FORscene

FORscene

Infobox_Software
name = FORscene



caption = Screenshot of editing interface as of May 2006 (Windows/IE)
developer = Forbidden Technologies plc.
latest_release_version = FORscene
latest_release_date = 25 January 2007
operating_system = Cross-platform
genre = Video editing software
license = Proprietary
website = [http://www.forbidden.co.uk/products/forscene/]

FORscene is an integrated internet video platform, covering non linear editing and publishing for broadcast, web and mobile.

Designed by Forbidden Technologies plc to allow collaborative editing of video, its capabilities extend to video logging, reviewing, publishing and hosting. The system is implemented as a web application with a Java applet as part of its user interface. It runs on multiple platforms without application installation, codec installation, or machine configuration and has many Web 2.0 features.

FORscene has been recognised by the Royal Television Society, winning their award for Technology in the Post Production Process in December 2005, [ [http://www.rts.org.uk/servedoc.asp?filename=WinPress-1.doc Royal Television Society] awards] [ [http://pro.forscene.net/ss1/published/RTS2-1134214395.can/ Video] of Royal Television Society award ceremony] and is now used internationally. Both the underlying compression technology and the user interface are covered by patents.

Usage

FORscene's functionality makes it suitable for multiple uses in thevideo editing workflow.

For editors and producers wanting to produce broadcast-quality output,FORscene provides an environment for the early stages ofpost-production to happen remotely and cheaply(logging, shot selection, collaborative
reviewing, rough cutting and offline editing, for example). FORscene then outputsinstructions in standard formats which can be applied to thehigh-quality master-footage for detailed and high-quality editingprior to broadcast.

Other users want to prepare footage for publishing to lower-qualitymedia - the small screens of mobile phones and
video iPods, and to the web where bandwidth restricts the qualityof video it is currently practical to output. For these users, allediting can be carried out in FORscene, before publishing usingFORscene's web, mobile phone, Flash, and/or podcasting services. Video canalso be saved in MPEG and Ogg formats.

Services

The video platform is broadly referred to as FORscene. It is however offered as two distinct web based services, built on a common core of code: FORscene for professional and semi-professional use and Clesh for consumers. Both exploit the web for delivery.

Pricing

Upload: compression machines can be bought or rented. The charge for upload to the Internet covers the storage cost.

Logging, shot selection, assembly editing, offline editing, review, EDL export: the software is provided as a service which is charged by usage. Typical productions will agree a fixed price in advance which depends on expected usage.

Publishing: there is a charge for each video published for web, mobile or podcasting based on the length of the material in minutes.

Viewing: watching a published video is free for the viewer (with respect to FORscene) but the publisher is charged for bandwidth each time a web video is viewed or a mobile video downloaded (and the event captured so activity against published videos may be monitored).

Components

The FORscene system is made up of various components, discussed here.

Codecs

FORscene has its own codecs for both video and audio. These use a form of adaptive coding to allow local variations in the type of data to be encoded efficiently.

Blackbird

The FORscene video codec is called "Blackbird". It is designed for both editing and video streaming over variable speed broadband Internet connections. By varying the frame rate, it can provide consistent picture quality even on slow connections.

Like its predecessor "Firebird" (used in the [http://www.forbidden.co.uk/demos/live/ FORlive] system), the Blackbird codec allows real time compression and playback of video. This is important for handling the quantity of video in modern productions, as well as the reviewing, logging, editing and publishing features of FORscene.

Impala

The FORscene audio codec is called "Impala". Datarate and quality can be varied depending on the use: 10 kbit/s for modem web video and mobile playback, 30 kbit/s for audio only modem playback or broadband playback with video, and 80 kbit/s per channel for editing.

Upload

FORscene videos are served from the Internet backbone and accepts video, audio, and graphics input in a variety of ways. Forbidden's upload software, running on a suitable computer, compresses and uploads the videos. As Java does not allow access to a computer's hardware, and so cannot control tape machines or video cameras directly, the compress/upload programs run as native applications. Four options are provided for this purpose:
* Windows XP software
* Mac OS X software
* Linux hardware and software
* Symbian mobile phone software (over-the-air)

Logging, editing and reviewing of uploaded material can start as soon as the upload process starts.

Files containing video, audio and still may also be uploaded using a web browser from a wired or mobile device. Uploads can run concurrently and many formats are supported (e.g. AVI, MOV, ASF, 3GP).

Java interface

Functionality

The Java interface works with the default configuration on most machines, though allocating more memory to the JVM improves performance. It enables the following functionality:
* Video logging
* Non-linear editing
* Reviewing
* Web publishing
* Mobile publishing
* Video podcasting
* Storyboarding

Security

Each standard user account has its own password-protected web page containing the FORscene applet. Once logged on, the users have access to their own videos, library videos, and any functionality their account supports.

Video is not stored on the local computer's hard disc, so when the user closes their web browser, their video is not accessible to subsequent users of the same computer.

Internet standards

The FORscene web interface operates through Internet standards such as HTTP and Java, so can be used even in companies with severe firewalls. If web browsing works, then FORscene almost always will too.

Account Management interface

The account management interface separates accounts and users. Many individuals may use the same FORscene account and each user is assigned a role (manager, commenter, reviewer, logger, editor, storyboard). The interface provides single sign-on authentication of users and central point of access to core admin / operational features on the web:
* Upload
* Edit
* Usage Report
* Users
* Account Display
* User Settings

Web player

Each web video which is published is packaged with the Java player. [ [http://www.e-consultancy.com/newsfeatures/156186/misys-banks-on-video-streaming-for-internal-comms.html e-consultancy] report on Misys] The video size can be chosen by the publisher from a range of sizes from 160x120 to 384x288. The frame rate depends on the available bandwidth and speed of the playback machine, with full frame rate available for fast machines and connections.

Forbidden Technologies supplies its Blackbird decoder in the form of a Java player. This can be locked to a particular server, making it hard to pirate videos published in FORscene.

Mobile player

FORscene can publish mobile content for its Symbian mobile player, "FORmobile". Customers can also have their own branding. [http://digital-lifestyles.info/display_page.asp?section=distribution&id=1561 Digital-Lifestyles.info] IBC TV News uses FORscene and FORmobile] [ [https://www.armyoneverest.mod.uk/Mobile/Mobile.htm Army on Everest] Mobile page] The publisher chooses whether videos published from FORscene for mobile appear in the standard FORmobile menu or are available to only selected people. FORscene can automatically notify people by text message that a video has just been published.

The mobile player can be sent from handset to handset for free via Bluetooth, and videos can also be distributed virally via Bluetooth once the FORscene mobile player has been installed. Forbidden has coined the term "Viewtooth" to describe this process. [ [http://www.e-consultancy.com/newsfeatures/157056/video-virals-go-mobile-with-viewtooth.html e-consultancy] report on Bluetooth]

Video podcast

Videos edited in FORscene can be published directly as video podcasts. These can then be downloaded and viewed in a podcast viewer such as iTunes or on a video iPod.

Timecode export

Each frame of professionally shot video is tagged with a timecode which identifies it. Combining the timecode information of video handled within FORscene at browse quality with the original broadcast quality video allows information in FORscene to be transferred to a broadcast quality version. Videos logged or edited in FORscene can be exported in the form of a simple EDL or more complex XML for autoconform and offline or online on an Avid or Final Cut Pro system.

Additional exports

A number of export formats are supported in addition to those mentioned above:
* MPEG-2
* Flash
* Ogg

Server

The FORscene Java front end is complemented by a number of computers which combine to form a redundant server configuration. These have enough storage to store thousands of hours of video. As the Java front end does most of the work during editing, and the upload software does the compression work, the server is lightly loaded and can support many users at the same time.

History

FORscene is a development from an editing system made by Eidos plc in the 1990s. This history starts from the first public showing of this product, at the International Broadcasting Convention in Europe in 1990.

Competition & Marketing

The popularity of online video clips and video sharing sites led to interest in online video editing and gave rise to tools offering some of the functionality present in FORscene. The introduction of FORscene pioneered an internet platform for broadcast customers. It was the first true post-production system to offer access entirely within a browser.

FORscene addressed a number of design requirements to make it suitable for broadcast customers. For instance; logging, timecode support, integration tools, multiple audio tracks, collaboration, audio levels, lighting and colour control, and frame-accurate editing.

Other online editing tools (e.g. Jumpcut) were developed primarily with consumers in mind. These tools do not scale up to meet the demands of professional users. In contrast the technology on which FORscene is built can be scaled down to meet the demands of users outside the broadcast market (such as consumers).

FORscene's core market is the broadcast customer. However the technology is applicable to any individual / organisation in need of a toolkit for managing video over the internet, a fact reflected in a user-base that includes charities, universities, and other organisations. The technology is marketted to consumers in the form of a tailored service called Clesh.

See also

Video editing related
*Video editing software
*Comparison of video editing software

Web related
*Rich Internet application
*List of Rich Internet applications
*Collaborative editor
*Streaming media

Technical related
*Java (Sun)
*Comparison of video codecs
*Comparison of audio codecs

Mobile related
*Mobile phone features
*Nokia N93
*Nokia N95

Other Online Editing Technologies
*Jumpcut
*photobucket

References

External links

* [http://www.forbidden.co.uk/ Forbidden Technologies plc]
* [http://www.digitaltelevision.com/articles/printer_817.shtml Digital Television.com] IBC 2004 round up
* [http://www.4rfv.co.uk/archive.asp?page=1&criteria=forbidden&show=47066#here Regional Film and Video] news story
* [http://www.netimperative.com/2000/09/27/Forbidden_Technology Netimperative] article
* [http://www.broadcastingitalia.com/ft/monitor248.pdf Radio & televisione Monitor] Mediaconcept Italian partnership
* [http://www.studentaffairs.uoguelph.ca/forscene/ Demonstration] of FORscene to Canadian students


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