HTML5 Video element discussions at TPAC meetings

Last week’s TPAC (2009 W3C Technical Plenary / Advisory Committee) meetings were my second time at a TPAC and I found myself becoming highly involved with the progress on accessibility on the HTML5 video element. There were in particular two meetings of high relevanct: the Video Accessibility workshop and Friday’s HTML5 breakout group on the video element.

HTML5 Video Accessibility Workshop

The week started on Sunday with the “HTML5 Video Accessibility workshop” at Stanford University, organised by John Foliot and Dave Singer. They brought together a substantial number of people all representing a variety of interest groups. Everyone got their chance to present their viewpoint – check out the minutes of the meeting for a complete transcript.

The list of people and their discussion topics were as follows:

Accessibility Experts

  • Janina Sajka, chair of WAI Protocols and Formats: represented the vision-impaired community and expressed requirements for a deeply controllable access interface to audio-visual content, preferably in a structured manner similar to DAISY.
  • Sally Cain, RNIB, Member of W3C PF group: expressed a deep need for audio descriptions, which are often overlooked besides captions.
  • Ken Harrenstien, Google: has worked on captioning support for video.google and YouTube and shared his experiences, e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRS8MkLhQmM, and automated translation.
  • Victor Tsaran, Yahoo! Accessibility Manager: joined for a short time out of interest.

Practicioners

  • John Foliot, professor at Stanford Uni: showed a captioning service that he set up at Stanford University to enable lecturers to publish more accessible video – it uses humans for transcription, but automated tools to time-align, and provides a Web interface to the staff.
  • Matt May, Adobe: shared what Adobe learnt about accessibility in Flash – in particular that an instream-only approach to captions was a naive approach and that external captions are much more flexible, extensible, and can fit into current workflows.
  • Frank Olivier, Microsoft: attended to listen and learn.

Technologists

7 thoughts on “HTML5 Video element discussions at TPAC meetings

  1. Thanks for the writeup, Silvia!

    I’m very interested in how the baseline codec discussion plays out. Hardware support will be quick to follow any industry wide adoption. Currently, video encoding is the most time intensive process in my software, StatEasy. I’d love to have a camera record OGG video natively. At the very least, a hardware accelerator would be helpful.

    I’m very much in favor of a JavaScript/CSS method to customize display of any captions.

    If FOMS wasn’t so far away from Pittsburgh, PA I’d be sure to attend! Looking forward to your writeup of that event in 2010!

    Mike Ressler

  2. Hi Pierre,

    I apologize for the misspellings – I took them from the transcript and didn’t know better. Also I apologize for mis-representing the topic of your presentation – will correct that, too.

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