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Publication Detail
VideoTagger: User-Friendly Software for Annotating Video Experiments of Any Duration
  • Publication Type:
    Working discussion paper
  • Authors:
    Rennert P, Aodha OM, Piper M, Brostow G
  • Publisher:
    Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  • Publication date:
  • Place of publication:
    Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA
  • Status:
  • Language:
Background: Scientific insight is often sought by recording and analyzing large quantities of video. While easy access to cameras has increased the quantity of collected videos, the rate at which they can be analyzed remains a major limitation. Often, bench scientists struggle with the most basic problem that there is currently no user-friendly, flexible, and open source software tool with which to watch and annotate these videos. / Results: We have created the VideoTagger tool to address these and many of the other associated challenges of video analysis. VideoTagger allows non-programming users to efficiently explore, annotate, and visualize large quantities of video data, within their existing experimental protocols. Further, it is built to accept programmed plugins written in Python, to enable seamless integration with other sophisticated computer-aided analyses. We tested VideoTagger ourselves, and have a growing base of users in other scientific disciplines. Capitalising on the unique features of VideoTagger to play back infinite lengths of video footage at various speeds, we annotated 39h of a Drosophila melanogaster lifespan video, at approximately 10-15x faster than real-time. We then used these labels to train a machine-learning plugin, which we used to annotate an additional 538h of footage automatically. In this way, we found that flies fall over spontaneously with increasing frequency as they age, and also spend longer durations struggling to right themselves. Ageing in flies is typically defined by length of life. We propose that this new mobility measure of ageing could help the discovery of mechanisms in biogerontology, refining our definition of what healthy ageing means in this extremely small, but widely used, invertebrate. / Conclusions: We show how VideoTagger is sufficiently flexible for studying lengthy and/or numerous video experiments, thus directly improving scientists’ productivity across varied domains.
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