VDMX5 Media Inspector

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Media Bin with selected files
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Media Bin with selected files

The Media Inspector window in VDMX can be used to preview and edit the properties of movie files, video tap cells, text and Quartz Composer documents without having them loaded on to a layer. The inspector will automatically update to show the available settings for the type of cells that are selected.


Contents

Selecting files to inspect

To view a file in the Media Inspector, first select it in any media bin by holding down on the shift key and clicking on the file in the thumbnail view, or by clicking on it's name in the list view. When multiple files of the same type (eg. movies, Quartz Composer) are selected in the bin, certain properties will still be editable, but the clip preview will be disabled. The sections below explain the different options that are available for each type of file.

Applying changes

In the Media Inspector, new settings are stored by clicking the Apply button or changing the selection. When new settings are applied, any layers playing the inspected files will update immediately to use the new settings.

If you've made changes that you do not wish to keep, click the Cancel button to undo any changes to the current selection.

Changes in Layers vs. Changes in the Inspector

By default, changes that you make in the layer source controls will be stored with the appropriate cell. However, if you wish to have files always revert back to the settings set in the inspector, this can be disabled on a per-cell basis by setting the 'Allow Live Updating' toggle to the off position via the inspector.

Inspecting movie files

Inspecting a movie file
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Inspecting a movie file

Default speed, volume, and loop-mode settings

By default, when a movie file is triggered, it will use the the current speed, volume, and loop-mode of the layer that will be playing the clip. Using the inspector you can tell clips to override the current layer controls when they are triggered. Changing these settings will not have any immediate effect on any clips that are playing back until the settings are applied.

To set an override value for a clip parameter, click the "Use <parameter name>" toggle, and then set the value using the available slider or text entry box. For example, to set a default speed of 2x for a movie file, click the 'Use speed' toggle, then type 2.0 in the text field immediately to the right.

Setting clip duration in measures (loop BPM sync)

In addition to setting a clips speed in terms of it's internal rate, VDMX can automatically adjust the playback speed of a clip relative to the current BPM of the Clock. To turn loop BPM sync on for a selection of clips, toggle the "Use loop (BPM) sync" button to the on position.

When using loop BPM sync, you can either set the nominal BPM for the clip (the BPM at which the clip would play normally), or the number of measure that you would like the clip to loop over.

Pre-rolling movies

Pre-rolling Quicktime movies will prepare the file for playback and improve overall triggering speed (lower latency). This comes at the expense of system resources which can quickly run out if you try to pre-roll too many files.

RAM-loading movies

This option in the inspector can be used to load a starting portion or an entire clip into RAM. Loading the beginning of a clip into RAM can further reduce the latency when clips are triggered, especially when used along with the pre-rolling option. Like with pre-rolling, this option can use up a lot of system resources if over used.

Movie preview

When a single movie file is being inspected, the area above the settings pane in the inspector can be used to preview the clip using the standard layer playback controls and position slider.

Setting the in and out points

The range of the movie that should be played when the movie is triggered on a layer can be set by simply moving the range handles on the movie time slider.

Setting the movie thumbnail (poster frame)

To set the frame of a movie that will be used to represent the clip in the media bin, set the position of the movie time slider in the inspector to the desired frame (you can use the prev / next frame buttons to scan to an exact frame) and then click the 'set poster' button.

Adding & Removing Movie Interesting Points

Each movie file loaded into VDMX can have any number of interesting points in it's timeline. Setting interesting points makes it easy to quickly jump to specific points within a movie. Once set, interesting points will show up in the movie time slider as black vertical lines.

To add an interesting point to a movie, scan to the point in the clip using the movie time slider (like with setting the thumbnail, the prev / next frame buttons can be used for fine tuning) and then click the 'add' button in the Warp Points section of the Media Inspector. To remove a point once it has been added, click on the point in the movie time slider and then click the 'remove' button.

Interesting points as Warp Markers

Once you've set one or more interesting points, you can use the Warp Point editor panel to apply a time-warp effect on the clip. By dragging warp points left and right, you can adjust the amount of time it takes to get from one interesting point to another, without changing the overall duration of the clip.

The auto-space button will position the warp markers such that it will take the same amount of time to go between point. At anytime you can click the 'reset' button to return each interesting point to it's original location in the movie's timeline.

Inspecting Quartz Composer Documents

Inspecting a Quartz Composer file
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Inspecting a Quartz Composer file

Rendering resolution

By default, Quartz Composer files will render at the size of the main output window. This can be overridden on a clip by clip basis and set to be a specific resolution. For complex QTZ documents, putting a cap on the resolution can have a drastic effect on the overall performance. This option can be set for multiple QTZ documents at a time.

Document specific settings

When a single QTZ file is being inspected, the Media Inspector will create interface items for each of the published parameters for the document. The settings for each parameter can be set via the inspector. Changes can be previewed in real-time by setting the preview toggle to On.

Inspecting Text (.txt) Documents

Text documents are played back using special Quartz Composer documents located in the qcTextSources folder. When inspecting a text file, you'll have all of the same options as when inspecting a regular QTZ file, with one addition - a menu with a list of the available text players for choosing which Quartz Composer document to use to render that particular text file.

Unlike regular QC sources, the QC parameters for multiple text documents can be edited at the same time, provided they are using the same QTZ document for rendering.

Inspecting Image Files

Image files can be played back either by using the built-in OpenGL renderer (<Built-In Player>), but by passing off the image to a Quartz Composer patch designed to work with hi-res images. When inspecting a image file, you'll have all of the same options as when inspecting a regular QTZ file, with two additions -

  • A menu with a list of the available image players for choosing which Quartz Composer document to use to render that particular image file
  • A toggle for whether or not the image should be cached in RAM. Caching images can reduce the latency when triggering a file, but uses up a lot of system resources.

Unlike regular QC sources, the QC parameters for multiple images documents can be edited at the same time, provided they are using the same QTZ document for rendering.

Setting a maximum size for images

In the VDMX file loading preferences under Images you can set the maximum size for image files. If a file larger than the specified size is loaded it will automatically be resized to the max size.

Inspecting Web Files

Web files can include both local html / webarchive / and swf files, as well as URLs to files on a network or the Internet.

Setting the URL (if applicable)

The URL you want to load when the file is triggered can be set from the media inspector. This field is disabled for certain types of local files such as web archives where the URL is not directly used to render the webpage.

Setting the "browser" size

From the media inspector you can set the size for individual web pages / Flash media files. This is size defines both the size at which the layer is rendered at and the size of the browser that is used to view the page.

Thumbnails for Web files

When a new web file is loaded or created in a media bin, VDMX will automatically create a thumbnail preview of the file. This feature can be disabled for web pages on located remote servers in the file loading preferences (it can create a lot of extra network activity to connect to each server to create the preview). Files that do not have a thumbnail preview show up with a generic web link thumbnail.

In certain cases if a thumbnail preview can not be created VDMX will try using the favicon for the page instead.

The thumbnail for one or more files can be refreshed by selecting the files in a media bin and clicking the Refresh button in the media inspector.

Inspecting Video Tap and Live Input Cells

Video taps are a special type of layer source which simply refer to video from somewhere else in VDMX. Typically video taps are either layers or live inputs. Whether you are inspecting one or multiple tap or live input cells, there is only one option here - a menu for selecting which tap should be used when the cell is triggered. This menu will contain a list of all the currently available video taps, though this might change from preset to preset as you add and remove layers.