soft2omf Installation / Usage notes

Chris Trimble or
Nick Kisseberth
Beckman Institute Visualization Facility
405 N. Mathews, MC-251
Urbana, IL 61801

Softimage Resources Page:


For those of you with Avid systems, I hope this turns out to be a useful
program. The OMF format was invented by Avid in order to store the audio
and video data in a standardized format for transfer between programs and
platforms. As it turns out, this provides a great way to get rendered
frames directly into your Avid Media/Film Composer.

The soft2omf utility allows you to take advantage of OMF. soft2omf will
precompress your sequences of rendered frames into the format that your
Avid system likes, and you can then incorporate the sequences into the
editor without ever having gone to a video signal.

This was built with DKit v1.1 for CE v2.65 and the OMFToolkit v1.3b3
under IRIX 5.2. I don\'t claim that this works on anything but that setup.
I do believe it should work for any v2.65 <= CE <= v3.0.


The installation should be very straightforward, given that your Creative
Environment is installed in a semi-reasonable fashion. The binary that\'s
included is built for IRIX 5.x. If you do a \"make install\" in the soft2omf
directory, these files and directory will be copied into these places:

soft2omf --> $SI_LOCATION/Creative/custom/bin

To build the utility from scratch, you have to have the Softimage DKit
as well as the OMFToolkit. The DKit is available from Softimage, and the
OMFToolkit is available from Avid.


* From the command line

It\'s much like the soft2* utilities that SOFTIMAGE includes. You can type
soft2omf -h for the specific flags and such. When you transfer the resulting
OMF file to the Avid system, you have to use a program like FileTyper to
change the Macintosh file type to \"OMFI\". Otherwise, the Media Composer
will not see the OMF file in the directory when you try to import it into
a bin.

When you render, you should render at 640x248 per FIELD. There is only
one field of data for Avid Video Resolutions AVR5e and AVR6e; there are
two fields for AVR25 and AVR26 (default). When you Import the OMF file
into the Avid, you have to have your \"Compression\" panel set to the
SAME COMPRESSION that soft2omf used to generate the OMF file. Otherwise,
your Avid will decompress and recompress every frame... and that\'s slow.

* From the CE

Unfortunately, the soft2omf utility CANNOT be run as a post-frame script.
This is due to the design of the OMFToolkit, and I have made this problem
clear to the OMFToolkit developers at Avid. The problem is that a frame
cannot be tacked on to an existing media unless it is to be considered
part of a different \"clip\" of video, or image data. The only way to get
around this was to have soft2omf start up the SOFTIMAGE renderer for
every separate frame, and I think we all know how slow that would be.


Beta 1 Release: 12/30/94


Copyright (c) 1994, University of Illinois Board of Trustees. This software,
including the source code, is free for the public to use and modify and
redistribute. However, the University of Illinois copyright and the author\'s
name must appear on any derivative software.

No guarantees of any kind are made with this software. Neither the author
nor the University of Illinois accept any responsibility for loss of data,
inaccuracies, or anything else that can get me fired.