Science and Video: a roadmap

Once again I find myself in the position of having collected slides from talks, and having audio from the sessions. I need a simple way to pin these together so they form a coherent narrative and I need a common sharing platform. We don’t really have to see the speaker to understand the message but we needs the slides and the audio to play in tandem with the slides changing at the correct points. Some of the files are quite large: slides decks can be over 100MB and right now the audio file I have is 139MB (slideshare has size limits that don’t accomodate this).

I’m writing because I feel the messages are important, and need to be available to a wider audience. This is often our culture, our heritage, our technology, our scientific knowledge and our shared understanding. These presentations need to be available not just on principled open access grounds, but it is imperative that other scientists hear these messages as well, amplifying scientific communication.

At a bar the other night a friend and I came up with the idea of S-SPAN: a C-SPAN for science. Talks and conferences could be filmed and shared widely on an internet platform. Of course these platforms exist and some even target scientific talks but the content also needs to be marshalled and directed onto the website. Some of the best stuff I’ve even seen has floated into the ether.

So, I make an open call for these two tasks: a simple tool to pin together slides and audio (and sides and video), and an effort to collate video from scientific conference talks and film them if it doesn’t exist, all onto a common distribution platform. S-SPAN could start as raw and underproduced as C-SPAN, but I am sure it would develop from there.

I’m looking at you, YouTube.

10 Responses to “Science and Video: a roadmap”


  • Omnisio did a great job of pinning together slides and video / audio. Unfortunately, Google/YouTube bought it, and shut it down.

  • PechaKucha talks are put up like that (if I understand you correctly) http://www.pechakucha.co.nz/?page_id=4. I think luka@pechakucha.co.nz would be able to help you how to put it together. One possible aggregation platform might be WikiEducator. I could ask whether this is something they would support (storage-wise) or whether they would be able to come up with an embedding solution.

  • Have you tried Slideshare for slides+audio? That works for some people.

    I’m really pleased at the attention you’re giving to amplifying conferences, and amplifying scientific communication in general!

  • Thanks everyone. Michael, the fact that the Omnisio codebase is owned by YouTube is one of the reasons I fingered them for this task (the others are their sheer size and powerful brand). Kubke, if you can point me to a stitching tool like the one I describe, without size limitations, I’d be ever so grateful. One thing that’s important is that the editing tools are open and anyone can get on and use them.

    Jodi, thanks so much – that’s nice to hear! Slideshare has size limitations that have barred me from using them in the past. Alex, I like videolectures.net and have had excellent experiences with them but they are missing the open tools aspect as far as I can tell, but they probably are in the best position to move into a S-SPAN type role.

    I’d really love to see something like this come together. Thanks for the suggestions and help!

  • Prof. Jim Carey at UC Davis has been working quite a bit on doing this for seminar programs on campus and as part of http://UCTV.tv, and has written a nice article in PLoS Biol on the need for this: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000289 [doi]. So far they have relied on very good but closed, non-platform-independent software (Camtasia, Adobe Connect). Still rather useful tools for doing just what you describe, with free trial.

  • Carl, this is very useful. I’ve discussed ideas to film professors explaining their research (say 1 hour for a general audience) that expands on what Carey et al describe in their article. Also similar in spirit to UCTV. Thank you.

  • The Youtube Advanced Video Uploader now accommodates 20gb files in 1080p. Powerpoint + Audio -> MP4.

    http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=185316

    Nice meeting you at the Stat Open House the other day.

    Brian

  • Brian Hammerstein

    Open source screen recording software:

    http://camstudio.org/

  • My vision of a slide object includes not only the speaker’s voice but also the position of the pointer. The pointer is controlled by the speaker on her laptop on the podium which contains an image of the screen.

    My vision explained in full is linked at my web site, but I’ll try add a direct link here.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BmAMrnh41KfIF-6GxZyxSj4zvvYKdI0eqfIYkPxHoG0/edit

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