Mozilla Popcorn Maker – The Future of Media?

According to the Guinness book of world records, Roundhay Garden Scene, released in 1888, is the oldest surviving film in existence. It was recorded at 12 fps.

Videos have come a long way since those days, evolving from that rough art to the high definition and 3d videos of the present. Video is now used as one of the most important forms of communication, on TV, but increasingly on the web, too. As video evolved, some people began working towards making it interactive and much more connected to the web. Among those people were the folks at Mozilla whose effort led to the development of popcorn.js, a HTML5 media framework written in javascript for anyone who wants to create interactive media on the web.

Then in 2012, they released the Popcorn Maker which is supposed to let you create videos that behaves like the web itself. It’s a video editor built on top of popcorn.js that let you remix and enhance your web videos to include live data from the web. Is this app the future of media? Lets find out.

Inside Popcorn Maker

Popcorn Maker is a free to use web service with no hidden charges and is ad free. You do not have to sign in to use it, unless you want to save and share your creations, for which you need to have an account at Persona, a decentralized and secure authentication system developed by Mozilla themselves.

persona

Of the Mozilla users, by the Mozilla users and for the Mozilla users?

Getting Started

Click “Start from scratch” to start a Popcorn project from scratch. If you are new to the app, I’d recommend clicking the Tutorial button, which will take you through an interactive tutorial to familiarize with the app.

ui

The microwave oven where you make popcorns

Popcorn Maker is a timeline based video editing app and has all the basic features put together in a nice and easy to use manner. You have a workspace, timeline, and editor panel, where you can import media, remix and share it across the web.

Import

This is step one. Popcorn Maker allows you to import files from Youtube, Vimeo, Soundcloud or use a HTML 5 video.

import

Import from youtube, vimeo, soundcloud, or use a html 5 video

It should be noted that this app allows you to remix only one video at a time and also doesn’t allow you to upload videos from your computer. You cannot combine multiple videos in the timeline.

Remix

This part is fun and the end result depends on your creativity, purpose and mood. Popcorn has an array of tools, available in the Events tab, that aids you in remixing your video.

events

Spice up your video with events

  • The text event has all the necessary configuration options and transition effects.
  • The image event lets you add a single image to your video from your computer or a url, and also lets you add a flickr slideshow.
  • The pop up event with its nice set of icons comes in handy if you want to add a quote or an alert to your video.
  • The twitter event lets you display live tweets in your video pertaining to a specific keyword or a username.
  • You can also skip a section of your video, loop a section for ‘n’ number of times, or add pauses in your video using the respective playback control events.
  • With the wikipedia event, you can add additional content to support the video that you are remixing. For example, if you are a teacher and are remixing a lecture video for your students you could use the wikipedia event to include reference material, definitions for technical jargons, etc.
editing eff

All the basic editing options you need

Share

As I said before, you should be logged in to your Persona account if you want to save and share your popcorn videos.

Once you are done remixing, save your project to share it. Popcorn Maker lets you embed the video in your websites, emails, and posts. The Twitter and google+ buttons for sharing video are also present. The shared video can be remixed into a new video by other Popcorn users around the world by clicking the Remix button.

share

Share your videos to be remixed by others

One thing I would like to point out is that when we add events such as a Flickr slideshow or a wiki article to our projects, these events pull data from the web as and when the video is being played, meaning the project could be different every time it is viewed. Combine this with the remix button and you get a constantly evolving video.

What I Like

I like the concept of an ever evolving video and I also like the fact that Popcorn annotations can be linked to external pages for free, something that is a premium feature in YouTube.

What I Don’t Like

As Mozilla says, “Mozilla Popcorn supercharges web video.” It doesn’t have an option to create videos from scratch, and hence you cannot upload videos from your computer.

Popcorn Maker needs to tweak its UI a little bit in terms of usability. For example, I would have liked it better if there were an option to customize the workspace or at least resize the panels. You also cannot group elements and hence have to apply effects to individual elements.

con

You can hide the panels, though

Conclusion

Connect a video in the web with the content around it, and you get a video that behaves like the web itself, constantly changing and evolving, interactive, and sharable. That is what Mozilla has managed to achieve with the Popcorn Maker. I think this app is worth a try.


Summary

Mozilla Popcorn Maker is a timeline based video editing app that lets you enhance, remix and share web video.

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  • You didn’t really do a great job of hiding the fact that your email is just your name @gmail.com. :p

    Excellent review though.

    • umm… oops! didn’t realize… Heee :)