HAP Codec

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Re: HAP Codece

Postby aquapixs » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:02 pm

Hi,

I do undertsand the points Markus is pointing out, anyhow some of them are not true or do not apply to the given situation.

In the real world out there for all people working with Pandoras Box on a daily show base, dealing with all the things around it, the content questions is still the biggest thing to talk about. It is, and always will be the main key to get in or out a show with a system. And despite all great features Pandoras Box does or does not offer, the most important and most critical thing is the content format and the content quality. Second to that we need to look at the performance of the provided hardware and need to ask the question wether the hardware is prforming well or not.
But the really very most important questions is alsways: what file type can you play back?

And in my very personal and own opinion this is the holy grale of media servers and this will be the final decision on which system woll do the job.

As Florian pointed out, Hap did go high in trust and love for a lot of content creators. So despite all discussions about its up or downsides a lot of content people like Hap and they also want to deliver Hap as they do have a working workflow with it. They dont want to change that workflow. They would rather spec a differnt server, than changing their workflow. So please add Hap to the build in codecs as soon as possible, as a lot of people are asking for it.

And please dont get me wrong here, but as someone who knows both worlds, the inside Coolux world, and the daily work on shows, I must say it that way: get the support people out on the road more often to work with the system. And I'm not talking about the Coolux/Christie trade shows. Go out and talk to customers planing shows. Go out and talk to the conten people. Get on hour long telephone conferences to discuss the coneten to be used on a show. Go out and answer the simple question "what codec would you like for this show" on a daily base.
If you do that you will understand very fast why this topic came up that powerfull and you will understand what the operators are talking about. This is our daily business, and this is before we talk about any features like tracking, Video Export or whatsoever. The very simple question at the very beginning is usually about the file type to be played back in Pandoras Box.

Let me put out a few quotes from the last month to get you a better understanding:

"Oh, we do not like Pandoras Box as it cannot play back any video files without converting them"

"Why does it always take so long to get content into PB? Other systems can do that much faster"

"Pandoras Box is outdated as it can only playback mpeg2"

"I don't like PB as you need to reencode all files before playback with 3rd party tools"

Wether this is true or not, this what content people say about Pandoras Box and this soemthing which should ne changed very soon. I know that I'm pushing the content discussion since a while, but I do this with a very good reason.
I'm trying to get a reliable answer to the question "what codec works best with PB" since a couple of month, but unfortunately I do not get a good answer to that.
And to be honest the post from Daniel goes into the same direction. Why are you asking for this? Does it make any difference if you know how many shows are done whith which resolution and file type? Customers are asking for a simple thing, include Hap into the codes to be played back natively in PB.
I know that there is not the perfect codec for everything, and I do know that you need to make a decision based individually on each show. But this decision needs to be a simple one. And it also need a simpel answer.

A simple, but straight forward answer, could be:

Low quality, small file size, many videos a the same time: use mpeg2

Medium quality, good perfomance, simple workflow: use Hap

High quality, good perfromance with custom bild hardware, large file size: use bmp.mov snappy

This is what I tell my clients at the moment, and this what works quite well for now. Except the fact that Hap is not build in nativly in PB, so the performance could be better.

Beside that I would also like to comment a few thing to the points Markus did make:

1.) Image sequence:
I do recommend NOT to use image sequences at all any more. Yes replacing single files is a plus, but at the end the PB Operators put himself imto more work to fix content issues. And since the image sequence workflow in PB is very painfull I do not want to do that. Did you every add 150 image sequences to your showfile in PB? The amount of clicks you need to do for that is more than painfull.

2.) BMP export
Do mot start to compare BMP with DDS or Hap. Do not tell me that the Quicktime plugin is great because it can do BMP export in After FX. This is not the point of this discussion.

3.) DDS is the same as Hap
Simply not true. DDS is an image sequence, Hap is a singel video file. Total different workflow. And I did a side by side test as mentioned before. Hap looks much better than DDS. If you like and can provide you the files.

4.) DDS can be viewed in Win8
Pleas explain how, it never worked on any of my machines. How about Win7?

5.) development changes
Yes, I agree. In this case implement a good working codec and make sure that all conten creators do know this codec and how to work with it. Also make sure that everybody understands this codec and that everyone can use it easily. And make sure that this will happen fast. If not, please add Hap, since Hap provides this already.

I'm sorry if I'm quite offensive with this now, but I'm dealing with the whole big discussion about codecs pretty much every day since I left Coolux. And as I said, it is the most important thing regarding media servers today.
So please do not get me wrong or take anything personal, but this is a very big topic for all the operators working with Pandoras Box.

Best wishes

Patrick
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Re: HAP Codec

Postby alverman » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:56 am

I support in full what was said by Patrick
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Re: HAP Codec

Postby azman » Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:53 am

Hi Guys,

I'm still looking for opportunity to run thorough tests with coolux codec & Hap codec, so I won't comment specfically but I'd like to add support to comments previously mentioned its this thread,

This is very familiar....
I have to personally walk animators through how to set up their export presets. If I don't, invariably, they either left 'image seq' checked, or forgot to pick the alpha dropdown, or some other setting in the rather odd little dialog that also occasionally crashes AE.


I'm hearing the same thing from my clients/content producers:
"Why does it always take so long to get content into PB? Other systems can do that much faster"
"Pandoras Box is outdated as it can only playback mpeg2"
"I don't like PB as you need to reencode all files before playback with 3rd party tools"


My clients choose PB primarily more for the interaction/integration with WD not for its place simply as a media server or playback device,
From my perceptive the workflow from (external) content creation to programmed playback is the most time consuming & stressful process.
What ever the immediate to near future outcome inspired by this thread is.....I believe a simplified, ease of use process from content export to PB import should be the future focus or goal to keep PB the chosen product for events & installations, as well as the mental health wellbeing of us programmers/operators sanity.

Cheers

Az
Last edited by azman on Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: HAP Codec

Postby florian » Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:22 pm

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: HAP Codec

Postby malkuth23 » Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:06 am

Bump

I was just delivered HAPQ codec content and had to explain to the client that I needed to get ProRes 4444 to re-encode.
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Re: HAP Codec

Postby claude.rivet » Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:26 pm

Adding my voice to those in this thread.

Also

HAP native support with included encoder preset would be very great but maybe the real solution is to push HAP in ffmpeg, it is open source so we should be able to convince them if enough voices are heard.

DDS support in ffmpeg can be done on Linux by compiling your own built that includes snappy.c library, the problem is I cannot test it as I don't have a Linux box with me now and I feel taking a computer out of the inventory to reinstall it with linux and build my own version of ffmpeg is too time consumming for me to try during a rush (autumn is a rush period here :D ) but it is on my to do list, I have a feeling making a batch file with appropriate ffmpeg command and binding it on right click menu would make the whole process easier to swallow for our freelancers, all I would have to give them is an installer that install ffmpeg, my batch files and add the registry key, far easier for me than a quick formation on these codecs to our freelancers using QT pro or Adobe media encoder which is painfully slow compared to ffmpeg anyways.

Thanks and have a nice day!
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Re: HAP Codec

Postby aquapixs » Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:45 pm

Hi Claude,

thanks for pointing out ffmpeg, but from my understanding it is not a native quicktime format. So this would introduce converting files again, which I like to avoid in any cases. Most of the content creators I worked with in the past told me that the easiest form them to produce would be ProRes or Hap. So I would love to see content to be taken into PB straight without any conversion.

But maybe I'm mistaken and it is also easy to render into ffmpeg. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Thanks

Patrick
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Re: HAP Codec

Postby florian » Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:20 pm

i think claude is describing a workflow that uses the ffmpeg codec libraries as a transcoding framework in place of quicktime. lots of cool projects use ffmpeg to provide cross-platform media decoding features (VLC is a standout).

from a playback performance standpoint i don't think that pandora cares whether hap/dds data arrives in a qt or ffmpeg flavored envelope. the issue is that a quicktime codec is readily available for Hap, but I don't know of an ffmpeg plugin for it. getting vidvox to make one is probably possible, but i don't see what the advantage would be.

quicktime is a really handy way to add codec support to production/rendering pipelines (even on windows).

PS: ffmpeg-based VLC is the only media player I know of that happily plays coolux's MXL format files. this was always a useful way of reviewing transcodes made by manager. :)
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Re: HAP Codec

Postby Markus Zeppenfeld » Thu Nov 19, 2015 12:12 am

Hi everyone!

First of all the boring technical stuff: :D

Whenever a codec is wrapped into a container format (like Quicktime / AVI) or is distributed within its own format (e.g. mpeg), it needs to be decoded.

a) This might happen via a (third party) component / plugin which may be additionally installed by the user. All data is then passed through the plugin before it reaches Pandoras Box.
Taking this detour, you can never reach the same performance as if you would read the file natively.

b) Reading a file natively means, that the pure data is directly transferred from the drives to Pandoras Box which can grab the desired frames out of the original stream. In addition to skipping the detour, Pandoras Box can work much more efficiently like reading multiple frames at a time, instead of waiting for a string of serialized frames, one at a time.


Here comes the easy and short part:

We did implement Hap, Hap Alpha and Hap Q as a native codec which can be understood directly within Pandoras Box.
The inspector will show these codecs the same way as it displays e.g. "BMP in SNP".


Please make sure to uninstall all Hap codecs (at least from your client devices) in order to make sure, that Pandoras Box will NOT take the detour through the Quicktime plugin!

Stay tuned for the upcoming new version!

Thanks for all your input!
Markus
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Re: HAP Codec

Postby cyeary » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:58 am

Any performance notes?
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Re: HAP Codec

Postby florian » Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:26 am

We did implement Hap, Hap Alpha and Hap Q as a native codec which can be understood directly within Pandoras Box.


Woot! :D :D
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Re: HAP Codec

Postby plbrunet » Fri Nov 20, 2015 6:41 am

Great news! This will hopefully make life a LOT easier in a lot of ways. I'm definitely excited to be able to bring in content with alpha much more quickly and easily. As well as dealing with content that is bigger than 1920x1080 outside of the Pandoras Box Encoder. It should speed up the process of getting content ready and into Pandoras Box.

But as Cyeary noted, I'm also curious about performance results. How does it compare to MPEG2 or DDS and DDSA?

Thank you for making this happen guys.
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Re: HAP Codec

Postby florian » Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:20 pm

Performance from a purely technical standpoint:

Hap (regular) = DDS w/ .snp in .mov container
Hap Alpha = DDS RGBA w/ .snp in .mov container
HapQ = DDS YCoCg w/ .snp in .mov container

The resulting information in the transcoded files is essentially identical. Coolux may have used a different data ordering inside their files, but playback performance should be just about identical.
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Re: HAP Codec

Postby plbrunet » Sun Nov 22, 2015 2:11 am

Here are some answers to Daniel's questions.

A few questions to get a even better Idea what you are dealing with:
* What type of productions do you do?

Theatre/Musicals, Circus, Concert, Permanent Installations, Corporate Events

* What are your normal content dimensions? Mainly HD? 4k? Higher, Lower?

It changes on every project. If I can get away with using a HD signal I'll go with that to make life simpler. (In terms of content size, render timer, encoding limitations, programming time etc)
But a lot of time I deal with panoramic screens that are blended with multiple projectors. Anywhere from 2 projectors to 12 projectors per screen or blend.
I'm now working on a large permanent installation that will have 5 different blended surfaces.
A) 1 x 3 Vertical Blend - 1920x2698
B) 1 x 2 Horizontal Blend - 3358 x 1200
C) 2 x 4 Horizontal Blend - 6984 x 2204
D) 1 x 5 Horizontal Blend - 8182 x 1200
E) 1 x 12 Horizontal Blend - 18 816 x 1200

So most of the time, I deal with large scale custom format that will need to be split up and programmed on multiple clients. But whenever I can, I avoid splitting files or I split them as large as possible to reduce them amount of duplicate programming I need to do. Programming and editing split up files onto multiples computers (clients) takes a lot of time and is an area where programming mistakes can easily arise. This is another part of Pandoras Box that deserves improvement and streamlining.

* What is your content amount per production? What is the min, what was the max?

Hard to say, do you mean in terms of gigs used or number of files used? On one of my last production I wanted to use BMPa SNAP images sequences in a mov container for my transparent files but we very quickly ran out of hard drive space so we had to find alternatives. But that show probably ended up being somewhere around 380 gigs. But it would have been much bigger with the BMPa SNP files.

* What is the percentage of MPEG, DDS/YCoCg and Uncompressed (Animation, BMP) Content.

Again it varies from production to production but for me it's been a majority of MPEG, no DDS for me yet and maybe 30% BMP.

* Do you mainly use Single Files (MPEG, MOV Container) or Images Seq.

Single files as much as possible. As others mentioned, Image sequences take a lot longer to transfer.
I also like single files better because you can drag and drop them directly from windows explorer (since not too long ago, though sometimes that doesn't work) and single files work with Watchfolders.

Whenever I can, during a show creation, I hook up a gigabit network between the content team and the Coolux computers. That way they can drop content directly into the right folders without the need for usb keys or external hard drive transfers. When you combine that with Watchfolders it really speeds up the process of putting content on the screens.
That is ultimately what we want, being able to bring up content on the screen as fast as possible and with as few steps as possible.
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Re: HAP Codec

Postby aquapixs » Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:27 am

Hi Pierre,

two comments on you post:

drag and drop from Windows Explorer:

It does not work on Win 8 or Win 10. I hope that Coolux fixes that issue very soon.
I try to stay on Win 7 for the Manager since that bug is there.

Network to content creators:

Did you ever try that on 10GB network? I usually spec a 10GB network as this speeds up the whole
process. Also the spread from Manager to Clients is mich faster in that case.

Cheers

Patrick
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