As many ponder the fate of hardware mixing, mixing in software continues to advance. And in a reminder of just how many different applications video mixing can have, here’s a fascinating article about a new open-source Linux-based video mixing tool called Snowmix:

Copenhagen Suborbitals Release Snowmix, an Open Source Video Mixer [The Power Base]

What’s fascinating about it is that this didn’t come from VJs or broadcasters, but people who are experimenting in DIY, non-profit human sub-orbital flight (the Copenhagen Suborbitals). There’s something really touching about watching them go from one video feed to another on rockets – perhaps that sense of romance of the heyday of NASA, of dreaming of Space Camp and astronauts. (Hey, not all video mixing has to be switching between layers of the kaleidoscope and the silhouetted dancing girls. Ahem.)

In fact, this isn’t even the only example of synergy between spaceflight and video tools. The open-source Milkymist video effects hardware worked in the opposite direction:

NASA’s Communication Navigation and Networking Reconfigurable Testbed (CoNNeCT) experiment uses the memory controller that was originally developed for the Milkymist system-on-chip[1] and published under the GNU GPL.

Pretty awesome to have tech you developed wind up in space. Source: Sebastien Bourdeauducq / Wikipedia

As for this (software) mixer, the feature list is impressive:

Unlimited number of video feeds, geometries and frame rate.
Command language for scripting text overlays.
Video scaling of regular feeds limited to 1:1, 1:2, 1:3, 1:4, 1:5, 2:3, 2:5 and 3:5.
Handling of PAR (Pixel Aspect Ratio) for regular feeds.
Unlimited number of virtual feeds (unlimited number of copies from regular feeds).
For virtual feeds unlimited vector based up and down scaling of both height and width independently.
For virtual feeds unlimited vector based rotation of video images.
For virtual feeds unlimited vector based alpha blending of video images.
Unlimited overlay of external PNG based images with or without transparency.
Unlimited number of vector based (font based) texts in any color on top or underneath video.
Unlimited vector based rotation and alpha blending of text.
Support for solid and shaded (transparent) background for text.
Support for changed shading of background under text also known as individual linear pattern shading.

And, of course, this could be useful I expect for visualists, even if you’re not trying to launch a rocket. If you give it a try, we’d love to know how it works for you – or if you’ve found another, similar solution. Download – or peruse source – at:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/snowmix/

And you thought the Danes only cared about bicycles.

  • Peter Maersk-Moller

    A new version of Snowmix has been released. Snowmix now supports shapes. Shapes adds support for complex graphics and image drawing, clipping, patterns,
    gradients and masking using graphic primitives of the 2D Cairo Graphics library.
    In this context, a video feed is an image that happens to change at the frame
    rate and shapes are macros that can do complex graphic operations on video, images and graphic primitives.
    Best regards
    Peter Maersk-Moller