jump to navigation

Acuity ETS Tobii Studio Trick Number 2 – Animated Heat Maps Over Video Stimuli July 20, 2009

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Market Research, Marketing, Media, Tobii, Uncategorized, Updates, Usability & UX.

Acuity brings you the next tip forTobii Studio – this one is a little more complex than the questionnaire guide, and requires you to have a piece of video software to piece it together – however what it does allow you to do is to present animated heatmaps over moving video stimuli, something not yet supported within Studio. This is extremely useful for TV advertising (especially if you are using Studio Professional and don’t have access to the BeeSwarm tool) or sponsorship / advertising studies within sports. Please note that the quality of the results may vary depending on the video package and codecs used, the quality of your original source video and also the complexities of the heat map…. We figured this out a few months back and haven’t had time to fully exploit it yet – so if anyone has any great ideas we would be more than happy to hear them!

As I said earlier this is more complex than our other how to guide – and you need to think before setting up your test maybe a little more than usual, but it works and it does the job – and clients love it!

Firstly within your Tobii Studio test where you have your video stimuli ensure there is either a black (blank) frame at the end of the video, and indeed each subsequent video in the test. If there isn’t insert a black JPEG image as an image element in the test with maybe a 1 second exposure.

Next sit your participants through the test as normal – you can create filter questions and groups as you would with any other test….

Now comes the bit where you have to do a bit of work! For each of the video elements you want to create heatmaps for you need go to the REPLAY tab in Studio, and create a SCENE, and within the scene you want the video you wish to analyse AND the black (blank) screen image you added in, or that was at the end of the video anyway. Now, select the black frame as the SCENE IMAGE. If you go into the VISUALISATION section of Studio you should have now a stimuli listed as NEW_SCENE1 or something similar – and if you click on HEAT MAP you should get a heat map over a black background – this is correct!

Now export the HEAT MAP as an animated visualisation, without a legend is probably best. To export animated visualisations you need to upgrade to Studio 1.5 if you haven’t already done so. This will now give you an animated heat map as an avi – we are nearly there so don’t panic! Please make sure you select a sliding interval on the heat map otherwise you will get a build up of data and that won’t look pretty! (Thanks Anastasia at Think Eyetracking for pointing out my deliberate mistake!)

We now have two files – one is the original video source (as you added to the timeline in Tobii Studio) and the other is an avi file exported from Studio just showing the HEAT MAP. This is where you need a video editing package, we use ADOBE PREMIERE PRO but anything with basic functionality should do the trick.

With Premiere Pro you have numerous audio and video tracks you put side by side and can fade / edit across etc. What you do is drop both video files into the software so they start at the same time (This is why the black frame goes at the end – we need to ensure the heat map is in sync with the video stimuli file – the odd second of black at the end is irrelevant) and then we need to remove the black background colour from the HEAT MAP image. On Premiere Pro this is done with the CHROMA KEY function, selecting BLACK as the colour and adjusting the BLEND between 75-100% – on other packages it may be called different things! This is like blue screening a movie SFX shot – by selecting the BLACK (for the background) you can remove that from the HEAT MAP image and now we just have an animated HEAT MAP played over the top of our video file!

We also think it is a nice touch to add your company logo over the video file too – just repeat the CHROMA KEY process as above for your logo file.

From here – export it at the best possible quality and et voila – animated heatmaps over video.

Acuity would love to hear ho you get on with using this tip, and any comments or ideas… contact us on 01189 000795 or emails us at jon@acuity-ets.com.


1. Anastasia - July 23, 2009

This process really works and the results are great! It is quite tedious though, so I’d recommend starting with shorter clips (20-30 sec) to get the hang of it first, as generating heatmaps and combining the two layers of footage on Premier takes quite a bit of time.
Thank you Jon – invaluable stuff!

Jon Ward - July 24, 2009

Hi Anastasia – thanks for the comment, and glad it worked for you – hopefully your client will let us showcase the results. And I hope by tedious you mean it takes a little while and not that it is boring! 🙂

I would also not recommend huge files for this process if possible – excerts are the best, simply because different video codecs, over time may run slightly different and the sync may slip a little.

I am hoping we can complile a list of slightly cheaper video editing packages that will allow you to complete this task.

Any ideas everybody?

2. Noémi Mezei - July 24, 2012

Hi, I am using this description to analyse animated heatmaps and I have a question: how can I select all the participants in the upgraded version? At this moment I can see the data from only one participant. Thanks.

Jon Ward - July 25, 2012

As long as you have the participants selected on the left hand side of the interface (in the visualisations tab of the Studio software) then your export will be for multiple viewers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: