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Archive for June, 2010

FFMBC 0.4 Now Available

June 25, 2010 Leave a comment

A little over one month since the release candidate was made available, FFMBC has officially rolled our version 0.4. Lots of useful and interesting updates for our favourite open source video transcoding tool:

- Sync on FFmpeg svn r21845.
- Full support for reading and writing covert art in mp3 and iTunes m4a,m4v,mp4.
- “-coverfile” commandline option to set a cover file. png,jpg,bmp supported.
- Correctly write Quicktime metadata as utf-8.
- Fixed a bug with temporal offset when muxing mpeg-2 long gop in MXF.
- Huge speedup when opening Quicktime and mpeg-4 files.
- Timecode for Quicktime and MXF files can now be set when stream copying.
- Added x264 sources in contrib directory, git 5b86182d1240b441f28462abf3d40b7371de5ba3
- Enable pthreads by default.
- Fixed a bug with interlaced VC-3 decoding.
- Integrate libavfilter. New commandline option -vf, see doc/libavfiter.texi
- Auto-rotate iPhone 3GS files.
- Support lyrics in mp3 and iTunes m4a,m4v,mp4.
- Automatically set current UTC time in created files.
- New AVFMT_HAS_PTS flag in AVInputFormat to specify that format has pts.
- Write and read metadata “reel_name” in mov timecode track if present.
- MPEG TS muxer now produces streams playable by VLC and Quicktime.
For me, the two most interesting updates in this list are the fixed VC-3 bug and the ability to now set timecode when copying QuickTime and MXF files.
FFMBC version 0.4 can be directly downloaded from here.
Categories: FFmbc, Video Tags: , , ,

Lightworks Switches the Lights On

June 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Apparently I missed the announcement back in April this year that EditShare is to release an Open Source version of their award winning non-linear video editor, Lightworks. Let me say that again; a well known, if not quite industry leading, professional non-linear video editor, as used in a number of Hollywood studios, is to move to an open source distribution model.

Before going any further, there’s a couple of things to note here. The first thing is that Lightworks is a “professional” video editing solution, in the same way that Avid Nitris and Final Cut Pro are high-end professional video editing applications. This is not iMovie or Windows Movie Maker open sourcing their code base. As such, there’s probably not a lot of competition with other open source video editors, such as OneShot, PiTiVi and Kdenlive, that target the home user. Lightworks is likely to fall into the same category as Blender, Cinelerra and the yet to be released Lumiera, with high end appeal.
As I missed the previous announcement, I thought it would be a good idea to follow up and find out what’s actually available from EditShare as open source at this time. And the answer is, nothing. Although the initial announcement was made in April, there doesn’t yet appear to be any download available. An update from the developers in May, confirmed that their aim is to support Linux and OSx, as well as Windows. There’s an interest registration page available, where presumably those who have entered their details will be informed first of updates. The page counter tells us that a little over 12,000 people have done just this. Sadly, the Beta testing programme is now closed, which was limited to just 80 people (not really the open source community way!).
Overall, exciting news and as Q3 starts next week, which is when EditShare hope to release the first publicly available open source version of Lightworks, we can all hope that it won’t be too much longer before we can all play with it.
If you’re interested in seeing something that’s been edited using the current closed source version of Lightworks, try to find the movie Centurion.

Updates on WebM Support – All Aboard!

June 2, 2010 Leave a comment

As could probably be predicted, there’s been a lot more press around WebM over the last ten days or so. A few articles are worth noting.

CNET posted a reasonably ordinary piece regarding the quality of WebM, when compared against H.264. However, there were two interesting links in this piece. 
The first pointed to a WebM project page where the indepth encoding parameters for WebM content are outlined. If you’re planning to create WebM files, reading this page is essential. 
The second link, to the quAVlive website provides some various examples of H.264 (using x264) encoding compared against WebM. I can’t really see a lot of visual difference in the “Sunflower” example. However, it is easily clear to my eyes, without even enlarging the screenshots, that in “Park Joy” and “Riverbed” H.264 is certainly superior. I would like to have seen more information regarding the time taken to transcode these examples, with each codec, and the resulting file sizes. Picture quality isn’t always everything, transcode time and storage requirements should also be taken into consideration.
Everyone’s jumping on the WebM bandwagon with software and hardware support. Gstreamer claims full plugin support, which means in turn there is Moovida support and the Transmaggedon transcoder can also output VP8 codec files, although not in the Matroska/WebM container yet. Not to be outdone, Flumotion, will also stream live VP8/WebM content. The Miro Video Converter will also output valid VP8/WebM files, claiming to be the first to do so. The list could go on, but the easiest thing is to probably just keep tabs on the WebM project page listing all the supported devices and software tools, both commercial and open source.
Also worth a shout is the fact that both Mozilla and Opera are pushing for VP8/WebM to be specifically included in the HTML5 specification. Previously, major browser makers couldn’t agree on one specific video file format – Mozilla and Opera backing Ogg Theora and Apple sticking with H.264. I can’t see that particular situation changing now. 
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