Q: I'm a writer for MIT Technology Review. I'm doing a story on MPEG4 for the magazine and ran across your site. Do you have plans to use the advanced profiles of MPEG4 to combine video with graphics, to create an object stream? Let's talk.
A: Thank you for writing. We would be happy to help.
Q: Thanks for participating. Here are a few questions. Answer one or all, if possible in the next day or two. Thanks.
Your site is probably using MPEG-4 codec simple profile, which is similar to MPEG-2. MPEG-4 authoring tools will some day be developed that will let you do object coding, so you can stream objects and users can interact with content. Are you interested in this aspect of MPEG-4? How so?
A: yes... very much.
We love technology, yet we respect security and privacy. currently, there does not appear to be a safe way to allow for object coding in media streams.
Flash, Shockwave, Active-X, and the like, are all dangerous for the end user. We would not feel right using such technologies.
Thus, MPEG4 offers hope. The open source nature of the Moving Picture Expert Group has long made the MPEG format our favorite.
As a leader in world wide web games, music and entertainment, our imagination is boundless on the potential. (see http://KingArthur.com/ )
As a leader in e-conomics, we're excited about the potential benefits to humankind. For instance, we've been working with an orthopedic organization.
One thing we do is put training videos on the Internet. e.g. doctor's from around the world can watch a streaming demonstration of how to insert a screw into a bone.
It is our dream that one day these videos will be in MPEG4, so that the viewer can actually manipulate the screws, bones, etc.
Q: Microsoft has its own codec in addition to MPEG-4 on its player, and Real Systems and QuickTime have proprietary codecs too. Do you think their support of MPEG-4 will be critical for this standard to take off, or will content creators and providers force them to standardize?
A: This is of grave concern to us. We are told that we are the leading producer of MPEG4 content on the Internet. It would be our nightmare to help set the standard using a Microsoft codec.
Q: MPEG-4 as you know has a provision called BIFS that's a takeoff of VRML. How useful will this be in being able to combine 3D or 2D with natural audio and video streams?
A: 3D object manipulation is something we look forward to. We currently experiment with combining animated and live action moving pictures. MPEG4 will likely allow for a vast expansion of these experiments.
Q: There's a Java component to MPEG-4, that provides an application execution environment for controlling the players, channels and objects in a scene. How important do you think JAVA's involvement with MPEG-4 will be?
A: Boooo... I'd reckin' java would render MPEG4 near useless. (see http://membrane.com/security/ and http://membrane.com/security/java_and_cookies/ )
Q: What are some other aspects of MPEG-4 that you think will be useful in 3D or 2D animation? (3D Polygonal meshing?)
A: Real time (or at your convenience) human interaction.
We have quite a few commercial, and just-for-fun, projects that involve invoking action on the viewers part... followed by action on our part, etc.
I can envision the day when we move from text and html hyperlinks toward an MPEG4 interactive experience.
Q: Anything else?
A: Plenty... but, I'd hate to make anyone's head explode :)
Thank you from The Membrane Domain