During that harrowing week in July when two black men were killed by police, the nation erupted into protests, and a sniper assassinated five Dallas police officers, the events were covered by digital, social, print, and TV media. But the form of documentation people will remember most is the livestreaming: the Facebook Live video of Orlando Castile’s death, and the chaotic scene at the Dallas protests captured on video.
“It is incredibly powerful to tune in to a livestream that had 80,000, 90,000 viewers, and to watch a scene in real time through someone’s eyes,” says Gordon Mangum, who focused on livestreaming as part of his graduate studies at MIT’s Center for Civic Media, were he graduated in June. But as useful and exciting as livestreaming is for raw, on-the-scene reportage, it also lacks context—which can make it confusing or easily misconstrued. DeepStream, a tool Mangum developed along with two colleagues at MIT, aims to solve that problem with a platform that allows users to embed information about a live video alongside it as it plays.