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Video Conversion for Virtual Research Environments (ViCoVRE)


ViCoVRE is funded by JISC within the third phase of the Virtual Research Environments (VRE). It is managed by Martin Turner.

Previous phases of the VRE programme have demonstrated a need for a video conversion tool for Access Grid recordings that can then be included in generic toolkits within various different virtual research environments. The VRE phase 1 project Memetic developed an Access Grid recording tool that was then used by other projects during this phase (namely, VRE for the History of Political Discourse and CSAGE); this software was also developed in the AHRC/EPSRC/JISC co-funded project e-Dance for the recording of dance performance.

Two diverse sets of users have requested functionality to convert recordings into common media formats to allow interoperation with standard video editing tools (such as Adobe Premier), standard media players (such as Microsoft Windows Media Player and RealPlayer), DVD players, and also to support replay directly from the web, rather than requiring use of the Access Grid software client. The VRE phase 2 project Collaborative Research Events on the Web (CREW) project went some way to supporting the last requirement, through provision of an interface for playing recordings of seminars using Flash via a web browser, but this was only limited to display of a particular format, that of a presentation.

We propose to develop the outputs of the Memetic and CREW projects to address the needs of a wider research audience by supporting interoperability with third party editing and playback software and enabling existing recorded material to be reused and repurposed in new recordings. Interfaces will be developed that allow the tool to interoperate within the e-Framework and, through the development of a service-oriented architecture, allow interoperability with institutional systems and national infrastructures. The resulting web service can be widely and easily deployed to support research needs from many domains.

The tool will be developed in close collaboration with researchers in the virtual research community to ensure high usability and maintain focus on the most useful requirements. These communities include the Virtual Research Group, a user group grown from the VRE for the History of Political Discourse project from phase 1 of the VRE programme, the ACM SIGGRAPH Manchester Professional Chapter, a user group from CREW, and choreographic researchers from the e-Dance project.

Extra evaluation study is planned to integrate with visualization streaming experiments including the EPSRC HECToR on-line visualization services (dCSE MRBV).

The main project web site is available at http://vicovre.googlecode.com/

There is a VRE Phase 3 Projects wiki within RCS at http://wiki.rcs.manchester.ac.uk/community/vre3 and a blog at http://grace.rcs.manchester.ac.uk/vre3/