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Under a new partnership unveiled today, Kaltura, maker of embeddable collaborative video webware, will bring video to the Wikimedia family of sites. The beta program, which is being dubbed “an open, collaborative video experiment,” will allow users to add and remix rich media via an embeddable player on wiki pages.
Kaltura’s software will be tested on WikiEducator before making its way onto actual Wikipedia pages. Kaltura will release its own front-end and back-end code, as open source and open standards are critical ideas to the test’s success, Kaltura’s CTO Shay David stressed to us. Several demo pages with example Kalturas (yes, it’s also a noun) have already been put up, including this one on recycling.
Following Wikipedia’s original idea of having the world co-edit the most comprehensive encyclopedia, Kaltura will move those textually two-dimensional pages into the video-enhanced age of rich social media. In other words, the wisdom of the masses just got a webcam and everyone gets final cut.
Each Kaltura has an annotated list of contributors and editors and a segmented time line that allows users to see, at a glance, exactly how many cooks have been in the kitchen. You can even go back in the Kaltura’s history and view an older version, allowing you compare Kaltura cuts and follow its evolution.
Kaltura follows Wikipedia’s model for exceedingly simple user interface. To add an asset to a Kaltura, from your computer or the web, simply click “add to this video.” From there you can upload a file or direct Kaltura to a linked asset. You can also log into YouTube or MySpace from inside the widget and upload videos from your existing accounts.
If you want to get in and get your hands dirty, you can click “edit this video,” whereupon a full-sized iMovie-esque interface pops up, complete with time lines and asset lists, as well as separate video, soundtrack and voiceover tracks. A limited but sufficient palette of special effects are available including dissolves, wipes and fades, though it does lack the all-powerful star wipe.
Kaltura has been working on this collaborative video software for several months and it looks better and smoother than the version we tested back in October, a month after the company’s public launch. The key is making it easy to use but productive. For anyone who has used video editing software, regardless of which one, Kaltura’s interface will be very navigable. With this beta, we’ll find out if wiki communities can repeat their productive text-based collaborations in video form.