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todd dufour
Just started working on the apprentice CD this week and I finaly made it through OBJECTS STATES. I have to say that I could not get a single reel media file to play through from start to finish… I could hear the audio, but the picture would just lock up.. One of the files was so bad that the picture got stuck on the slate… I know that reel media was chosen so that linux users could see that material… Having surfed this forum and, there are a number of peole that have stated similiar problems with the video files… I would love to see the video files converted and reposted to some server for others to download….

It is unfortunate that SESI employees went to all the effort of producing great tutorial videos that can not be viewed, due to the flakey nature of the reel media format. I have always had trouble with reel media both on MACs and on PCs. If the videos are still in a raw format, something other than reel media, like a vhs, I would be happy to convert the files to quicktime, avi, or mpeg… I live in santa monica and have a MAC at home with a targa 2000 capture board. I would not have any place to post the files. If someone has a server where I could post them to, I would be happy to upload the files.

I just think that after all the effort that went into the produciton of the apprentice CD, end users and newcomers should be able to take full advantage of the VIDEOS. The tutorials are so good that I was able to follow along with just the audio, but I have taken the intro class at SESI, four to six months ago. Anyway I would be willing to help get the files into other formats, if another user was willing to maintain the files on a server.

Todd Dufour
todd dufour
Now that I have gotten past the objectstates tutorials the Reel media files in the other sections are playing just fine… Kind of unfortunate that most of the interface video tuts could not be seen… Still I was able to follow along with just audio..
there are a couple of other vids that didn't play for me…I'll try to remember to post which ones when I get home…
This player is a crap!
I hate lasy bums who wrote it! It fills your system with lots of trash and doesn't work good.All theses popups and all the adware are impossible to get rid of. Man! Such a diehard!
I'd really love to see tutorials converted to some other format. DivX for example.

here's something I just found today. Not certain if this can be comfirmed. The current Houdini Master distribution (Not the apprentice version), I've gotten the following error when I tried to copy them to disk.:

Cannot copy staircase_01: Data error (cyclic redundancy check)
Cannot copy staircase_02: Data error (cyclic redundancy check)

Generally, some of the tutorial video that I tried to copy are fine. Just those 2 staircase demo. So this might have explained why some of us are having trouble reading the file back in RealPlayer.

I think this may have something to do with the CD master process or something. I've had gotten an error similar to this a long time ago while copying from one HD to another under Windows. I've never quite figured out what went wrong to this day…
todd dufour
Sometime next week I will probably get the video tutorial files in their uncompressed AVI format fromo SESI… I have offered to recompress them to a different format for those of us that are having problems with the reel media files…. Now there are 20 gigs… Yes 20 gigs of AVI files…. I spoke with peter yesterday about experimenting with different formats for playback on NT and Linux…. For that is one of the issues involved with deciding a format. Another important consideration, is the (files size / quality) ratio… I have been a long time MAC guy and almost always opt for quicktime…. Especialy sorenson for web delivery… Does anyone have a preference to the format??

I will probably start reencoding within the next two weeks… Then we will need to find a home on the web for the new tutorial files…..

Any input would be just great

Todd Dufour
For Windows the techsmith, TSCC codec is getting pretty popular for tutorial videos. []

It compresses pretty good and you can still read writing on the screen.

I'm just throwing this out there, I'm finished with the videos. Whatever you do, if you recompress them, make sure the screen is still legible and the sound is synched correctly. A lot of people may hate Real, and some of the videos may not work right, but I was able to actually read what was going on on the screen.
todd dufour
I will take a look at the link and look into that codec… I haven't finished all the videos yet, but eventhough some of the videos have issues I am impressed with the quality of the screen image… It is important to be able to see what all the little icons look like. Otherwise it could be rather confusing.

I just wanted to get the videos in another format in case someone has a problem with a specific reel video. With another set of videos on a server, people will have a second chance to see a video that might be unplayable on their system.. I am only doing this for those need another option.. Hopefully there is a codec with an acceptable quality to size ratio… Thanks for your input…
I'll provide some server space (within reason of course )
maybe if we can get 6-7+ people to provide mirrors it will reduce the bandwidth for all….

still haven't had a chance to go through all the vids and find the ones that were not working for me…although this thread might make it moot…
todd dufour
That is a realy great offer…. Also do you have any input on the format…. On mac I would do mpeg or sorsen…. Although I am not sure how great the text would come out…. Most of the video files run about 10 minutes which is a lot of video.. Fortunately, they should compress rather well since the screen does not change that much… I should get the files next week and then start experimentiing with compression schemes and playback…

Todd Dufour
on windows I guess the best format would be Divx, although I've seen some very good vids that used MS's .wma (?)…
the one thing that I think is important no matter what the format is the ability to scrub through the file, something that Divx doesn't offer (?)…
the TSCC codec is very good for the kind of vids we're talking about (almost no motion)

as for quicktime, we've used the photo JPEG compression on many things and have had really good results with reasonably small file sizes.

Win and mac users are not really a concern, it's finding a format for IRIX, Linux and Solaris…
Divx will actually compress these videos really well because the screen doesn't change much. The only problem is the text may be illegible, but you can probably fix that with the proper settings in the codec. Also, becuase this isn't THX 7.1 sound you are dealing with, you can go with a mono soundtrack, and go to 96 or 64 if it's mp3, or 8 bit 22 khz. Also, the videos don't move at a blazing pace, so you can probably drop a lot of frames.

Divx files will play on Linux. The only thing is I'm not sure how current the codecs are for Linux, so something you compress with DIVX 5.02 may not paly on Linux. I'll give it a try and find out. I don't know if Divx has been ported to Solaris or Irix. MPEG 1 and 2 I think are the only formats you can count on to play everyhwhere.
todd dufour
I do not have a way of testing out playback on linux/Irix… I have been thinking of trying to set my new HP up to Linux, but I have not gotten around to it and I would rather spend my time learning Houdini than trying to come to grips with a new OS and all the issues that come along with it…. It would be great to get someone who would be willing to help find a better alternative to the reel video format for both linux and Irix… Originaly, I thought that most of the apprentice people would be on Windoze, like myself. I wanted to offer a second set of videos to supplement the reel video files that did not playback on their system… Most of the objectstate videos (which are the introductory videos) picture would lock up while the audio would finish on my system. This made it extremely difficult to see what was going on… If I did not have such a strong desire to learn Houdini I might have been so frustrated that I would have given up… So from a selfish stand point I realy was not going to worry about the linux Irix people…After reading the last few post, it would be great to find a format that works seemlessly across all platforms, sans mac.. This undertaking would definatlely take some input and help from people that work on linux/Irix…. I am sure that if we can figure out a format that meets all the criteria SESI would adopt that format in the future…

I was suppose to get the files from SESI on wednesday morning, but I forgot that I have a doctors appointment that morning so maybe I will get them on thursday or friday…

Anyone who wants to help I would greatly appreciate it… I could use help in the following areas

1) compressing (once the final format is deicded)
2) testing on multiple platforms
3) hosting of final files
4) any input about what formats to test first
5) hosting of format testing files…

If anyone feels the need to help, Thankks in Advance..

Todd Dufour
I've put the object states Real Videos on my server if anyone wants them…
they are from the Apprentice distribution that came with the October issue of CGI magazine (Houdini 5.5.56) and they play without any problems at all.

just right-click on the links below and select ‘Save As…’

Object States 01 []

Object States 02 []

Object States 03 []

Object States 04 []

Object States 05 []

Object States 06 []
todd dufour
Hey thanks for posting the reel media files on your server… On friday I picked up all the uncompressed apprentice videos…. All 20 gigs worth…. So now I have them… I have not been able to do any compression test yet.. My kids (3 boyz) had soccer games all weekend… Soccer Funday Funday Funday Sunday Sunday Sunday… Sorry for the little rant but I just had a lot of soccer this weekend.. I plan on starting some compresion test list week…. It would be extremely helpful if I could upload some of the test to your server…. I think that once I have a good alt for the reel media files then I will compress them all and try to find a home for them or I will burn them all to CD and upload on a case by case…. So far I have had no problems with the the rest of the tutorial files… I have heard though that there are a few problems with soome of the videos that I have not gotten to….. I am not at home and I am on my mac at work so I could not test the files you have posted but I will tonight… Thanks for you involvement…

Todd Dufour
when you've done some tests just e-mail me and I'll set up access on my FTP for you…I have lots of room right now

As of end of day today I'm out of a job so I'll be able to build a front end page for the videos etc…
todd dufour
That is just awesome…. I am sure that it will be a couple of days before I am ready to email you something… I am hoping that I have a few test done by wednesday..

Todd Dufour
Hey all,

I may put the video tuts up on in DiVX format.

On a side note, but related to this topic there is a new video tutorial at on Render Passes and Compositing. It's available on .RM and .AVI (Divx) Of course, the divx file is smaller by 6mb.

Thanks go out to Justin Reeves for contributing this video!


todd dufour
I have not had a moment this week… My wife started a new job…. Well she started working after 9 years of being an at home mom… So I take the kids to school in the morning and I am having a tough time adjusting to the new scheadule….. Carlos if you need any help converting the apprentice videos I will be more than happy to help… I have all 20 gigs here at home… I got them from Peter from SESI… I am hoping that I have time to do some converting this weekend or at least set up the batches… Maybe after soccer… I have three boys….. If you tell me what your recipe for conversion is I will be happy to take some of the conversion work load off of you…. Just email me or post here I will check this forum out tomorrow…
Just my two cents on the recompression of the video files.
I would like to see the video compressed using the divx codec, because when I use Linux divx plays very well with the Xine player. I know for a fact that quicktime is not natively supported in Linux, but there is a plugin you can buy from codeweavers. :-( I think quicktime is allright on Macs and pc's, but I do not think there is a person who has gotten quicktime to work on a MIPS processor, so I would stick with DIVX, which I do think is compatible with MIPS, because I have the PS2 linux dev kit and I think I remember someone saying they were able to play a movie on it, and the PS2 is a MIPS processor, so I do not see why DIVX would not run on Solaris or IRIX.
but that's just my 2 cents
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