Isadora 2.0.5 – Release Notes

(Information regarding incremental releases since 2.0.0 can be found at the bottom of this page.)

Before you start using Isadora 2.0, the Isadora team wants you to read the four critical tips below. They are really important.

Can I say that one more time?

It’s really important you read the tips below!

TIP 1: Use the right codec for HD Playback

There is a detailed discussion of this topic in our knowledge base, but here is the short version:

– For Smoothest HD Playback: use H264 on MacOS and WMV on Windows. Set the ‘optimize’ input of the Movie Player to ‘performance’

– For Real-Time Interactive Control: Use Photo JPEG or, if you have an SSD, Apple Pro Res. Full HD resolution will react more slowly than lower resolutions. Set the ‘optimize’ input of the Movie Player to ‘interaction’

– HAP: Vidvox’s HAP codec offers good performance on Mac and excellent performance on Windows. But, if you are going to play more than one clip, you must have an SSD. 

If you are going to play more than one clip, you must have data drives that can handle the required transfer speeds, SSD are recommended

– Solid State Drives: The importance of using an SSD drive when playing multiple HD clips cannot be overstated. If at all possible, get one for your setup.

– Beware of MP4: MP4 files might contain H264 (aka avc1) or they might contain the older, less efficient mp4v codec. Hover over an item in the Media View, and the tooltip shows you a four letter code for the codec. If it says ‘mp4v’ we recommend you re-encode your clip to H264 (avc1).

TIP 2: Don’t run HD video through actors that only accept CPU based video (vid-cpu)

The Isadora 1.0 CPU based video effects from Isadora 1.0 simply can’t handle HD resolutions. We’ll be building a library of GPU based effects to replace those actors over the next few months as well as adding ways to use GLSL shader language programs in Isadora.

If you must convert GPU video to the CPU, use the Texture to Video actor to scale it down to a lower resolution.

If you must use CPU based video (for instance, because your tracking with the Eyes or Eyes++ actors, keep the resolution low to keep the speed high.)

TIP 3: Avoid Converting from vid-gpu or vid-ci to vid-cpu

Pulling data from the graphics card back into the CPU is expensive. Use the Texture to Video and Image to Video actors sparingly.

TIP 4: Avoid actors with the word “Classic” in their name

These are Isadora 1.0 modules that are destined to be removed. Some, like the Classic Movie Players, have a tendency to crash on Yosemite (Mac OS 10.10.) By the time we get to Isadora 3, you can be certain these actors will be gone. They all have Isadora 2.0 replacements now, so now is the time to stop using them.

New Features in 2.0

EASIER UPGRADING: Apply upgrades easily with the new “Upgrade” command

After you receive a new registration code, upgrading is as easy as choosing Edit > Upgrade… You can enter the new registration code and your license will be updated. 

DEMO AWAY: The demonstration version can now run Isadora 2.0 patches

As with Isadora 1.0, the demonstration version Isadora 2.0 can do everything the licensed version does except save the files. This “run time” functionality allows you to leave fully operational patches in a venue without requiring you to purchase an additional license.

If you have a 1.x license installed, and want to try the 2.0 features, just go to the Help menu and choose “Try Isadora 2.0 in Demo Mode” switch to demonstration mode.

IMPROVED v2.0 MOVIE PLAYER: 4x Faster in ‘interaction’ Mode

For the 2.0 release (as compared to the early adopter beta) playback of H264/MP4 movies when the ‘optimize’ mode of the new Movie Player is set to ‘interaction’ should be vastly improved — a factor of four going by the CPU readings. (See the “known issues” section with regard to how this changed responsiveness to the ‘speed’ input of the Movie Player.)

NEW ACTORS: GPU based mixer, fader, and background color

New versions of the Video Mixer, Video Fader, and Background Color actors, all of which handle all three types of video (vid-gpu, vid-ci, and vid-cpu).

Text Draw: also supporting vid-gpu, vid-ci, and vid-cpu, this is vastly improved over Isadora 1.0 with many new features including the most often requested feature: word-wrapping. (Note: there is one issue with this actor that we’ll fix in a maintenance update. Please see the “known issue” section for more.)

CINEMATIC CROSS FADING: A subtle flaw has been fixed

Crossfades in Isadora have had a flaw since the introduction of OpenGL to the program many years ago. The problem was so subtle, that many users never noticed it. But with the introduction of the IzzyMap, it became critical to “do it right.” Crossfades now give you true cinematic cross fades. This Isadora patch illustrates the difference.

A WINDOW TO A VIEW: New integrated Media View

The Media Window is gone. It has been replaced by an integrated media view that is part of the main window. You can now easily resize the toolbox on the left, and the media view on the right by grabbing the five little dots that separate the views.

This integrated view becomes really important because of the next new feature.

DROPPING AND DRAGGING: it’s easy, it’s fast, it’s fun

I was going to make a whole video to show you this nifty addition. But instead, I’m simply going to let you try it. Open a file that has several movie files in it. Now take a single movie from the Mac OS Finder or Windows Explore and drag it into the movie list in the integrated Media View. You immediately notice something different, the meaning of which should be as obvious as it is cool. Then, for something completely different, drag a media file (video, picture, 3D model.. whatever you like) into the Scene Editor. And after that, drag a file into the Scene List. If you’re like pretty much everyone who has seen this feature, you’ll like it a lot. ;-)

CLEARING THE CLUTTER: Hidden Inputs and Outputs let you see only the properties you need

Isadora 1.0 had become cluttered over the years with many different versions of the Movie Player and Projector actors. If we had put all of the functionality into one actor, it would have had an overwhelming number of inputs or outputs.

In Isadora 2.0, we have solved the problem by allowing you to show or hide the inputs or outputs of any actor.

>>> THIS BIT IS IMPORTANT <<< In addition, some actors have less frequently used inputs hidden by default. The Movie Player and Projector are two important examples where this new feature comes into play.

If you see an “eye” icon at the top left of an actor, it means that some of its input or output properties are hidden. To change what properties are visible just double-click the eye. If no inputs are hidden, the eye will not be present. Select the actor and choose Actors > Show/Hide Properties to see the editor dialog. (There is a checkbox there that allows you to make your preferred setup the default when adding new actors.)

To compare Isadora 1.0 and 2.0:

Isadora 1.0: Sound Movie Player
Isadora 2.0: double click the “eye” icon above the Movie Player, and expose the ‘audio tracks’ input. Then set that input to the desired number of tracks. (Some of the other less often used inputs are also hidden.)

Isadora 1.0 = 3D Projector
Isadora 2.0 = double click the “eye” icon above the Projector, expose the 3D related inputs, and turn on the ’3d enable’ input.

In the next maintenance update (which will come soon), we will add a feature that allows you to create multiple setups for a single actor and to give each a unique name. For instance, you will be able to add a “Sound Movie Player” that functions as an “alias,” showing the necessary properties of the Movie Player tailored for sound playback.

RGB + A: Colors Now Include Alpha

Colors that with an alpha channel will become much more important as Isadora 2.0 embraces GPU video and FFGL effects. So, the Color Maker and all of its related actors have been replaced by new actors that also handle an alpha channel in addition to the normal red, green and blue. You can tell if a color input accepts alpha by clicking on its input port to show the “Mini Color Wheel.” If the alpha slider is enabled, then it understands alpha.

So far, the main actors using alpha channel colors are the Video Fader, Video Mixer, Background Color and Text Draw. But more will be coming soon.

BLACKMAGIC CAPTURE: Efficient, High Quality Video Capture

IMPORTANT: You must upgrade to the very latest drivers to ensure this feature works!

We’ve added direct video capture from Blackmagic devices, and it’s pretty simple to use: install the latest drivers from Blackmagic, and in the Live Capture Settings window, choose “Blackmagic” in the new driver popup. Then you need to select the proper input format (which is configured with Blackmagic’s software, not in Isadora.)

This feature has worked well for us during testing. However, during the early adopter phase, we received very little feedback from the users who given advance copies so they could try it. So, this particular item may need a little more work before we feel confident it is production ready. We are very happy to receive your bug reports on this. Please let us know how it works for you.

PROCESSING IT ALL: New actor processing model (especially important for longtime power users.)

The algorithm used to execute all of the actors in your patch has changed slightly. This is to solve some subtle (and occasionally maddening) behaviors.

If you know Isadora already, the main situation where you’ll notice a difference is that actors connected to User Inputs in a User Actor will now always initialize correctly.

This article goes into extreme detail about this topic. If you’re relatively new to Isadora, don’t bother reading it, as it won’t mean much to you. If however, you are an “old hand” and especially if you make complex patches, it’s worth taking the time to read and understand the changes.

To make sure we don’t break old patches, they still use the 1.0 processing model. New patches created in 2.0 will automatically default to the new model. You can tell which mode is active by looking at the Pre 2.0 Actor Processing Mode item in the Actors menu. (You can also change this setting, but we don’t recommend it.)

ISOLATE WITH EASE: Getting the most from the Solo feature of the Mapper

Even some members of the Isadora tech team found the Solo functionality of the mapper a bit confusing. We’ve improved the user interface to make it clearer.

The Solo function works as it does on many mixing consoles. Each slice has a “solo enable” button, now located at the right of the slice name. Clicking this will enable soloing for that slice, but does not actually solo. Instead, to solo the channels, you must hit one of two Solo Master buttons: either large “S” at the bottom right of the slice list, or else hit the “SOLO” button in the mapper editor.

This functionality means you can “solo enable” as many slices as you want, and then use the Solo Master to toggle them all on or off at the same time.

TOOLTIPS ARE YOUR FRIEND: Hovering over a control will yield helpful clues

Every control in the mapper has a tooltip. If you hover over an item, it will not only tell you what that control does, it will give you the corresponding shortcut key in square brackets. For instance, if you hover of the “SOLO” button at the top left, you’ll learn that the shortcut for that button is “M”.

KNOWN ISSUES

The video input of the new Text Draw actor does not yet allow you to overlay text on a video signal. We will fix this for the next release. Until then, you can simply layer the text on other video channels using the Projector actor.

Quartz Composer Actor Crashes on Yosemite: Late in our testing cycle, it became clear that something has changed substantially when using Quartz Composer plugins on Yosemite, Mac OS 10.10. (This problem seems to appear only on Yosemite.) There are frequent crashes with specific actors. We believe at this point that you can avoid these crashes by using the Classic CI Movie Player instead of the new Movie Player when feeding any Quartz Composer actors.

Movie Player Is Less Responsive To Speed Changes: The 4x performance improvement for the new Movie Player (at the top of the release notes) came at a cost: when in ‘interaction’ mode, and when working with high-resolution clips, it is now less responsive when changing speed; you may hear an audible pause in HD H264 movies when you do this. Given the choice between immediate reaction to speed changes and actually being able to play HD clips well, we chose the latter.

Blackmagic Capture Latency: One user who tried the Blackmagic capture system reported a rather long latency. We have not been able to recreate that situation. We are investigating and will solve it as soon as possible.

3D Particles Actor: A flaw in the 1.0 version of this actor was fixed, but it caused some people’s patches to break. A revised plugin will come with the next build, but you can download the updated plugin from this forum post.

Notes Regarding Incremental Releases

Feb 5, 2015: The 2.0.5 Release solves the following issues:

  • You can now feed a background image into the Text Draw actor.
  • Further bugs in the 2.0 Actor Processing Model have been addressed.
  • In some cases,  Secondary Scenes activated via the Activate Scene actor, would render at half intensity. This has been fixed.
  • Problems rendering Quartz Composer patches (.qtz) files that use the “Billboard” output should be solved. Please let us know if you find this is not the case
  • When using the new Grouped by Scene layering mode, Secondary Scenes now render in the same way they did in Isadora 1.x.
  • A new input called ‘exec src’ has been added to the Selector, Router, and Gate actors. If you were using these actors to “block” upstream actors from executing, you will need to change this input from the default setting. For complete details, please read the new knowledge base article Making Your Patch More Efficient with the Gate, Selector and Router Actors.
  • If you cut a Scene that had been resized, and then chose Undo, the Scene would come back at the default size. This has been fixed.
  • Isadora will now display an informative error if you try to show the Stage on a display that does not support OpenGL 2.0. (This really only affects Windows XP users; more recent operating systems all have OpenGL 2.0)
  • When in demo mode, Isadora no longer marks the file as needing to be saved after resolving missing video. Thus, the “Save Changes” dialog will never be shown.
  • On Mac OS X, the Text Draw now behaves correctly after feeding it an empty string. (In previous versions, once you fed an empty string to the Text Draw actor, it would not render text until you left the scene and came back.)
  • Several potential crashes related to hiding and then showing the Stage in Scenes containing the new Video Mixer, Video Fader, and the video conversion actors (e.g., Video to Texture) have been fixed.

Feb 16: The 2.0.2 Release solves the following issues:

  • There’s now a new “Upgrade…” option under the “Register…” option in the file menu. No more looking for the registration file. ;-)
  • A bug with the 2.0 Actor Processing Model that several users discovered. This should now work as expected. You can still enable the old Actor Processing Model, but this is not recommended for new projects. (Old files will automatically use the old method.) The option to select the Actor Processing Model has been moved to the file menu, where you can now choose “2.0″ or “1.x Compatible.”
  • A bug in the new layering algorithm was fixed to allow the possibility of true cinematic crossfades. Based on user response, both the old method and the new method are useful, so now you have a choice. In the file menu you will now find a “Layering” item, with two choices: either Grouped by Scene or Ungrouped (1.x Compatible). Like the Actor Processing Model, new projects will default to Grouped by Scene and 1.x projects will default to Ungrouped (1.x Compatible). If you choose Ungrouped (1.x Compatible) you will not be able to get the true cinematic crossfades when moving from one scene to the next. (I’m going to write a knowledge base article to make the difference between the two clear.)
  • Quartz Composer patches ran slowly in previous versions because of a bug. This has been fixed and you should find patches using Quartz Composer modules running at full speed again. However, there does seem to be an Apple bug that causes some plugins to fail on Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite only. (We cannot be more specific than to say that these QC plugins use the “Billboard” as the output.) We are investigating this, and will try to find a solution.
  • A bug where images produced by the 3D Particles actor would disappear after a crossfade has been fixed.
  • A bug where the Jump++ would “snap” to the next scene when the fade in and fade out times were not the same has been fixed 

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