Dragging Video Objects

Find the exact frame when they touch the ball.

Using a timeline slider to scroll through video to find the moment when an object is at a specific position is awkward and never very precise. Dragon, a project from the Media Computing Group at RWTH Aachen University, looks like a very cool solution.

Dragon lets you directly manipulate objects in a video. With the system, you can touch any object in the video and drag it. You can only move them along the path that exists in the video, but the direct interaction appears to give a great feeling of control and precision.

“By directly dragging objects in the scene along their movement trajectory, Dragon enables users to quickly and precisely navigate to a specific point in the video timeline where an object of interest is in a desired location. Examples include the specific frame where a sprinter crosses the finish line, or where a car passes a traffic light.”

Of course, there are questions, too. What about objects that have complex, less linear, motions in the film? What would it be like to use in a long scene?

I can’t tell if the work has been commercialized, but there are countless potential applications for this. How cool would it be if it was built into your Tivo? Or into iMovie? Let’s do something cool with this! (Although it uses a very different technology, the Wrangler Blue Bell website has feel that’s very similar to this.)

The work was done in 2008, and there is also an iPhone demo. You can download the app, and a video demo, on the project’s website.

Link via Interactive Multimedia Technology.

Behind-the-scenes: computing object motions.

The path you can drag the white car.

Or you can follow a pedestrian.

You can even drag a little bird that's walking around.