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MBARI Media Management (M3)

MBARI’s Media Management system (M3) is an evolution of MBARI’s Video Annotation and Reference System (VARS). It is specifically focused on managing digital video collections and annotations for scientific purposes.


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M3 is based around a collection of RESTful microservices. MBARI has developed microservices for:

These microservices are each independant and can be mixed and matched for your own video applications. For development and simple deployments follow our microservice guide.


M3 includes several applications that are being developed to support video annotations. These include:

  • vars-annotation - A video annotation application
  • vars-kb - An applicatino for managing the knowledgebase data.
  • Sharktopoda - A macOS video player that integrates with vars-annotation.


To support our application development, MBARI has created the following Java-based libraries:

  • vcr4j - A Java API for communicating with video ‘devices’
  • vars-avfoundation - A Java API for native image capture on macOS.



Overview Diagram

If this diagram causes a WTF? moment, you may want to read ‘The non-techie’s guide to servers


This project is funded by:

A big, hearty thanks to the following companies for providing licenses for their products. Their support of open-source and non-profit software development is extremely valuable and greatly appreciated.