Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


What is Datavyu used for?

Datavyu is a video coding and data visualization tool for collecting behavioral data from video.

Can I use Datavyu to analyze data?

Datavyu is a data coding tool, not a statistical analysis tool. You can export data from Datavyu in a variety of forms depending on your analysis needs. See the Export Data from Datavyu and Use Scripts to Export Data from Datavyu tutorials for more information.

What video formats does Datavyu support?

Datavyu supports all video formats that Quicktime or VLC can play, including .mp4, .asf, .wmv, .avi, .flv, .mov, .mpf, .ogg, .mpg, .nsc, .wav, and .dts. Please test video playback on each of your computers in your work environment by downloading datavyu, and playing video data you plan to code.

We highlight suggest using the Quicktime plugin because the VLC plugin has known timing problems which could lead to inconsistent coding.

Can I code sources that are not videos?

Yes, we mostly support video data but other sources can be analyzed in Datavyu as well.

Is there somewhere I can share or store my spreadsheets and videos?

Yes indeed! Databrary is a web-based repository for open sharing and preservation of video data and associated metadata. The project website has more information about the initiative and a guide to help you get started.

Do I have to pay for Datavyu?

No! Datavyu is completely free and open source. If you would like to contribute to the development of Datavyu, see: the source on GitHub.

What is Datavyu’s citation?

Datavyu Team (2014). Datavyu: A Video Coding Tool. Databrary Project, New York University. URL

Technical Requirements

Which operating system is Datavyu available for?

Datavyu builds are available for both Windows and Mac OS X. You can download either version from the Datavyu Downloads page.

Do I need any additional software to run Datavyu?

Datavyu requires Java, and either Quicktime or VLC. See Requirements for more details.

What hardware do I need to code data sources in Datavyu?

Datavyu makes extensive use of a the keypad for controlling video playback. If your keyboard does not have a keypad (for example, if you’re working on a laptop), you will need to acquire an external keypad.

Beyond that, there are no specific hardware requirements.

Do I need to be connected to the internet when using Datavyu?

No! Datavyu runs entirely on your computer. If you are connected to the internet, however, Datavyu will check to see if there is a new version of Datavyu that you can download. See Keep Datavyu Up-to-Date for more information.


I’ve never coded video data before. How should I start?

We are writing a Best Practices Guide to provide detailed tips and advice to help you start coding behavioral data from video.

Where can I learn to use Datavyu?

The Datavyu user guide provides comprehensive documentation of Datavyu’s interfaces and capabilities, as well as tutorials to guide you through common tasks.

I’m not sure how to best code my data? Are there guidelines for coding?

The Best Practices Guide will provide in-depth instructions and suggestions for coding your behavioral data. It is coming soon!

What is the best way to prevent data loss?

We suggest that users pull all of their spreadsheets to the desktop before coding them. After coding, users can ship their spreadsheets back to their folders or hard drive.

How do I update Datavyu?

When you first start up Datavyu while connected to the internet, Datavyu automatically checks for new versions and prompts you to update if there is a new version. See: Keep Datavyu Up-to-Date for more information.

Where can I ask questions about issues I’m having with Datavyu?

Post your questions to the Datavyu support forum and Datavyu maintainers and users will help you find the answers you’re looking for.

I have found a bug in Datavyu! How can I report it?

If you find a bug, you can post to the Datavyu support forum or email Datavyu’s QA Manager, Vicky Foo.

API Scripts

What is a script?

A script is a collection of code that performs actions on a file or spreadsheet. You could write a script to add a column, add codes to a column, duplicate and move data around, or export data to a convenient file format for analysis with SPSS, for example. See the Ruby API guide for more information.

I’m not a programmer - where can I learn to write scripts?

The Ruby API guide provides an in-depth introduction to scripting with Datavyu’s Ruby API, tutorials that guide you through common scripting tasks and detailed method reference for each API component, to help you learn how these components work together.

If you’re completely unfamiliar with programming, going through the Ruby language’s Learn Ruby in Twenty Minutes tutorial may be helpful. Ruby is an easy-to-read programming language which was designed to be intuitive and easy to learn, so gaining the basics should be feasible.

What can I use scripts for?

You can write scripts to import, manipulate, and export data. The API Tutorials describe common tasks you can write scripts to accomplish.


I have existing MacSHAPA files - can I convert my them to Datavyu?

Yes! You can import a MacSHAPA file into Datavyu through a simple script. See Convert MacSHAPA Files to Work in Datavyu for details.

I have existing OpenSHAPA files - can I convert them to Datavyu?

Yes! You can open your OpenSHAPA files in Datavyu like you would any other Datavyu file.

Will my MacSHAPA queries work in Datayvyu?

Unfortunately, MacSHAPA queries do not work on the new Datavyu format. You will need to write new scripts for your Datavyu spreadsheets.

Will my OpenSHAPA scripts run in Datavyu?

Yes! You can easily convert an OpenSHAPA script to work in Datavyu by adding require 'Datavyu_API.rb' to the top of your OpenSHAPA script file and removing the OpenSHAPA API code that precedes the script. For more information see the Convert an OpenSHAPA Script to the Datavyu Format tutorial.