January 30, 2003
Oracle Slide & More
I was asked by Mladen Vouk at NC State to prepare a few PowerPoint slides about the VQM Oracle for John Streck to maybe use when he goes down to the Miami for a meeting. It took me a while to put this together because PowerPoint is really not well designed when it comes to handling complicated animations. But eventually I got everything how I wanted on a single slide.
At our meeting today, Ketan and I talked a little bit about the project I can work on for COMP 249: Multimedia Networking which is a new type of video codec description that lets you easily take the video apart and put it back together. I got the MPEG-2 specification from Ketan and need to read through that to figure out what parts of an MPEG datastream can be isolated and removed, based on the type of information encoded.
January 29, 2003
NCNI Dumps & IOXperts Compression Types
Today I dumped three different sequences of approximately 8 seconds from the DV tape given to me by Tyler Johnson. The first is just video focused on a lecturer. The second switches from the lecturer to part of the audience. And the third switches from a projection to the lecturer. It's strange though, that the playback time calculations seem to indicate up to 12 seconds of video. However, that might be because I'm printing information to STDOUT while recasting the RTP packets.
I also worked a little bit on Open Mash and checked the compression types available in the IOXperts FireWire WebCam driver, but the only value returned was the default component YUV format (unless I am traversing the returned list incorrectly). The video digitizer doesn't return an error code when I set it to that format either. But for some reason I'm still not getting frame grabs.
January 27, 2003
Got NCNI Footage
Alisa Haggard dropped off a DV deck and tape from Tyler Johnson today. The tape has footage from lectures, and Tyler has indicated a few time slices that are most interesting to him. The DV deck has composite out, so I can dump some video soon. I still need to finish the vic dumper application.
January 24, 2003
I got back from my trip to the Electronic Imaging conference in Santa Clara. I didn't pay for any of the presentation sessions, so I didn't get to see anything except posters and company exhibitors. It's a relatively small conference, but some of the posters were kind of interesting.
I think the most interesting were a set of three posters about image database searching and browsing. All of them would classify images according to some criteria. The browsing system lets you move along the database contents according to something like luminence or color. The searching system would find images similar to a sample image. Combining this type of quick search by example with a browsing system could be very useful.
January 20, 2003
IOXperts FireWire WebCam Driver v1.0.6
IOXperts just released version 1.0.6 final of their FireWire WebCam driver for Mac OS X. Open Mash only supports 1.0.5r3, which is no longer available for download. I got my iBot on Friday, and have been digging into adding more robust support for DCAM capture with both the IOXperts driver and also the one by OrangeWare which is free for the iBot.
There are actually two video digitizers in the IOXperts package, with 'IOx0' and 'IOx1' for the manufacturer, 'DCam' for the subtype. The OrangeWare digitizer, on the other hand, has 'DCAM' for its subtype, 'OPCA' for the manufacturer. For some reason, opening with OpenDefaultComponent works, but OpenComponent doesn't. Of course, the correct way to do this is with OpenComponent after checking for a digitizer that has the capabilities required by Open Mash.
January 17, 2003
I finished my Electronic Imaging poster today. I did get around to remaking the figures as EPS files in Adobe Illustrator. It didn't take as long as I thought it might, since I ended up only using two figures. I really need to upgrade to Illustrator 10, since version 7.0 only runs under Classic. Karbon, a vector drawing program by the KDE people isn't ready for real use. I should also get a copy of Adobe InDesign; LaTeX is good for some things, but InDesign is still a lot better for other things. LaTeX is more like Adobe FrameMaker, and my copy of Adobe PageMaker is also limited to Classic.
Anyway, tomorrow I need to see about printing out my poster. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do to get a nice background on it. The best way would be to get some patterned paper, but it might be that I'm supposed to print out the background. That's something I still don't know how to do in LaTeX.
January 15, 2003
I've continued my work on the Electronic Imaging poster. The original TIFF images make huge EPS files; I don't know if I'll have time to create original EPS files instead. If the final PostScript document is too large, the printer may be unable to process it.
January 14, 2003
I will be presenting a poster on my paper Implementation of a Real-Time Software-only Image Smoothing Filter for a Block-transform Video Codec at this year's IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging conference. The UNC CS department has a large printer with PowerPoint templates, but of course since I don't use PowerPoint I'm making my poster using LaTeX (Adobe PageMaker does not support such large document sizes). It's been slow going but I'm making some good progress, and learning a lot more about LaTeX along the way.
January 8, 2003
With my previous modifications to Open Mash, I can have vic dump RTP packets and YUV frames to disk. The rtp-recast program will recast those RTP packets with the correct interframe delay. But for this to be fully automated, I need a non-GUI version of vic that can be launched (or kept running) and automatically dump the received video as YUV frames to disk for comparison by the VQM Software.
So I started working on a Open Mash application I'm calling Vic Dumper (vicdump) that will do this. I'm basing the Tcl code, which will use smash instead of mash, on a combination of the vic, rvic, and rvic-cl code. That should let vicdump handle the receipt of video streams. The one thing I'm not sure about is whether or not Open Mash will stop dumping frames to disk once it has stopped receiving frames. I think it would, since the decoder would no longer be called and the image buffer is no longer updated.
Since it looks like I'll have to wait a while on the Linux VQM Software and the stock video footage, this is what I can work on for now.
January 6, 2003
VQM Batch Processing & Non-blocking Video Digitizer Polling
I just got an email back from Stephen Wolf about batch processing with the VQM Software. They have support for that under the UNIX versions, but not the Windows version. Not that surprising, since Windows does not do the command line or remote/automatic program execution very well. (Something Microsoft doesn't like to admit, but they know about. Recent leaked documents show this.) UNC doesn't have any of the UNIX machines needed to run the UNIX versions, but Stephen did mention there is a Linux version in the works. I've got a little bit of time before I really need to automate the VQM Software, since NCNI is still working on getting the stock video footage for me.
Unrelated, Claudio Allocchio is going to run some audio and video tests under Mac OS 10.1.5 tomorrow. The audio response time should be much better as I described in an earlier entry. But there are problems with the IOXperts beta FireWire WebCam driver. I've sent Claudio a version of the video capture code that switches from blocking to non-blocking polling of the video digitizer. This lets the Tk thread get back to handling other events. I don't think this will fix the capture problem, but it should stop vic from getting stuck in the polling loop and freezing for the user. Hopefully some error messages will get printed out or something which might explain what's wrong with the video code with the beta driver.
PC VQM Software
I downloaded and tried out the VQM Software on my Windows 98SE system. The software launched fine, although it's only supported on Windows 2000. However, it looks like we may not be able to use it. The software is designed to be used through a GUI, and there wasn't any mention of a command line interface. I'm guessing that I'm going to have to implement the VQM algorithm myself to compare two Big YUV files. I've emailed Stephen Wolf just in case he had any ideas.
January 4, 2003
Improved Mac OS X Audio Performance
Yesterday, Claudio confirmed that my change to the Mac OS X audio code in Open Mash does noticeably improve the response of audio input on 10.2.2. Given that, it should no doubt have an even more drastic improvement under 10.1.5. So I committed the change.
However, Claudio reports that my changed video code only makes vic freeze on transmit with the 1.0.6bX drivers from IOXperts. I will need to get a FireWire camera and try to debug this myself, as it will be too difficult to keep going back and forth with Claudio or other testers on this problem.