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Grants:IdeaLab/Open source simple video cutting and transcoding contribution tool

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
statusnot selected
Open source simple video cutting / transcoding contribution tool
summaryEngage with existing open source projects (VLC?) to work on a dedicated cross-platform, open source tool for the simple cutting and transcoding of original historic video so as to facilitate its upload to Wikimedia Commons.
amount10000 USD (rough estimate TBC)
contact• walter at pratyeka dot org
this project needs...
created on09:52, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
round 1 2016

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

Easily prepare original, unique, historic video content for upload to Wikimedia Commons in a free CODEC based format that it accepts (ie. .webm + VP9). Right now this is very difficult, but is required based upon a recent decision at commons not to support non-free CODECs.

What is your solution?[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation could support existing cross platform open source projects to achieve basic requirements - ie. cutting and transcoding to open formats. A new, simplified user interface could be provided by these established tools specifically to 'keep it simple' and increase accessibility / ease comprehension for non-technical users.

Who will you be doing outreach with?[edit]

Any suitable open source project - VLC seems cross platform and a good option.


  • Produce an easy to use simple UI (maybe split from VLC as a separate simplified user interface) for cutting and transcoding video to Commons-acceptable formats (currently a real pain)
    • Cutting is already supported by VLC, though there is a limitation with stepping backward frame-wise under some CODECs (possibly a patch to fix)
    • Transcoding probably not supported, but ffmpeg or other appropriate libraries could be wrapped without great difficulty
  • Cross platform (Linux, OSX, Windows)
  • Maintainable
  • Translatable

Get Involved[edit]

About the idea creator[edit]

Recently had no end of trouble doing this with a mix of professional commercial tools and open source. I am an English Wikipedia admin (since 2003) and a software type with quite some commercial experience in the video world. After some research, open source wise, VLC is most of the way there and is already cross platform! Therefore, I think it's a good project to consider.


Suggest finding 2x established VLC developers with an interest in this work, engaging them both over one month.


  • It's my idea! It makes sense. This is currently a pain point. Pratyeka (talk) 10:45, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

Project plan[edit]


Contact VLC maintainers and request paid development on requisite features.


  • We need to request the VLC non profit organisation (or another similar, established, cross-platform, open source project as our development partner) to issue a quote.
  • Rough estimate budget in the region of 10,000USD

Community engagement[edit]

  • Request assistance with this.
  • Once the tool is complete, any existing parts of the Wikimedia Foundation or its subsidiary projects with connections to existing archives / libraries / collections could promote the availability of this tool to assist with obtaining a greater volume of historic video content.


Should seek a guarantee of maintainability from the VLC developers, and/or come to an arrangement on ongoing (eg. small payment per year) support from the Wikimedia Foundation. In any event, being open source, the effort will not go to waste.

Measures of success[edit]

  • New users are able to utilize the product on multiple platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux) to achieve cut, transcode of historic film footage, then upload successfully.
  • I personally have the following to upload:
    • About 20 hours of 1950s-1970s footage from over 15 countries around the world shot in 8mm already converted to digital, but no way to easily cut portions, transcode and upload them. (See this example, achieved with great difficulty using various other software).. including but not limited to South America, Central and South Asia, East Asia, UK and continental Europe, Australia, etc.
    • Sitar and tabla recordings from teachers sponsored by the Indian Cultural Center in Bangkok, which could contribute to Arunasank's project.

Project team[edit]

Yet to be determined - suggest 2x (or more) interested and established VLC developers.

Community notification[edit]

Notified the vlc developers via email on their website.