Advanced Observational Research Suite from VisionsLive NZ Ltd

videoscribe screenshot


VisionsLive NZ Ltd is a market-leading firm which develops software solutions for observational and qualitative research.
Traditionally, this sort of research was done using VCR technology. The researcher would record the video in one step, and then after the session, the researcher would review the video and make notes on a clipboard as to what they observed as it played.  This made the job very slow and laborious. Early efforts to improve on this included capturing and storing the video stream in a digital format, such as DVD or hard-drive, however, notes and events of interest would still be recorded manually on a clipboard….until now!

Introducing VideoScribe

VideoScribe, our flagship product, is a software tool for simplifying and improving the performance of researchers engaged in any form of observational research.

Installing and using the VideoScribe Suite enables a researcher to record or import video/audio footage and analyse it to store, tag, mark-up, transcribe, summarise and export any events of interest both in real-time and in subsequent playbacks.

As the video/audio plays within the software, a horizontally scrolling multi-layered events-based timeline can be constructed by the researcher. This events-based timeline is colour coded and forms a visual-cue commonly referred to as the “piano roll” and it can greatly simplify and speed up the entire research process, including the ability to instantly jump to points of interest within the video/audio. Once constructed, the events mark-up can be exported to Excel (xls) format for detailed analysis.

No more save button!  VideoScribe includes a robust, integrated data management system which takes care of automatically storing and saving all event and mark-up data related to your observational research project.

Features of the VideoScribe Suite

•    Supports up to 4 simultaneous video streams.
•    Import existing video files or record live footage directly into VideoScribe with an attached camera.
•    Fully integrated video analysis suite.
•    Perform analysis and mark points of interest while recording using pre-configured ‘hot keys’
•    Jump instantly to any position, event or point of interest.
•    Intelligent transcribing support, including the ability to transcribe utterances in the video.
•    One button loopback review of video for easy transcribing (5 second – 10 second).
•    Integrated analysis tools to assist in event mark-up.
•    Graphical Landscape overview of events in Piano Roll.
•    Zooming, scrolling and drag and drop correction of  mark-up events using the mouse.
•    Sort, filter and export events to Excel (xls).
•    Flexible, state-of-the-art data management system, which also allows the export and storing of relevant research data and complete research project files.
•    Share with others – Easily export video/audio clips direct from your VideoScribe projects and embed them in your reports.


The VideoScribe Model

The VideoScribe application uses a simple and flexible model to store the data for the research.


A VideoScribe project is the complete set of all the data and video media for a research project. This is stored in a single data file and one or more directories of video media files.


Within a project, multiple sessions may exist. A session is a collection of one or more contiguously or simultaneously recorded video files and all the data related to events within that video. Another way of looking at it is that a session stores the information related to a certain specified period of time. Examples of sessions would be an interview or a days recording of an ongoing experiment.


An analysis in video scribe is a collection of event mark up that is associated with a session. A session may have many analyses associated with it but each analysis is stored on only one session. An example of where multiple analyses might be used is if two or more people were to mark the events in the same session in order to have replication in that aspect of the research.

Event Lines

An event line represents a time line within an analysis that stores events of a certain kind. Multiple event lines would usually be added to each analysis to store all the different events that the researcher is observing.


Events are ultimately the most important thing in the system because this is the raw data being entered by the researcher. Events occur at a certain instant of time and can have a duration or be instantaneous. Events are stored together on an event line.


Trait is the word used to describe an entity in the system that is not any of the things described previously. Traits are used by the researcher to store other data relevant to the area of research. Some examples of traits might be people involved in the research (both researchers and subjects), the various apparatus used in the research or the recording rooms used in the research.

Digital Video

VideoScribe can record digital video from Windows Driver Model devices connected to the system. Many cheap web cams use this system and better quality cameras are also available. The advantages of using digital video are better quality, ease of editing and playback, and reduced storage space requirements. Ease of navigation around the video is also very good in the VideoScribe system. The normal scroll bar controls allows seeking to any point. Additionally by clicking on an event the video can be made to jump to the point in time when that event starts. This allows rapid navigation between points of interest.

Event Markup

VideoScribe uses an innovative “piano roll” display to graphically show events. This allows the researcher to quickly see the relative position of events from different analyses and event lines. The start position and duration of the event can be quickly changed with a click and drag of the mouse. New events can be entered by selecting the correct event line and clicking a new event button or alternatively by using configurable hot keys. For transcription of speech a special text editor is available that operates intuitively to pause and play the video as required by the typist. Navigating to different events is very easy using a scroll bar like control that displays a miniature “landscape” of all the events in the session. The events in a specified region of time can also be viewed, sorted, filtered and exported in a spreadsheet like grid.

Storing Other Research Data

All of the items in a project (the sessions, analyses, event lines, events and traits) can have customisable data fields added to them. Data can be in the form of numbers, text or links to other items. So it is possible for instance to record the fact the a certain analysis was performed by researcher “Jane” on research subject “Toby”. In this example, researcher and research subject would be represented by custom traits in the system. The configuring of the various different types in the system is an advanced function provided on our professional edition of the software. VisionsLive provides template projects to suit most basic research situations and can customise those templates as required.

Exporting the Video and Data

The complete recorded video files can be exported in the popular Windows Media format. Additionally it is possible to export short clips of video coinciding with selected events. For example one may wish to present at a conference all the instances in the video where a subject displayed a notable behaviour. To produce a video that shows this is as easy as selecting the desired events and clicking the export button. All of the data visible in the system can be exported at any point to Microsoft Excel format (*.xls) or comma delimited data format (*.csv) for further processing and statistical analysis.

Technical Details

Data Storage

VideoScribe uses an embedded database to store all project data. This means that the researcher never needs to remember to click save and the data on file can never be corrupted by an unexpected shut down of the application. Event powering off the machine in the middle of an edit will leave the project in a consistent state ready for immediate use.

On top of the database we use a sophisticated proprietary data system that allows us to change the schema of the stored data at any time with deleterious consequences. This means that if you need to add an additional field to an analysis or trait after you have already entered some data, you can with no fuss.

Video System

VideoScribe uses the power of Microsoft’s DirectShow system to support recording, importing and playing of almost all popular video formats.

Live demo – Massey University, Wellington

VideoScribe will have a live demo on display on Friday 23rd January at the 11th NZ Early Childhood Research Conference/Symposium which is run annually or biannually by Childforum Research (in association in 2009 with ARECE)

21st-23rd Jan 2009
Massey University
Museum Building
Buckle Street
Wellington, New Zealand

Friday Stalls in the Tea Garden (open from 9.45am – 4pm)

VideoScribe: An Advanced Observational Research Suite from Intranel Ltd

VideoScribe is an application for performing observational research that runs on a Microsoft Windows. In a nut shell this involves recording video and analysing it for events of interest. Traditionally this sort of research was done using VCR technology. The researcher would record the video in one step and then after the session would review the video and make notes on a clipboard as to what they observed as it played. This technology made the job very slow and laborious. VideoScribe utilises the latest in personal computer based recording technology to make the recording and playback faster and more flexible. On top of the recording system, VideoScribe offers integrated analysis tools to assist in marking up events, goodbye clipboard and data entry. As well as the video analysis system VideoScribe offers a flexible, state of the art data management system. This system allows the researcher to store all the relevant data from their research subject integrated with the observational research system.

Come and see this demonstrated and find out more. Or contact us to book for extensive demo to see in full detail.