Posted March 16, 2011 8:27 am by with 3 comments

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If there is something that really isn’t being challenged in the Google empire these days it’s the dominance of YouTube in the online video market. Yesterday, a post on the YouTube blog announced the acquisition of Green Parrot Pictures which has a technology that could make the video site even more powerful.

Today, we’re pleased to announce we’ve acquired Green Parrot Pictures, a digital video technology company founded by Associate Professor Anil Kokaram at the Engineering School of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. In the last six years, their small team of engineers has built cutting-edge video quality improvement technology that has been used in major studio productions from Lord of the Rings to X-Men to Spider-Man. Their technology helps make videos look better while at the same time using less bandwidth and improving playback speed. If you’re interested in seeing some of the incredible work Green Parrot Pictures has previously done, check out some of the videos on their website.

You’ve probably heard the statistics that YouTube has 35 hours of video uploaded to it every hour (no typo there) and the amount of video uploaded in a week’s time is the equivalent of 170,000 full length movies. That’s hard to imagine but it’s true.

When Green Parrot is integrated into the site the idea is that some of the jumpy homemade vids like those that have come from areas of revolution and conflict will be ‘cleaner’ after going through the ‘refining’ process.

While I understand what is trying to be accomplished here I wonder if its necessary. Using less bandwidth is helpful regardless of the video quality. With video that is shot in a time of conflict and chaos part of the power of it is the imperfection. Removing some of that could ‘Hollywoodize’ an otherwise raw and very real account of something. Of course, it could just make things better as well.

I think of it this way because I am old enough to remember when music moved from vinyl and cassette formats to CD’s. While the tech side of the ledger celebrated the clarity’ of the new recordings many artists said that the digitizing of the music actually sanitized it and took away much of the nuance and charm. One and zeros were too clean.

I get that it may not be a perfect analogy but when something is seen as it was really done, based on the technology held in the hand of the person shooting the video at the time that’s part of the story. Putting it through a filter may make it look better but will it change the story even just a bit?

Anyway, this is just thinking out loud because YouTube is doing this and in the world of online video, what YouTube says goes.

Your take?

  • While I understand the concern for “hollywoodizing” a real account of something I think its premature. Green Parrot technology seems to be able to remove imperfections while retaining the overall tone and feel of the video. Here’s a great example of what they can do in restoration “reducing flicker”

    As you can see, the removal of the flicker still retains the historical feel of the video. I imagine this will be the same with new handheld footage.

    I look forward to see if your concerns ring true. And to see if this technology will be applied to all videos, left as an option in the publishing process, or hand-picked by YouTube.

    • @Gregory – hat’s why I played both ends on this one because it remains to be seen just what happens to video and when it is applied etc. Of course, if YT decides to just use it across the board how will we know what the original looked like to compare in most cases? Untouched has great value but the world wants pretty. We’ll see. Thanks for checking in.

  • I don’t think it’s a good idea to make a lot of editing on a video uploaded in Youtube. Google, I think, has to limit the options available in Green Parrot.