VideoMeld issues & feedback

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VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby JakubM » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:52 am

Hi Chris,

For the past two years, I've been producing a video every week using Multiquence, I so actually had to hold back on system upgrades because Multiquence didn't work on newer OSes. But now, after having waited a few more months for VideoMeld to mature, I finally bit the bullet and recently performer the upgrade: Windows XP to Windows 8 and Multiquence to VideoMeld. And I survived :).

...But not quite intact. I have to say, there's a lot of nice new ideas about VideoMeld compared to Multiquence - and of course, just the fact that it works in Win 8, and the fact that it's still so incredibly cheap compared to so many other, actually inferior packages, these are great things. Be that as it may, in many small ways, VideoMeld has become less convenient to use than Multiquence. These may be issues related to me being so used to the Multiquence way of doing things, and maybe in a few months I'll get used to it, but in the meantime, the amount of time it takes to do various things in VideoMeld is much longer than Multiquence.

So, here's what's probably going to be the first of many change request lists from me. I don't know how much time you have for VideoMeld development, I know that GoldWave is still your main priority, but I hope you can get some of these done quickly...

- It is not possible to manually adjust the volume and exact timing of a point on the fade graph by right-clicking it and entering the numbers. It's nice that when I drag the point around with a mouse, I see the numeric info on the volume and timing, because it means that I can still get things exactly how I wanted - but boy, it takes way longer to set things up when dragging around and trying to be precise.

- When adjusting the fade graph, we only see the timing info relative to the whole length of the project. It used to be in Multiquence that only the timing relative to the currect section was displayed. Displaying both would be nice, but if I had to choose just one, I'd definitely go the Multiquence way. The thing is, most of the time when you edit the fade graph, you're adjusting visually, without looking at the numbers. But on the rare occasions when the numbers actually become important - it is the section positions that matter, not the positions within the entire project.

- The preview window has become so sloooow! I can never rely on it any more to actually preview the changes I make, because it often pauses for half a second when it reaches any kind of effect, crossfade, anything like that. I'm experienced enough now that I trust myself to get everything set up right without constantly relying on the preview, but when you do need a preview... well, you just don't have one. And this is not a slow machine, by the way - and I'm not working with some extremely high resolution, just 1280x720. I think that simply the minimum resolution of the preview window is still too high - if I had the option of watching on less than 270p, even as low as 100p, I would be happy just as long as the video was displaying smoothly with all the effects in the right places.

- An alternative option, and this is obviously a new feature, would be to have a preview render-to-video option, where you don't render the entire project, but instead only the segment that interests you. Usually, when you're previewing a change, you only need to preview 10-20 seconds of the video. Rendering that amount of data would be pretty fast, but at the moment there simply isn't such an option.

- The new way in which zoom/pan effects are handled is terrible. The concept is good, the implementation is evil. I used to have tons of static images in my videos, which I would animate by zooming on parts of them, panning across them, and so on. The way the new implementation of these effects is set up, it's theoretically incredibly powerful. Instead of having a starting point and an ending point, you can have multiple points, you can zoom in a little bit, then pan, then turn and pan in a different direction, it's great. But it doesn't work properly! When you first create a zoom effect, there are no points on the graph... and when you right-click to create points on the graph, nothing happens. The only way I've so far been able to create points on the effect graph is to select one of the preset settings, because then appropriate points are inserted automatically, and once the points are there, more points can be created and moved at will. So, there seem to be a bug with creating points initially. The other thing is that once you do have points on the graph, you cannot select all four coordinates at once (at least, I couldn't figure it out). You have to adjust the top, bottom, left and right separately, and sometimes when you change one, the others, including the ones you'd already set up, adjust automatically. What I would like is to simply be able to click on any time within the span of the effect, and then adjust all four points together by moving the frame on the preview image. And that would be awesome, then you'd have a huge upgrade compared to Multiquence.

- Another small issue is that with Multiquence, it was possible to drag-and-drop from Windows Explorer (or any other program displaying files in a window) straight to a track in Multiquence. This no longer works - at least here, on Windows 8. Each time I want to add something, I have to click on the track, then I click on the video/audio/image button, then I must go through the folders to find the file I need. That's a lot of additional time wasted.

- One other small thing that causes me an unproportional amount of grief, is that in Multiquence, you could select a track by clicking on an empty section of the track. In VideoMeld, you can only select a track by clicking near its name on the left side of the screen. I suppose that anyone who starts off with VideoMeld will not have trouble getting used to this, but me, having used Multiquence for so long, I keep messing things up because I thought I'd selected a different track, but I didn't.


Well, that's all for now, except to add that like 2leftfeet mentioned in the "transferring projects" thread, I also really could use the ability to move projects to another folder and still have them work. It was brilliant with Multiquence.

...And speaking of which. I suppose this is the least priority, but a Multiquence-to-VideoMeld project converter is, in many ways, indispensable. I have two years' worth of Multiquence project archives, and in the past few months, I have on occasion pulled out an older video, made a couple of changes and republished it as a rerun. I've not needed to do that so far, since switching to VideoMeld - but if I needed to, I simply would not have that option. My whole archive of older projects is effectively useless, because Multiquence no longer works, and VideoMeld doesn't read them.

Oh, and by the way - it's still a really great package in spite of all the little problems. A year and a half ago, when I realised I would have to abandon Multiquence to finally upgrade my OS, and when VideoMeld was still nowhere to be seen, I did a lot of research looking at other video editing packages in this price range. There is nothing there that compares even remotely to VideoMeld and Multiquence!
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Re: VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby JakubM » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:36 pm

And two more things from this last working session...

- In image settings, when you enter the display length and actually press "enter" instead of clicking on the "ok" button, the image settings window closes, but the display length is not updated.

- In image settings, when you enter the display length, you have to enter it in seconds... which gets to be bothersome when you're working with lengths of multiple minutes. It's also a bother because often, you want to enter the same length as the length of a sound or video (if you're dealing with overlay images). But the length of sound/video is displayed in hours, minutes and seconds, whereas this one is seconds only.
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Re: VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby GoldWave Inc. » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:31 am

JakubM wrote:It is not possible to manually adjust the volume and exact timing of a point on the fade graph by right-clicking it and entering the numbers.

That will be added on the right-click menu.

When adjusting the fade graph, we only see the timing info relative to the whole length of the project.

Relative time will be added.

- The preview window has become so sloooow!...

I'm hoping that can be improved in a future version when video drivers are more stable. Have you tried turning off software emulation under Options | Configure VideoMeld? If you don't notice any stability issues, then you can keep that option off if that makes previewing faster.

When you first create a zoom effect, there are no points on the graph... and when you right-click to create points on the graph, nothing happens...

Did you choose the "Var" button to allow the settings to vary (they are fixed by default)? It should be very easy to set and move the zoom window. You can click-and-drag inside the preview rectangle to move all four points at once.

Another small issue is that with Multiquence, it was possible to drag-and-drop from Windows Explorer...

That's a glitch in the current version of VideoMeld. You can only drag-and-drop on the track title/header to add the files to the end of the track, not drop within the track. That will be fixed in the next version.

One other small thing that causes me an unproportional amount of grief, is that in Multiquence, you could select a track by clicking on an empty section of the track...

That's also a glitch related to the above problem and will be fixed.

I suppose this is the least priority, but a Multiquence-to-VideoMeld project converter...

Multiquence and VideoMeld do things very differently internally, so it isn't possible to convert a project and generate the exact same result. A limited converter could be created that would have the same files and maybe the same fade graphs, but other effects and settings would not carry over.

I'll check into the image length issues. Thanks for the excellent feedback.

Chris
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Re: VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby JakubM » Sat Jan 25, 2014 5:12 am

Thanks for the reply, Chris. In regards to the Multiquence-to-VideoMeld converter, I do realise that they do a lot of things differently and it would probably a long time to create any kind of decent converter for the effects. I think that a "lite" converter that carries across the files, lengths and fade graphs would already go a long way.

I did not notice the "Var" button before - once I had that set, it worked perfectly, and I can do a lot more now with zooming and panning than Multiquence could ever manage. It's great! Mind you, there's still room for improvement - in particular, there doesn't seem to be a quick and easy way to move the four points horizontally along the time chart, the way you would be able to move a point on the fade graph. Also, there are some problems with previewing the effect, more on that below.

Meanwhile, disabling the DirectX software emulation did not help in regards to the speed of the preview. It actually seems to have made no difference at all, although I suspect it might well make a difference at higher resolutions. The thing is, the problem does not seem to be in the speed of video rendering as such, but rather in the speed that various items are loaded and rendered. What does that mean? Well, as I said, the video works perfectly smoothly - but when I press play, even if I'm just viewing a simple video with no effects at all, I will generally get a second or two of black screen, during which the audio is already running while the video presumably struggles to catch up. Similarly, when I play through a segment of my project where I do a cross-fade between one video and another, the cross-fade is delayed, and there will either be a bit of black screen, or the first video will go on a second longer before the second one fades in. This means that I can't see if the timing of the video transition matches up with the audio cue until I actually render the video as a whole. I assume you will be able to fix the various issues with preview renders eventually, but as I mentioned previously, I think you should consider providing a "partial meld-to-video" option as a stopgap (a stopgap that will probably remain useful even after the other issues are fixed). This option would simply let the user choose a time range within the project to render. If you're working on a thirty minute video that takes a long time to render, being able to render a 30 second fragment is a really valuable thing!

So, now I can get onto a few more issues that I ran into working on today's project...

- The preview video does crazy things with the zoom effect. Instead of seeing a steady zoom-in, you'll have the image jumping back and forth at the start of the zoom, then a fairly steady zoom in the middle, and then more jumping back and forth at the end of the zoom. This is just a preview problem, the final video is perfectly good.

- Similarly, there is a problem with the preview of the aspect ratio correction effect. The impression I get is that in the preview, even if an image/video is already in the correct aspect ratio, VideoMeld still messes with the image. You can see this best if you try using an overlay image with colour-based transparency. For example, I use 0/255/0 green for the transparency, and when aspect correction is switched off, it works perfectly. However, when I have it enabled, I see a green outline around all non-transparent objects, which is presumably the result of the colour blending that occurs when you rescale an image. Once the final video is rendered, however, this problem does not exist, so it's just a preview bug.

- VideoMeld starts off in a window. Actually, I guess it's the same with GoldWave. Would it be possible for you to add this to the config options in both programs? Just a checkbox to allow you to have them start maximised by default.

- On a couple of occasions, I've had Videomeld go a little crazy - upon pressing "play", the video stopped showing up in the preview window (some of the still images I'm using still did), and parts of the interface actually also disappeared. Minimising and maximising fixed the interface, but did not fix the playback - I found that in such situations, a full restart of the program is needed. Sadly, my feedback on this is probably of no use in fixing the problem - unless you've encountered it yourself, I don't see how you can replicate the issue based on my comments.
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Re: VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby JakubM » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:07 am

Just found another bug, I'll report it right away so I don't forget:

- When you try to move any item on the track by using the "move" option (in Multiquence, this option allowed you to enter a specific time instead of trying to drag an item to the right point), you get an error message: "Class TCaretRectangle not found", and nothing else happens.
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Re: VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby JakubM » Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:46 am

...And another small feature request:

- When changing the length of a static image by left-clicking on its end and dragging it across the screen, you are only modifying the image currently under the mouse cursor, even if you have multiple images selected. If you select multiple images, it should be possible to shorten/extend them all by the same amount simultaneously. In the project I'm currently editing, I have three overlay images that are present at the same time (they have to be separate because they use different levels of transparency). Reducing the length of time they are onscreen is pesky, because I have to do it separately for each of them and then synchronise the lengths again.
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Re: VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby GoldWave Inc. » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:21 am

I agree there needs to be a way to change settings for multiple sections at the same time.

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Re: VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby JakubM » Wed Nov 19, 2014 4:13 am

Hi Chris,

So, I started using the latest update a couple of weeks ago. I see quite a few small improvements, but... in general, VideoMeld has become far more unstable now. Whereas before, I could edit a project for hours and hours without worrying (too much) about crashes, the program frequently now becomes unresponsive. It's not so bad that work would be impossible, but... let's just say I've exploded in frustration a couple of times when losing work - even though I do try to save regularly.

Does VideoMeld save any kind of log file that I can send you when it crashes? I'm a veteran games developer myself, so I know how hard it is to fix any kind of crash without detailed diagnostic data.
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Re: VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby GoldWave Inc. » Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:54 am

Unfortunately there isn't a log file. Is there any sequence of steps I can follow to cause the problem?

The program should be creating a backup file regularly in case there are any problems. That file should be opened automatically when the program is restarted.

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Re: VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby JakubM » Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:31 am

No, I don't think I can provide any list of steps to reproduce - at least, not at the moment. About the only thing I can identify is that more often than not (but not exclusively), VideoMeld crashes when playback s activated.

I will keep track of the issue, and the next time I get a crash, I'll try to provide a bit more information. It is hard, though, because the crashes seem really unpredictable.
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Re: VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby JakubM » Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:44 am

I did want to ask about something else, as well. Currently, when I turn on playback, the first few seconds of playback are essentially a total loss: it takes that long for the program to catch up and start playing video synchronously with the sound. Initially, the video just stands still, then it starts skipping forward, until it finally catches up with the sound and plays normally. This can be a huge problem, because most of the time when I use playback, it's precisely the changes in the first few seconds of the video that I want to see.

I'm not sure what the problem is that prevents the video from playing synchronously from the start, but if this is impossible to solve at the moment, would it be possible for you to provide a "stable playback" option where the playback does not begin until the program has cached enough of the video and sound to ensure smooth playback?
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Re: VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby GoldWave Inc. » Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:16 pm

Some videos are saved in way that makes previewing very slow to start. Resaving problem videos with a higher key frame rate and seek indexing usually solves the problem. You can add the video to a new VideoMeld project and use File | Meld Project To Video File to resave it under a different name and format.

Defragmenting your hard drive may help. If you can afford an SSD, that usually makes a huge difference.

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Re: VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby JakubM » Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:02 am

Funny you mention an SSD - I actually have one here, but I use it mainly as the OS drive. It didn't occur to me to try placing the raw video files on there. I'll have to give that a try.

In the meantime, I just encountered another of those crashes I reported before. It didn't really affect me, because everything was saved. VideoMeld crashed when started rendering to a video file - I was able to go through the filename and format selection window, and then instead of seeing the processing bar, I got a crash. Initially, I got a bunch of (repeating) messages saying "cannot create rendering target for 'TCanvasD2D'.", then there was a "stack overflow" message, and at that point it went to that standard Windows "VideoMeld has stopped working" window.

What can I say about replicating the bug? Nothing useful, I'm afraid. Since everything worked fine the second time round, when I restarted VideoMeld, it feels like a memory leak to me - but if that's what it is, it seems like a fairly mild one. I've been working on this project for at least two, possibly closer to three hours non-stop without quitting or any crashes, so that's not bad in terms of stability :). Nonetheless, sometimes the crashes do come sooner, and they don't always occur when rendering to a file - sometimes they also happen when you simply start playback. That, of course, is worse because you have to remember to save your project at that point.
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Re: VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby GoldWave Inc. » Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:46 pm

The "TCanvasD2D" error has been reported a few times, but I haven't seen it myself yet. Searching on Google seems to suggest that the display driver may be the source of the problem. Or depending on the complexity of the project, it could be that there isn't enough video memory available to perform the melding. Melding at high resolution could require an enormous amount of RAM. Changing the software emulation setting may help (use Options | Configure VideoMeld) depending on the amount of RAM in your computer and video hardware.

A memory leak is a possibility, but that should show up in the memory usage graphs, which I'm not seeing so far. If you find a pattern, please let me know. For example, if working with high resolution videos and images triggers the error more often, then that would be helpful to know.
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Re: VideoMeld issues & feedback

Postby JakubM » Tue May 05, 2015 12:50 am

Hi,

An update on some of the things I mentioned here. First up, when I tried loading files from the SSD drive, the result turned out to be the exact opposite of anticipated - things became much worse. I'm not sure why that would be the case. It might be something to do with the way my machine is configured. It may also be because I'm perpetually running short on space, and the SSD drive (which is used by the OS as well) rarely has more than 10 GB of space, and frequently has much less.

Now, a far more serious issue I've encountered since then is that stability has gotten much, much worse. By that, I mean that I literally get a crash after five minutes of work. Most of the time, I can avoid the crash by saving and quitting after the first symptoms (usually: the video disappears from the preview window). But it is frustrating, to put it mildly. And I use VideoMeld to produce at least one 10 minute video every week, so you can imagine the work process involved.

Now, all this may be caused by video card memory - but why would it have gotten significantly worse in the last few weeks? It may also have to do with the aforementioned lack of space on the SSD drive, which is where all the virtual memory stuff takes place - that certainly might be a problem, and in terms of when these problems became more frequent, my drive did indeed get more clogged up recently. However, if this is the case... it still drives me crazy that VideoMeld can't show its difficulties through means other than crashing. There's got to be some room for improvement in this area.

A much less significant issue that I've encountered is that it seems sometimes VideoMeld loses some points on the fade graph when saving and/or loading. It's hard to be sure about this, because it's easy to mess up these points yourself simply by clicking the graph, and sometimes you might not notice you've messed it up. However, I've had this issue so many times now, that I'm increasingly thinking it's VideoMeld's fault, not mine. Changing something by accident once or twice, that I can see. But having things change in sections I had finished and checked a few hours earlier seems iffy, and having this happen on average once a month seems even more iffy. Particularly since each time, the problem seems to be points disappearing from the graph. It's easy to add a point to the graph by accident, but to make a point disappear you have to press and drag, so it's a much less likely accident to happen.

Oh, and needless to say - I am using the latest version. However, I only installed it two days ago, and before that I hadn't updated since about February, so the stability issues are not related to the version upgrade.
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