In light of the race for President, I would like to highlight a pretty neat non-profit project called MetaVid, which is a freely available archive of US Congress video clips, complete with semantic metadata, transcriptions and annotations in a wikipedia style.

It allows for great searches for things like John McCain's and Barrack Obama's speeches that mention Iraq. Or just about any other topic that you find interesting.

The project uses lots of free software including Theora, MediaWiki and Annodex technologies. It also provides a nice little javascript library ala swfobject that helps with creating compatible playback of video and has support for the upcoming video element in HTML5. Theora and the video element support should land in FireFox 3.1

It is a really nice project that shows you where video will be heading over the next couple of years. With in addition things such as SVG, the canvas element, combined with HTML DOM manipulation, you can create some very powerful interfaces such as this SVG Video demo by Chris Double. Of course, since this is all early pre-release code, there is little to no hardware acceleration done. Hopefully this can be added over time, so it will playback nice and snappy, just as fast as native plugins can.

It will be great to see things such as Dirac be standardized as VC-2, the addition of SVC to AVC and see how that opens the playing field. So far the web and offline video have diverged quite a bit, so it will be an interesting thing to see if convergence will happen. Right now it is looking like the patent restricted AVC and AAC are the front runners for the new frontier, but hopefully there is still time and room for these free formats to take hold.

If you are excited about the Metavid project and have some time to contribute to it. Consider helping the project by improving the associated metadata and therefore also increase the relevance of the search engine, as it will be able to locate related content easier.