Video-stitching software: Autopano Video Pro 2 RC1

    A release candidate version for Autopano Video 2, the newest edition of our video stitching software, is now available. All major bugs have been fixed now and if we don’t find new ones, this version will hopefully be the final version too! A big thank you for your feedback and kind words about the previous beta versions of Autopano 4, it’s really appreciated.
    This RC1 adds support to the upcoming 360° video platform on Youtube. Basically, videos generated with Autopano Video 2 or Autopano Video Pro 2 will be by default compatible with the YouTube 360° player when released. Please consult the changelog to learn more.

    Please read: the license key system for this RC1 is different from the beta versions one

    Starting today, the 10th of March 2015, date of the release of Autopano Video 2 RC1, you need to use your version 2 license key to register in Autopano Video 2 RC1.

    • If you have purchased a license for Autopano Video or Autopano Video Pro (or a bundle with one of these two included) between the 17th of December 2014 and today, the 10th of March 2015, you have automatically been given two keys: one for Autopano Video 1 and one for Autopano Video 2. You now need to use your Autopano Video 2 key to access the RC1 of Autopano Video 2 (and all the following versions). To retrieve it, please check the email we sent you when you purchased your license or log in to your customer account here. No license key will be given by email.
    • If you have already purchased the upgrade from a previous version of Autopano Video to Autopano Video 2, you now need to use the version 2 license key you’ve been given.
    • If you haven’t updated your Autopano Video version yet you need to do it in order to access this RC1 version. Please consult this page to learn how much the upgrade will cost you. Then, log in to your customer account here to purchase the upgrade.

    You can keep using your beta version of Autopano Video 2 until the end of March 2015. Then, this version will be locked and the watermarks will come back.
    If you don’t feel like upgrading now, you can still use your current version of Autopano Video. You’ll find the download links of all the previous stable versions on this page. Additionally, you can of course try this release candidate version of Autopano Video by downloading a trial version from our download center.
    With this new version, there are also some changes to the minimal Operating System version required to use the software, consult the changelog for more information.

    Video-stitching software: Autopano Video Pro 2 RC1

    Autopano Video 2 is the ultimate tool for creating immersive video content for virtual reality HMD or more classic devices. Let’s have a look at the main news and improvements introduced in this version. For each important new feature we created a video to show you the benefits of the feature and to teach you how to use it:

    Director’s cut mode

    Here is the biggest news in Autopano Video 2: the director’s cut mode. When creating 360 videos, one of the big challenges after that, is to be able to produce a standard video out of the 360 video, by selecting projections, crop zones, orientation, etc. This means framing the view and allowing creativity after stitching. The director’s cut is the tool that allows you to do so : you can define a rendering camera with projections and orientation that can change over time.
    The video generated in this mode can have the aspect ratio of your choice and is dedicated to be shared as a standard video (no 360 video viewer needed). All the Autopano output projections (Planar, Little planet, Fisheye…) are available and can be smoothly interpolated from one to another. At any time, you can switch the video editing mode between standard full sphere output and director’s cut video output.

    The new timeline tab “Authoring” gives access to two new tracks, defining the director’s cut rendering camera over the time:

      • Orientation: orientation of the rendering camera.
      • Projection: projection of the rendering camera.

    The whole purpose of this mode is to export a video that can be directly uploaded in a standard video player (Youtube for instance) without losing the interest of a 360 video. Sure, the viewer cannot change the point of view and projection dynamically but you can do it for him and show him what is the best to see ! It gives stunning results and it’s really easy to master,  here is a quick tutorial to learn how to use this new feature:


     

    Improved stitching / horizon track / RMS curve

    The “Camera” track of the previous Autopano Video version has been split into two separate tracks: “Horizon” and “Stitch”. These new tracks allow you to compute new stitches without losing all the work you did to keep a straight horizon over the time. This improves a lot the production workflow.

    Another great improvement is the ability to see in real time the RMS at each frame of the video. As a reminder, the RMS is a figure which gives the overall quality of the stitching in a panorama. As it is video, here you get a RMS error curve  with high peaks meaning high RMS, so big parallax and bad stitch and low peak meaning good stitching.

    Due to inevitable parallax with close objects in every 360° video capturing system, getting a perfect render requires the stitching to be adjusted to the scene over the time. This new curve is a very useful tool to detect problematic moments and fix them. Here’s how it works:


    Range stitching on a selection

    With previous versions we advised user to use a stitching template for complicated stitching situation. It was working properly but we worked hard to improve this system in this new version. So we came up with range stitching which gives much better results especially for videos with not enough details (underwater content for instance).

    How does it work?

    The stitching on a selection allows to stitch on a sequence of the video, using the best instants for each video pair automatically. This function gives very good results in every situations and is also advised for stitching easy cases.

    It is interesting to look at this feature while analysing the RMS curve. Using range stitching, it will show a lower RMS over the selected range, whereas current time stitching gets the best just for that frame. Watch the video below to learn more:


    New Mask timeline track

    One of the major issues with 360° video is managing parallax. The new tools above will help you deal with parallax problems but here’s another powerful one: the new Mask timeline track. It contains states like other timelines. The mask track allows to benefit from all the power of the Autopano Masking tool to make some fixes on video boundaries over the time. Here’s how it works:


    Stereoscopic stitching (Autopano Video Pro only)

    Autopano Video Pro is now able to handle stereoscopic videos in a very friendly way thanks to a new interface, allowing you to assign each source video to an output eye. This new interface allows you to work with a rig in which a same camera is used for both left and right, rendering without the need of creating manual Masks. For more information check the documentation page.

    4K / High DPI / Retina display support

    Due to technical limitations, we were not able to add high DPI display support in Autopano Video 1.x. It is now done in version 2 and the result is that we now have a better interface, with Retina icons / high DPI screen support even for 4K screens. The switch also accelerate every part of the software which are related to displaying something on the screen.

    Miscellaneous improvements

    Want more? Here are some other improvements of this new Autopano Video version:

    • Improved audio synchronization: Our audio synchronization algorithm has been greatly improved thanks to the use of state of the art techniques and should no longer fail if enough sound is captured in source videos.
    • Local motion estimation: In Autopano Video 2, you will no longer have to compute the motion over the full project before you can start editing.
      It can now be estimated and updated only on a chosen part of the video.
    • Autopano Giga new color correction engine: Autopano Video 2 benefits from the new color correction engine of Autopano 4. It is just amazing, see the following video
      See the video
    • Grid over preview: a grid can be displayed over the preview to help detect horizon drift.
    • Preview resolution: the preview resolution can be changed at any time.
    • VLC source players: the source videos players are now based on the VLC library which means that more input formats will be supported.
    • Timeline editing in key frames mode: a new editing mode accessible from the settings configuration interface allows you to switch timeline editing to a more key-frames-based mode.
      In this mode, every pano edit automatically inserts a new state.
    • Track collapse: unused timeline tracks can be collapsed to save space in your edition workspace.
    • Speed up: The exchange file used between AVP and APG were tiff before. We switched to jpeg and it makes the edit button much faster.
    • Introduction wizard: The first time you use AVP, you will see a quick introduction wizard guiding you through the first steps in video stitching. That’s really handy for beginners.
    • Manual synchronisation range: We allow you to use negative shift in the tools, so that the synchronization in manual mode is easier.

    What’s next?

    This version is most likely the latest one before the final release of Autopano Video 2! Your feedback about the new features and the bugs in the previous beta versions has been really appreciated, don’t hesitate to send bug reports for this version too! A part on our forum is now open for you to send us your comments about this new version, have a look here.

    As said earlier, the final version has never been that close, you only need to wait a few more days/weeks before we publish the final stable version. If you want to know more about the new features discussed above or the other improvements brought by Autopano Video 2 please consult the changelog below:

    The changelog Autopano Video / Autopano Video Pro 2 RC1

    Main changes

    This version is a release candidate (RC) which means that the product is stable enough for production work, but also means that
    if no big crash is found, it will be the final version.

    Miscellaneous

    Some noticeable minors fixes:

    • Google spherical metadata supportGoogle has released a specification about spherical metadata here: https://github.com/google/spatial-media. We added direct support of this metadata to our software. That means that generated video out of Autopano Video will now be compatible with the upcoming 360° video support on YouTube. To support this specification, we need your operating system to have Python 2.7 installed. On MacOS, it is installed by default. On Windows, please install Python and put it to the path so we can use Python to write this specification in the output video.
    • VLC 2.2 final integrationLuckily for us, VLC released one week ago a final version LibVLC 2.2. It has been integrated into our software and allows
      to be more stable in several cases. One nice side effect of this new VLC is that a better Linux version of Autopano Video has been made possible. We officially don’t support the Linux version, but we’ll make it accessible to users whising to try it at their own risks.
    • Qt and compilers updatesTo be really up to date in the development tools, we used here the latest version of both Qt and Intel compilers. You should notice a small improvement in terms of performance.

    Warning: registration keys

    As we are now in release candidate stage, the registration keys that should be used for this version are
    keys of version 2. Be sure to go to your user account to get them.

    Fixes since 2.0.0 beta 5

    – 0004542: [Video I/O] Google spherical metadata integration

    – 0004543: [Video I/O] integration VLC 2.2 final

    – 0004521: [UI Preview] preview does not always consider stereo settings

    – 0004514: [Crash Dump] crash at line qpaintdevice.h : 70

    – 0004509: [Rendering] add “No audio” option to MP4 rendering

    – 0004499: [UI behavior] Current time cursor snap to each element of all the timelines whatever tab you are editing (authoring or editing)

    The changelog Autopano Video / Autopano Video Pro 2 beta 4

    Main changes

    We fix most recurrent issues for allowing most of users to use the beta and help us to continue the stabilization stage.

    Fixes since 2.0.0 beta 3

    – 0004280: [UI behavior] Cluf font

    – 0004309: [UI behavior] check if videos are found when loading a project

    – 0004304: [UI behavior] Rendering and working intervals can be retracted until they get invisible

    – 0004294: [UI behavior] add “New Project” in menu bar

    – 0004285: [Crash Dump] crash in inHorizonTransition()

    – 0004212: [Crash Dump] crash in LoweSift.cpp

    – 0003798: [Video I/O] Non-standard video size / input AVP / GPU bug.

    The changelog Autopano Video / Autopano Video Pro 2 beta 3

     

    Main changes

    We fix most recurrent issues for allowing most of users to use the beta and help us to continue the stabilization stage.

    Happy New Year

    Fixes since 2.0.0 beta 2

    – 0004244: [Rendering] Output larger than 8192×4096

    – 0004254: [Crash Dump] RMS analysis crashes when you have a “patch” in your panorama

    – 0004212: [Crash Dump] crash in LoweSift.cpp

    – 0003702: [UI behavior] Black triangle “stitch as” is too small

    The changelog Autopano Video / Autopano Video Pro 2 beta 1

     

    Main changes

    This is the first public beta of the new Autopano Video engine v2. It is by far the most advanced video stitching engine we’ve built, with a lot of new and unique features.

    Although this is version 2, you can register this version with a v1 key, which will be accepted all throughout the beta-testing phase.
    This means that this version is time-locked, and will lock itself (removing the registration) around the time a new beta or the final release comes. When the final version is released,
    you will need an upgraded version 2 key to use the software.
    If you’ve lost your license key, you can retrieve it at any time from your user account.

    Director’s cut mode

    When creating 360 video, one of the big challenges after that, is to be able to produce a standard video out of the 360 video, by selecting projections, crop zones, orientation, etc.
    This means framing the view and allowing creativity after stitching.

    The director’s cut is all about that. It allows you to define a rendering camera, with projections and orientation that can change over time.
    The video generated in this mode can have the aspect ratio of your choice and is dedicated to be shared as a standard video (no 360 video viewer needed).
    All the Autopano output projections (Planar, Little planet, Fisheye…) are available and can be smoothly interpolated from one to another.
    At any time, you can switch the video editing mode between standard full sphere output and director’s cut video output.

    The new timeline tab “Authoring” gives access to two new tracks, defining the director’s cut rendering camera over the time:

    • Orientation: orientation of the rendering camera.
    • Projection: projection of the rendering camera.

    Watch the introduction video on director’s cut in Autopano Video 2

    Improved stitching / horizon track / RMS curve

    The “Camera” track of the previous Autopano Video version has been split into two separate tracks: “Horizon” and “Stitch”.
    These new tracks allow you to compute new stitches without losing all the work you did to keep a straight horizon over the time.
    This improves the production workflow.

    When we did that split, an idea came to us. How cool would it be to be able to visually see the stitching quality. That could be a good solution to understand what is happening along a video.
    This is the RMS error curve, which is the equivalent of the RMS value when stitching a still panorama but along the video.
    This is displayed over the stitching track in a curve function, the lower, the better. High peak means, high RMS, so big parallax and bad stitch.

    Due to inevitable parallax in every 360° video capturing system, getting a perfect render requires the stitching to be adjusted to the scene over the time.
    This new curve is a very useful tool to detect problematic moments and fix them. After a first computation, that can be long, the RMS curve can be updated almost instantly
    even if you calculate a new stitch locally.

    Watch the introduction video introduction on RMS curve in Autopano Video 2

    Range stitching on a selection

    Getting a good stitch template can be a complicated problem. There are 2 cases that were complicated to manage:

    • Not enough details at any moment: Typically in an underwater video, you cannot find a single moment in the whole video where all input videos have enough good content that allows you to get a stitch.
      It is only at some different moments, that some pairs of cameras have relevant links. Over the full video or a large range of time, globally, all the data needed to get a stitch is there, but not at a single moment in time.
    • Optimal stitch for a given content: If your camera is stationary or if the content relative to the camera is globally the same, it should be possible to get an optimal stitch
      for that range of time.

    To be able to manage the two problems, we introduced range stitching in Autopano Video 2.0. The stitching on a selection allows to stitch on a sequence of the video, using automatically the best instants for each video pair.
    This function gives very good results in every situations and is also advised for stitching easy cases.

    It is interesting to look at this feature while analysing the RMS curve. Using range stitching, it will show a lower RMS over the selected range, whereas current time stitching gets the best just for
    that frame.

    Watch the introduction video introduction on range stitching in Autopano Video 2

    New Mask timeline track

    One of the big projects of 360° video is managing parallax. Both tools, RMS curve and range stitching, are really good for getting a better local stitch, but sometimes, it is not
    enough. To overcome this problem, Autopano Video 2 introduces a Masking timeline to select what is displayed from which camera at which time.

    It contains states like other timelines. The Mask track allows to benefit from all the power of the Autopano Masking tool to make some fixes on video boundaries over the time.

    Watch the introduction video introduction on Masking timeline in Autopano Video 2

    Stereoscopic stitching (AVP only)

    Autopano Video Pro is now able to handle stereoscopic videos in a very friendly way thanks to a new interface, allowing you to assign each source video to an output eye.
    This new interface allows you to work with a rig in which a same camera is used for both left and right, rendering without the need of creating manual Masks.

    For more information, see the documentation page:
    Stereoscopic stitching in Autopano Video 2

    A lot of nice and sexy miscellaneous improvements

    We addressed a lot of the requests of our users in several areas. Let me highlight some of them:

    • Improved audio synchronization: Our audio synchronization algorithm has been greatly improved thanks to the use of state of the art techniques and should no longer fail if enough sound is captured in source videos.
    • Local motion estimation: In Autopano Video 2, you will no longer have to compute the motion over the full project before you can start editing.
      It can now be estimated and updated only on a chosen part of the video.
    • Autopano Giga new color correction engine: Autopano Video 2 benefits from the new color correction engine of Autopano 4. It is just amazing, see the following video
      See the video
    • Grid over preview: a grid can be displayed over the preview to help detect horizon drift.
    • Preview resolution: the preview resolution can be changed at any time.
    • VLC source players: the source videos players are now based on the VLC library which means that more input formats will be supported.
    • Timeline editing in key frames mode: a new editing mode accessible from the settings configuration interface allows you to switch timeline editing to a more key-frames-based mode.
      In this mode, every pano edit automatically inserts a new state.
    • Track collapse: unused timeline tracks can be collapsed to save space in your edition workspace.
    • Speed up: The exchange file used between AVP and APG were tiff before. We switched to jpeg and it makes the edit button much faster.
    • Introduction wizard: The first time you use AVP, you will see a quick introduction wizard guiding you through the first steps in video stitching. That’s really handy for beginners.
    • Manual synchronisation range: We allow you to use negative shift in the tools, so that the synchronization in manual mode is easier.

    4K / High DPI / Retina display support

    We’ve always cared about the visual comfort when using our software, and the experience should be enjoyable during use.
    But with the latest computers / laptops, everything is quickly evolving to use high resolutions on screen and high DPI.
    Our software should adapt to that evolution.

    Having an interface that adapts itself to high DPI / Retina display depends on the way the software is built. We use Qt for almost all our software. Qt should then be providing us
    with the solution for High DPI / Retina Display. It happens that Qt has provided this only really recently, with Qt 5.4. Our software relied on Qt 4.8 ( quite old ).
    It wasn’t possible to make the switch before, as it does impact a lot of the codebase. We could only plan the switchover for a major update, as it also impacted the minimal OS configuration needed for the software.
    The result is that we now have a better interface, with Retina icons / high DPI screen support even for 4K screens.
    The switch also accelerates every part of the software related to displaying something on the screen.
    With this upgrade of Qt, the minimal hardware configuration has gone up. The minimum Operating System versions are: Windows 7 , MacOS 10.9 Mavericks (64 bits only) and Ubuntu 14.04 (64 bits only). With this upgrade, we are also now ready for Windows 10 and Mac Yosemite.

    Roadmap to final release

    We think that Autopano Video 2 is fairly advanced and stable. So besides bugs that will be reported, there is little work left, like translation and small UI adaptation.

    For feedback and reports, please use the following forum for that: Autopano Video 2 Bug and Feedback forum

    Fixes since 1.7.1:

    – 0002453: [Algorithms] Better audio synchronization

    – 0003650: [UI behavior] Change the default output settings of AVP, especially for the framerate because 48fps cause playback problems.

    – 0003656: [Timeline] save timeline zoom/pos in .kava

    – 0004129: [UI Preview] Grid switch over the preview for alignement

    – 0004127: [Performance] Exchange files speed test

    – 0003907: [UI behavior] UI for toggling: stitch at current position/range stitching

    – 0003908: [Timeline] UI not enough place for settings of tracks CAMERA and HORIZON

    – 0003703: [Timeline] Tooltip explaining the warning in the cameras timeline when the SMART cutting is enabled

    – 0004130: [Synchronization] Frame sync, do not renormalize

    – 0003795: [Algorithms] Compute motion on a small part, not the whole project

    – 0001782: [Algorithms] Interpolation Kernel

    – 0001702: [UI behavior] Qt 5.0.0

    – 0003905: [UI behavior] UI timeline director’s cut

    – 0003906: [UI behavior] UI range selection tool

    – 0003395: [Algorithms] Quality settings for realtime playback

    – 0003543: [UI behavior] Edit the timeline in key mode

    – 0002652: [UI behavior] QT Player revamp

    – 0002144: [MainConcept] bitrate seems wrong

    – 0003569: [UI behavior] Qt 5 integration

    – 0003545: [Video I/O] Vlc player

    – 0003877: [Algorithms] Use both left and right tracks for audio synchronization

    – 0003854: [UI behavior] Horizon track in timeline

    – 0003853: [UI behavior] RMS curve

    – 0003544: [Algorithms] Mask points in timeline


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