Pre-Release Version – Release Notes

*IMPORTANT* Turn off threaded movie playback. It is no longer recommended.


This release is primarily about performance improvements and bug fixes. To improve the efficiency and reliability of playback, much of the code relating to movie playback has been modified. I have spent much time testing this version in every configuration I can imagine. But, with so many changes it’s possible there’s something I’ve overlooked. So I would advise you to use this version only in a non-production environment or if you absolutely need the new features and/or bug fixes listed below.


(NOTE: Further details and information about all the features below can be found by opening Isadora and choosing Help > Release Notes.)

Native Syphon Support: Isadora now features native input and output via the Syphon, an open source system for Mac OS X that allows applications to share video with each another in realtime. To get started quickly, watch this demonstration video.

Auto Snap
Auto Snap 
To help you organize your patches and Control Panels, Isadora now features a new “auto-snap” feature. When Auto Snap is enabled in the View menu, grey alignment rulers will automatically be generated when adding or moving actors, links between actors, or controls in the Control Panel. 

Monitor Window
Monitor Window
When attempting to interface to external devices via Open Sound Control (OSC), a serial port, TCP/IP or even MIDI, it is often useful to see the data being sent to Isadora by the external device. The new Monitor Window provides a solution to that problem, providing both a hexadecimal and ASCII “dump” of the information being sent and received by Isadora.

Animated GIF Support: Previously, Isadora would always import GIF files as into the Picture bin of the Media Window. Pictures do not support animation, but some GIF files can be animated. You may now choose to import GIF files into the Movie bin by choosing “Import GIFs as Video” under “File Options” in the General tab of the Isadora Preferences.

3D Renderer – More Options: The following actors can now be rendered using the 3D Renderer actor: 3D Particles, 3D Model Particles, 3D Line, 3D Displaced Surface, 3D Mosaic.

New & Updated Actors: There are several new and updates actors. Choose Help > Release Notes in Isadora to learn more.

IMPORTANT IMPROVEMENTS (Starting with 1.3.0f25)

Most of the changes in this version have to do with performance improvements and stability.

With regard to performance, the underlying code is more efficient and robust, allowing you to play more movies and dropping far fewer frames. The changes will be largely invisible to the casual user, but instead will be noticed first by those attempting to play multiple HD clips at the same time. Particularly, playback with CI Movie Players has been drastically improved for large HD clips, i.e., 1920 x 1080 clips.

To give you a sense of the kind of detail I’ve gone to, take a look at this chart:

|             | USE |      | DISCRD | DIRECT | MEMCPY | DISCRD |  SUB   |         |         |         |         | SMP |
| RESOLUTION  | PBO | PBOs | BEFORE |  PBO   |  PBO   | AFTER  |  DATA  | --AVG-- | --MIN-- | --MAX-- | --PCT-- | CNT |
| RENDERER: ATI Radeon HD 6750M OpenGL Engine
| 1920 x 1080 |     |  n/a |        |        |        |        |        |   4.686 |   3.119 |   19.48 |   11.72 | 200 |
| 1920 x 1080 | XXX |    1 |        |        |        |        | XXXXXX |   5.137 |   3.165 |   20.70 |   12.84 | 200 |
| 1920 x 1080 | XXX |    2 |        |        |        |        | XXXXXX |   3.981 |   3.201 |    6.58 |    9.95 | 200 |
| 1920 x 1080 | XXX |    1 |        | XXXXXX |        |        |        |   3.938 |   3.210 |    6.22 |    9.84 | 200 | *
| 1920 x 1080 | XXX |    1 | XXXXXX | XXXXXX |        |        |        |   4.206 |   3.209 |    6.02 |   10.52 | 200 |
| 1920 x 1080 | XXX |    1 |        | XXXXXX |        | XXXXXX |        |   3.557 |   3.186 |   12.76 |    8.89 | 200 | ***
| 1920 x 1080 | XXX |    1 |        |        | XXXXXX |        |        |   4.250 |   3.221 |    5.77 |   10.63 | 200 |
| 1920 x 1080 | XXX |    1 | XXXXXX |        | XXXXXX |        |        |   4.666 |   3.205 |   12.18 |   11.67 | 200 |
| 1920 x 1080 | XXX |    1 |        |        | XXXXXX | XXXXXX |        |   4.952 |   3.177 |    5.75 |   12.38 | 200 |
| 1920 x 1080 | XXX |    2 |        | XXXXXX |        |        |        |   4.241 |   3.204 |    6.21 |   10.60 | 200 |
| 1920 x 1080 | XXX |    2 | XXXXXX | XXXXXX |        |        |        |   3.797 |   3.207 |   12.45 |    9.49 | 200 | **
| 1920 x 1080 | XXX |    2 |        | XXXXXX |        | XXXXXX |        |   4.921 |   3.211 |    5.84 |   12.30 | 200 |
| 1920 x 1080 | XXX |    2 |        |        | XXXXXX |        |        |   5.082 |   3.218 |   13.16 |   12.70 | 200 |
| 1920 x 1080 | XXX |    2 | XXXXXX |        | XXXXXX |        |        |   4.897 |   3.208 |    5.88 |   12.24 | 200 |
| 1920 x 1080 | XXX |    2 |        |        | XXXXXX | XXXXXX |        |   4.733 |   3.208 |    5.79 |   11.83 | 200 |

 This represents every possible mode of uploading textures to the GPU I could devise, showing the number of milliseconds it takes (average, minimum and maximum) to upload a 1920×1080 frame of video to the GPU. (200 frames for each sample.) I’m doing this on both Mac and Windows, and (it turns out) the best mode for each is not the same.

For example, take a look at this clip which compares performance when playing two 1920 x 1080 Apple Pro Res clips on 1.3.0f24 and 1.3.0f25. (Tested on a MBP with a 5400 RPM drive — a worst case scenario to be sure.) The older version was dropping every other frame; the new version is much, much smoother. (Take note that the screen recording software is negatively affecting performance in both views — but the improvement from 1.3.0f24 to 1.3.0f25 is clear.)

It’s also about bug fixes, especially with regard to long-term stability. I’ll throw in a thanks here to Conor Moore, who sent me 11GB of data for a three-screen, seventy-five scene show that consistently crashed after three runs. This provided an invaluable test bed. There’s still a deep-down-in-QuickTime Apple bug that causes memory to accumulate over time and will eventually crash Isadora. But when running Conor’s show in a loop, Isadora will now execute 10,000 scenes before crashing.

Also, in 1.3.0f24 and before, when inside a Scene and selecting a new movie via the ‘movie’ input of any Movie Player actor, or when turning the ‘visible’ input ‘on’, there would be a noticeable pause in playback. This has been alleviated by preloading the movies in the background before actually starting playback.

Please take a look at the screen recording comparing the two versions here. (Again, the screen recording software is negatively affecting performance in both views — but the pauses in 1.3.0f24 are obvious.)

The Stage Preview control has been improved greatly. It will drag down the performance far less than in previous versions. And we’ve worked around bugs in certain graphics cards (e.g., the Radeon 6750M) so that Isadora won’t lock up when using the Stage Preview control.

Similarly, the efficiency Record Stage and External Video Out feature requires far less CPU power to do their job. Here are some comparisons.

For All Tests:
Stage Size = 1280 x 720
Target Frame Rate = 30fps
Stage Preview Thumbnail Resolution: 320×240

Stage Preview:
1.3.0f24 – FPS = 29, Cycles = 140
1.3.0f32 – FPS = 30, Cycles = 270

Record Stage Feature:
1.3.0f24 – FPS = 19, Cycles = 80
1.3.0f32- FPS = 30, Cycles = 270

External Output to DV Camera via FireWire:
1.3.0f24 – FPS = 19, Cycles = 80
1.3.0f32 – FPS = 30, Cycles = 270

(For those of you who don’t know, the ‘cycles’ measurement from the Status window indicates how many times per second Isadora can execute the entire scene. It is a useful way to measure the heaviness of a patch. The maximum possible value when the target frame rate is 30fps is 270x per second; the lower the value, the heavier the patch.)


  • A bug which caused User Actors to lose their settings if it was also stored in the Global Toolbox has been fixed. This most notably affected Matthew Haber’s Cornerpin actor, but other User Actors may have been affected as well.
  • The Picture Player no longer generates an error when taking an action that would cause the items in the media list to change, notably when using the Record to Disk feature and stopping capture. (ID=1176,1311,1312,1313)
  • If an unexpected error occurs when attempting to open a Live Capture Channel, the error information presented to the user has been greatly enhanced. This will allow better support when these unexpected errors occur. (ID=1066,1155,1156,1308,1315)
  • Isadora no longer crashes when closing the Stream Setup window after adding a large number of OSC Addresses. (ID=1209, 1270, 1273)
  • Isadora now allows OSC addresses with a “/” at the end.
  • Isadora no longer throws an assertion error quickly moving the “split” between the Control Panel and Scene Editor. (ID=1274)
  • Choosing Actors > Reset to Default Values for certain Quartz Composer actors no longer crashes. (ID=1282)
  • Clicking both mouse buttons simultaneously in the scroll bar no longer crashes Isadora. (ID=1283, 1286, 1287)
  • When copying and pasting an actor with a Ctl ID Link, the link to the control now works properly after the paste. (ID=1288, 1291)
  • The volume of the Movie Player will no longer momentarily start full and then jump down to zero when initiated a fade into a scene with “heavy” User Actors. (First scene with Matthew Haber’s Cornerpin actor, but this bug could have been caused by any actor that did a moment of heavy processing upon initialization.) (ID=1290)
  • When jumping to another app and then back to Isadora, the cursor will is now correctly hidden over a full screen stage. (ID=1292)
  • The Color Control was incorrectly taking up 5 control IDs when renumbering or copying and pasting. It now correctly occupies 3 IDs. (ID=1293)
  • To address a problem of fading from one scene to the next when using the 3D Mosaic actor, added a ‘depth test’ input. This should be set to off when fading from one scene to another when both use the 3D Mosaic actor. (ID=1320)
  • 3D Mosaic actor no longer attempts to display an area outside of the incoming video image, which previously lead to “garbage” in the image. Note however that the scaling of some images within the individual Mosaic tiles has changed slightly because of this. (ID=1321)
  • Increased the maximum resolution of the 3D Renderer to 4096 x 4096. (ID=1328)
  • The Stream Setup window now provides an error dialog when an address has an error, describing the nature of the problem. In addition, you are now prevented from entering OSC addresses that conflict with Isadora’s built-in addresses (/isadora/1 – /isadora/999). (ID=1329)
  • You can now successfully drag a link from the “Monitor” control in the Control Panel to the a video output, e.g., the ‘video out’ output of the Movie Player. (ID=1331)
  • The Sound Movie Player actor now correctly responds to speed changes. (ID=1332)
  • A bug introduced in 1.3.0f25 in which the volume of a movie does not respond correctly is fixed. (ID=1333)
  • An intermittent bug in which the Float to Integer actor crashed has been fixed. (ID=1339)
  • The Logical Calculator actor now always outputs the correct values; in previous versions, some values with certain operations (e.g., OR) would give an erroneous result. (ID=1345)
  • The MIDI Note Off Watcher no longer allows a velocity of 0, which is an illegal value for the MIDI Note Off message. (ID=1346)
  • When using snapshots in combination with CI Actors that produce unchanging images (CI Picture Player, CI Constant Color, etc.) — recalling a snapshot causes these actors to “erase” their output, leading to incorrect output. (ID=1349)
  • When activating a snapshot by clicking on it, Isadora no longer accidentally “trashes” the snapshot. This was especially noticeable in “heavy” patches. (ID=1350)
  • Isadora will no longer crash if the buffer of a Serial In Watcher – Text is overloaded by data. Instead,  a dialog warning the user of the situation is shown. (ID=1316)
  • When double-clicking a file or dropping it on to the Isadora application, Enter Scene Triggers in the first scene now send a trigger as they should. (This bug appeared up somewhere around 1.3.0f30 or so.) (ID=1367)


  • Fixed a bug in the Windows installer that would prevent the USB registration file from being written on non-english operating systems. (ID=1285)
  • Small images (e.g., 8×8 pixels) are no longer displayed with a fuzzy edge by the Projector actor. (ID=1307)
  • When showing a full screen stage, the main editor window of Isadora is no longer deactivated.
  • The cursor is now properly hidden over a full screen Stage window, following the setting of the “Hide Cursor When Full Screen” option in the Stage tab of the Isadora Preferences.
  • A longstanding bug that prevented the Windows version of Isadora from successfully recording an audio-only a file when using the Capture to Disk actor has been fixed. (ID=1317)
  • Fixed an obscure bug with the “Windows Native Playback” feature that would cause Isadora to crash when stopping playback of an AVI or WMV movie. (ID=1318)
  • The Listener actor now correctly responds to messages sent by the Net Broadcaster actor over a network. (ID=1330)
  • A bug in which Edit Text controls in the Control Panel would “grey out” every menu item in Isadora is fixed. (ID=1352)
  • Fixed a bug in the Image to Video converter actor that would lead to a scrambled output when using the low-power version GPU on a Mac Book Pro. (ID=1359)
  • Changed the order of initialization so that the Video Capture Settings are initialized before loading the Quart Composer plugins. This will prevent QC from “stealing” the video input from Isadora if there is a plugin that requires it. (ID=1360)
  • Small GIF files now always render properly in the Picture Player upon entering a scene. (ID=1361, 1363)


  • I believe a bug where an error would be thrown on startup under Lion ( == NULL) is fixed. I was never able to recreate this on any of my machines, so it’s a bit of a guess. If you’ve seen this problem, please let me know if it’s fixed for you. (ID=1343)
  • The FaceTime HD internal web cam now defaults to the correct resolution of 1280 x 720.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented anything color slider combo except the RGB sliders from working the “Color Picker Panel” that appears when you click on a color input.
  • Isadora no longer crashes when the Image to Video (using certain resolutions) actor feeds the Video Mixer and Alpha Mask actors. (ID=1362)
  • Isadora no longer crashes occasionally at the moment a Sound Player actor finishes playing a sound. (ID=1354, 1355)
  • The AUAudioFilePlayer no longer sends a bogus value to the ‘position’ output while waiting for the sound to start playing. It now always reports 0 until the sound is actually playing.


Mac OS X 10.4 and Greater (1.3.1f02)

Mac OS X 10.3.9 and earlier (1.3.1f02)

Windows (1.3.1f02)

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