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Amiga Graphics Media Software Television

Source of Amiga Video Toaster Software Released 394

Posted by timothy
from the if-only-linux-had-a-simple-nle dept.
bender writes "About a decade after the release of of the NewTek Video Toaster for the Amiga, OpenVideoToaster is now hosting the source code of the software! The Video Toaster ushered in the age of affordable desktop video in 1991 and was used in products such as Babylon 5 and Jurassic Park."
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Source of Amiga Video Toaster Software Released

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  • by tcopeland (32225) * <tom&thomasleecopeland,com> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @04:39PM (#8220247) Homepage
    ...in the report for Video Toaster CG [infoether.com] as analyzed by CPD [sf.net].
    • Re:Nice code, but... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ScottGant (642590) <scott_gant AT sbcglobal DOT netNOT> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @05:52PM (#8220670) Homepage
      The Video Toaster itself wasn't really used in Babylon 5, but it came bundled with Lightwave...and THAT was used in the CGI...and continued to be used and is still used today...though not on an Amiga.

      I remember when Alan Hastings was looking for another distributer when the one that distributed VideoScape 3D crapped out and NewTek gobbled him up. He was even looking for a name for the new "Videoscape" which later turned into Lightwave. This was back in the day when I was trying like mad to get Pixar to port Photorealistic Renderman to the Amiga, even getting them to go to a couple of Amiga-worlds...but I guess they saw the writing on the wall.

      Oh well, that was a long time ago. But it's cool that they released the source for the Toaster. Now if they would release the source for Lightwave that would REALLY be cool. lol
      • My understanding is that much of the design and a small amount of the rendering for B5 was done on the Amiga platform, but the rendering was done... somewhere else. These days current versions of lightwave run on any Windows after 95 (98 and up) and on MacOS (9 or X), with the rendering engine also running on some other platforms (linux?) I seem to recall that for some projects, screamernet has also been ported to other architectures, but I don't know if they actually sell sn for anything else.
        • Re:Nice code, but... (Score:2, Informative)

          by neko9 (743554)
          Lightwave ScreamerNet nodes don't need licences. for example you can have unlimited amount of Linux machines to do your rendering. Linux ScreamerNet rpm comes with 7.5c update.
        • Re:Nice code, but... (Score:3, Informative)

          by GregWebb (26123)
          Rendering moved off Amigas when Netter Digital took over from Foundation Imaging. Series 3 IIRC.
  • Rumors (Score:3, Funny)

    by frenetic3 (166950) * <houston&alum,mit,edu> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @04:40PM (#8220257) Homepage Journal
    this is the same device CNN allegedly used to spruce up their Gulf War footage [pennandteller.com] :)

    god bless america...

    -fren

    • Re:Rumors (Score:2, Troll)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)
      CNN has editing and switching devices that are just SLIGHTLY more powerful than a toaster. Slightly in the same way that a Mack truck has slightly more towing capacity than a 5-year old on a bike.

      I have a feeling this is just an Amiga fanboy rumour to make themselves feel good (you haven't met a real zealot till you've met an Amiga zealot). By necessity, the big broadcast networks have some really heavy hitting hardware, there'd be no need or want to have a toaster to do anything.

      I mean even little local
  • by Space cowboy (13680) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @04:40PM (#8220258) Journal
    the video toaster was basically written around the Amiga custom chippery, right ?

    Perhaps you could get some FPGA to do the video work, and recreate the video toaster in all its' glory, unless y'all have them lying around in the attic :-)

    OTOH, it's a nice gesture :-) Saves us all from having to buy an Octane from Ebay and register with Discreet, although to be honest, I prefer my Flame :-)

    Simon.
    • by downix (84795) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @04:47PM (#8220293) Homepage
      Using an FPGA to replace the Amiga custom chips has been discussed for ages.

      Noone's gotten it to work. The timing ends up wrong.

      Discussing with a former Amiga chipset engineer, they couldn't even migrate the core chip from the ancient fabs to newer ones because when they did, the timing got schewed, rendering the toaster worthless.
    • Discreet Toaster (Score:2, Informative)

      by minnkota (576497)
      You can't even begin to compare Discreet's software to the original Toaster (or any toaster). The Toaster was basiclly a fancy video mixer controlled by an amiga. It was totally linear video (meaning you had to have a source deck and a record deck) it couldn't even capture video clips. NewTek later made "Toaster" software for Windows, which is pretty much in the same ballpark as editing/effects packages from Avid, Adobe, and Apple.
    • by StandardCell (589682) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @05:08PM (#8220428)
      IIRC the Toaster did utilize the Amiga's chips to the extent that it could. The magic was in that ASIC, and IMO that would be the more interesting thing to examine, although I'm sure if you dig into the code enough you'd have a rough idea of what they were trying to do.

      However, to do anything with it today is pretty redundant. Your average $500 PC from Dell with a $250 Canopus ADVC-100 has more capability to edit than the toaster ever did, plus the ability to do real-time previews and output to DVD or DV tape. If you were to emulate the hardware, you'd have something that with full effects would take fractions of a second to several minutes per frame or more to render its output. Then you'd need an analog deck with frame-by-frame control, because that's how the Toaster used to do its thing: frame-by-frame, painfully, slowly usually. Plus you'd need stand-alone Time Base Correctors at a few hundred a pop for frame stabilization. To do a 1-2 hour video and have a render and print-to-tape go overnight or even over the course of a couple of days wasn't a big deal considering the lack of alternatives at the time.

      I think for historical purposes or the code geek will appreciate the relase of code, but anyone with a PC from the last two years with a decent capture/output solution and a DVD writer can do far more than the original Toaster ever could.
    • My understanding is that the Toaster itself did all of the graphics work, and that the Amiga was really just there to control it. Though the way it was implemented (the computer sent signals through the VBI portion of its composite video output) is still pretty Amiga-specific, but that could conceivably be done by a PC with custom hardware as well.

      Basically, Toaster was a hardware package with controlling software, not just a software package. You can't really port it to the PC any moreso than you can p

    • by NickFusion (456530) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @05:39PM (#8220614) Homepage
      Mainly, the idea that individual persons could make TV. That was a pretty revolutionary thought. It was that crazy idea and the Video Toaster/Lightwave bundle that got me into CGI, and out of Fargo North Dakota, where I was quite literally making industrial videos in a barn.

      These days I live in the Boston area, and make games for a living. I don't want to exaggerate the impact the Video Toaster had on my life, but it was pretty significant. And I'm not the only person of that vintage with such a story.

      So the real open source idea here is that technology can be fashioned to empower the individual. A somewhat quaint idea in today's multinational world, but one I'm quite fond of.

      Bravo New Tek! You made a difference. Keep it up.
    • BAsically, what would need to be done is all the parts that deal with hardware would need to be reimplemented in software. Not a huge deal, given the power of today's CPUs. Not sure if it would be worth the effort or not, but it's still something that people can tinker with.
  • Can it be reused ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ploum (632141) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @04:41PM (#8220264) Homepage
    I'm not sure at all, but can we excpect improvements in linux video editor with this code ?

    I don't know, I just ask.. I just imagine, for example, using some codes to build a NLE editor under Linux... Is it possible ?
  • by green pizza (159161) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @04:42PM (#8220266) Homepage
    Video Toaster was great for local-access cable channel type work, but it wasn't even full broadcast quality... at least it was cheap.

    Some of the early rough-out effects for Jurassic Park were prototyped using an old version of Lightwave on an Amiga, but that's about it. All of the CGI effects in the movie were done on big iron Silicon Graphics machines at ILM, some of which included the use of the SGI IRIX version of Lightwave.

    Again, Jurassic Park effects were done with big iron... not with a consumer-level computer with a single 680x0 processor and an NTSC/PAL video board.
    • by chill (34294) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @04:50PM (#8220320) Journal
      Again, Jurassic Park effects were done with big iron... not with a consumer-level computer with a single 680x0 processor and an NTSC/PAL video board.

      True, however the effects for Babylon 5, Sliders, SeaQuest DSV, Star Trek Voyager, etc. *were* created and rendered on consumer-level computers with a single 680x0 processor. No NTSC/PAL video board, though, other than for dailies. Lightwave rendered this stuff out using ScreamerNet, a cluster rendering tool over a "renderfarm" of Amiga computers. This was all before there was a PC version of Lightwave.

      -Charles Hill
      • I used this back in High School - we had a "Broadcast Journalism" department, producing television shows for local networks, and a daily news broadcast (student body president, announcements, etc.) for which we hijacked the "Channel One" TV's.

        For a while, I could "spot" when it was being used somewhere - like in low budget syndicated television shows, or in the early days of small networks, like Comedy Central.

        The "problem" with it was - it was something you outgrew. That Commodore/Amiga went the way of

      • This was all before there was a PC version of Lightwave.

        Don't forget the Mac version of Lightwave which, I believe, shipped with an Amiga tucked in there. :^P

      • It is my understanding that earlier episodes of B5 were rendered on amigas using SN (btw, windows versions of lw did exist while b5 was going on) but that later they used something else to do their rendering. Do you have any idea how many amigas you would need, even with '060 accelerators, to render broadcast quality video clips of those lengths? The power bill alone would justify purchasing faster machines.
      • not quite (Score:4, Informative)

        by Doktor Memory (237313) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @07:54PM (#8221401) Journal
        Back in the early days of B5, a couple of the Foundation Imaging guys were active on rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5 (along with JMS), and this question came up a lot.

        My (admittedly sketchy) memory of the answer is that the FX shots for the original 2-hour pilot episode of B5 were composed and rendered with ScreamerNet/Amiga, but that by the time the actual series got picked up and put into production (over a year later), they'd pretty much migrated entirely to LightWave NT, and were doing their rendering on Intel hardware.

        I can't speak for Sliders and DSV (and, frankly, don't care), but Voyager was certainly not rendered on Amigas: Foundation was entirely an NT (and SGI?) shop by that point.
    • Maby not for Jurassic Park. Saying so was stupid. But TV production quality != movie quality. TV broadcast quality isnt realy saying much - even HDTV sucks :)

      All the CG for Seaquest DSV was done with the Video Toaster. That was definitly TV broadcast quality.

    • Don't forget that 24-bit colour is woefully inadequate for film work. Cine film has got so much more dynamic range than video, so when you drop to video you lose all the detail in dark and light areas. That's why FilmGimp has 48-bit colour processes - you can choose to display a range from that on your monitor, with either the blacks flattened or the whites flattened. You just can't have both.

      That's mainly the reason for running big render jobs on big iron - there is literally twice as much data to shif

  • Excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by heironymouscoward (683461) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <drawocsuomynorieh>> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @04:44PM (#8220272) Journal
    It's not about using the software today. It's about the historical record. Software - especially landmark software like this - is part of a common heritage, and should be accessible to all. I'd like to see more companies release the source code for their crown jewels when the commercial exploitation phase has ended.
    • Or to put it another way...

      Wow, you guys did something revolutionary - now give it to me.
    • Amen. MS-DOS should be next, Then Windows 3.1. They are not usable for OSes today except in very limited circumstances, but would be great as learning tools. I have been saying this for years.
  • So now we have the source code for the software, will we get the schematics for the hardware? This could breathe new life in to old Amigas. There must be a few in the backs of wardrobes all over the land .....
  • What's the license? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by One Louder (595430) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @04:46PM (#8220288)
    I've downloaded some of the code, and neither the web site nor the source code itself seems to indicate under what license this code is being released.

    Public Domain? GPL? BSD?

    What are we allowed to do with it?

    • Frame it and hang it on your wall probably. It's a nice gesture, don't get me wrong, but the code is little more than a curiosity. There are other open source projects out there that are much more capable, and that aren't limited to NTSC format.
    • Who cares? It's available on the Internet, that means you should be able to do what you want with it. Right?
    • Well, I haven't seen anything either --
      So it is only safe to assume that the source follows normal copyrights, and you may not redistribute it in any way without permission. Until there is some announcement from NewTek that says otherwise, this is their code and only their code -- it can be used for "reference" or your personal source-code museum, but not much else.

  • by snofla (236898) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @04:48PM (#8220305)
    cg/readme.polite: "One of NewTek's requirements in releasing the complete source code for the Toaster and Flyer was that any rude or potentially offensive language in the original text based material be politely modified or removed." WTF?!
    • by HeghmoH (13204) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @04:59PM (#8220382) Homepage Journal
      cg/readme.polite: "One of NewTek's requirements in releasing the complete source code for the Toaster and Flyer was that any rude or potentially offensive language in the original text based material be politely modified or removed." What the heck?!

      Well gosh, I sure don't see a problem with that....
      • well, im not much of a programmer, more of a wannabe perl hack, but if you "cat FILE |grep fuck" you will find several lines. "this is fucked up, fix it." etc. I would not be shocked if i am the only one. My guess is a real programmer says it more than I do.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          $ cd /usr/src/kernel/linux-2.4.24
          $ grep -ir fuck .
          ./Documentation/DocBook/kernel-locking.tmpl:&n b sp; If you don't see why, please stay the fuck away from my code.
          ./Documentation/DocBook/kernel-locking.tmpl : <title>The Fucked Up Sparc</title>
          ./arch/x86_64/kernel/mtrr.c:/*&nbsp ; Some BIOS's are fucked and don't set all MTRRs the same! */
          ./arch/i386/kernel/mtrr.c:/* Some BIOS's are fucked and don't set all MTRRs the same! */
          ./arch/sparc/kernel/process.c: /* fuck me plenty */
          ./arch/
  • You know for the longest time I actually thought that a the Video Toaster really was a toaster with some sort of video output. I could never understand what all the fuss was about :-)

    And I was an Amiga user! (I'm recovering now...)
  • Ah, memories... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Perdition (208487)
    I remember distinctly lusting after the Video Toaster for a while, but budget restraints (having NO money) and other factors kept me from it. Sure, the Toaster was a bit crude, but it probably jump-started a few video editing careers... It was used in a few music videos, such as the Todd Rundgren song "Change Myself", which shipped with the demo tape of the Toaster's promotional package.
  • I mean this is cool, that they released the source, but it it of any real value compared to currently available packages ? I mean we are talking about 15 year old code (maybe older from development to production) in a very dynamic medium.
    • I'd be much more interested in the hardware (though the software certainly enhances its value) of both this, and the Amiga 2000. Obviously one will need AmigaDOS sources or a very, very good workalike, I don't know if AROS qualifies. Anyone ever use a toaster on AROS? Anyway if the hardware for the toaster and toaster flyer, and the Amiga 2500 were opened, then someone could make a super cheap little video editing box. It would be nice if they'd integrate a TBC, too, and replace (augment, actually) the comp
  • Interesting.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chipset (639011) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @04:56PM (#8220362) Homepage
    Now, there have been rumors around for years about what the Amiga and corresponding technologies have been associated with. Max Headroom (for the background, if I remember).

    Now, some people are saying it wasn't broadcast quality, however, a number of people disagree. When the video toaster came out, it replaced a 100K production system for 6K. It took video editing/production by storm. For example, the FOX affiliate in Anchorage used one for years. The station manager told me how it was just incredible and could do much more bang for the buck than anything out there (circa '95).

    The effects, depending on how you used them, could look cool or cheesy. Think of the effects of Home Improvement, when they did the scene changed. The one I remember out of the box for the Toaster was the legs crossing on-screen for a scene change.

    So, now's the real question... How easy or hard will this be to port? It looks to support other languages, as well. I noticed Kanjii support.

    Is the source code Amiga specific? I know they had other systems supported, but later. Amiga source code, at least the OS specific functions, are a lot different than coding today.

    Most of the apps they have source to didn't require the additional hardware that the VT came with, which is good.

    Personally, I think there might be some gems, but I doubt you'll see whole ports of the applications. Too much has changed since 91.
    • by minnkota (576497)
      When the toaster came out it was a wonderful replacement for aging, expensive monster mixers and effects boxes. In fact, when it came out it's closest competition was nearly $50,000. Toaster had the huge advantage of being a totally new system using new ideas and new techniques. It wasn't as powerful or as capable as a true non-linear editing system or field-accurate paintbox machine... but it didn't cost nearly as much as one either.
  • I think it would be good for programmers (even those not into video) to look through their code. The team at NewTek supposibly did a lot of innovative stuff to get all that they could out of the Amiga hardware.

    17,525 cinnomon cats later...

  • Videotoaster was very famous in its time. What would be the comparable tool today for that type of video editing?
    • by rampant mac (561036) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @05:11PM (#8220447)
      "What would be the comparable tool today for that type of video editing?"

      Final Cut Pro [apple.com] and Shake [apple.com].

      Though at Sundance this year, an enterprising individual edited and produced a movie for $218.32, using iMovie [apple.com].

      • This isn't entirely true. the Video Toaster could handle live video, something you really can't do with any good consumer systems right now. The closest thing that came to a replacement for the video toaster was the Play Trinity, but you can't buy that anymore, not to mention that it was for a much higher end market. It was a professional system.

        If I'm a low budget cable access, or UHF station, I can't use Final Cut Pro for my live broadcast. In fact, my local cable access station still uses, guess what, t
  • by BeatlesForum.com (545967) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @05:05PM (#8220416)
    Us folks left in the Amiga community are kinda hoping for something nice from Amiga. A few of us in the area have our own Amiga user group [ncscaug.us] and have managed to have two demos of the OS4 in the last few months.

    Keep you fingers crossed.
  • strange toaster fact (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jjeffries (17675) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @05:08PM (#8220425)
    The Video Toaster's hardware was designed by Dana Carvey's brother, Brad. [wikipedia.org]
    • and Tim Jenison. Notice in Wayne's World 2 that Dana Carvey is wearing a Video Toaster t-shirt towards the end of the movie. Brad Carvey also went on to start Autumn Light which did the CG dragon fly at the begining of Men in Black.

      //from Topeka and works in CG because of help from Newtek
  • Brings back memories (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jacobcaz (91509) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @05:08PM (#8220430) Homepage
    If nothing else, this site brings back fond memories of sitting in a small, dark room rolling back the B deck to hit the right cue point for the A/B roll (I didn't have access to frame accurate or RS422 controlled decks back then).

    My highschool got one of these back in 1992 or 1993 and I managed to convice them to give me THREE class periods of independent study time to shoot, write and edit our weekly "TV" show. It was a blast and it really taught me how to work under a deadline -- I was the only student doing the show and fourth period EVERY FRIDAY there had to be 15 minutes of show in the can ready to show.

    At the time, it was somewhat of a jewel on our school's crown to have a weekly, entirely student-produced show. We just thought it was more fun that trig.

    The last time I poked my head in my high school, they had several classes dedicated to broadcast and communications with a real teacher assigned to it and everything. They were also doing a daily show in lieu of the morning announcements over the PA system.

    I feel proud I got to do it my way and learn something in the process. God bless the Toaster -- and who coudln't resist tossing in a few Kiki effects or falling sheep here and there! ;-)

    Good times...

  • Guys? (Score:3, Informative)

    by root:DavidOgg (133514) <ogg_david AT hotmail DOT com> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @05:20PM (#8220509) Homepage
    Guys? This is the source for a Zorro based card. You arn't likely to get any use of it unless your PC has a Zorro bus.

    For more details visit http:\\www.ann.lu
  • That takes me back (Score:4, Interesting)

    by concordeonetwo (644570) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @05:29PM (#8220563)
    The Video Toaster I thought was the coolest thing. After I saw a demo of it once, I was totally amazed. As I recall, there was one famous video effect it did. That effect oddly was used by lots of those sucide cults, such as the famous Heaven's Gate in ther propaganda videos.
  • I first read that and thought to myself "Who gives a crap about that Win 95 Plus Pack Flying Toasters screensaver?"

    I need to lay off the crack for a while.
  • This is excellent (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @05:45PM (#8220644)
    The worst thing about working in television is the editing - there's an editor sitting at a big dumb expensive machine and you don't experiment at 300 bucks an hour, you stick with grey. But there's a company that's changing that. There's a new machine that may give us real color TV. NewTek in Topeka, yes Topeka (the "yes Topeka" gag is right on their stationary) has done another one of those technological end runs around politics and conventions. They have invented the Video Toaster, desktop video. It costs around 1500 clams and works in an Amiga (I know you don't have an Amiga but if you want to play with video buy one, it's no big deal - it's just an Amiga for Pete's sake - you don't have to eat crow and buy a Mac). The Toaster does everything those pesky dinosaur machines do and you don't need any editor person in you face. You can do all those digital video effects you see on real TV yourself. It has a character generator, ChromaFX and Luminance Key (that's like blue screen so you can put things behind you that aren't really there - you can do your rap in front of a big nude picture of Uma Thurman). It has screen buffers so you can pull in pictures of, oh let's say, Uma Thurman and has a 3D animation thing and an incredible paintbox so you can doctor up those pictures or draw original ones and throw them right onto video tape. And, get this, it's broadcast quality. Rumor has it that some of CNN's Gulf War coverage was Toasted. This means one person can shoot footage of meat-puppets on HI-8 and, with a couple of tape machines and time base correctors, put out no-kidding television. The editing can be done in your home - alone. Once the set up is paid for, the editing is free. This machine is going to fill wedding videos with lots of 3D flying titles and "infinity slides" but, face it, we're going to have world peace before we have watchable wedding videos. I love playing with the Video Toaster but what really kills me dead is dreaming of a lot of people using Toasters. When it gets universal enough we'll have video that has the pure artistic white light/white heat of writing and painting - glimpses into another person's vision. Of course MTV will still show Robert Palmer - computers can't solve all our problems.
    • Most people don't need realtime. A MiniDV camcorder and a PC with firewire input and a DVD burner suits most people's needs much better, and the whole kit and caboodle will run you less than $1500. (I'd say around $1200.) The video toaster was awe-inspiring when it was new but these days they're not all that impressive. Unless you have a need for real-time effects, which is to say cable access or maybe VJing at a rave or something, this is fairly unnecessary.

      This actually looks like you snagged the text f

    • by Inoshiro (71693) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @10:16PM (#8222277) Homepage
      Source of the comment from here [pennandteller.com], probably cribbed from this comment [slashdot.org].

      I don't know why you'd do that, especially when you break all formatting and make it impossible to read. Paragraph breaks are your friend.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Dana Carvey's brother, Brad Carvey, designed the hardware in the Video Toaster.

    Brad is also the inspiration for Dana's portrayal of the "Garth" character in Wayne's World (on Saturday Night Live and the movies) -- you'll notice that Garth is essentially a quiet geeky guy who is really good with electronics.
    • Dana plugs his brother's invention in the movies, too. There's a scene where you see Garth wearing a Video Toaster T-shirt.

      Blew everybody's minds at the time. In high school, I was a geek who hung out with music and A/V geeks. Not only were we all Wayne's World fanatics... but we did much of our postproduction work on a Toaster.
  • Source.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by hackus (159037) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @06:04PM (#8220739) Homepage
    its all in M68K assmebly language...

    We might as well start from scratch...

    unless of course u own a AMIGA, then it is very useful.

    -Hack
  • What was he in jail for? Does the MPAA know about his release?
  • by gbulmash (688770) <semi_famous@yahooBLUE.com minus berry> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @06:13PM (#8220786) Homepage Journal
    It's old technology, but still... Just for purely academic reasons, I think it would be interesting to see how a ported and tuned version would work on a high-end Pentium or AMD system.

    Of course, I don't program, so this is a "gee, it would be great if someone else did this" post,. Take it with as many grains of salt as you wish.

    - G
  • by K8Fan (37875) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @06:23PM (#8220854) Journal

    I was in Kansas City working for an Amiga dealer, and I remember when Tim Jennison came to demo the DigiView. At the time, it was astonishing. Mac users were buying Amigas just as a way to get frame captures and higher color scans.

    The name Video Toaster was the end result of humorous false rumors spread by NewTek. They leaked that they were working on a "laser toaster" to toast graphics onto white bread for hotels and resturaunts. Then they said that they had expanded their project to include a "JellyJet printer" that could spray mint, rasberry and blueberry jelly onto the bread for color output. The next month they announced that they had expanded it to the Amiga's 4096 color "Hold and Modify" mode for "HAM on Toast". This went on until the actual product was announced. At which point it became vaporware for a very long period of time.

    The Toaster was broadcast quality by the only standard that mattered - would a broadcaster broadcast it? They did. The video output was comparable to the quality of a 1" C-format machine, and the CG letters were comparable to Dubner or Chyron systems of the time. What people fed into the Toaster was another matter. VHS in is going to look like VHS coming out. But I put the Toaster directly on air several times, and the engineers looked closely at it's bars on their waveform monitors and vectorscopes and were happy.

    I have doubts how worthwhile this code is going to be for anyone. The Video Toaster development team had a reputation for bizzare hacks, making the Amiga chipset do things that they were never meant to do. Woz would have been proud of their kind of hackery. But I doubt if any of it is going to be transferrable to any other platform - maybe the CG code.

  • Cinelerra (Score:5, Funny)

    by DrunkenPenguin (553473) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @06:26PM (#8220881) Homepage
    It is interesting piece of software, but if you want a true professional video editing software for your Linux box, I suggest you use Cinelerra. It's an amazing software - equivalent to something that would probably cost hundreds of thousand dollars - and yes, it is open source.

    Find some more information here [heroinewarrior.com] .
    • Re:Cinelerra (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Anyone who's downloaded and attempted to use Cinelerra knows that it is far from professional, and hardly ready for even hobbyist use. It lacks a lot of features, the UI stinks, and there's almost zero documentation.
  • by rduke15 (721841) <rduke15NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @06:32PM (#8220921)
    Most people here seem to have it all mixed up.

    The Amiga, with Toaster or whatever else has never been an NLE (non-linear video editor). Professional NLEs are Avid (Mac and Windows) and Apple's Final Cut Pro (Mac only, of course). There are a few others for hobbyists.

    What the Amiga had, was hardware producing high quality analog video output (PAL or NTSC), and video software to go with it like Toaster, for effects, mixing, switching, etc. and all that at an incredibly low price.

    Another thing that adds to the confusion is that the Amiga also had a great 3D package called Lightwave, which enabled it to do 3D rendering for film output. The rendering was slow, but the quality was great. For faster rendering, people could just add more cheap Amigas.

    So Lightwave on Amigas certainly has been used for 3D stuff in some big movies. (I have no idea if it was really used in Jurrassic Park. Probably not, because they would have had the budget to afford many SGIs with SoftImage, but it could have been used).

    But this 3D stuff has not much to do with Toaster or the Amiga's video output abilities (except for previews). 3D stuff is output in single files of a single frame each (usually TIFF files), and transfered to film negative in a specialized lab, frame by frame (even today, these later printers do not work in real time; I think they print a few frames per second).

    And all these movies were definitely not edited on an Amiga. They were edited on film or on an Avid.

    Hope that clears up a little bit the confusion between NLE, 3D, video hardware and video effects and mixing software.
    • by tsangc (177574) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @11:38PM (#8222714)
      The Amiga, with Toaster or whatever else has never been an NLE (non-linear video editor). Professional NLEs are Avid (Mac and Windows) and Apple's Final Cut Pro (Mac only, of course). There are a few others for hobbyists.


      You're completely wrong. The Amiga had several NLE systems designed for it, including the Flyer Toaster (an addon board for the VideoToaster), the MacroSystems VLAB Motion, and the Applied Magic Digital Broadcaster.


      In addition, two entire NLE turnkey systems, the MacroSystems Draco and MacroSystems Casablanca were based on the Amiga hardware and OS. The latter sold pretty heavily into educational institutions because it was simple to use and almost VCR like in operation.


      As for whether or not you consider them professional, the majority of Amiga NLE users were lower end--they used them for everything from corporate training videos to local broadcast market productions. A lot of small firms used the Amiga as an NLE, and made a good amount of money doing it. Not everyone uses an Avid to cut a wedding video or a training film about machine tools, but there certain were a lot of Amiga shops.

  • Switcher (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ryanw (131814) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @08:11PM (#8221504)
    My only experiance with video editing is with finalcutpro on osx. Is there anything like VideoToaster out there currently in the market for realtime video broadcasts? I know apple does their keynotes with several cameras, live, etc. Do they use Avid for this? Any ideas?
  • It's NOT Dead (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Monday February 09, 2004 @01:31AM (#8223125) Journal
    After reading many of the comments it seems that people are under the impression that VT and lightwave are dead products and of "historical" value, they aren't dead at all, still sold check out NewTeks' [newtek.com] web site
    They still kick ass and i still want one (damned lottery not picking the right numbers)

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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