I don't know who designed this chair but they didn't use Project Dreamcatcher
How would Autodesk make the Apple Watch work with the iPhone?

What is the latest in state of the art baseball analytics?

What is the latest in state of the art baseball analytics?

Who said Autodesk was only about designing stuff?

How do you visualize and analyze mass amounts of video data?

Read on for answers to these pressing questions and more.

Video Lens is one of the freshest pieces of work from the User Interface group at Autodesk Research. Something really interesting is that this uses baseball as the foundation for this exploration into big data and analytics.

Autodesk Research Video Lens User Interface Overview
The Video Lens User Interface is Easy to Use and Provides Real Time Feedback

As we know from stories like Moneyball, sports analytics is a serious business and lots of data is captured. The team worked with about 8000 video clips and the metadata captured by the PITCHf/x toolset to quickly visualize what happens in the game of baseball and analyze specific plays. Video Lens had four design goals:

  1. Maximize Information Desnity: Reveal as much as possible about the underllying data
  2. Treat Events as the Primary Entity: Events are the important parts in the data; each data source (video clip) may have multiple events
  3. Support Rapid Playback of Video Results: If you have to wait for things to happen the system is of lower value
  4. Encourage Exploration of the Data: trying things out are low cost


Imagine you want to see all the knuckleball pitches thrown by a southpaw that were high and to the right. You would circle the target in the pitch zone UI, mark the pitch and pitcher type. Three quick steps in this interactive tool and all the appropriate video clips play back.

Autodesk Research Video Lens Strikezone User Interface
The Video Lens Strikezone User Interface Allows the User to Quickly Isolate Specific Pitches

Want to narrow that down to the team you're facing next week? 

Autodesk Research Video Lens Teams User Interface
Autodesk Research The Video Lens Teams User Interface

What if you were a sports commentator and had to fill in one of those awkward moments where a streaker was being escorted off the field? You could go to the video Lens and talk about potential strategies with real time feedback to illustrate. Or maybe you just want to see how many balls are hit to the area of the field your streaker was spotted in and talk about the chances of him being hit by a live ball

Autodesk Research Video Lens Field User Interface
The Video Lens Field User Interface

Intrigued? Here's a video showing the Video Lens system in action:

Taking this back to Autodesk and the possibilities for use in other tools, here are some possibilities:

  • TV broadcasters looking for B roll footage in their database of a rainy day at a famous landmark
  • Film editor sorting through possibilities in their storytelling
  • Advanced learning possibilities for tools like Autodesk Screencast
  • Connecting security camera data to your BIM
  • Connecting video recordings of your real work product stress testing (eg crash test dummies, force testing chairs, etc.) to your digital product design

We think Video Lens is a great toolset for so many things. Let us know what you think here on the blog or on our Video Lens Research page where you can also find more info and contact information.

By the way, if you happen to be in Hawaii around October 8th, please stop by the UIST Symposium where we'll be talking about Video Lens in person.

Play ball!

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