Congratulations to Ahmed Ali, Yifan Zhang and Fahim Dalvi for winning the prize of the “Best Audience Experience” category at the news hack hosted by SUMMA and BBC in London on 21-22 November with their Video News Bot. Their bot aggregates a story and automatically creates a video summary at the end with relevant images, titles and a computer-generated voice. This is not their first victory, the Qatar team previously won the “Best in Show” at the BBC’s #NewsHACK event in December 2014 for translating BBC Arabic videos into English, including subtitles and voiceover, using speech synthesis.

Ahmed M. Ali from QCRI explains the video news bot they developed

This year’s QCRI video newsbot is an automatic video generator that crawls the web for a given topic and finds the main events for that topic. It actually constructs a snappy web video that summarizes the given topic.

Trying to find out what is what is happening about a specific topic requires time, which we often do not have. With the millennials consuming more videos than ever –  in 2017, online video viewing across the globe has increased by more than a fifth – QCRI video bot will help overcome this by constructing the main bullet points for a given topic and find the relevant media. Finally, it will automatically construct a short clip with subtitles and a voice-over using text-to-speech technology.  This bot was applied in a demo for two topics:  Qatar blockade and Brexit, with a short clip that was less than 5 minutes.

This app will be further explored for potential deployment on the SUMMA platform. Obviously, a considerable amount of work needs to be done!


automated video clip generation with subtitles and voiceover