VideoSkip updated to 0.3

The 0.3 update brings in something that will make the app much easier to use for the majority: automatic syncing! Read on for details. Hot on its heels, version 0.3.1 has simplified the interface quite a bit.

Unrelated to the above, but also important to some users, VideoSkip is also a Microsoft Edge extension. Here’s the URL:

From the beginning, VideoSkip has been able to edit videos from any streaming source on the fly, unlike competitors such as VidAngel or Clearplay, which are restricted to a handful of services. It accomplishes this mean feat by controlling the videos after they are loaded in their native webpages, rather than acting as an intermediary. But this brings in a problem: videos for a particular title coming from different sources have different timings due to initial logos and such that are loaded (or removed) by the service. Since effective on-the-fly editing depends on accurate timing, there must be away to bring the edits back in sync with the video, even after those additions.

The way to synchronize the edits, until now, has been to scrub the video to match the image with a screenshot contained in the skip file, then click the “Sync times” button to advance or delay all the timings by the difference between the time in the movie and the screenshot time recorded in the file. Not too difficult with a little practice, but still laborious.

Starting with version 0.3, VideoSkip performs this process without human intervention for services that the skip file has already seen. Version 0.3 skip files contain a record of the particular offsets needed for different sources, added to the file as soon as the “Sync times” button is pressed for syncing for each service. This is transparent to the user, who won’t even see the “Sync times” button or anything else related to that unless a fresh sync is needed.

You may like the new interface, too. It has a lot fewer buttons and fatter, nicer category sliders. The process has been made truly step by step, with the addition of tabs.

On the left is what you see when you click the VideoSkip button, which now gets placed consistently on the upper left so you can find it easily (click the button again to see it back there, if you happen to lose the window). You have only the buttons needed to get a skip file and load it into the extension.

If you have loaded a skip file that has seen your service before, it will sync automatically and then you’ll see the tab shown on the right. Now you only need to set the filter strengths with the sliders and watch the movie.

If you want to use the Auto Profanity Filter, here’s where you load a subtitle file and optionally edit the block list.

But if the skip file needs to be synced manually, VideoSkip will go to the Sync tab first, shown below. Just move the film to a time where the image matches the screenshot on the tab, which also gets superimposed on the video, and click Sync times. The Find shot button makes this semi-automatic for about half the services (YouTube, and a few others), which are enlightened enough to allow screenshots. The rest (Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and some more) have preferred to have their lawyers dictate how their technology works, so the Find shot button won’t do anything.

When you sync manually, a new version of the skip files is made in your Downloads folder. Share it with other users so they won’t have to do a manual sync for this service anymore. The VideoSkip Exchange is a good place to start.

And, of course, you can edit the skips, or make a whole new skip file from scratch. This is what makes VideoSkip so much better than its competitors, and it’s all there on the Edit tab, shown at right.

You don’t have to visit the tabs in this order. Just click on any tab label to open the tab. I hope you like them.

And don’t forget that the VideoSkip extension now runs natively on Edge and its derivatives. Here’s the URL for the Edge extension again:


Update 2/24/21:

The 0.3.3 update is based on a design by interface designer Brian Knight and input from several testers. The new tab interface remains familiar, but there are a few important enhancements:

  1. The tab tops double as a progress bar, so you can see what steps you have completed and what is still to be done.
  2. The pages themselves will tell you when they are done, with big green letters.
  3. There is a new button in the Filters tab (the last step) that will check for incomplete steps and will send you where you need to be.
  4. When you grab a filter slider, a text underneath tells you exactly what is supposed to be filtered.
  5. If you start on a page that contains no visible videos, you get a nice big screen with instructions, rather than a terse message saying, “I didn’t find any videos.”
  6. The Edit tab and some buttons proved to be distracting to new users, so now they are less visible.
  7. Last but not least, the VideoSkip window now appears on top of the current page rather than behind, more often than not. This required some voodoo programming.

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