EmbedPlus Can ‘Enhance’ YouTube Videos for Commentary, Context, Linkage

Here’s a tool to help annotate and direct people to points of interest in any last minute campaign rally videos or the CNN punch-drunkness vids hopefully to come after tomorrow night’s election coverage.

A few weeks ago we highlighted TubeChop as an easy-to-use tool for highlighting parts of a YouTube video relevant to your story. EmbedPlus is another such tool, but with a handful of other additional, useful features.

EmbedPlus, available as a Chrome extension, WordPress plugin and simple wizard, allows you as a journalist to (among other things):

  • Annotate YouTube videos, placing your own text and links (perhaps “explainers” or more context) at designated times
  • Crop videos to the interesting or relevant portions, per the same idea we outlined for TubeChop
  • Mark several jump-to points (“chapters”) relevant to your coverage, so a reader doesn’t have to go searching
  • Provide quick access to conversations (“reactions”) to the YouTube video on social platforms like Reddit and Twitter

Here is a very quickly put-together example of EmbedPlus, using some footage about the above mentioned CNN funniness that took place during the Iowa Caucus coverage night earlier this year:

(A silly example, perhaps, just like my TubeChop example with YouTube videos of babies. But you should get the idea, I hope.)

The basic idea for journalism previously expressed about TubeChop, and now EmbedPlus? Enhancing raw video of your coverage by cropping (or annotating or chaptering) is a way of adding depth to a topic while being transparent about the source and its context. Instead of just pulling a quote, you can show where that quote was said and allow a reader to quickly jump to the context to evaluate it on his or her own.

Imagine, for instance, if the stories on the famous “You didn’t build that!” line included video of the event in full, but enhanced with EmbedPlus. You could have the whole video of President Obama at the event and, using the tool, make a “chapter” of the portion we heard time and time again during convention season. Your audience, in the same screen, could read the coverage, jump to the chapter, and then evaluate the rest of the video for context. They, in a sense, are enabled to a level of their own fact-checking.

The same thing could be done for gaffes, when Vice President Joe Biden says things like Planned Parenthood “under the law can’t perform abortions,” Romney’s 47 percent comment, and so on.

A goal of journalism is to concisely convey what’s important to the public, and this is another tool that lets you do that with easy access to the source for further investigation. And while they’re watching an EmbedPlus’d video, you can annotate it with additional reporting (or commentary), and because you can place links at designated times, you can convert those interested watchers into more readers for your other content, too.

If your content management system is WordPress, the plugin is a quick way to streamline this process. Regardless of your CMS, this wizard works smoothly and may prove most practical.