During the U.S. presidential elections, one of the campaigning methods which got a lot of attention was President-Elect Obama's in-game billboard ad inserted into the Xbox 360 racing game, Burnout Paradise. Now a similar technology for embedding images is making its way into online, user-gen video. Instead of pre-rolls, post-rolls, or overlays, this technology allows for inserted images to be rendered onto any planar surface in a video, whether wall, floor, or ceiling. Oh, and they don't have to be images, either - the technology supports embedding videos within your videos, too.
A group of Stanford University researchers specializing in artificial intelligence, Saxena and Siddharth Batra, and Assistant Professor Andrew Ng, created this new technology they're calling ZunaVision. The embedding technology is driven by an algorithm that first analyzes the video while paying close attention to the section of the scene where the image or video will be embedded. It then subtly alters the color, texture, and lighting of the embedded object to better fit it in with the surroundings. As other objects pass in front of the embed, it disappears from view and as the camera pans and zooms, the algorithm shape-shifts the object accordingly. The appropriate shadows are also added for a more realistic feel. The end result is an embed that looks as if it was there all along, instead of being some obvious insert or overlay that is clearly not a part of the scene.
ZunaVision , anyone and everyone can accomplish this same task in minutes, with only a click of the mouse.This type of technology is nothing new to the big Hollywood studios - they've been using similar methods for years in order to do special effects. Until now, however, there hasn't been a way for people to perform these kinds of advanced video edits without investing serious money into professional video editing software. But with
Revolutionizing Video Ads?
Videographers are already thinking of creative and imaginative ways to use this technology to liven up their videos and amateur films, but the real financial potential of ZunaVision lies in advertising. With ZunaVision, anyone with a video camera could potentially earn money by agreeing to place corporate logos or ads within their videos before uploading them to the internet. That could be a hugely successful venture if the technology was adopted by Google, for example, to become the "AdSense for Video" and integrated with their video-sharing site YouTube.
At the moment, YouTube is experimenting with different methods of monetization, including overlay ads on embeds, post-roll ads, and allowing publishers to bid for sponsored placement of their videos on the site. These methodologies are still too new to provide any conclusive data as to their success just yet. ZunaVision seems to be just as promising, if not more so, than any of these current experiments.
The ZunaVision site features several example of these in-video embeds, which you can see here - there are well over a hundred examples of both user-gen videos and clips from TV and film that demonstrate the technology's potential.
You can sign up and try ZunaVision for yourself by clicking here.
Image Credit, L.A. Cicero, Standford