michael naimark

Movie Tagger

Movie Tagger was originally proposed as a USC School of Cinematic Arts internal researcth project in early 2007, with the lofty end-goal to "parse and richly tag every movie ever made. Our proposal was to enlist an army of fans to add relevant data ("tags") to movies - scene by scene, shot by shot, and frame by frame - with a custom logging tool. It was a very early crowd-sourcing initiative.

Two incredible coincidences surrounded Movie Tagger's birth. First, our project began just before Apple's first iPhone commercial aired during the 2007 SuperBowl. It consisted of 30 short movie clips of famous performers saying "hello" into a telephone, all in under 22 seconds, a vivid and relevant example of brute-force manual searching. The second coincidence is that the person who actually did this monumental task, we learned the following year, doubled as the baby-sitter for one of our faculty colleagues, and we had a chance to speak with her about the process.

With collaboration and sponsorship from Related Content Database, Inc. (now Watchwith), we embarked on a first phase which we called Movie Tagger Alpha. The goal was simply to begin by interviewing USC Cinema faculty members and listen. Lead by PhD student Joshua McVeigh-Schultz and a team of undergrads, and with visualization help from RCDB's Eddie Elliot, the research resulted in several presentations and a paper by Josh in Frames Cinema Journal.

Movie Tagger remains a semi-active project at the USC Stevens Center for Innovation.


2007 USC Provost's Seed Grant Proposal for Teaching and Technology

Michael Naimark, Research Associate Professor, Principal Investigator
Steve Anderson, Assistant Professor
Maya Churi, Graduate Student
Perry Hoberman, Research Associate Professor
Andres Kratky, Adjunct Professor and Visiting Scholar
Erik Loyer, Former Adjunct Professor and Consultant

Movie Tagger Alpha

USC School of Cinematic Arts
Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, PhD Candidate in the Media Arts and Practice PhD program
Steve Anderson, Assistant Professor, Principal Investigator

USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy
Corianda Dimes, Kera Kadir, and Jason Lipshin, undergraduate researchers

Related Content Database, Inc.
Zane Vella, CEO
Eddie Elliot, Visualizations
Sunny Lee, Project Manager
Darren Lepke, Metadata Adviser