At CHI there were two papers demonstrating this new navigation technique. The systems pre-process your video to isolate objects and compute optical flow. The user can then navigate by dragging objects directly along their paths. In usability studies the technique outperforms the typical navigation slider.
The first paper is "Video Browsing by Direct Manipulation" by Pierre Dragicevic, INRIA & University of Toronto and Gonzalo Ramos, Jacobo Bibliowicz, Derek Nowrouzezahrai, Ravin Balakrishnan, Karan Singh, University of Toronto. Project webpage.
The second paper is "DRAGON: A Direct Manipulation Interface for Frame-Accurate In-Scene Video Navigation" by Thorsten Karrer, Malte Weiss, RWTH Aachen University, Eric Lee, Apple Inc., Jan Borchers, RWTH Aachen University. Project webpage.
This doesn’t have anything directly to do with touch, but it’s a feature that would be
pretty handy on touchscreen mobiles. Navigation through long videos
or podcasts is one of the few usability failures on the iPhone/iPod
Touch, in my humble opinion — you can’t manipulate a slider very
precisely with fingers.