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System and methods for collaborative online multimedia production

Title: System and methods for collaborative online multimedia production.
Abstract: A digital multimedia platform available to a plurality of collaborators of a video project through a networked computing system maps script information to a timeline, allowing contributions to be mapped to the timeline for inclusion in the project. One embodiment includes a tools module, an authentication module, a compilation module, and a script writing tool. The tools module enables editing of a multimedia project by collaborators. The authentication module assigns roles and privileges to collaborators. The compilation module receives files and information from collaborators to the multimedia project. The script writing tool implements edits to a script file associated with the multimedia project. ...
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120311448
Inventors: Maha Achour, Samy Achour, Douglas Anarino

The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120311448, System and methods for collaborative online multimedia production.


This application claims priority from the U.S. Provisional Patent Applications listed below:

1. U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/493,173, filed on 3 Jun. 2011, entitled System and Methods for Distributed Multimedia Production, Maha Achour and Samy Achour, inventors; and

2. U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/498,944, filed on 20 Jun. 2011, entitled Systems and Methods for Distributed Multimedia Production, Maha Achour and Samy Achour, inventors.

3. U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/514,446, filed on 02 Aug. 2011, entitled System and Methods for Collaborative Online Multimedia Production, Maha Achour and Doug Anarino, inventors.

4. U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/626,654, filed on 30 Sep. 2011, entitled System and Methods for Collaborative Online Multimedia Production, Maha Achour and Doug Anarino, inventors.

All of the above-listed patent documents are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties, including figures, tables, claims, and all other matter filed or incorporated by reference in them.


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This disclosure is related to the field of collaborative online video production applications, and in particular, a multimedia system for video productions with embedded script and commands.


Many of today's multimedia tasks are performed using audiovisual capturing tools to generate content that is then fed to expensive and sophisticated centralized editing and composing systems for titling, sequencing, super-positioning, effects generation and rendering before final release. Such a centralized approach discourages distributed multimedia production techniques and do not facilitate content feeds generated by professional and amateur entertainers, artists, media creators, and producers distributed across the globe. This is particularly the case with current video production systems where the script is a manuscript separate from the video creation process.

By using conventional video editors to implement an online video production application, the production team tasks are not balanced among users as the editor bears the most challenging and time-consuming tasks. Additionally, the production crew still needs to be present during video shoots. For instance, editors typically perform a variety of tasks in processing videos uploaded by crew members, including, but not limited to, (i) remove the green or blue screen and smooth the edges trim the video and adjust the video length in compliance with the script and/or producer/editor requests; and (iii) identify each video and associate it with its corresponding scene or shot within the video editor timeline.

With the emergence of online video content distributions, many amateur artists have attempted to produce their own videos using hardware and software tools available to them. Such approaches not only require having access to these systems and learning how to use them but also require that all video elements—from actors and background setup to sound and effects—be present in the same location and at the same time. Such stringent requirements are difficult to accommodate when scriptwriters, producers, actors, cameramen, stage artists, and musicians are working asynchronously wherever they happen to be at the time. Hence, there is a need for a systematic mechanism by which videos are seamlessly placed directly in the video editor timeline after removing the green and/or blue backgrounds. Similarly, multiple users may decide to collaborate in real-time on complex scenes, layered storyline, or live feeds. Furthermore, mobile applications of this novel web application (App) may be downloaded on mobile devices to notify users about a new or ongoing video production in their current geographical locations to upload specific videos, background screen, news shots, sounds, music, cover events, collaborative storytelling, and so forth. Or, users may initiate a production triggered by advantageous situations. For example, major news, social, or personal events in specific location will notify all or pre-selected users using such mobile app to collaborate on scripting, shooting, editing, and producing videos on the fly.


FIG. 1 illustrates a Distributed Multimedia Production (DMP), according to some embodiments.

FIG. 2 illustrates a table of various camera locations with respect to an actor's positions and the corresponding angles, scenes, layers, according to some embodiments.

FIG. 3 illustrates an example of a hierarchy between application and user interfaces, according to some embodiments.

FIG. 4 illustrates an example of various elements within a shot, according to some embodiments.

FIG. 5 illustrates an example of a functional block within a main application page, according to some embodiments.

FIG. 6 illustrates an example of various functional elements within a user's idea page, according to some embodiments.

FIG. 7 illustrates an example of a functional block within a script page, according to some embodiments.

FIG. 8 illustrates an example of a functional block within an Editor (or Director) page, according to some embodiments.

FIG. 9 illustrates an example of a functional block within an actor page, according to some embodiments.

FIG. 10 illustrates an implementation example of a script within a video editor, according to some embodiments.

FIG. 11 illustrates an example of a file Uploader with Chroma keys to illuminate green or blue background color, according to some embodiments.

FIG. 12 illustrates an example of a Filer Uploader assigning uploaded videos to target shots within an embedded script in a video editor, according to some embodiments.

FIG. 13 illustrates a method for producing a multimedia project, according to our embodiments.

FIGS. 14A and 14B illustrate a script writer tool and intake tool, according to an example embodiment.

FIG. 15 illustrates a video editor tool, according to an example embodiment.

FIG. 16 illustrates a mobile device display, according to an example embodiment.


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Presented herein is a novel platform that alleviates such requirements by opening up the video creation, production, and distribution process to a collaborative process. Such methods and applications may be used to democratize digital video processes and thus empower a whole new generation of artists, writers, content, and markets by exponentially increasing the number of professional and amateur video creators and industry players contributing to the whole video digital content and economy. Unlike conventional online video editors, online video production communities using this novel web application have interaction with script writers. Hence, the script is seamlessly embedded into the video editor to simplify the production process and balance production roles among users. Eventually, diverse global user communities may be formed that include a variety of participants, such as students, writers, actors, cameramen, artists, filmmakers, musicians, educators, journalists, travelers, activists, sports enthusiasts, and bloggers. Such a novel production environment enables practically anyone who wants to create original video content. Furthermore, the script may encompass placeholders, command lines, and producer/editor comments to automatically upload videos captured by socially connected users into the pre-assigned slots in the video editor timeline to enable collaborative storytelling and make video production a social experience. These users may do so by using the App version on their mobile devices. Such novel platform creates aggregate value by offering an environment for collective efforts and collaboration instead of today's tiny and disconnected individual efforts or expensive and inflexible production studio styles. This “Community-Driven” web application also brings together amateur, professionals, and celebrities, where feedback or cameo appearances by celebrities and professionals may be the ultimate reward to amateur users. A mobile App has both client side portion and software on network servers which receive a plurality of video, audio, images, commands, text, and comments data streams from a plurality of mobile stations to produce videos on the fly or in a time delayed fashion. Users may select to keep copies of their own files on their mobile device. Unsophisticated users may configure their mobile App from a pre-selected menu to setup the complete or a portion of the simplified video production portal application from both the client and server sides depending on their roles in the production process. For instance, a football event may trigger a video project where users are scattered around the football field. Production owner uses the script tool to create scenes and shots using script tool, where scenes my represent the quarters in the game, introduction, summery, best plays, highlights, key players, and so forth. Actors are now cameraman using their mobile devices to follow the script. Mobile App will be configured based on their role and will allow them to simultaneously view video shots to interchange roles on the fly depending on game progress.

In some embodiments, a system 100, as illustrated in FIG. 1, includes a Distributed Multimedia Production (DMP) platform 110 communicatively coupled to the Internet 120 and one or more databases, DB(1), D(2), . . . DB(N) 102. These system elements may be distributed among a collection of servers located around the globe. The configuration of system 100 allows collaborative processing incorporating multiple distributed participants. The DMP 110 enables a new generation of socially-connected professionals and amateurs to collaborate on high-quality video productions. Participants are able to work together in the process of generating the video, as well as to make the resultant work available online and accessible to mobile devices. The collaborative and distributed type web applications described herein provide online tools to write scripts, add commands, shoot videos, edit, produce, market, and distribute quality videos in a systematic, flexible, seamless, and simple way so as to make each user's experience enjoyable, rewarding, and exciting.

In one example the DMP platform 100 is a collaborative web application having modules for compiling a composition, authorizing users, providing tools to users, and payment or subscription processing. Other modules may be added as a function of the capabilities and desires of the collaborators. The DMP platform may be implemented as a cloud service, where functions are provided as a networked solution. The DMP platform may be implemented as distributed modules, where software is downloaded or otherwise provided to the collaborators. The modules of DMP 110 include tools 116 which provide applications and utilities for each of the users. These tools 116 will typically include tools specific to the functions performed. In this way, tools 116 may include a set of tools for authors, a set of tools for videographers, a set of tools for editing, a set of tools for compilation, and other functions. The tools 116 may further provide access to other applications which are not included in the DMP 110 but are available through a networked connection, such as Internet 120. In some examples, participants are able to access external applications and tools, such as third party applications or Tools as a Service (TAS) applications, whereby, tools 116 may interface with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) seamlessly. In this way, the participant may select the feature or application desired, and tools 116 will set up the connection automatically and allow access to the application.

Users may access tools 116 according their role or identify, as well as according to the production arrangement. The tools may be provided as services or may be downloadable as widgets for use at the collaborators computing or mobile device. The tools 116 may further provide interfaces and APIs to the user for interfacing with external devices, such as cameras, lighting equipment, sound equipment, digitizing devices, website, other resources and software programs. The tools module 116 may further provide drivers for control of external devices and software desired for use on the collaborative project. The tools module 116 maintains these various mechanisms and works in cooperation with the other modules within DMP 110, such as the authorization module 118, compilation module 112, and payment module 114.

The compilation module 112, according to some embodiments, allows users to build the multimedia work by compiling the various components generated and contributed by each of the collaborative users. The compilation module 112 processes uploaded files and video to allow fast online processing. For instance, characters, scenes, shots within scenes, commands, dialogues, actions, and comments are created and included during the script writing process to build videos initial structure. Such structure is automatically integrated into video editor timeline. Comments may be part of the shot metadata that users, specifically actors and cameraman, can input to describe building blocks of elements used to create the scene such as type of furniture, clothing, jewelry, accessories, and so forth, to enable viewers to select these items while watching the video to determine vendors selling these items online, in stores, or in nearby stores depending on user's location. This embedded advertising becomes part of the revenue models for this novel web application. Furthermore, high-quality videos are converted to low-resolution files during the upload process to enable users to edit them on the fly, green or blue background screens are automatically removed, and videos are trimmed to assign each trimmed video file to its corresponding slot in the video editor timeline After the video editing process is complete, the compiler renders the video to its original high quality resolution for online, broadcast, or cable distribution. Information included in the script, such as characters, scenes, shots within scenes, commands, dialogues, actions, and comments, may be integrated with the video during the rendering process to provide keywords and descriptions that may be used to promote the video, associate relevant commercials and advertisement during viewing, and help search engines identify clips within the video. This data may be stored in a new format with the video data, or may be stored in a separate file mapped to the video data. A web application may include HTML and style sheet documents, which provide the graphics and look of the webpage, which are downloaded to users' drive and cached. It may also include text files, which are validated by the browser, such as XML, java, flash or other files. The authorization module 118 identifies users by identity, such as by roles or contribution, and applies rules for processing and enabling operations. The authorization module 118 assigns and monitors rights are based on a processing scheme. In some embodiments the processing scheme is predetermined prior to starting a collaborative project or work. In some embodiments the processing scheme may be dynamically modified by an administrator. The authorization module 118 works in coordination with the payments module 114 to bill participants and to verify payment for each collaborative process according to the processing scheme. The payments may be based on collaboration parameters, such as by data content or by time used. Further, the payment module may enable a profit-sharing or other arrangement. The payments module 114 provides the payment status information to the authorization module 118; in response, the authorization module 118 may enable or prohibit users with respect to the various functions of the DMP 110.

The DMP 110 may be further offered as a cloud service, such as Software as a Service (SAS). In such an environment, the DMP 110 platform may upgrade the various modules without interruption or action by the users. The collaboration of users is then facilitated through the cloud service(s), enabling collaborators to work together asynchronously but with the most recent versions and information. The cloud service may access other information available through the Internet, and may also access proprietary databases of the collaborators. Where the service is provided as a platform or application in the cloud, the service is then available for easy access from any device having capability to access the Internet or network. The ability to collaborate from anywhere provides users with enhanced flexibility. Similarly, multiple users may decide to collaborate in real-time on complex scenes, layered storyline, or live feeds.

The DMP 110 may be used for Internet productions and publications, such as video and TV applications available at sites on the web. The DMP 110 is configured for use and communication with Internet protocols. The DMP 110 may post or publish video content and monitor its use and viewing statistics. This information may be used as feedback in further development of a given project or as survey type information for future projects. The DMP 110 may be used to create casting calls or review screen play snippets. This may extend to film festivals for coordination and planning of events.

Individual films may be created on or provided to the DMP 110, for review, scheduling and selection by a film review committee. In this scenario, the reviewers could provide critique and edits to the film, having ability to manipulate scene information. This is available as the project is configurable by the DMP 110.

Some Examples of DMP Systems

In some examples, a DMP 110 eliminates costly tools, equipment and royalties by providing or recommending video capture kits with camera, microphone, green screen, lights, and so forth, as well as providing royalty free stock footage and soundtracks. The DMP 110 enables asynchronous shots taped by actors to be assembled into a single shot within a scene, in accordance to script information, to provide streamlined production processes. The production processes provides simple writing tools which expands an idea to a detailed screenplay. Further, the DPM 110 provides powerful editing tools to layer video elements, incorporate and modify video and audio elements, title and subscript scenes, add effects and transitions into a high-quality video production. Similarly, multiple users may decide to collaborate in real-time on complex scenes, layered storyline, or live feeds.

In one example, social networking tools allow writers, producers, actors, cameramen, and artists to collaborate and share work at any stage using a computing or mobile device. Such a collaborative platform may be used to create videos including short videos of offbeat comedy skits, spoofs, training videos, commercials, infomercials, documentaries, full length movies. In some examples these collaborations may produce videos of short duration, less than ten minutes, or long durations. The collaborative platform accommodates multiple contributors. A producer, writers, editors, actors, cameramen, artists, musicians, sound engineers, and others may all participate and contribute at different stages of the video production. The roles of the participants may include producers, writers, actors, cameramen, engineers, editors, and so forth.

In some embodiments, a producer is an authenticated owner of a particular production having ultimate control over its metadata, access rights, scene releases and credits. The producer may post a call for writers, actors, cameramen, or others for the project. The producer selects and authenticates writers, actors and other participants. Writers are authenticated users granted access to a page for editing the script, referred to as the Edit Script page, for a particular scene or all scenes in a production. There may be multiple writers for a single project. The writers may have a partition that allows them to collaborate among themselves prior to posting their writings for viewing, critique, and learning by others. Once the writings are so posted, an editor or producer will review, comment and revise the writings. Script may include characters, scenes, shots within scenes, commands, dialogues, actions, and comments. An editor is an authenticated user granted access to a page for editing the video, referred to as the Edit Video page, for a particular scene or all scenes in a production. The actors then act out the writings, or script; the actors are authenticated users having a defined character role in a particular scene and therefore are granted access to a page to upload clips, referred to as the Upload Clip page, for that scene. Actors may include celebrities providing cameos which may be integrated into the video project. An artist is an authenticated user given the task to generate background images and videos for given scenes when directors/editors cannot identify suitable ones in the application database. Engineers and musicians are authenticated users given the task to generate sound effects, video effects and music for given scenes when directors/editors cannot identify suitable ones in the application database. Administrators are DMP personnel having access to certain editorial functions. Super Administrators are DMP technical personnel having access to user accounts and low-level functions, as well as having control to configure the DMP according to a processing scheme.

When a production is first created, its producer (or potentially the owner) has access to many functionalities, including multiple access rights, but they can also assign those rights to other users. The access rights include: a) Script Viewing: ability to view scene scripts (can be public). b) Commenting: ability to comment on scenes c) Script Writing: ability to create scenes, shots within scenes, and edit their scripts and character roles, add commands, dialogues, actions, and comments. d) Editing: ability to sequence uploaded clips, add effects, titles, transitions within the editor e) Upload: general file upload rights, which may include green or blue background removal, video trimming, and linking files to their corresponding slots within the video editor timeline f) Casting: ability to assign users to character roles

The DMP 110 supports a variety of processing functions, some of these are detailed below according to an example embodiment.

Script Editor

This function is based on the type of user and currently selected element. Below are few of the types of script elements supported: 1. Shot—a single camera angle i. Horizontal slider: angles from −90° (left) to 90° (right) ii. Vertical slider: angles from −90° (down) to 90° (up) iii. Depth of View slider: values −10 (wide angle) to 10 (closeup) iv. Transition to next shot (optional) v. Suggested length: auto checkbox allowing override of length field only if this scene has not yet had its video edited 2.Action—direction for movement of a single actor i. Character selection menu ii. Start position selector (clockface) iii. End position selector (optional) 3. Dialog—lines to be delivered by a single actor i. Character selection menu ii. Delivery extension field 4.Command and comment lines i. Placeholders for videos uploaded by social media users ii. Marketing material iii. Users comments

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Data Processing: Presentation Processing Of Document, Operator Interface Processing, And Screen Saver Display Processing   Operator Interface (e.g., Graphical User Interface)   On Screen Video Or Audio System Interface   For Video Segment Editing Or Sequencing  

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