I think we’ve all been there:
You want to comment about a video in someone’s blog post...but it’s a long video and people won’t have any idea what you’re talking about without context. So you’re left with the awkward manual solution of “At 0:48 in the video…”. Sure, it's not a "world hunger" level problem, but the process leaves something to be desired.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a plugin that allows readers to comment directly on a specific part of a video?
That’s the problem GOCHA Video aims to solve. It lets your readers select a specific portion of YouTube, Vimeo, or WordPress media player videos to comment on.
Let’s dig in:
Who is GOCHA Video for?
In a nutshell, GOCHA Video is perfect for anyone who regularly posts videos on their site. But I think it’s especially useful for people posting videos that will generate lots of discussion.
For example, the plugin is perfect for people who post tutorial or training videos. Viewers can comment directly on the specific portion they need help with. Plus, people who view the video at a later time can easily see the comments in their proper context.
Some other people who might especially benefit from GOCHA Video:
- Video bloggers
- Travel/adventure filmmakers
- Video game filmmakers
- Any other filmmaker who wants feedback about specific parts of a video
Installing the Gocha Video Plugin
Installation is pretty dang simple. Just install the plugin like you would normally,
then activate it with a license key. [edit: in the new CodeCanyon version this is no longer necessary] That’s it for setup - no settings to configure or anything.
After I installed it, I decided to make a test post by embedding this cool "How to make a pinata" tutorial I found. I created a post and added the normal YouTube embed code. Here’s what it looks like after I published it:
When a user clicks the play button on a video, GOCHA Video starts counting time in sync with the video:
Users click once to set the start time for the period they want to comment on. They then click again to set the end period. As soon as both the start and end period are selected, the comment box appears and users can leave a comment in the normal WordPress interface. Watch how it works:
Here’s what comments look like:
As you can see, it displays the comments, as well as the exact time period the user is commenting on.
Note, the comments will still show up in the normal WordPress area as well. They will also include the timestamp. If you don’t want to duplicate comments, GOCHA Video gives you the option to turn off the comments that appear directly under the video. Here’s what the normal WordPress comments look like:
SUPER COOL FEATURE: You can click the time period and it will take you to that exact part in the video. I didn’t expect this. Super duper cool. Without this, it still wouldn’t be much different than writing @0:48s. But being able to click and go directly there is really nice for both admins and other users who are reading the comments.
See it in action:
The functionality is pretty dang slick. To be honest, I didn’t know you could interact with YouTube videos like that, so I was really impressed with how fluidly this feature works.
Customizing GOCHA Video
At first, I wasn’t even aware you could customize GOCHA Video because they’ve tucked it away in a bit of an odd place. It might be easier to put this directly on the dashboard. But, after consulting the docs, it turns out you can customize things by going to Appearance → Customize → and clicking GOCHA Video:
It’s not an especially comprehensive amount of customization, but it gets the job done. You can change the basic color palate, comments order, and some comments features.
One notable option is the “Dynamic comments” feature. It shows comments that correspond to the specific time in the video in real-time. So as the user moves through the video, the comments will change to reflect the current period. So if you turn on “open comments” and “dynamic comments”, here’s what it will look like:
This is another really cool feature. I can see it being really valuable for any informational or training videos.
The plugin also includes a CSS file that you can use to further modify its appearance. They have docs describing how to do this, so if you know your way around CSS, you should be able to easily modify things.
Is GOCHA Video just for YouTube?
Nope! GOCHA Video also supports Vimeo and the default WordPress media player (though I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone use the default media player!). Here’s what it looks like with Vimeo:
Between YouTube and Vimeo, most everyone should already be covered. The plugin is still new though, so maybe the list of supported sites will be expanded even more in the future.
Where could GOCHA Video get better?
The functionality is awesome. I love it, and I think anyone who uses videos a lot should have this functionality. But...I would love to see some more customization options and a clearer “Settings” page. E.g. Right now, there doesn’t appear to be any way to turn GOCHA Video on/off for individual videos (EDITOR'S NOTE: Since writing this review, GOCHA Video has released this feature. You can now turn GOCHA Video on/off for specific posts or pages).
I think this is something that needs to be added because right now it’s all or nothing. Very short videos don’t really need such detailed commenting, so it isn’t especially helpful to have comments on them. Or sometimes you just might not want comments on specific videos.
I’m sure there will be plenty of improvements to the backend as GOCHA Video matures, and I don’t want to detract from the amazing functionality - it’s a really cool plugin.
Pricing and documentation:
I really like GOCHA Video. I haven’t seen any other plugins that offer this functionality and I was impressed with how seamlessly it integrated with YouTube and Vimeo. The dynamic comments feature is also very cool. If you’re heavy into video, you should give it a try. It can open up a whole new level of interactivity for your site.
GOCHA Video is a relatively new plugin, so they’ve got plenty of enhancements in the pipeline. In the future, they’re planning to add a dedicated shortcode as well as integration with Visual Composer and other frameworks. They’re also open to suggestions, so if you see something that should be added, feel free to chime in.