From iLab Cookbook

Demos: TimeLine: Visualizing the Past through Video Traces

TimeLine is a visualization that captures a video stream, and then allows people to explore the history of that video stream. TimeLine was originally conceived to work as part of a media space, where people would use it to reveal their collaborator's events and activities over time, ostensibly to gauge their availability. It may also be useful for surveillance, for monitoring, and as an interactive art installation. Our concern is that TimeLine is so effective that it raises serious privacy concerns. Thus it is best seen as an extreme of what is possible, and we make it available to encourage debate about these kinds of video trace systems. As well, we offer a few other (less developed) examples of different video tracevisualizations. Update, 18/10/2006: TimeLine package updated. Installer for the mpeg4 V2 codec included.


Download and Installation

Other visualizations The ones below are toy examples that we developed in parallel with TimeLine, where each uses a different strategy for showing a video history. Source is included.

TimeLine Installation Instructions:

  1. Read the README file in the download. There are several things that you may have to do if your machine does not have some standard software. For example, we include a video codec if the appropriate one isn't installed on your machine - you can install it with a single click.
  2. Install GroupLab Collabrary: The Collabrary can be found in \Installs\collabrary.msi or can be downloaded from
  3. Copy Build Directory (optional): The build directory contains the precompiled executables for the Timeline. The contents of the build directory can be copied to wherever you want the program installed. The build directory has two subdirectories, archive and img; archive is where video files are stored and loaded, and img contains some images used by the program.
  4. Run CameraFeed (Optional): One can setup or join a camera feed server using the CameraFeed application /build/CameraFeed.exe. Timeline has the ability to connect to a server and run using one of the feeds contained therein. To The CameraFeed application will take the webcam feed from the locally connected machine and put it into a shared dictionary server. Simply run the CameraFeed application, enter a username, and the name of the shared dictionary server to connect to. (A server can be started simply by using the local ip and a shared dictionary name, for example "tcp://(localip):webcam".)
  5. Run Timeline: The Timeline program can be run using \Build\Timeline.exe. When the program starts up it gives three run options: running from the local archive, running live from the local webcam, and running live from a webcam feed. Select the desired option. If that option is to run using a webcam feed, you will also need to enter the address of a camera feed server - use the same server adress/name as used when you set up the camera feed application. When the Timeline successfully connects to the camera feed server you will see a list of available camera feeds and can select the one you wish to use. Note that when running in a live mode any video in the archive directory prior to running will be erased.
  6. To Recompile: The program was built in Visual Studio 2005. Open TimeLine.sln in the source\Timeline\ directory. Check that the references for Tao, Collabrary, and AviFile are ok. If not, these references are contained in the directory \Source\Steven\libs and can be re-added. Compile. The img subdirectory is already included in the Debug and Release directories and is required to run the program. The archive subdirectory is not included, however it will be generated the first time the program is run in live mode.

Bug List (Timeline):


Tutorials and Examples

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Page last modified on October 31, 2007, at 10:40 AM