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Old 05-16-2011, 02:38 PM
Audacity Audacity is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Posts: 91
Feature Suggestion: new FF / Rewind interface

This suggestion was inspired by the Netflix FF/Rew interface, but is improved with a "zoom" feature.

Imagine I have a recording of a documentary and I want to find this certain part. I don't remember the time index, but given the way my brain works I'd know if it I saw it, and since I'm a human and have an associative memory I remember things that happened near the clip that I'm looking for.

So, I press the "zoom out" (up?) button after I started watching the video. The frame that I'm looking at would "zoom out" and you'd see the frame with previous and next frames (maybe 5 frames on the screen, total) in a timeline view. I can press the up/down buttons again to adjust the granularity of the time between frames (30 seconds, 60 seconds, 120 seconds, etc) with zoom effects and I can press forward/backward to select the particular frame in question, and press "ok" or "play" to continue playing from the selected frame. In my example use case I'd zoom out until it's ~15 minutes between frames for my 2 hour long documentary, pick the closest frame using forward/back buttons, and then zoom in again and start looking for the specific scene using this zoom in/out search pattern.

Maybe for performance reasons it would be easiest to just select I-frames/key frames instead of trying to get images from exactly every 60 seconds of video. You'll almost certainly have an I-frame between each commercial and the start of TV shows anyway, which would work well for commercial skipping which would be one of the primary uses of this interface feature.

Anyway, I do have a software development background, but I'm too unfamiliar with the SageTV platform to want to get involved with writing an addon for this because of all the time I'd have to spend familiarizing myself with the API and learning want is and isn't possible. Plus, I'm a bit too busy (or is it lazy?) to want to open up a new project on a platform I'm not familiar with. So, in the tradition of lazy people I'm going to write a form post about my idea and see if people more motivated than I am want to pick up the idea and integrate it with a custom UI. PluckyHD has said a few times just how extensible the new Sage APIs are for interface addons, so maybe this can be a new Diamond feature if the people at Sage don't think this is worthy of being in the core product.
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:13 PM
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GKusnick GKusnick is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,083
I have a great idea for a horror novel. I wonder if Stephen King has time to write it for me?

Seriously, though, this is a reasonable idea that has been suggested before. I've done some experimentation along these lines myself, but not in a form that can be released as a plugin without a fair amount of additional work. Like you, I'm busy with other projects and don't have time to take it further right now. (Plus I'm not a Diamond user so don't expect any Diamond plugins from me.)

Generally, the way good plugins get made is for the person who wants it most to put in the effort to make it. Most of the experienced plugin devs have plenty of their own ideas they want to pursue, so unless a suggestion from the forums really grabs them, they're unlikely to put aside their own projects to take up someone else's.

The chances of seeing something like this in the stock UI any time soon are pretty slim in my estimation. This is exactly the kind of thing the Sage devs like to leave to plugin devs to experiment with and work the kinks out before they're willing to risk incorporating it into the base product.

As a minor implementation note, I think that generating thumbnails on the fly is going to be impractical. You're going to want some sort of background process that generates thumbnails proactively so they're already there and ready to be displayed when you hit the Zoom Out button. This again puts it firmly in plugin territory as far as the Sage devs are concerned, I should think.
-- Greg
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:22 PM
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panteragstk panteragstk is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New Braunfels, TX
Posts: 3,312
Originally Posted by GKusnick View Post
I have a great idea for a horror novel. I wonder if Stephen King has time to write it for me?
You sir are awesome.

Seriously though, I asked for the same with the music ui. I ended up starting to create it on my own (not completely). Too bad I don't get to work on it as much as I want.
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Last edited by panteragstk; 05-16-2011 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 05-20-2011, 12:23 AM
stevech stevech is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,643
Interesting: TimeWarner (Scientific Atlanta) DVR's fast-forward does this:
Push-hold FF button. Goes at about 8X speed. (no 30 second or 180 second option, sigh).
But while FF'ing, when you see the program begin, release FF and the box automatically backs up to the beginning of that segment of the show. How? Like comskip - assume there's always a half second of black? Don't know but it's fast.

But I'd much rather have the user-defined FF step time that Sage has.
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