LOST the plot watching Homeland or Game of Thrones? Wondering when a strange character you'd never seen before on Doctor Who was introduced? You're not alone: the tremendous choice of programmes on offer on today's multichannel TV services can make it hard to keep up.
But help is at hand, thanks to scene-analysis software that can compile a video sequence summarising any chosen plot line or character's appearances in a TV series. Choose a scene, for instance, and the software will assemble a personalised video episode based around it. And in a move screenwriters will doubtless detest, it can also help fans compile customised episodes starring only their favourite actors.
Called StoryVisualizer - or StoViz - the PC-based technology has been made possible by the increasing amount of content that can be stored on digital video recorders, says lead developer Hervé Bredin of the Computer Sciences Laboratory for Mechanics and Engineering Sciences (LIMSI) in Orsay, France. TiVo and Sky Plus, for example, can store up to a week of continuous broadcast TV plus all of the previous episodes in various series. "We think it's time users had search and browsing tools to use within these digital video collections," Bredin says.
New Scientist (sub required)
Photo from a paper by Bredin. Click to enlarge.