Saturday, February 23, 2013

Kalpana's Dances Annotated at Pad.ma

As I have been watching and digesting Uday Shankar's dance film Kalpana, now available for viewing free at Pad.ma, I was initially overwhelmed trying to keep track of all the various dances. Kalpana's many dance segments are often shot in fragments that quickly move from one to the next or abruptly shift to the next scene, so it's quite difficult to simply browse through the film and see all the dances. Some are so short (a few seconds) that you almost blink and miss them!

So I took the liberty of using my account at Pad.ma (free signup) and creating annotations for all of the dances in the film (except Labor and Machinery which is already annotated). How convenient it is to be able to easily click on a description and go right to that particular dance.  I also added any facts and tidbits about the dances I found from various articles and theses/dissertations.  Much more on that will be coming up in my post about my thoughts on Kalpana and Shankar's choreography...still in the works. :)  But for now I thought I would point out the annotations...which I'll keep adding to as I find new factoids.

Pad.ma offers some unique features for video searching and collaboration and an especially unique interface. As they word it, "Pad.ma seeks to do for online video what Youtube does not: deep context and searchability within video material, a non-commercial and open environment, and a social environment of people interested in shared issues, and in sharing."  Pad.ma's user interface is designed like a personal desktop application and is intuitive once you get the hang of it.  This how-to screencast is an excellent overview of Pad.ma's features and power (I could listen to the narrator's voice forever!), and many more hints and tips are available in the Padma --> Frequently Asked Questions and Padma -->News menu areas.  Tip: Pad.ma does not support the Internet Explorer browser (unless you have the Chrome Frame plugin).  For an overview of some of the other dance collections available at Pad.ma, see this post at the Bharathanatyam and the Worldwide Web blog.

How to View the Annotations

Here are a few ways to view the dance annotations that I've added (and anything else on Pad.ma for that matter!):

View all annotations at once in a list (manual).  Once you are in Kalpana's player view, on the right hand side you should see an annotations sidebar (places, events, keywords, descriptions...). On the upper left-hand side of that sidebar, click on the wheel to view annotation options. If you select "all," all annotations by all users will be visible (you can also check/uncheck user's annotations at the bottom). All my annotations begin with the word "Dance."  If you click on the text of an annotation, it will turn gray and the video will begin playing at that segment.  This is a great way to easily browse the dances without having to fumble around trying to get to the exact second a dance begins.  You'll also notice that the URL changes for that specific annotation segment (by adding two assigned letters at the end), so you can easily share it with others or embed it.


View annotations chronologically as you watch the film (automatic).  If you select "at current position" in the annotation options wheel instead of "all," the annotations will appear and disappear in time order at the segments of the video they've been assigned to. This way you can sit back and have the annotations appear automatically, and it is the best way to view transcripts.

View visual list of clips/screencaps.  If you go to Kalpana's clips view, screencap previews of all the annotated segments (clips) people have marked are displayed.  Double click the image to open the video in player view, or click once (wait for load) and then click again to play a preview on the clips page (isn't Pad.ma cool!).


Search annotations for keywords.  Another nice feature of Pad.ma is the ability to search annotations for keywords and have the specific annotated video segment highlighted.  When you are in the editor view, you can enter keywords in the searchbox immediately above the player window ("Find...") and that keyword will be highlighted in the annotation listing and on the timeline below the video for a visual representation of where and how often that keyword appears.



Caution: I have noticed a possible bug that I have reported to Pad.ma.  Sometimes, despite entering a URL or clicking on a link to a Pad.ma video, Pad.ma (or the browser?) will revert to a portion of the video you had previously viewed.  Even if you delete the timestamp or annotation letters at the end of the URL, it  changes it back!  The only way I've found so far to fix it is to (if you have an account) go to User --> Preferences --> Advanced -->Reset UI Settings).

I am so thrilled that Pad.ma has uploaded Kalpana as part of its Copyright Free Indian Cinema project.  The icing on the cake-- the video has been uploaded under Pad.ma's General License and the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike 3.0 License which essentially allow for circulating copies of the film or using the film in other works per the license guidelines and Creative Commons guidelines.  This is how it should be, folks!

The possibilities of Pad.ma's interface are vast.  More annotations are begging to be added, such as for the appearance of certain actors/actresses (like Padmini, Lalitha, Usha Kiran), additional English translations...and much more! 

To close, here is an embed from Pad.ma of the fantastic Labor and Machinery dance that is a complete stand-out and unlike anything else in the film:

1 comment:

Feel free to email me kasuvandi *a t* gmail *d o t* com!