Twitter subtitling is the process of using live or recorded tweets from the backchannel to create subtitles for video content. The use of 'twitter subtitling' has mainly been used to enhance the video archive of live events (e.g. television broadcasts, conferences etc.).
The concept of combining video and Twitter feeds for recorded events was first proposed Tom Smith in February 2009 after experiencing Graham Linehan's BadMovieClub in which at 9pm exactly on 13 February 2009, over 2,000 Twitter users simultaneously pressed 'Play' on the film 'The Happening' and continued to 'tweet' whilst watching, creating a collective viewing experience.
Smith, in response, proposed that media such as DVDs and YouTube videos could be enhanced by overlaying asynchronous status updates from other Twitter users who had watched the same media.
Separately, in March 2009 Tony Hirst (Open University), in consultation with Liam Green-Hughes (Open University), presented a practical solution for creating SubRip (*.srt) subtitle files from the Twitter Search API using Yahoo Pipes. The resulting file was then uploaded to a YouTube video allowing users to replay in realtime audio/video with an overlay of status updates from Twitter. Hirst subsequently revisited his original solution creating the simplified Twitter Subtitle web interface for the original Yahoo Pipe
The concept was revisited on 16 February 2010 by Martin Hawksey (Jisc RSC Scotland North & East) in response to a notification by Hirst made via Twitter during a broadcast of the BBC/OU's The Virtual Revolution series in which Hirst requested information on replaying the #bbcrevolution hashtag in real-time.
Hawksey presented a solution, using Hirst's example from 2009, that created a subtitle file from tweets in W3C Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) which could be used with the BBC iPlayer. Hawksey, following support from Hirst, subsequently extended the Twitter Subtitles Generator tool to include: SubRip (*.srt) creation; and SMIL 3.0 smilText creation and real-time playback.
Development of the Twitter Subtitle Generator has continued with support to directly play embeddable YouTube and Vimeo HTML5 videos and following a suggestion from Hirst the ability to use the Twitter subtitles to navigate within the video timeline.
Examples of use
- Delivering Digital Britain: Lord Carter. Recorded February 24, 2009
- BBC/OU The Virtual Revolution Episodes 3&4. Originally broadcast on February 13, 2010 and February 20, 2010
- Gordon Brown (PM) Building Britain’s Digital Future announcement with twitter subtitles. Recorded March 23, 2010
- JISC10 Conference Keynotes with Twitter Subtitles. Recorded April 13, 2010
- Leaders debate on BBC iPlayer with twitter subtitles from parliamentary candidates. Recorded May 2, 2010
- Google I/O 2010 – Keynote Day 2 Android Demo with Twitter Subtitles. Recorded May 11, 2010
- Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) 2010 – Plenary session recordings. Recorded July 12–14, 2010
- Association for Learning Technology ALT-C 2010 – Keynotes by Donald Clark and Sugata Mitra. Recorded September 7/08, 2010
- "How Two Jokers De-Zombified the Film Industry with Twitter". Tom Smith's theotherblog. Archived from the original on 6 January 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
- "BadMovieClub website". Badmovieclub.co.uk. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
- "Twitter Powered Subtitles for Conference Audio/Videos on Youtube". OUseful.Info. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Easier Twitter Powered Subtitles for Youtube Movies". OUseful.Info. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Twitter / Tony Hirst: Hmmm, mulling over how to ..." Twitter. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Twitter powered subtitles for BBC iPlayer". RSC MASHe. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Twitter Powered Subtitles for BBC iPlayer Content c/o the MASHe Blog". OUseful.Info. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Twitter powered subtitles: Creation and playback for SMIL 3.0 SMILText, *.srt and Timed Text (BBC iPlayer)". RSC MASHe. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Twitter subtitles on Vimeo using HTML5". RSC MASHe. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Searching the Backchannel – Martin Bean, OU VC, Twitter Captioned at JISC10". OUseful.Info. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Searching the backchannel with Twitter subtitles". RSC MASHe. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "The Virtual Revolution: Twitter subtitles for BBC iPlayer". RSC MASHe. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
- "Gordon Brown's Building Britain's Digital Future announcement with twitter subtitles". RSC MASHe. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "JISC10 Conference Keynotes with Twitter Subtitles". RSC MASHe. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "What they were saying: Leaders debate on BBC iPlayer with twitter subtitles from parliamentary candidates". RSC MASHe. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Google I/O 2010 – Keynote Day 2 Android Demo with Twitter Subtitles". RSC MASHe. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Institutional Web Management Workshop 2010 – Plenary Talks". UKOLN. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
- "iTitle: Full circle with Twitter subtitle playback in YouTube (ALT-C 2010 Keynotes)". RSC MASHe. Retrieved 1 November 2010.