MWrap: a simple tool for analysing behavior observation recordings

Authors: Melinda Babits, Miklós Bán
University of Debrecen, MTA-DE “Lendület” Behavioral Ecology Research Group, Hungary

Schedule: Thursday 28th August 10:00, Dorskampzaal

Video techniques are broadly used in the field of animal behavior, thus there is increasing interest in softwares, that simplify the processing of the recordings. One of the difficulties is that animals can exhibit a wide variety of behaviors, that can't be recognized and recorded automatically, so the video has to be watched and analysed by a person.
To improve the efficiency of this process we have developed a simple, easy-to-use and freely available video analysis software called MWrap, that helps the processing of observation sessions from recordings. This software allows to record unique behavioral events. During video analyses particular events could be indicated by pressing the same keys on the keyboard. MWrap collects the key labels and the video-times of the events to a simple text file, which can be easily processed by statistical softwares, for example R.
The software has some features, that make the work more convenient. It is possible to measure the duration of the behavioral events even if they are overlapped by other events. The analysis of the video can be ceased at any time and it is possible to continue from the last recorded event, or to start a new analysis which will be recorded to an other output file. It is also possible to associate text labels with keyboard keys before start the processing of the videos. The software provides two utilities to check the recorded events. On one hand, a processed video can be replayed with a subtitle consisting of the recorded events' keys or labels, and the other hand it is  possible to create a picture collection about the recorded events along with their labels.
Even though this new software is very simple, it provides everything that is needed in the transcription and timing of behavior observation sessions, therefore it is extensively used in our research group.