CasparCG Server 2.0b3 Released with ProRes support and Disk Rendering


CasparCG Server 2.0 can now render graphics and videos to disk

The downloads can be found at the bottom of this post!

Need to convince your boss? Download the high-resolution PDF with all the highlights.

New features and fixes since last release

    • The new File Consumer can render videos and graphics to disk, in all the formats that FFmpeg supports. Great for transcoding, or for adding subtitling or logos. Or why not use for an automatic lower-third-generator that spits out animated name signs for your NLE editors?
    • Support for Apple ProRes QuickTime codec, both encoding and decoding.
    • 24-bit audio support for Bluefish cards.
    • Simplified server configuration.
    • Low latency mode on the DeckLink cards is enabled by default, and graphs can now be displayed for the card’s buffer can be displayed.
    • Improved color accuracy in the DeckLink Producer by avoiding unnecessary conversion to BGRA.
    • Screen Consumer
      • Automatically de-interlaces interlaced input.
      • PAL SD preset has been changed to widescreen.
      • Can now be closed.
      • Interpolation artifacts when running non-square video modes have been addressed.
    • FFmpeg Producer
      • Fixed missing alpha for (RGB)A formats when de-interlacing.
      • Updated buffering to work better with files with long audio/video interleaving.
      • Seekable while running and after reaching EOF. CALL 1-1 SEEK 200.
      • Enable/disable/query looping while running. CALL 1-1 LOOP 1.
      • Fixed bug with duration calculation.
      • Fixed bug with fps calculation.
      • Improved auto-transcode accuracy.
      • Improved seeking accuracy.
      • Fixed bug with looping and LENGTH.
      • Updated to newer FFmpeg version.
      • Fixed incorrect scaling of NTSC DV files.
      • Optimized color conversion when using YADIF de-interlacing filters.
    • Flash Producer
      • Releases the Flash Player when it’s empty.
      • Uses native resolution template hosts.
      • Template hosts are now chosen automatically as default. The template host with the corresponding video mode name is now chosen.
      • Uses square pixel dimensions.
    • The Mixer
      • Bug in alpha with blend modes fixed.
      • Automatic de-interlacing for MIXER FILL commands.
    • AMCP Protocol
      • When possible, commands will no longer wait for rendering pipeline. This reduces command execution latencies, especially when sending a lot of commands in a short timespan.
      • Fixed CINF command.
      • ADD/REMOVE no longer require subindex, e.g. “ADD 1 SCREEN” / “REMOVE 1 SCREEN” instead of “ADD 1-1 SCREEN” / …
      • PARAM is now renamed CALL.
      • STATUS command is replaced by INFO.
      • The INFO command has been extended:
        • INFO (lists channels).
        • INFO 1 (channel info).
        • INFO 1-1 (layer info).
        • INFO 1-1 F (foreground producer info).
        • INFO 1-1 B (background producer info).
        • INFO TEMPLATE mytemplate (template meta-data info, e.g. field names).
        • CG INFO command has been extended.
        • CG 1 INFO (template-host information, e.g. what layers are occupied).
    • Channel: The SET MODE now reverts back to old video-mode on failure.
    • Diagnostics
      • Improved graphs plus more status information added.
      • Now prints configuration into log at startup.
      • Use the same log file for the entire day, instead of one per startup as previously.
      • Diagnostics window is now closable.

Known issues

      • Embedded SDI audio does not work with Bluefish Epoch cards.
      • Key-only output to the File Consumer is not supported.

 

Features summary:

 

NTSC, PAL and lower-field interlacing

Supports all video standards

CasparCG Server 2.0 can now play all the current broadcast formats in both SD and HD, and output them to one or several video cards and/or screens simultaneously. Choose between NTSC or PAL; progressive, upper-field or lower-field interlacing. When outputting to computer screens, you can even define your own resolution and frame rate!

 

Play all common formats

Plays all common formats

CasparCG Server has always been able to play many video formats and codecs, such as DVCPRO, DVCPROHD, MPEG‑2 and many AVI and QuickTime-wrapped codecs such as Animation+. That support is now extended with codecs such as Apple ProRes (new in Beta 3,) Avid DNxHD, MPEG‑4, FLV and H.264. Now that you can generate an alpha channel from any media type, it’s easier than ever to output good looking HD without having to use large files. The new support also includes most common bitmap formats.

 

Much, much higher performance

Much, much higher performance

CasparCG Server 2.0 can now take advantage of multi-core processors by performing many tasks in parallel. Other tasks have been moved to the graphics card, further increasing the performance and enabling real-time functions like scaling. Reading files from disk is now asynchronous and the buffering has been greatly improved.

 

Stack multiple media freely and re-order them on the fly

Stack multiple media freely and re-order them on the fly

All the media you add to an output channel is composited in real-time, using the alpha channels. Play videos, Flash templates, audio and images at the same time and choose the stacking order freely. The CasparCG Server software can even reorder media while it’s playing, and mix the layers using Blend Modes such as Add, Screen and Multiply.

 

Multiple video cards in one server

Multiple video cards in one server

While CasparCG Server is a software-only solution, you can add pro video cards if you need broadcast output. The software supports multiple cards in the same machine, no matter if you use cards from BlackMagic Design or Bluefish Technologies. You can even use cards that have multiple channels, letting you use smaller cases that are easier to fit in a small rack.

 

Render graphics and videos to disk

Render graphics and video to disk

While CasparCG Server was designed for real-time playback, the new Disk Consumer will let you render your output to any of the supported video codecs, such as Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD. Great for transcoding, or for adding subtitling or logos. Or why not use for an automatic lower-third-generator that spits out animated graphics for your NLE editors?

 

Output to computer screens with DVI and HDMI

Output to computer screens

The fully GPU-accelerated Screen Consumer can be used to display playing media on one or several computer screens, either fullscreen or windowed. Choose if you want your content scaled to fit the screen or displayed at the native resolution. If you have several screens attached you can either choose to mirror them or use each as a separate output. Interlaced media is now automatically de-interlaced before it is rendered to progressive screen.

 

Grab input video and overlay graphics

Grab input video and overlay your graphics and videos

Video and audio input into a DeckLink card can now be used just like any other media. Use it as one of several layers (each of which can be transformed with the Mixer feature) or just overlay other media such as video and graphics on top and then output it. You can even cut a hole in the input video with another video, a Flash template or an image!

 

Generate alpha channel from a separate file of any type

Generate alpha channel from a separate file of any type

Use the embedded alpha channel of videos, Flash templates and images, or create the alpha channel with a separate file. You can cut a hole in a video file with an animated Flash template, or even an animated image! HD video codecs that are alpha-capable tend to generate very big files. CasparCG Server instead lets you use two small files with an alpha-free codec such as H.264; one for fill and one for alpha!

 

Built-in video effects (DVE)

Built-in video effects (DVE)

All playing media can be manipulated in real-time. You can move, scale, mask and change the opacity and video plus audio gain with the new real-time Mixer feature, and take advantage of the built-in animation types, just like with transitions. Other GPU-accelerated effects include image adjustments such as Brightness, Contrast, Saturation and Levels can also be applied, and the Mixer can even de-interlace video, transform it and then re-interlace it correctly.

 

Great audio options including SDI‌ embedding

Great audio options including SDI‌ embedding

Both the Bluefish and DeckLink video cards can now embed audio in your SD/HD-SDI output. Many DeckLink cards also output audio in via the HDMI and AES/EBU connectors. Audio is now automatically conformed to correct sample and bit rate in real-time, making most audio transcoding unnecessary.

 

Monitor real-time performance

Monitor real-time performance

With the new Diagnostics window you can see a graphical break-down of how long each step in the process of outputting a frame takes. This helps you optimize performance and trouble-shoot lagging video by seeing, for example, how long it takes to read a file from disk. With the new commands you can now query an individual layer’s status.
Grid-view of all playing media

Grid-view of all playing media

With a simple command, you can output all your playing channels as a grid view to a screen and/or video output. Combined with the feature that lets you grab the input video from a DeckLink card, you can build yourself a monitoring station!
Animated transitions, queuing and custom loop points

Animated transitions, queuing and custom loop points

By using the built-in animation functions, you can instantly create a professional transition between playing media, no matter if it is video, Flash templates, audio or images. Mix between a video loop and a graph, or wipe on a chart on top of an image, for example. Video and audio files can now have a custom in-point for the built-in looping functionality. You can also choose to pause and seek in any playing media. With new command functionality you can also queue several video clips and have them automatically play the next clip once the the previous clip has finished.
Works on Windows 7 and Vista

Works on Windows 7 and Vista

CasparCG Server 2.0 now fully supports modern operating systems and can be installed on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Take full advantage of faster disk access and enhanced performance when upgrading from Windows XP (which is still supported.) All configuration has moved to a text file and we don’t even use an installer anymore. You can now also move the CasparCG folder freely and place it wherever you please!

System Overview

CasparCG Server 2.0 Overview

CasparCG Server 2.0 Overview

Cross-platform demo client as an Adobe AIR app

The new features of the CasparCG Server can all be triggered from the test client included in the download. This ready-to-run Adobe AIR app is also available as a source project if you want to this as a base for building your own client. Updated so it now supports multiple commands sent at the same time.

 

Changes since the alpha 1 release:

      • Real-time GPU-accelerated Blending Modes between layers. Supports Add, Overlay, Screen, Multiply and many more.
      • Real-time GPU-accelerated Image adjustments on all playing media (including Flash templates.) Change Brightness, Saturation, Contrast and Levels on the fly!
      • Support for FFmpeg-filters such as yadif de-interlacer (optimized in CasparCG for full multi-core support,) De-noising, Dithering, Box Blur and many more. See http://ffmpeg.org/libavfilter.html for more info.
      • The Decklink Consumer now uses external key by default.
      • The Decklink Consumer now has 32-bit embedded-audio support.
      • The Decklink Producer now has 32-bit embedded-audio support.
      • LOADBG command now has AUTO feature which automatically plays background clip when foreground clip has ended.
      • STATUS command for layers.
      • MIX transitation now work with transparent clips.
      • Freeze on last clip frame.
      • Producer and Consumer buffering are now configurable.
      • Now possible to configure Flash template-hosts for different video-modes. Previously they were always hosted in HD.
      • Added auto transcoder which automatically transcodes video into compatible format for the channel.
      • The Screen Consumer now automatically de-interlaces when receiveing interlaced content.
      • Added an Image Scroll Producer that will automatically scroll a large bitmap in the specified direction and speed. Great for credit rolls!
      • Reduced memory requirements.
      • Removed 99% of “warm up lag” which occured when playing the first media clip after the server has started.
      • Memory support increased from standard 2 GB to 4 GB on 64-bit Win 7 OS.
      • Added support for multiple DeckLink cards in FullHD (1080p50).

Other notable features and enhancements in CasparCG Server 2.0

      • Video, audio and image files can now be placed in subfolders, just like Flash templates.
      • Smoother animations and better interlacing in the Flash Producer.
      • Outputs (Consumers) can now be added and removed at run-time, without having to restart the server.
      • Swap producers between layers and channels during run-time.
      • Parallel decoding of audio and video.
      • Real-time commands viewable in the new Console window.
      • Improved logging with full exception details, and a new log file for every server start.
      • Backwards-compatible AMCP protocol supporting all new server features.
      • Find out the running version of the CasparCG Server and the TemplateHost via a network query.
      • DeckLink output is now using the card’s hardware clock.
      • Bluefish drivers are now loaded on-demand, making it possible to have a single Server application.
      • Per-sample mixing between source and destination clips during video transitions.
      • The Flash Producer now uses DirectDraw access, resulting in improved performance.
      • All new GPU-accelerated internal pipeline with the following functions all being done on the GPU: Compositing, Colorspace transforms (RGBA, BGRA, ARGB, YUV, YUVA, YUV-HD, YUVA-HD), Interlacing, Per-layer image-transforms: opacity, gain, scaling, clipping, transform, plus the Color Producer.
      • Major code refactoring for improved readability and maintainability. 66% of legacy code removed.
      • Rewritten to take advantage of common standardized libraries instead of custom solutions.
      • Work done to facilitate cross-platform porting.

 

Download Now

Download CasparCG Server 2.0b3 now including sample videos and Flash files, a sample Demo Client (Adobe AIR) that can be used to test the new features. Recommended Flash Player version and uninstaller are included.
You’ll also need to install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package.

Please post feedback, bugs and questions in the CasparCG Forum.

Preliminary documentation is available in the CasparCG Wiki.

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