Instructional video site 5min has released a new beta version of their SmartPlayer, introducing support for text, video, and images that can be merged into a single embeddable flash widget. The site considers the player to be revolutionary, and believes that it will help set 5min apart from their numerous competitors in the instructional video space.
The original SmartPlayer gave users the ability to manipulate instructional videos on the fly, allowing for frame-by-frame progress, slow motion, and zooming. The new version improves on these features by introducing ‘add-ons’, which are essentially pages of text and images with no limits on length. By including all of this data, the 5min videos have become self-contained guides that can be embedded on any website.
I think that the updated player has a lot of potential. Chefs will be able to include their recipes alongside detailed videos demonstrating how to prepare a dish. And musicians will be able to include sheet music or tablature alongside their lessons – a godsend for instructors.
But despite the improvements made since the first Smartplayer, 5min still has a ways to go. For one, it seems that there is no way to resize the video and attachment windows, which is a pain when there is a lot of text. There is also no way to get the ‘add-on’ field to auto-scroll, which would be key for musicians attempting to play a score along to a video.