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Video-stitching software: Autopano Video 2.5 Alpha 1

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Intro Autopano Video 2.5 alpha

Announcing Autopano Video 2.5 Alpha Testing

Today we announced at the IVRPA conference the alpha launch of the latest version of Autopano Video.This release introduces a new cycle in Autopano Video software, it’s the first alpha version for the new 2.5 branch. It comes with many nice improvements which we’ll detail in the rest of this post.

GoPro Omni Importer

At NAB 2016, we announced a new 6 GoPro synchronized rig called Omni. This rig solves many pain points you have by using unsynchronized rigs, like syncing, data management, etc.Alongside with GoPro Omni, we created a standalone application called Omni Importer, included with Autopano Video Pro, that is here to help you to manage the camera content in a simple and efficient way.
With the Omni importer, our idea of ideal workflow is the following:
  1. Plug the SD cards to the usb hub.
  2. For each content, decide what you want to do with them: preview, select, remove and set a title
  3. Import and stitch
  4. Compute steps (optional) and render
The idea of Omni importer was really to ease the work at capture time. Just remove the SD cards from omni, put a new set of SD cards in it to continue capturing. The Omni importer can be used in both a fast workflow or a powerful workflow. Pre-order Omni here.
omni_importer2
For more detailed information, read the changelog.

Autopano Video New Features

While working on the Omni importer, we also added several cool new features on Autopano Video. Here’s a detailed list of the new features.

Undo / Redo / History framework

Yes, this standard part of any good software wasn’t available before, but now it’s here!

Apple ProRes support

By popular demand, we added official support to Apple ProRes in input and output of AVP.

New Stereo Rendering Options (AVP only)

In some very specific setups, you needed to modify

MP4 file merger

Our customers told us that they were interested in having the merge tool on it’s own. It is now available as a single action in the AVP menu.

Clever interface to retrieve missing videos

Added an interface to relink videos that are missing when opening a kava file.

Improved batch renderer

Re-organize your batches, drag’n’drop you kava files that are ready to render directly in the batch render of AVP to add batches.

Rolling shutter effect reduction for Omni videos

Autopano Video detects shots captured by GoPro Omni rigs and applies corrections for rolling shutter, allowing the reduction of the related artifacts.

Small UI updates

Moved some menus, added shortcuts, and tool tips with shortcuts in them.
For more detailed information, read the changelog.

Adobe Premiere Pro Plugins

This is also new for this 2.5 series. Customers were really interested in having more tools to improve the 360 workflow after stitching was finished. And this is why we got into NLE plugins development specifically for VR.
Autopano Video Pro 2.5 introduces 2 Adobe Premiere Pro Plugins (compatible from Premiere Pro CC 2015 onwards) which you’ll find in the Video Effects menu under GoPro VR:

GoPro VR Horizon

With this plugin you can straighten the horizon of a 360 video using sliders for the yaw, pitch and roll axes. You can also use keyframes to create transitions between the spherical point of views and an optional “Smooth transition” checkbox helps you smoothen complex transitions.

GoPro VR Reframe

With this second plugin you can input a 360 video and create an authored standard video by changing the field of view and the point of view, using the same three sliders for yaw pitch and roll.
And just like GoPro VR Horizon, you can use keyframes and the “Smooth transition” checkbox for your storytelling.
Note: A 360 video viewer plugin for Premiere is already available after downloading Kolor Eyes Desktop, and lets you directly see the result of your video editing in Premiere Pro.
For more detailed information, read the changelog.

Roadmap

This is the first alpha of this new engine. We expect to have a lot of feedback and bug reports. It is important for users to post reports in the right forum:
Autopano Video – BETA – Feedback, bugs and discussion
As a reminder, all Autopano Video 2.x users can try out and register this new version for free.Still an Autopano Video / Pro 1.x user? Click here to learn the price and process to upgrade to the latest version.
Changelog for Autopano Video 2.5 Alpha 1

Main changes

This release introduces a new cycle in Autopano Video software. This version is the first alpha version for the new 2.5 branch. It comes with some nice improvements. The following paragraphs will detail the changes.

GoPro Omni Importer

At NAB 2016, we announced a new 6 GoPro synchronized rig called Omni. This rig solves many pain points you have by using unsynchronized rigs, like syncing, data management, etc. You can learn more about GoPro Omni by just following this url: GoPro Omni Rig.

Alongside with GoPro Omni, we created a standalone application called Omni Importer, included with Autopano Video Pro, that is here to help you to manage the camera content in a simple and efficient way. This made the rig offloading as well as the stitching of your shots really easy to do.

With the Omni importer, our idea of ideal workflow is the following:

  • Plug the SD cards to the usb hub
    Launch the Omni importer. It will scan for SD cards and if Omni content is found on them, it will automatically show all content in a nice interface.
  • For each content, decide what you want to do with them
    Each scene, can be previewed directly from the SD cards through a quick stitch (it isn't a high quality stitch as it is based on video thumbnails and not low quality videos (.THM and .LRV), but it is super fast and reflects well the captured content). When reviewing a video, you can select a range in the content in which you are interested in. Note: you can edit the title of each video in the video's header.
  • Import, stitch steps
    Once you have reviewed your content (removing those you are not interesting in and adjusting the range for the others), you can import, stitch and compute the selection. This is when the real calculation happens. You will find several options at the bottom of the window, so you can apply stabilization, color correction and choose if you want render or just import files. In any case, even if you don't select any options, the importing and stitching processes will happen. Import means SD card content will be copied locally and reorganized by the title name you have edited in the content title. Stitching is when a stitch is created for this content. That stitch is based on a pre-calibrated stitch so it cannot fail even in case of full black videos. At the end of the stitch, you'll have a .kava project file.
  • Compute steps
    If you have selected some computation to be done while importing, after the stitch, these computation will be done on the .kava project file. On the selected range, we can compute stabilization track, the color correction tracks or even do a rendering of the quality you have selected. This is really a good workflow to do so, as at the end of the import process, you have a .kava project file that is ready to be fine-tunned in AVP and that already contains all the time consuming computations done.

The idea of Omni importer was really to ease the work at capture time. Just remove the SD cards from omni, put a new set of SD cards in it to continue capturing. While continuing the shot, an other member of the team can review on stage what has been captured. If needed a stitch can be done in a few clicks too. But at any time, as you have access to the project file, you can be also really accurate thanks to Autopano Video features. The Omni importer can be used in a fast workflow or a powerful workflow.

Some technical notes:

  • File naming / metadata scheme
    One of the complicated tasks when using multiple camera rigs, is to associate SD cards back to cameras. This is a delicate and time consuming task. With Omni, the rig itself solves that problem by having a file naming scheme that allows you to know from which camera the content comes from. We also added dedicated metadata within the mp4 itself to do the same. The Omni importer makes uses of this metadata to associate each camera with their scene.
  • GoPro Omni Importer Settings
    The Omni Importer shares the same settings as AVP. So if you decide to do CPU rendering in AVP, it will do the same in Omni Importer. We decided for such a design so you don't need to change general settings in two places, only one place which is in AVP settings.
  • Smart horizon on static scenes
    For static scenes taken from a pole, your horizon is directly straightened in the preview of the Omni Importer

Autopano Video new features

While working on the Omni importer, we also added several cool new features on Autopano Video. Here's a detailed list of the new features.

  • Undo / Redo / History framework
    Yes, that standard part of a good software wasn't available before. We took it really seriously and now, you can do a CTRL+Z in AVP. You also have access to a history window that allows you to rollback several operations.
  • Apple ProRes support
    By popular demand, we added official support to Apple ProRes in input and output of AVP. This feature allows some strong workflows if you are going to edit the footage afterward in final cut for example.
  • New Stereo Rendering Options (AVP only)
    Most of the time, default 3D-stereo settings (known as interoccular and convergence) are the most suitable. But in some very specific setups, you may have to face compromi deviates from standard values. For that purpose, we allow you to alter (when possible) those two key values. See the documentation for more details.
  • MP4 file merger
    One of the features that AVP 2.3 users really loved, is the fact that gopro importer wizard merges MP4 files together automatically when the content was from the same long duration shot (The GoPro camera divides long shots into several MP4 files). Our customers told us that they were interested in having the merge tool only. It is now available as a single action in the AVP menu.
  • Clever interface to retrieve missing videos
    Added an interface to relink videos that are missing when opening a kava file.
  • Improved batch renderer
    Re-organize your batches, drag'n'drop you kava files that are ready to render directly in the batch render of AVP to add batches.
  • Small UI updates
    Moved some menu, added short cuts, and tool tips with shortcuts in them
  • Rolling shutter effect reduction for Omni videos
    Autopano Video detects shots captured by GoPro Omni rigs and applies corrections for rolling shutter, allowing to reduce the related artefacts.

Adobe Premiere Pro Plugins

This is also new for this 2.5 series. Customers were really interested in having more tools to improve the 360 workflow after stitching was finished. And this is why we got into NLE plugins development specifically for VR. This version introduces 2 Adobe Premiere Plugins: (Compatible from Premiere Pro CC 2015 onwards, these two plugins are available in the Video Effects menu under GoPro VR folder)

  • GoPro VR Horizon
    This plugin assumes that the input video is a 360 spherical video and the output after processing is a 360 video as well. It lets you straighten the horizon according to 3 sliders representing the yaw, pitch and roll axes. You may even do this job more easily by using the mouse directly on the composition window. You may also place some keyframes to create transitions between spherical point of views. An optional "Smooth transition" checkbox helps you smooth complex transitions.
  • GoPro VR Reframe
  • This second plugin assumes that the input video is 360 spherical video and the output a standard video. By moving the FOV slider and the 3 axes yaw, pitch and roll (mouse is available as well) you can change the field of view and the point of view of the video and obtain a projection going from little planet to a classical planar projection. And just like GoPro VR Horizon, you can use keyframes and the "Smooth transition" checkbox to create your storytelling.

Note: A 360 video viewer plugin for Premiere Pro is available when downloading KolorEyes desktop and lets you see direct result of your video editing in Premiere Pro.

Roadmap

This is the first alpha of this new engine. We expect to have a lot of feedback and bug reports. It is important for users to post report in the right forum. This is the direct link for AVP bug report forum:

Autopano Video - Preliminary releases feedback, bugs and discussion

Fixes since 2.3.3:

- 0005656: [UI Preview] [Omni Importer] : Preview Player
- 0005773: [UI behavior] [Omni Importer] : Fix point size different between OS
- 0005760: [UI behavior] UI : tooltip and shortcuts
- 0005220: [UI Preview] Double hit on apply in preview has a strange behaviour
- 0005372: [UI behavior] Improve batch render
- 0005625: [Unclassified] Spherical NLE Plugins integration into installer
- 0005650: [Unclassified] [Omni Importer] : Installer
- 0005652: [UI behavior] [Omni Importer] : QmlLib integration
- 0005659: [Algorithms] set rolling shutter value for each Omni mode
- 0005664: [UI behavior] define and create historic UI
- 0005665: [UI behavior] Check project dirty status with undo/redo
- 0004924: [Rendering] separate rolling shutter compensation and stabilization
- 0005242: [Video I/O] input video framerate reading
- 0005337: [Rendering] Cineform on Mac - low and medium presets give the same output size/bitrate.
- 0005491: [Algorithms] template stitching for Omni
- 0005645: [UI behavior] [Omni Importer] : Transfer UI from Widget to QML
- 0005646: [Unclassified] [Omni Importer] Play LRV files
- 0005647: [Rendering] [Omni Importer] : Import Engine
- 0005653: [UI Preview] [Omni Importer] : THM preview
- 0005661: [UI behavior] Create a historic framework
- 0005662: [UI behavior] Create an undo command for all UI actions
- 0001490: [Video I/O] output format, ProRez422HQ
- 0005122: [UI behavior] Retrieve video files when they are missing (move their location on disk)
- 0005603: [Algorithms] Faster visual stabilization
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