Tips, tricks, FAQs and technical information for Drastic hardware and software products
Drastic's software products install and will run in demo mode, with a number of restrictions (10 second media duration, watermarks, length of run limitations). For testing, we recommend getting a temporary license, which uses the same process as getting your permanent license once you have purchased the software. In both cases, you will need to:
- Run the license application installed with your software
- Put your name and email address into it and press generate
- Once we have emailed you back your site key, copy it into the license application and click register
All Drastic server digital disk recorder (DDR) products have a built in web server for local use. If you have a VVW Series, Titan Series, ClipRecorder, or IngestGate server, or the Network Control option for QuickClip version 3.x, then you can also use this web server from any network attached machine.
Drastic products generally support closed captions. Video I/O products can capture and play back closed caption information. MediaReactor can convert closed caption formats along with the video and audio files. DrasticPreview products can decode and display both 608 and 708 captions for preview and confidence monitoring. For some captions, default language/fonts can be set up, which are described here.
Drastic software supports a wide range of metadata elements. These elements are stored within the actual media files when available, and also stored in a side bar XMP file, using both the standard, and a custom DTD, with the Adobe specification. Please see each file format's specification for its metadata. The XMP file metadata format is outlined here.
Drastic supports a wide variety of audio and video hardware for products such as MediaNXS, DrasticPreview Pro and Drastic DDR. The current product families Drastic supports are AJA, BlueFish444 and Blackmagic adapters for audio/video I/O, and AMD or NVidia for video processing. For a more detailed list of hardware and versions, please continue reading.
Drastic VVW and Titan Series DDRs, QuickClip, MediaNXS and DrasticDDR software can be used to capture single or multiple frames into a sequence of still images which can be played back in real time immediately after recording. These still image files can be stored into individual, time based directories, or into a single directory.
The gamma/color shift problems of ProRes are well known, but the cause is not always clear. ProRes itself is very well defined, and should be completely shift free in the YCbCr domain at 10 bits per component. The transform to YCbCr from RGB can be specified within the compressed frame, and this same specification can be used to properly convert YCbCr to RGB. With both 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 variants and the metadata/compatibility of the MOV container, ProRes should be an ideal format for post production. This article explores why it often isn't.
All Drastic software uses a similar keyboard layout for control. There are some variations for program-specific functions, but the general transport control is shared. Currently supported software includes:
- DrasticPreview, DrasticPreview Pro
There are a huge variety of MXF types and directory styles. This article goes through some of the most common types, and describes how Drastic DDR (hardware disk recorders), MediaNXS (HD-SDI I/O software), DrasticPreview (VGA/DVI professional media player), DrasticPreview Pro (HD-SDI media player with test and measurement), MediaReactor Workstation (Adobe/Apple/Avid/Scratch plug ins), MediaReactor (file translation and transcode) and most other Drastic products work with them.
The QuickClipXO interface is written in the Java programming language. It supports custom message strings which can be used to display alternate text for most of its controls and displays. The displayed text is chosen based on the language and country code to which your operating system is set and the inclusion of a corresponding properties file. Once the appropriate properties file has been translated, send the file to Drastic for inclusion in the standard exe compile.
MediaReactor and MediaReactor Workstation integrate tightly with installed operating systems and applications. This section has tips and tricks on getting the most out of MediaReactor and/or MediaReactor Workstation.
MediaReactor includes tools it uses to automatically check QA translations using industry standard metrics. This tool, called MRAnalyze, can be used in conjunction with DrasticPreview Pro to provide both objective and subjective analysis of converted or recaptured video material. This article provides an overview on how these tools work and can be applied to various video workflows.
Drastic Technologies' VTR and DDR products include the necessary conversion hardware for RS-232 (your computer's serial port) to RS-422 (broadcast VTRs and controllers). If you are evaluating Drastic DDR software such as MediaNXS, you will need to set up this conversion to test the serial control capabilities of the system.
On supported hardware, Drastic software provides control of any up or down video conversion. This can be set up in real time from the QuickClipXO, MediaNXS, VTRIF, DTReplay or dTouch interfaces. The parameters and advanced settings in the configurations are provided below.
When working with RS-422 protocols (Sony 422, Odetics, Pioneer, VDCP, etc) it is often useful to directly monitor the incoming, return or both serial streams. This is a cable that can be built to use two RS-422 ports to monitor one or both streams.
Drastic software can read many file formats which it does not natively understand. Formats that have a fixed video frame size and are logically organized can be described using the industry standard HDR text file format (NOTE: Not the still image HDR). This page describes the file format.
Avid tools support MPEG-4 using QuickTime as well as using MediaReactor Workstation. QuickTime cannot handle newer MP4 formats like XAVC-S and MPEG-2 for Sony and other manufacturer's cameras. MediaReactor can, but when adding them to Media Composer/Newscutter/etc, you must specify which reader you want to use.
Please note - Upon linking, we generate a unique key for each file which is stored by AVID in their database. Further attempts to re-link the file will be done using initial settings unless either the file is renamed or the Avid cache is cleared.
EasyDCP from Fraunhofer IIS provides the highest quality and most efficient way to read and write DCPs in the editing, compositing and finishing packages supported by MediaReactor Workstation. EasyDCP requires a secondary license from Fraunhofer IIS in addition to the MediaReactor Workstation license. There is an application called License-EasyDCP, which is provided with MediaReactor workstation to generate the request and apply license. This article covers the steps required to license it.
Java on Dual Monitors - NVidia vs. Java. There are setups required on some systems to allow QuickClipXO and VTRIF to display full screen on the second DVI or VGA monitor.
Drastic software and hardware products support a wide variety of camera raw devices, from standard files like DNG/cDNG, to esoteric files like fhgDI, to new and emerging formats like MLV. This article lists the supported raw files type, and which Drastic software they work best in.
Drastic server software includes an HTTP server for local or remote control / access from a standard web browser. One of the files, FileBrowse.html, allows for file selection from selected drives using the web browser. Depending on the command line, FileBrowse can be used to save, load, add or open files without direct access to the file system.
Drastic software can support up to 16 channels of audio. These can be 16 mono channels, 8 stereo pairs or all channels in one, depending on the setup and file type. This article covers the kinds of audio that the software can produce, and the audio setups it is able to read automatically to combine multiple channels of audio with video. For creation, you will need MediaNXS, MediaReactor or DrasticDDR. For playback and reading, this also applies to DrasticPreview, DrasticPreview Pro and the DTMediaRead SDK.
We are always happy to receive product ideas, new file/codec format information and bug/issue reports. To make these reports as effective as possible, please read the following article on what we need to know to solve the issue in the quickest possible way.
Some Drastic software now supports the Blackmagic series of DeckLink and Intensity cards. Blackmagic has a wide range of current and legacy cards. This article lists the in house and third party tested Blackmagic cards and provides some useful operational tips.
The DTMediaRead SDK now includes a utility called dtmrpipe. This utility allows the user to 'pipe' out uncompressed YUV2 or BGRA video data to another application. It can also be used to pipe an uncompressed stereo audio stream in 16 or 32 bit little endian. This is useful for feeding other applications, such as ffmpeg, with the output of file formats, types or codecs it doesn't support.
DrasticPreview and DrasticPreview Pro can be called by external applications with command line parameters. If there is already an instance of the application running, the parameters will be transferred to the running instance, and the called one will exit. This is especially useful where the workflow requires the system to display particular aspects of a clip in an automated fashion.
The Drastic DT3D stereo file is an XML based re-director file that can merge two separate 'eye' files into a stereo pair, as well as adding audio and optional closed captioning.
Server Demonstration - Quick Start
If you have followed the quick start setup in the manual, your server is now ready to demonstrate all the major features of the Net-X-Code tool set. The easiest way to to do this is to install the demo media zip, and follow the steps below.
Drastic products like DrasticDDR and MediaNXS support a wide variety of time code sources. The default selectable configurations will usually be the correct ones for most standard workflows. For other workflows, the time code sources need to be more finely controlled. This document covers the time code source precedence setup for Drastic products
4KScope supports both command line parameters and keyboard control. This command line parameters can be used to allow 4KScope to open automatically on startup in the mode and size required. The keyboard commands can be used to capture compressed and uncompressed frames directly from the incoming signal.
Drastic software supports a wide range of still image formats including TIFF, TGA, DPX, CINEON, PSD, SGI, VPB, ARI, RAW and others. They are processed as a series of images to create a video stream. How they are processed can be controlled by a number of configuration settings.
One of the file format plugins (dtx_aWMFDirect.d1x) for Windows 32 and 64 relies on Microsoft Windows' media components. With some versions of Windows, like Vista Business or 7/8/8.1/10 KN, Microsoft does not include these components by default. To fix this error, you can either delete the dtx_aWMFDirect.d1x and dt_WinMedia.d1x from the installation folder, which will disable WMV/ASF read/write, or install the missing components from Microsoft.
In QuickClip, QuickClipXO, MediaNXS, DTouch, VVW Series DDRs and Titan Series DDRs, VTRs appear as EXT (external) channels. External channels can be set up in either LocalConfig, DDRConfig or the Drastic Setup Wizard utilities. This page describes the settings in detail to allow customization or advanced setup.
Most Drastic software is available on Linux x86_64 as well as Windows (32/64) and OS-X (32/64). Linux testing is done on RedHat, Centos and Ubuntu (Debian base), but due to the variety of flavours of these base distributions, it is important to check that all the required support libraries are included in your distribution. This article outlines the absolute minimum packages required to run any Drastic software.
The Drastic Technologies YCbCr codec for QuickTime, Video For Windows (VFW/ICM) and Direct Show allows third party applications to use files (AVI and MOV primarily) generated by VVW, Titan Series, QuickClip and MediaReactor. Please note, this codec has been deprecated. The new codecs are available as part of the MediaReactor Workstation. The original codec with updated installers is still available here.
Drastic software has a few requirements that are not included in the standard install of Unbuntu 14.04. This article describes how to add them
The IndieCam cameras are small, light, HD and 2K recording RAW bayer pattern cameras. They provide the raw data via HD-SDI by embedding it into a SMPTE standard signal that can be recorded by most uncompressed recorders. Because the type marked by the recorder is SMPTE YCbCr 10 (v210 in general), the RAW data cannot be automatically detected. To use these files in Assimilate Scratch and MediaReactor, the system must be set up to re-label these files.
Version 6 of MediaNXS, Net-X-Code and MediaReactor all support native editing while ingesting for MXF files in Adobe Premiere. Normally these will be OP1a MXF files, using either DV25, DV50 or IMX for SD signals, and AVCi-100, DNxHD, XDCam or XAVC-S for HD and 4K signals. All these formats are supported under Adobe Premiere without any extra plugins, just using the native MXF reader in Premiere. To edit while ingest AVI, MOV, MP4, or other file types, Drastic's MediaReactor plugin for Adobe Premiere can be used in conjunction with our RTIN file.
AJA video boards generally include a Mixer Keyer element. DrasticDDR, MediaNXS, and QuickClipXO do not directly control the Mixer Keyer, but they are designed to allow the user to use the Mixer Keyer alongside the main software.
4KScope version 6 and greater includes a training mode for use at educational institutions that purchase 4KScope. It is also available free for personal use. In this mode, the various scopes can be accessed using internal multi pattern video to practice or learn how to use waveform monitors/vectorscopes. All of the video scopes are enabled in this mode, and it does not require any hardware. The multi patterns will generate most of the standard patterns used in video testing, in the correct color space and transfer mode, from CCIR-601, Rec.709, BT.2020 and even HDR10.