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Weekend Aantel’s Blog » 2010 » March

Archive for March, 2010

Update #2 on “FOSS multimedia authoring doesn’t quite cut it”

Friday, March 5th, 2010

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This post is the reply from Shri Anindya Banerji, multimedia developer to the clarifications sought by Dr Mandar Mitra. I’m posting the Shri Banerji’s clarifications verbatim.

Legend : [MM] = Mandar Mitra; [AB] = Anindya Banerji. AB’s clarifications are italicized. The text in bold-italics are from the original mail from Mr. Banerji.

===========================
Audacity (as a substitute of Audition)
===========================

> Codecs are very poor

[MM] Poor in terms of supported formats? What format were you decoding from / encoding to?

[AB] formats and standards including ASIO, VST, DirectX, and ReWire.

> MP3 cannot be edited properly

[MM] What problem did you face? Again, I have used Audacity to edit mp3 files without issues.

> Cannot be converted into MP3 properly

[MM] I usually do my editing on wav files, and use lame separately to encode to mp3. I know audacity can be set up to use lame directly.

[AB] problem regarding transparent sample rate conversions of files from a wide array of sources and deliver them in the audio format including Windows PCM (WAV), OGG, AIFF, MP3, and WMA with customizable dither settings whether converting material to 44.1kHz, 48kHz, or 96kHz for CD, video, or DVD to get great-sounding results

> Conforming process frequently crashes

[MM] What is a conforming process? I have been using Audacity for several years now, and cannot recall a crash.

> Unsafe rendering

[MM] What does unsafe rendering mean?

[AB] no convenient batch processing feature to convert large numbers of files that have different formats, sample rates, and bit depths to one common format, or to apply scripts to multiple files

crashed many times while problems regarding rendering realtime, while overlaid ( not punched ) numerous sub-takes and saving multiple audio files faster with simply specifying the file format, location, filename template, and more, and these parameters to be applied to each file in the batch synchronization between audio and video playback over projects of any length

> Too few tools to operate

[MM] What tools were you looking for that you did not find?

[AB] looking for :

- quick mix files together by dragging clips and controlling automatic crossfades with on-clip handles

- effects including Convolution Reverb, Analog Delay, Mastering tool and Tube-modeled Compressor

- looping tools

- phase analysis tools

- effects Paintbrush tool

- spot Healing Brush tool

- phase Correction tool

- adaptive Noise Reduction tool

- spectral Frequency Display tool

- lasso tool in Spectral Frequency

- delete Silence feature

> Recording in full duplex cannot done properly

[MM] What is recording in full duplex? Playback during recording? What “improper” behaviour did you observe? In any case, for archival quality recording, you want to leave the processor as lightly loaded as possible. When I feel really uptight about this, I switch to single user mode (telinit 1) and do my recording using arecord, and edit later using Audacity.

> Dubbing facility is not available

[MM] Did you mean adding an audio track to a video recording? AFAIK, Audacity does not have a video component, so yes, I agree that’s not available. But why would you use an audio editor to do dubbing? Or maybe I am misunderstanding the problem.

[AB] problems regarding,

- display video while scrub, keyframe view, and edit sound automation in it, match up audio with the action onscreen.

- editing the soundtracks for videos

- Stretch effects or dialog to fit a video clip by simply dragging the edge of the clip in Multitrack View

- synchronization between your audio and video playback over projects of any length

- editing soundtracks for video and then export the enhanced video in AVI, MPEG, DV, or WMV format

- digitally extract tracks from audio CDs to hard drive for project use

- Seeing level meters that are in use for the master track as well as for multiple input devices, and for multiple output devices

- listening audio inputs through the software, including effects applied to the input track, then modify parameters after recording, if desired

- quickly fixing recording errors by punching in corrections on-the-fly as you rerecord, Toggle the record button to punch in new take only where to replace the old one. Punch in and out as many times as you want

- altering tempo without changing pitch, or change pitch without tempo distortion

Update #1 on “FOSS multimedia authoring doesn’t quite cut it”

Friday, March 5th, 2010

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First, let me thank all my friends and colleagues in the FOSS community for coming out so strongly in support to my call for help on this matter. You guys rock! :D

Yesterday evening there was a mail from Dr Mandar Mitra (of ISI, Kolkata and IOTA Board member), wherein he posted counter arguments to Shri Anindya Banerji’s (the multimedia expert whose comments on inadequacy of FOSS tools for CBT development lead to this series of posts). Dr Mitra also asked from Mr. Banerji to clarify further on his comments.

Dr Mandar Mitra’s email rebutting the claims and asking for clarifications

NOTE : The Italicized lines are Shri Banerji’s original comments

This is with reference to the problems outlined by Shri Anindya Banerjee. I have first-hand experience only with Audacity and I found the list of problems very imprecise (details below). Perhaps Shri Banerjee could further clarify what he meant?

I think your suggestion that a small CBT be prepared as a proof of concept by competent and interested persons is an excellent one. If such a CBT can
be put together, that will be the best possible refutation of complaints about the capabilities of open source tools. If it cannot be done within a reasonable time frame, then we must decide whether the CBT itself is more important for IOTA than the means by which it is created.

Mandar.

—————————————————————————

> Audacity (as a substitute
> of Audition)
>
> Codecs are very poor

Poor in terms of supported formats? Audio quality of encoded file? What format were you decoding from / encoding to?

> Conforming process frequently crashes

What is a conforming process? I have been using Audacity for several years now, and cannot recall a crash.

> MP3 cannot be edited properly

What problem did you face? Again, I have used Audacity to edit mp3 files without issues.

> Unsafe rendering

What does unsafe rendering mean?

> Cannot be converted into MP3 properly

I usually do my editing on wav files, and use lame separately to encode to mp3. I know audacity can be set up to use lame directly.

> Too few tools to operate

What tools were you looking for that you did not find?

> Recording in full duplex cannot done properly

What is recording in full duplex? Playback during recording? What “improper” behaviour did you observe? In any case, for archival quality recording, you want to leave the processor as lightly loaded as possible. When I feel really uptight about this, I switch to single user mode (telinit 1) and do my recording using arecord, and edit later using Audacity.

> Dubbing facility is not available

Did you mean adding an audio track to a video recording? AFAIK, Audacity does not have a video component, so yes, I agree that’s not available. But
why would you use an audio editor to do dubbing? Or maybe I am misunderstanding the problem.

FOSS multimedia authoring doesn’t quite cut it - A view

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

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SInce my posting on the topic of “Making change happen - the case of the IOTA job ad“, there has been interesting additional development.

A multimedia expert was asked to create a feasibility plan for development of the CBT using FOSS tools, and his report is as follows. I figured it would be interesting reading for a lot of people, so I’ve shared it below.

=== THE REPORT ===

I have gone through the most recommended open source software in Linux, to be used as substitutes of the commonly known graphics related software. On basis of the requirement for CBT development project, I have performed dry-run of some test cases. The results from those trials can be stated below.

GIMP (as a substitute of Photoshop)

- No option for true resembling of bi-cubic to bilinear conversion

- Many of the layer comp option cannot be found

- Antialising is poor

- Many of the color correction tools are absent

- Cannot share GIMP comp with INKSCAPE comp and UIRA comp layer wise

- Smart object facility is not available

(There are several other problems are there in GIMP, but those are not mentioned here, only some of the points very much linked with the work procedure of CBT development are mentioned here)

INKSCAPE (as a substitute of Illustrator)

- EPS quality and standard of vector is not up to standard

- Cannot share INKSCAPE comp with GIMP maintaining vector property

- INKSCAPE drawing cannot be used properly to animate with UIRA

- Vector layers cannot be managed with UIRA

- Rasterization of Vector , maintaining transparency and smooth edges cannot be done

(There are several other problems are there in INKSCAPE, but those are not mentioned here, only some of the points very much linked with the work procedure of CBT development are mentioned here)

F4L (as a substitute of Flash)

- F4L is no more

- It is now converted into UIRA with a blend of QFlash

- Both of them are not so professional

- Crashes anytime and almost every time

- Smart clip and nested movie clip system is unstable

- Symbol definition is not OK

- Action script is full of bugs

- File compatibility is not even good

- Authoring property is very bad

- Compatibility with running text in local language is very bad

(There are several other problems are there in F4L, but those are not mentioned here, only some of the points very much linked with the work procedure of CBT development are mentioned here)

KINO (as a substitute of Premiere)

- Codecs are very poor

- Conforming process frequently crashes

- Lightweight screen captured video cannot be edited properly

- Unsafe rendering

- Unwanted loss of project data in time of save and reopen

- Voice-over cannot be taken in form of dubbing

- A little bit long timeline often crashes

(There are several other problems are there in KINO, but those are not mentioned here, only some of the points very much linked with the work procedure of CBT development are mentioned here)

Audacity (as a substitute of Audition)

- Codecs are very poor

- Conforming process frequently crashes

- MP3 cannot be edited properly

- Unsafe rendering

- Cannot be converted into MP3 properly

- Too few tools to operate

- Recording in full duplex cannot done properly

- Dubbing facility is not available

(There are several other problems are there in Audacity, but those are not mentioned here, only some of the points very much linked with the work procedure of CBT development are mentioned here)