KinoAmp 0.26: Behind the scenesBy Chris Williams. Published: 3rd Apr 2003, 12:15:42 | Permalink | Printable
Author Peter Everett and his MPEG video app [Updated 15:00 3/4/2003] Cineroma progressMini-review Earlier this week, we reported on some great updates to RISC OS video playing app KinoAmp and here's a follow up after developer Peter Everett replied to our inquiries. Originally called Kino and developed by eQ, the Russian RISC OS software developers, KinoAmp's development has been tracked by drobe.co.uk for some time. Technically, the software supports the MPEG1/2 video format (.mpg or .mpeg) using MP3 playback module AMPlayer and the open source libmpeg library to do the necessary decoding. The source code to KinoAmp itself is available from Peter's website if you wish to fiddle with it internally or take a peek. Peter is also the developer of Shine, a ported RISC OS MP3 encoder.
When configured properly, KinoAmp is able to push a StrongARM processor into rendering videos at a modest, respectable speed. The latest version, as well as being 32 bit compatible, allows video rescaling and has proper playback controls which are skinnable. We look forward to seeing customised KinoAmp tools because we like pretty things.
KinoAmp doing its funky stuff
"André [Timmermans] did quite a lot of work for this one. The support for field pictures (interlaced) was quite involved and he had to write a whole new set of video drivers in addition to extensive changes to the decoder", Peter told us, explaining how this version came about.
"There are now 54 separate drivers to handle all combinations of colour depth, zoom, greyscale, and now interlaced pictures. 5 zoom settings for each of 3 colour depths for normal and interlaced video. Plus a few extras for 256 greys, high quality 32k dithered, and monochrome modes.
"When multitasking, the output from the selected driver is passed through yet another sprite plotter to get the variable resizing."
Configure KinoAmp to get maximum efficiency
If you haven't used KinoAmp before, take it from us, it's dead easy to use. After running the app to get it onto the iconbar, double-click on a MPEG video file to start playing. Also don't forget to have a peek at the KinoAmp choices to ensure things like audio "re-synchronize" is turned on (this keeps the audio in line with the video) and "display all frames" is turned off if you want a smoother viewing experience. There's other options too to control off-desktop playback and the option to save out video soundtracks. The KinoAmp manual, supplied in plain text and HTML formats, is also worthy of note being suitably detailed on how to use the application.
It's worth pointing out Dave McEwen's video playing app Cineroma which isn't out yet and still in the beta testing phase. Cineroma appears to support a lot more video and audio formats and like freeware KinoAmp, it will eventually be released as an open source application.
"Every other platform has freeware access to at least one multi-format player and it is imperative that RISC OS has that", David boldly stresses in an email to drobe.co.uk today. "Not only will it be free, but it will also be open source. Noone else made strides to provide one in recent times so someone had to do it."
And if you're going to do something, you might as well do it right however this takes time and Dave is doing this RISC OS work in his free time, fitting it in around things like real work in the games industry. Dave's currently working on adding MPEG support to Cineroma (whilst trying not to compete with KinoAmp too much), doing an internal tidy up to coincide with finishing the A.V. synchronising code and adding visualisations for audio files, which is always a neat touch.
When Cineroma gets released, you'll notice that it supports a lot of familiar and also obscure media formats and Dave is willing, we're told, to accept requests for other formats to be supported by Cineroma.
"Some people ask why I add some of the obscure formats or codecs", Dave comments. "The reason is that adding more so quickly shows how easy it is to drop in support for them. Also the player is as much for me as for anyone else, so if I want to add a format or codec I will."
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