This is the first post out of a series with short interviews we conducted at Mozilla Festival 2013. What we really liked there was a prevailing “can do” attitude.

Your software is not working as it should? Change it, built something better. Here is a case in point: A team from the US organization BBG used existing software to make something even better. The name is Kettlecorn.

Brian Williamson, Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). The organization is „pursuing an innovation agenda“ to engage creative organizations and individuals. BBG eoncompasses all U.S. civilian international broadcasting, including Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Radio and TV Martí, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Radio Sawa and  Alhurra Televison.

Easier video-editing for worldwide reporting
Which means they have a problem: With hundreds of stringers around the world, video content creates a huge work load. This is why some coders from BBG headed out and re-designed Popcorn Maker, a free, open source software provided by the Mozilla Foundation.The goal: To make use of simple video editing, such as adding lower thirds, rough cuts. Using the web the team even added Google translation to the new software, coined KettleCorn.

Reuse of something that is already there
What KettleCorn does nicely is reducing the steps to add, for example, a lower third or text in a video to give the viewer more information. In the re-design the team looked at how many steps where needed to add an element, than pre-configured those to reduce the number of editing steps from 18 to more like three.

Quote: „We created new plugins to simplify common tasks like creating lower third titles, adding markers to maps and creating end card promos to related content. We also decreased the time-to-publish by adopting a more familiar text editor with pre-built styles and integrating standard features like undo/redo, the ability to rename layers and the ability to copy and paste events.“

Another lesson from this project was a novel use and specifically re-use of existing software.

Open offering for all international media
The tool can be used for free. Plus: The creators actively seek more ideas and encourage specifically international media to use the platform for easier handling of incoming content. To some extend this might be a model pointing into the future: Collaborative development, re-use of existing open source code – for faster development and easier production.

More about Kettlecorn:

Video/Interview: Cosmin Cabulea, Mirko Lorenz