MotionBend 1.3 is currently in the final stages of testing and will be with us very soon. Almost every aspect of MotionBend has received some love and attention since the last release so it seems like a good opportunity to look at some of the changes coming up in the new version.
The first thing you will notice about 1.3 is the full screen mode button on the top right of the window, introduced in MacOS X 10.7. If you use the "Restore last project" option in Preferences you will also notice that when you open MotionBend it automatically sets the current frame and user interface to the same state as when you last exited. Status notifications by the Batch Processor are now routed through the user notification center introduced in MacOS X 10.8.
We targeted 1.3 at MacOS X 10.8 but it should work with 10.7, it's just that we haven't tested it. Under 10.7 notifications will continue to use Growl.
There are several improvements that are not visible to the eye. This version is now a 64 bit application, therefore it should perform better compared to the 32 bit version. The main benefits are faster program execution and being able to access much more physical memory.
Tracking is now better at rejecting unlikely tracks leading to much higher quality input to the motion estimator. This results in more accurate analysis and higher quality output. It does make the tracking slower but we found that we could recycle memory more efficiently and optimize some other processing. The net result is that tracking is approximately the same speed as before.
A new option in Preferences is high quality interpolation. This only affects rendering, which will be slower but give sharper images. Remember that if you are going to further edit your video then you should save using an intermediate video codec, such as ProRes, so that you don't lose detail from compressing decompressed video.
We took a look at color conversion and handling of the various color spaces needed for video. We realized that we were not handling SMPTE 240M YCbCr conversion correctly . Proper support for sYCC was implemented for JPEG-2000; previously we converted sYCC to RGB but now we keep hold of the original data until we need to convert it.
Several image operations commonly used by MotionBend have been optimized for faster performance. This had an effect across the board but in particular color conversions are now faster. It's surprising how many conversions are performed when processing video. Finally, we improved the quality of 4:2:2 to 4:4:4 chrominance up and downsampling.
Style and User Interface
Some of the icons have been redrawn for this version. We made a number of changes to the user interface in order to be more compliant with Apple recommendations; for example, the menu in the Project Browser has now moved to a button in the middle of the window, where you would normally find such a button on a Mac application. We got rid of the Home button and moved it to a link in Places. We added some buttons to Project Properties and the Batch Processor to make it more convenient to locate files via Finder.
The preview in the main window is now powered by 64 bit AVFoundation, the basis of modern MacOS and iOS media applications.
As well as quashing the usual bugs and tidying up the software, a new preview image is available to Finder when dealing with project files.