specifies that he does.
There’s also the player-specific benefits of Click.TV releasing such material. Currently, the player has superior functionality when it comes to video-sharing. You can email or embed the whole video, sections of the video that have been preset by its creators, or sections of the video that you cut yourself using the player’s timestamps. That means with the Click.TV Metavid feeds, each quote and each speech from each representative can be emailed or embedded onto a blog for individual emphasis.
That kind of coverage adds an exciting jolt to politics. Already, blogging and vlogging have redefined politicians’ awareness of their public words and public actions. Even YouTube has become a coveted presidential platform where Fox News has been turned down. But Click.TV’s use of MetaVid is like an on-demand C-SPAN designed to support transparency like never before. They have a lot of work to do, but I can’t wait to see what their finished product will look like.