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Bring back "Save As" and improve content reuse workflows

We used to be able to edit a video and save it as a new session. That was removed a couple years ago.

I don't believe there is any replacement for that functionality.

I have a faculty member who had 7 students do 5 minute presentations during one of his classes. He wants to save those presentations as individual video sessions. He needs to take a 2 1/2 hour video and save 7 sections which are 5 minutes long.

Here’s the workflow which would have been possible using Save As:

  • Take the source file
  • Edit it down to display only Student 1
  • Save as: Student 1
  • Undo the edits
  • Edit it down to display only Student 2
  • Save as: Student 2
  • Undo the edits
  • Etc...

Instead, the professor now has to:

  • Make a full copy (not a reference copy) of the video, named as Student 1
  • Edit it down to display only Student 1
  • Make another copy of the video
  • Make a full copy (not a reference copy) of the video, named as Student 2
  • Edit it down to display only Student 2
  • Etc...

The old workflow (which is no longer possible) was much more efficient. All editing and renaming was done on the same Panopto session and within the same browser tab. There was far less clicking, waiting for pages to load or refresh, and waiting for new sessions to be created.

I think the worst thing is the resulting videos are 96.7% wasted space. We only wanted 5 minutes of video but each session actually contains all 2 1/2 hours of video. We’ve just hidden 2 hours and 25 minutes of it. Instead of a total of 35 minutes of “new” content (5 minutes x 7 students), we have 17.5 hours of “new” content (2.5 hours x 7 students). He also has to wait for the edits on the files to process before he can verify they work as expected or do any additional editing.

This shortcoming also overlaps with Panopto's "clips" functionality. For us, clips don't make sense for most of our use cases. Usually faculty want to take only part of a recording and use it within another video, but clips insert the entirety of another video. Sure, you can set the start and end points of the clip within the destination video, but it's not an intuitive experience. (You also can't remove or hide any content from the middle of a clip which feels... arbitrary?)

If I wanted to insert a 2:13 piece of video from the 58:47 long Apple presentation yesterday, I wouldn't imagine I would need to insert the entire hour long presentation, hide the first 22:10 and then hide the last 34:24. Nor would I expect the entire 58:47 video to remain in the timeline after I had applied those edits, but have 96% of it be greyed out.

It's just more intuitive to think about inserting small chunks of video than a huge video which you then need to edit down inside the destination. It would be one thing if while inserting a clip we had a nice UI with a player, the ability to zoom in on the timeline and fine grained playback controls, we could specify the exact start and end points, as well as hiding parts of the middle of the video, and then only the pieces of the video we actually wanted were inserted to the destination, but that's not the way it works.

For most our use cases, I think it would make a lot more sense and be far more efficient if sessions could be edited and saved as snippets (pieces, excerpts, fragments???). These could easily be re-used in other content. Instead of inserting a 10 minute long video, it could be edited down and saved as a short 45 second chunk which is easy to insert and may be reusable in more situations due to being more concise.

When these snippets (or clips) are inserted into a video, users could also be offered the option to insert them permanently (so they become just another piece of the destination video) or as they are now (if the source file is edited, those changes will be reflected here). Tell users the differences between the two options and then insert the content as they requested.

Currently if a clip is edited, those changes are always reflected in any videos in which the clip is inserted. I don't know if that's very intuitive or helpful to users. (I understand the theoretical utility as you can make a change once and then have those changes reflected in multiple locations, but how many people use that and do so... effectively?) Maybe that could be optional instead? After editing a clip, could it provide you with a list of videos which use that clip and prompt you to update all, some, or none of them?

And when a clip is deleted, maybe it would make sense to offer the user the option to permanently insert the clip within the destination video instead of it losing the content forever?

In short, if users are going to create and store content in Panopto, you should provide them with better ways to find and reuse that content more easily. That makes them more efficient.

Maybe a good first start would be giving users an easy way to see all the content they own? I don't believe that's possible currently and it astounds me.

7 votes

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