Credit: Image by mozillaeu on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Video tool Popcorn Maker has been adapted for journalists' needs, improving the speed at which interactive videos can be created.

The new tool is called KettleCorn and has been created by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, an international agency representing media. It was launched at MozFest, the Mozilla Festival, at the weekend.

Popcorn Maker is a free tool which offers users a way to build contextual video with live-updating content. It allows users to add rich media such as Google Maps, Wikipedia entries and tweets containing a particular hashtag. And because the end result is linked to the web, any new tweets will appear within the video real-time.

Popcorn Maker and now KettleCorn look much like video editing tools such as iMovie and Final Cut but the editing is done within the browser.


KettleCorn was built on the open source popcorn.js framework, which developers can use for creating contextual videos beyond the limits of the easy-to-use video editor Popcorn Maker, an early version of which launched two years ago at MozFest.

Here is an example of an interactive video created with KettleCorn. While the content may not be factually correct (unless France was indeed named after a hedgehog), the video demonstrates the potential of the tool and how interactive video is an effective way of telling a story.

KettleCorn features for journalists

KettleCorn has features built with journalists in mind. There is a new text area, a translation feature, a new Google Maps option, and new title displays for the lower third of the video and the end to "allow journalists to easily add TV-style elements".

The translation works as KettleCorn uses the Bing Translator "to allow one-click machine translation of individual snippets while maintaining English source".

This announcement blog post explains why the code was forked and the new journalist-facing tool was created.

It states that "despite its potential power" of Popcorn Maker, "there has been limited adoption by professional journalists".

One of the problems identified was that "initial enthusiasm started to wane as [journalists] tried to incorporate it into the deadline-driven newsroom environment".

The new tool was therefore built to decrease the amount of time it takes to build and publish a video. This was done "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," the post states.

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).