Processing video with current V5 64 bit release build

So i've been using the current Studio Artist V5 64 bit build to process movies quite a bit recently. So i thought i'd start a forum discussion on this topic, because i think a lot of our users are mis-informed about how dead simple it is to process movies using the current 64 bit build (with all of it's current limitations).

To paraphrase Gurdjieff, the current V5 64 bit release is no obstacle to getting real work done.

Yes, the current 64 bit build does not allow you to open a quicktime movie file into the source area. And yes, the movie file output options are greyed out. All of this is directly due to apple's total disregard for their digital media content developers, as well as their apparent desire to 'erase the past' rather than provide easy access to it. The quicktime api will never be supported by apple as a 64 bit api, and they made 0 effort to make it easy for their entire existing C++ developer base to move to a new underlying framework, preferring to force everyone to start from scratch and force a different language to do it in to boot. After misleading all of those developers with another 64 bit api they pushed for years and then abandoned as well. 

But that is a whole other topic, so let's ignore that in this thread and move on to the 'how do i get useful work done' discussion.

So how do i process movies if i don't have access to movie file io? Great question. The answer is just to work with folders of numbered frame images.

1: Convert your movie file into a folder of numbered frame images.

2: Process the movie in Studio Artist using the the Action : Process with Paint Action Sequence : Image to Image menu command.

3: Convert your folder of processed frame images into a movie file.

And you are done.

Here's a screen shot of the particular Action menu i am referring to in the current 64 bit build.

I've been running extensive tests of all of our V5 embedded bezier keyframe animation functionality so we can understand any existing issues and address them in our V6 development efforts (lack of adequate support for dynamic brush paint effects when targeted as embedded bezier action steps being one very important thing to clean up).

I have not found this 3 step way of working to be any real impediment to my immediate task of trying to get things done. Getting things done meaning processing movies in Studio Artist V5 64 bit build.

The reality is that we have been encouraging our customers who use Studio Artist in production type environments to use this approach for years. Rendering directly to movie files worked great if you never ran into any problems. But if you were processing large numbers of frames, and you did run into some issue, you could end up with a damaged move file, and all of your processing up to that point in that file would be lost. Not that case if you are rendering to a folder of numbered rendered frame images.

So sure, it's fine to complain about the lack of movie file io in the current V5 64 bit build.  Believe me, i'm probably more upset about it than you are. But don't tell me you can't get any work done. Because it simply isn't true.

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So i'm sure the first post to this thread will ignore what i just said and instead lament the lack of movie file io, how this prevents them from accomplishing anything in the program, and then proceed to complain about how we are late out of the gate to deal with this issue for our customers.

Perhaps. But perhaps not.

So here's the skinny, which slang.org denotes as letting someone in on something secretive.

So dim the lights and we'll talk in whispers from here on.

We are very actively working to update our codebase for the future here at Synthetik. We're taking our time to do it right. And do it in a way that apple can't run off the rails again when they have some new arbitrary marketing whim that kills off some other set of crucial code apis. And you know they will.

We are seriously committed to cross platform for Studio Artist's future. So get ready for more love windows users. You deserve it.

And i have to be honest here, whatever you may think of windows many idiosyncrasies, i have to give Microsoft credit for trying to allow existing software on their platform to keep running. They don't seem to go out of their way to kill it off and pretend it never even existed, which is definitely the case with apple.

But what about the mac?

Oh don't worry, everyone here at Synthetik still uses macs for all of our daily work. We run windows on Parallels virtual machines on the macs. Or bootcamp. We do have an accer laptop for testing, and i'd love to get one of the Surface Pro Desktops in here to develop on. But the reality is that iMacs are way more cost effective for our users than the current Surface Desktops, which are too pricy i think. Needs to be half the price.

We're also well aware that our super long time user base is full of mac die-hard users. After all, we were mac only through V1, V2, V3, V3.5 (which was a full release in terms of features).

What about ios?

Sure, we all use iPads here. Wouldn't it be great if they fit into the Studio Artist universe somehow. Sure.

Now what do we hate about ios. Locked down kafka-esk totalitarian (was it actually designed by Stalin?) development platform.  Will we ultimately remember Jobs as a visionary, or the guy who screwed up software? Drop out of apple fan-boy mode and seriously look at the world they have created, and the many problems associated with it.

Of course we have to live with the reality of how screwed up the ios app world is. And it definitely has ramifications. Both in terms of what kinds of software we can successfully target to it, and in terms of how apple encourages 'one trick pony' apps and discourages 'complex deep' professional apps on the platform.

We can also state with absolute certainty that apple will do everything in their power to force us to continuously rewrite anything we release on this particular platform on a regular basis, which has major implications for how much functionality we could support, as well as the stability of the code itself.

People tend to forget that there is incredible hard-won value in fully debugged and tested code, that is immediately lost if you are forced to continuously rewrite or change it.

I just care about movie files. When are you going to fix this.

We are working internally with a new cross platform 64 bit video framework. Down in it's depths it's doing the appropriate things for the various platforms. But from the standpoint of coding Studio Artist, we don't see any of that. So when apple kills of AVFrameworks at some indeterminate point in the future we won't care. Studio Artist will just continue working.

Windows people will love our new video framework because they won't have to be tied to Quicktime .mov files for working with movies. It supports avi among other things.

One added advantage of our new video framework is that on one level it really doesn't distinguish between movie files and folders of frame images. This has some interesting new feature implications for us, and if you are aware of things like stack filtering or how the current Movie Layers work, you should be getting excited.

When am i going to see any of this exciting new stuff?

Do not ask me about specific release dates. Because that is not how we do things here at Synthetik Software. And that should ultimately make you happy. We are not targeting specific dates, and then gutting everything on the 'to do' list to make that happen, or releasing something questionable to meet the targeted date. We release things when they are finished.

The other thing to keep in mind is that unexpected things are always happening that can directly affect any artificial 'must release at this date' magical schedules companies sometimes try to enforce. I'll dive into some of those issues more below.

Our ultimate goal is to clean up and retool the existing Studio Artist code base so that it will continue to run well into the future.  Studio Artist is 20 years old, even if you just look at C++ and how it has been extended over the years there are a lot of things we could take advantage of as we refactor different pieces of code.

We are also putting together a totally new modular architecture. The new cross platform video framework is just one piece of that much larger and more comprehensive project.  There are other new pieces of this modular architecture that are very exciting. Mind bending perhaps. I'm not going to get into it in more detail in this post, but it's very exciting. Not just for what it can add to Studio Artist, but how it opens up other new product opportunities for us to explore.

Anyone who knows me well probably knows that i also am very deep in the process of starting up a tech incubator here on Maui called the Haiku Tech Center. HTC's focus is very much on how to take advantage of recent work in deep learning neural networks (among other interests).  Putting together pipelines for both training and deploying these systems in new software applications.  I'll let you speculate what ramifications this might have for future Synthetik and Studio Artist development projects.

Is this slowing down Studio Artist development. Sure, somewhat. More things on the plate, less time for each of those items. But if you think about what this offers to Studio Artist in both the short term and long term, you should be getting very excited.

Let's get back to apple for a minute and how they love to kill off existing industry standards and force people into their own proprietary schemes. You are probably blissfully unaware that apple is working diligently to kill off OpenGL. Forcing all of their developers to move to using Metal.

Of course you don't have to yet, but OpenGL is already depreciated, and you just have to think about how support for Quicktime api played out to see the writing on the wall.

This directly affected some work we had started on a GPU Shader module and associated functionality for Studio Artist.  We just completely stopped the work and put it on hold until solutions were developed that addressed the problems.

This also had a huge potential affect on all of our existing vector drawing, which under the hood is making extensive use of OpenGL calls to do all of the heavy lifting.

This is just one example of the boatload of bullshit we are trying to deal with behind the scenes, and hopefully gives you more insight into why we release things when they are finished, not at arbitrary fixed release dates.

We have some ideas for getting some of this new stuff to people sooner rather than later. I'll be discussing more about the specifics of that in a later post.

John, for those of us who want to try your 64 bit approach to movies, please provide a very specific overview, with links, of how to carry out each of your three stages:

 

1: Convert your movie file into a folder of numbered frame images.

 

2: Process the movie in Studio Artist using the the Action : Process with Paint Action Sequence : Image to Image menu command.

 

3: Convert your folder of processed frame images into a movie file.

 

This will be extremely helpful--thanks!!

So i'll give you the best quick way, which is what i've been using. It assumes you are running on osx 10.14 or have access to it via file sharing in your local network, which allows it to work with a Catalina machine. 

I used QuicktimePlayer7 Pro. It makes it super easy. You can export a movie to an image sequence. And you can import an image sequence.  Both are File menu commands.

But there are also several other different approaches you can use if you only have access to Catalina.  I have someone who is putting together a tutorial on this and we'll try to get that up soon for people. Like i said, there are multiple different approaches. Depending on which pieces of software you have on your machine and what you are comfortable working with.

So bear with us as we put this second longer tutorial together for you.

Here’s a solution that uses Final Cut to create the initial image sequence

I assume you want this all done in Catalina. I use three tools:

  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Studio Artist 64 bit
  • QuickTime Player 10

In FCPX

  1. Import your original source movie into FCPX
  2. Click the imported clip
  3. File menu> Share> Export Image Sequence. (if Export Image Sequence" is not listed amongst the destinations, select "Add Destination..." Double click the "Image Sequence" icon in the right half of interface to add it as a destination. You can select the type of image you want created by tapping on the new destination and adjusting the settings.
  4. Follow the prompts to select the destination for your image files

FCPX will then output to the destination each frame as a sequentially numbered tiff or jpg or whatever setting you chose.

IN STUDIO ARTIST 64bit

  1. Create and load the Paint Action Sequence you want to apply to your source movie (in this case your numbered source images).
  2. Action Menu> Process w Paint Action Sequence> Image to Image… You’ll be asked to navigate to the folder that contains your numbered source images. Then you’ll be asked to select where the new processed frames from Studio Artist should be placed.
  3. Studio Artist will then proceed to process and output numbered image files into the output folder you selected

So now you have a numbered set of image files which might be all you want. But if you then want to convert this image sequence back into a QuickTime movie…

In QuickTime Player 10

  1. Open QTPlayer
  2. File Menu> Open Image Sequence You’ll be asked to select the folder where the images are located.
  3. Next you’ll have to decide what compression codec and fps rate you want. Unfortunately QTPlayer10 only offers a few options… not ideal… so you may need to think about these size, fps rates and codecs ahead of time before you start a project (but i digress).
  4. QTPlayer10 will now compile the frames into a movie. You’ll then need to Save (File Menu>Save) it, give it a name and select a location.

So, in review, you’ll need some version of first creating an image sequence (depending on your tools, operating system and preference)… then you go into SA and use the Image to Image option to process your frames with a paseq… then reverse the process using QTPlayer10 to open the frames as a movie.

~victor

So if you use Premiere, then you can use that as an alternative approach for the 2 conversion steps.

Another way to do it is to use Photoshop to do the 2 conversion steps.

We've been looking into various drag and drop web convertor things. Victor thought the ones we looked at seemed to be over-compressed. But it's quite possible we missed one that would work ok.

...

So again, we're not saying any of this is the ultimate solution. We're just trying to point out various approaches people can use right now with the current V5 64 bit release build.

Thanks to Victor Ingrassia and John Dalton for these very helpful suggestions.

 Subsequently I have found two other major video editors that can both export and import numbered image sequences: Adobe After Effects, plus the free but very sophisticated Davinci Resolve program. 

 But I am still hoping for a detailed overview of the SA 64-bit processing:

 2: Process the movie in Studio Artist using the the Action : Process with Paint Action Sequence : Image to Image menu command.

 The previous SA tutorial videos etc I have checked primarily focus on the richer (but now Mac-defunct) 32-bit  PASeq processing facilities, but I'm unsure exactly how to translate these to the 64-bit environment.

Hi John,

I'm not clear on what you need explained. Give us a quick description of your experience with Paint Action Sequences... have you made them and used them? Because, if you have some paseq experience, you'll find that the 64-bit version of SA is essentially identical, but for the lack of the ability to load a quicktime movie into the source area.

So just take a moment to explain what you need.

thanks,
victor

Hi Victor,

 

I should have made it clear that the intended audience for

the tutorial is not me or you--we don't need it.  Instead it's

for the much broader audience served by the current SA

intro videos and tutorials.

 

Anyone just starting with video processing needs all the

help they can get.  The new prominence given to image

sequences in this forum discussion isn't yet supported

adequately enough by the existing intro materials.

Hence my suggestion that we should provide some soon.

Ah... got it. Now I understand your intent. Hopefully some of the tips intros threads can help others in the meantime.

~v

i thought quicktime player7 pro does not work on newer versions of mac at this point.

QuickTime Player 7 Pro is a 32 bit application. Based on the Quicktime api, which is also only available as a 32 bit api.

As apple customers, as apple developers, it is worth asking why they couldn't be bothered to supply a 64 bit sdk wrapper of that long time multi-media standard file format api. So that the entire vibrant eco-system that had developed around quicktime being a standard you could count on to work would continue to grow and flourish.

This hypothetical 64 bit QuickTime api could have allowed every existing Quicktime enhanced mac application to continue to run. With a simple re-compile, and maybe a set of  a few simple code modifications.  Code modification they would make as easy as possible to navigate, doing the work and then smartly packaging it so that their existing developers would find it trivial to use.

But it would appear that apple is more concerned about erasing the past, pretending it never existed. Pretending archived content from old projects will never need to be accessed or used ever again.

It's a very Orwellian stance for a company supposedly so obsessed with individual customers data.

By promoting short term profit, short term goals, the assumption that apple will go out of their way to kill off whatever digital content it is in a few years cannot help but encourage a software developer for their platform to dumb things down to meet these short term get in make a quick buck, get out eco-system.

When one of the richest technology companies on the planet tells you they can't be bothered to put a small team of engineers on the task of allowing old software developed for the platform to continue to run.  32 bit apps could be run in sandbox emulation environments.

We know apple is familiar with this technology and even good at it.  They did it before in Rosetta during the Motorola to Intel transition.  They are doing it again in the current Intel to Arm chip transition.

We know apple will try to justify it by saying they don't want that old 32 bit stuff on new machines, implying maybe it has digital herpes,or really bad cooties. Or to legitimately point out that it takes up disk space to keep it around, or memory space to use it.

So you make that an option during the instal.  Apple's installer would sweep your old Applications folder, figure out how many app files in there use 32 bit quicktime, and perhaps other stuff like 32 bit Quickdraw.  It would say, 'hey good buddy, you have some old 32 bit applications on your computer (and then list them with checkboxes in the list). So you could choose which ones you care about and still want to run, and which to get rid of on the computer. And apple's magical and all powerful installer would then instal the extra stuff needed to run the old 32 bit libraries in sandbox mode.

Apple would show that they actually care about their long term customers and developers.

Think of the heartwarming ads they could make. Priceless photos and movies of dear old grandma were digitized many years ago for an irreplaceable custom DVD made using that DVD software apple told all of us to use.  All seemed lost, but then someone remembered that apple cared about all those old customers who used their old Quicktime based iDVD software to archive their priceless life memories.

So a heart-warming ending is achieved by apple allowing the 12 year old family relative to grab grandpa's old iDVD project file and all the associated data files, and then letting them run all of that old 32bit software and use the 32 bit fie format data associated with the old project.

Buzzer goes off.  Incorrect answer here on ArsTechnica Squares, the tech game show modeled after Hollywood Squares.

..

Boy, that was a long winded way to say you are correct, quicktime player 7 pro does not work on osx 10.15 Catalina, or soon to be release osx 11 Big Sur that runs on mythical ARM chip macs.

I was using it on a machine on my wifi network that was running osx 10.14

i almost bought my first windows because of apple pissing off for a lot of reasons. my old computer has mojave installed so i could go back and forth. with random shuts downs i can't use a big fcpro movie on it. i never thought i would ever consider windows because i wasn't planning on needing a new computer at this time and the difference in cost alone was very tempting. 

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