Visual Explorer: New Direct ImageID Referencing

When working with the Visual Explorer's every-4-seconds image snapshots for each broadcast, the images are numbered sequentially, each representing 4 seconds of airtime. Converting an image filename like "1TV_20220327_183000-000396.jpg" to a URL that plays that precise clip in the Visual Explorer web interface requires taking the date and time of the broadcast (March 27, 2022 at 18:30 UTC), converting to a Unix timestamp and appending 396 * 4 seconds to it to arrive at the timestamp of 1648407380. The logic for this is straightforward, but can be complicated by libraries and programming environments that require additional steps to work with UTC timestamps or perform date calculations. To greatly simplify the process of translating an image filename to the precise clip it begins, we've added a new "frame" URL parameter to the Visual Explorer interface that allows you to provide a frame number and allow the Visual Explorer to translate that to the precise timestamp.

Now, you can simply append "&frame=" to any Visual Explorer display to jump right to that frame and begin playing the preview clip from that point.

For example, if we take the catalog of Joe Biden appearances on Russian television news from earlier this week and examine the "RUS-UKR-BLR-20220101-20230430-JoeBiden-match.json" matches file:

head -1 RUS-UKR-BLR-20220101-20230430-JoeBiden-match.json

We see the following entry:

{"face": "JoeBiden", "id": "1TV_20220327_183000-000396", "dist": 0.5134928937563957}

The "id" field contains the filename of the JPEG image from the Visual Explorer ZIP file: "1TV_20220327_183000-000396" The first part of the ID is the Internet Archive identifier for that broadcast, while the 6-digit number following the hyphen is the frame number. Using the new frame parameter, you can simply convert this to the following URL:

When you click on that link, the Visual Explorer interface will translate that frame ID into the actual Unix timestamp offset it represents and rewrite the URL bar to the standard "&play=" URL. The URL will be remapped inside your browser to the final URL:

We hope this new parameter makes it much easier to work with the Visual Explorer images for at-scale analyses!