by: Iqbal Mohammed

Yooouuutuuube is a site that allows one to watch Youtube videos (specified by URL or a random one) as a series of sequential frames placed one after the other.

There are a couple of options you can tweak to choose the resulting presentation (including the all important frame size) - but after you play a few vidoes this way, it may all seem too pointless or just another fun way to waste time.

But if you are interested in extracting valuable data from the video in question it's just the beginning. For starters, the series of frames serve as a on-the-fly graphical representation/comparison of the screen time taken by the people/things in the video.

The following screen grab, for eg., shows the relative screen time taken by American Idol judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson in commenting about Megan Joy Corkery's audition. (The comparision would have been significantly lopsided in case a Mr.Cowell was involved.)


The ability to observe videos as frames side by side can also lead to some interesting detective work.

I spent some time this morning putting Vodafone's Zoozoos series of commercials - currently the topic of discussion in India - through Yooouuutuuube. Zoozoos are seemingly-animated egg-headed characters (seemingly because they are actually real people shot wearing body suits) and are the protagonists of the 30-odd set of commercials - you can catch the entire series in this excellent round up here.

Armed with the knowledge that any change of expression in a Zoozoo involves a cut (because the new changed expression had to be pasted on the mask of the character), I was looking for instances and evidence of the same.

Consider this series of frames from one commercial where the character changes expression:


And, in particular, look at these 4 key frames (from the third row) in close up:


Notice something unusual? This isn't just a makeover of expression. The person playing the character has totally been replaced with another, right under your unsuspecting nose - notice the marked difference in the shape and size of heads from frames 1 & 2 to frames 3 & 4.

The replacement is hardly noticeable when viewed at normal speed - not surprising, because the egg-heads are so feature-sparse, it's difficult to notice all but the most obvious changes.

I am not sure this particular discovery means much. But subjecting the vast and wide vault of videos available on Youtube to such close scrutiny might yield some interesting things.

Don't you think?

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