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Media Shout slams OSX/Quicktime and halts development

post #1 of 45
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http://www.mediashout.com/usernews/h...ac_update.html

Released: May 24, 2006

Dear MediaShout Users, Resellers and Friends:

This special announcement is to let you know that we have stopped work on a Mac OS version of MediaShout. This has been a very difficult decision to make: not only because of the great amount of time and money we've poured into the Mac project over the past three years, but because many users have been counting on something we've promised that is now not possible to deliver.

Before work began on the project almost three years ago, we met with Apple executives and engineers to determine whether OS X and QuickTime could deliver the on-the-fly video transitions and text-over-video rendering at the performance level our users demand. With their assurances that they could, we began the work. A few months into the development we discovered limitations in the Mac OS that would require extensive custom workarounds and high-end programming that our programmers could not provide.

After more meetings with Apple, we started over with a new design and new programmers. But again, the work stalled early this year when we ran into additional operating system and QuickTime limitations that prevented the program from delivering the level of performance for all the MediaShout features demanded by our users. This time Apple conducted a comprehensive evaluation of our code and proposed potential solutions to the performance limitations. We then did a thorough evaluation of the work required to complete the project, and the projected costs of this work. The estimate came to at least twice what we had already invested a figure our best sales estimates can't come close to justifying.
We make this decision to not move forward with the Mac project with the knowledge that we did everything within our capability to deliver a product worthy of our users and their ministries. We completely understand your disappointment in not getting this product, and can only share that our disappointment in not delivering this project for you is just as great. However, we make the decision knowing that most of our users will ultimately be better served as we refocus on the aggressive further development of MediaShout on the Windows side.

This is not to say that we've abandoned the Mac OS. We will continue our research and exploration, and if further developments in OS X and QuickTime make a MediaShout-for-Mac project viable, we'll try again.

As always, we welcome your feedback.

Sincerely,

Todd Temple
president
MediaComplete
www.mediashout.com



------------

So what is up with this? Is Media Shout really the most advanced audio-video scripting/presentation package available today? That is my friends claim who is into this stuff?
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post #2 of 45
Looks like their only market is Churches who want to do presentations with hymn lyrics and text over moving backgrounds. And PowerPoint.

Hardly "the most advanced presentation" suite.

Move along.
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post #3 of 45
Dear formerly potential customers,

fuck you. We're incompetent and don't care for that to change.

Yours sincerely,
MediaComplete
post #4 of 45
Yeah...sure, MediaComplete...OS X and QT are incapable of text over moving backgrounds.

Somehow I think MediaComplete's story is pure baloney. With Quartz, overlaying text onto *anything* is a joke...you don't even need to write a single line of code for it to happen.

Anyone can try it with Interface Builder. Zero code...if that's too difficult for MediaComplete, I don't think it would be a good idea to have such an incompetent software dev on the Mac side.
post #5 of 45
hmm final cut pro and motion are possible.. but mediashout is obviously far more technically advanced than those pieces of software (sarcasm)
post #6 of 45
Quote:
However, we make the decision knowing that most of our users will ultimately be better served as we refocus on the aggressive further development of MediaShout on the Windows side.

Because, clearly, they know so much about "aggressive further development on the Windows side".

post #7 of 45
Quicktime's legacy codebase is pretty convoluted and crusty at this point. But this mostly means that it is harder for apple to maintain. Developers building on top of quicktime have it pretty easy.

It sounds like MediaComplete simply mismanaged their software development. They can't pull off text overlays on video? Nah, that's never been done before.
post #8 of 45
Quote:
Originally posted by dfiler
Quicktime's legacy codebase is pretty convoluted and crusty at this point. But this mostly means that it is harder for apple to maintain. Developers building on top of quicktime have it pretty simple.

It sounds like MediaComplete simply mismanaged their software development. They can't pull off text overlays on video?


It's pretty sad really. To MediaComplete's total discredit, they mentioned OS X and QT being the source of their misery. I built in 10 seconds flat a window that displays QT movies and text right on top of it (granted the text isn't dynamically changing but this is a 10 second project containing zero lines of code.)

I'll send my resume to MediaComplete...they should be impressed with what I've whipped up in mere seconds.
post #9 of 45
Granted, their problems more likely stem from the "on-the-fly video transitions". This still seems like MediaComplete's incompetance though. Plenty of other programs do exactly what they're describing as impossible.
post #10 of 45
Quote:
Originally posted by dfiler
Plenty of other programs do exactly what they're describing as impossible.

Not only that; they also do it at incredible speed. OS X's frameworks in this regard are significantly better than what Windows has to offer.

Nothing they describe hasn't already been done.
post #11 of 45
Whew, talk about bad press.

A few weeks from now, googling for their company/product will likely turn up threads like this.
post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally posted by dfiler
Whew, talk about bad press.

A few weeks from now, googling for their company/product will likely turn up threads like this.

They deserve no better. I have no respect for a company putting up such false claims. It seems clear that the true reason they gave up is that they weren't willing to pay decent engineers to begin with.
post #13 of 45
Quote:
Originally posted by aplnub
[url]A few months into the development we discovered limitations in the Mac OS that would require extensive custom workarounds and high-end programming that our programmers could not provide.


This is a really odd thing to say' they were building an app, not a quicktime extention/plugin, having "high level" people is just how the business works...and what exactly do they call hi-level about the programming that needs to be done? text over moving backgrounds is just a matter of having the text in its own layer with alphachannel over the motion graphic; hell, this could be done as an extention to quicktime; you have one pane of RTF files, a second pane of motion graphics and a preview window, then you throw the finished output out to the second display or an AJA card for projection or distribution...
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post #14 of 45
Upon further review; I have acctually seen the app in church, it is...awcword, the output isnt bad but it is just strange, you would think that a tool like this would allow you to have 2 or three things going at once and switch betwen them, like multicam in FCP or something, but NO, you cant even use the app to play video clips or DVDs back on the jumbo-screens, that has to be done in a seperate app or by switching to VTR/DVD player...

It has been 2 years since I last tried so that may have changed but last I knew the windows version was a turd.
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post #15 of 45
The little experience I've had with the program tells me that it's really pretty cool for praise music lyrics, announcements, notices, and so on. The interface on the software is really quite interesting because you can run a pre-made script, edit that script on the fly, pop up custom messages on the fly, and more...all the while throwing up various moving backgrounds. It's pretty slick, but I don't know enough about it to make any good guess as to what specific part they might have felt they had a hang-up with.

It's too bad. A lot of churches have used it and liked it. I guess they'll have to stick with Windows.
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post #16 of 45
I am pretty sure this guy was at Cocoa Boot Camp last year with me. I am betting that they were frustrated by the lack of cocoa specific quicktime capabilities. I am guessing here, but don't think they wanted to get into raw QT programming.
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post #17 of 45
Quote:
Originally posted by blue2kdave
I am pretty sure this guy was at Cocoa Boot Camp last year with me. I am betting that they were frustrated by the lack of cocoa specific quicktime capabilities. I am guessing here, but don't think they wanted to get into raw QT programming.

Jebus, did this guy expect the app to code itself.
post #18 of 45
Too bad they didn't stick it out then, what with QTKit and all.

And really... QuickTime is kinda grody, but it isn't *THAT* bad. I've had to deal with much worse.
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post #19 of 45
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
Dear formerly potential customers,

fuck you. We're incompetent and don't care for that to change.

Yours sincerely,
MediaComplete

That is exactly what I was thinking as I read this letter.
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post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally posted by maimezvous
That is exactly what I was thinking as I read this letter.

I was thinking something along the lines of "We asked Apple to code our application for us but they refused. Therefore you will not be getting a Mac version because we don't want to pay anyone to build it."
post #21 of 45
I don't handle church presentations myself, but I do know that Media Shout was well regarded in the Worship space before this debacle.

However, I've been to enough Christian music seminars/conferences to know that Christian musicians favour Macs by a wide margin.

It's quite the opposite on the Pastor side, since Windows has more advanced bible study options than the Mac.

If their claims are somehow true, my guess is that Apple knows whatever limitations were discussed and will update QT in the medium term. Then someone will write some cool code to challenge Media Shout and a whole bunch of Christian musicians will switch over.

You will notice that they left the door wide open to re-enter the Mac market.
They are aware that abandoning the market will entail serious risks.
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post #22 of 45
http://peanutgallery.kaisakura.com/

Not only did the Peanut Gallery author(s) manage to get text on a moving background, the moving backgrounds can come from *any* source (streamed, from a DVD, local file etc.), there's some graphics on top of the moving backgrounds...and these graphics are even fuckin' animated.

I call bullshit on MediaComplete. MediaComplete weaseled its way out of making a Mac port and pretended like 'difficulties and limitations' in the OS and QuickTime were the issues.

I'll just pretend like they're both incompetent *and* ass clowns.

edit: btw, Peanut Gallery is downright amazing...(needs a fast computer and a fast connection for streaming.)
post #23 of 45
Let's face it, guys. If you're installed user base is so small that you'll spend more on development than you'll make back in sales, it's game over. They apparently saw it this way.
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post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally posted by CosmoNut
Let's face it, guys. If you're installed user base is so small that you'll spend more on development than you'll make back in sales, it's game over. They apparently saw it this way.

But did they say it that way? No. They blamed OS X and QuickTime. That's very unprofessional. They should have told it like it is: "we won't make any money off you guys, so it's best we just develop for Windows." It would have been an honest response. Blaming it on QT and OS X is lame.
post #25 of 45
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
They should have told it like it is: "we won't make any money off you guys, so it's best we just develop for Windows."

You have to read between the lines. I'm referencing this part:
Quote:
We then did a thorough evaluation of the work required to complete the project, and the projected costs of this work. The estimate came to at least twice what we had already invested a figure our best sales estimates can't come close to justifying.

Translation: We can't afford to spend any more money to fix our previous mistakes and make money off of this thing.
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post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally posted by CosmoNut
You have to read between the lines. I'm referencing this part:

Translation: We can't afford to spend any more money to fix our previous mistakes and make money off of this thing.

My bad. I see what you mean...and I guess I can forgive MediaComplete... ...if they take back that QT and OS X comment.
post #27 of 45
WTF are these guys and who cares?? Really...
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post #28 of 45
I realize this thread has been inactive for quite a long time and everyone has moved on to other topics. However, I've just come across this and I wanted to at least be able to defend myself and my friend Todd Temple who wrote the original bulletin.

When the decision was made to have a Mac version of MediaShout we went to Apple and asked John Gelensye to recommend some developers we could work with since we didn't have OSX programming expertise. We contracted one of Apple's featured and recommended developers Robosoft to work on creating a Mac version.

After six months, $80,000, a one week trip to India for Todd which turned into a full month of working onsite with Robosoft to explain the functionality we were trying to achieve we came to the conclusion Robosoft would not be able to deliver. Apple did a code review for us and confirmed our conclusion.

In the meantime I decided to further my own development skills because we were continuing to hear about all the advanced technologies and development tools available in Tiger using Cocoa. We were assured all the things we were doing in the Windows version could easily be done and done even better and more elegantly on the Mac. I decided to go to the Cocoa BootCamp at the Big Nerd Ranch and spent my $3,500 and week getting a great training on the tools. During my time at the Ranch I shared our struggles and challenges with Aaron. I gave Aaron and Marquis a thorough tour of our Windows software.

Upon leaving the BootCamp and having the decision made to abandon Robosoft's efforts I approached Aaron about having the Big Nerd Ranch be our contract labor to create a Mac version of MediaShout. Just as people in this thread have stated we were assured this could easily be done. We were given a range estimate for cost and assured the program would be able to be done in a 10 week time period. Our initial reaction to this was disbelief, but were assured over and over again that because of the tools and technologies available this was possible.

Finally, after 3 additional months and more than double the high range estimate we had another code review done by someone who had headed up top tier application projects much more complex than ours. His realistic review indicated we could expect to spend over twice what we had paid out already to Robosoft and Big Nerd Ranch combined. This severely eroded our confidence we could actually do what we had hoped with the Mac version. After all the only people who would know the tools better than Big Nerd Ranch would be Apple and we couldn't expect them to write our app.

Although I continue to be assured again and again about the superior technology available on the Mac, which I really want to believe since the proof of concept for MediaShout was done on a Mac, I have yet to see a solution to our most vexing problem.

Play a looping mpeg1 file without hesitation in the playback or loop. Then add the ability to change overlaid text on the fly without causing hesitation or disruption of the video playback. When this was pointed out to the QuickTime team they confirmed this was a long time outstanding mpeg1 playback bug that may have never been addressed. I have a sample mpeg file at http://www.animalproductions.com/Dow..._Flag_loop.mpg to use as a background if you're up to the challenge.

We really wanted to have a Mac version of our software and although we had to cancel the project to keep our company solvent there were also problems with the technology.

As Todd stated at the end of the announcement we still want to get on the Mac but we will have to do it much more cautiously than our last attempt. Some of you may be right that we are just idiots but several years of trying and thousands and thousands of dollars paid to no avail would argue we did not make this decision lightly. Any advice and assistance will be warmly welcome.

Thanks for letting me share some of the back story. Sorry for the length.
post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animal View Post

As Todd stated at the end of the announcement we still want to get on the Mac but we will have to do it much more cautiously than our last attempt. Some of you may be right that we are just idiots but several years of trying and thousands and thousands of dollars paid to no avail would argue we did not make this decision lightly. Any advice and assistance will be warmly welcome.

It's good of you to explain the story and it's always nice to hear from people close to the source. I personally feel that Quicktime could really use some uplifting because it has many flaws. VLC, which is an open source media handler is far superior for playback support and often performance. isquint, which uses the ffmpeg source code is much faster at mp4 encoding than Quicktime. Quicktime performance in itunes is terrible.

Having said that though, Apple's Keynote software seems to do things quite well. I have played uncompressed Pixlet movies in Keynote on old G4 laptops without stuttering at all and using fade transitions. It seems to be quite capable.

If you are looking for a way forward, I would suggest maybe consulting with the development team behind VLC. Open source developers tend to be very happy when their product is used commercially. Since it already works on all platforms, it could cut down your development costs significantly as you can use the same code. It will also work on Linux. Also, since the code won't be system level, you shouldn't have to worry so much about system updates breaking your software.

If you really feel that you want to use Quicktime then you might consider trying to contact the team behind Keynote. As I say, they seem to have done pretty well using Quicktime in that. However, if you managed to pull off a successful product using code from VLC and couldn't do it with Quicktime, I'm sure that would give the Quicktime developers some sort of wake up call.
post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animal View Post

I realize this thread has been inactive for quite a long time and everyone has moved on to other topics. However, I've just come across this and I wanted to at least be able to defend myself and my friend Todd Temple who wrote the original bulletin.


Thanks for the update. When I mentioned attending Big Nerd with you, I was actually was trying to support you in a way. I too was disappointed that QTkit was not what I thought it would be. Out of all the different types of coding in OSX, anything using QT seems to be the most difficult. There are reports of a vastly better QTkit, and a revamped Quicktime. But I certainly believe your reasons for not porting were legitimate at the time. Hopefully the recent advances will help your situation.
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post #31 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by blue2kdave View Post

When I mentioned attending Big Nerd with you, I was actually was trying to support you in a way.

Thank you. I realized you understood better than some others in this thread since I probably made all you guys who joined me at BNR just tired from hearing about our woes with Robosoft. We even spent many more hours going further in detail with Aaron & Marquis in the following months. I just don't believe we could have prepared a developer better with the amount of information we provided them as well as a working app. It was EXTREMELY disappointing to have BNR drop the ball for us as well.

It's my understanding QuickTime is going through a total rewrite and I can only hope our reminding them of the mpeg1 playback issue gets the issue addressed. It's important for us because we have developed dozens of content producers who have thousands of legacy files in 640x480 mpeg1 format which was our best alternative 9 years ago when we started the MediaShout adventure.
post #32 of 45
Why stay married to MPEG1? I don't mean dump it, but couldn't you generate/acquire a transcoder? Either do it on the fly or as a batch mode upgrade option? Wouldn't that allow you to then use all the API goodness with the modern file types? While keeping as much wonkiness as possible out of the users hair?

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post #33 of 45
Quote:
Finally, after 3 additional months and more than double the high range estimate we had another code review done by someone who had headed up top tier application projects much more complex than ours. His realistic review indicated we could expect to spend over twice what we had paid out already to Robosoft and Big Nerd Ranch combined.

Could yuou expand on this? You took the "expertise" of "someone", and I notice immediately that this is the only statement you've made in your post that leaves this "someone" unnamed. Could you specify whther this was a Windows or Mac person, and why you took their advice and estimates to be more knowledgable than that of Apple and Apple's recommended developers?
post #34 of 45
Robosoft? Big Nerd Ranch? 6+3 months? $80000?

Something doesn't connect. I can't say anything about MPEG1 (you could always try another stream format unless it comes from uber-expensive obsolete hardware), but what you describe is a joke for Quartz. Have you played with Quartz Composer?
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post #35 of 45
As someone who's familiar with MediaShout and MPEG-1 files being used with it, it's easier said than done to transcode them all. The wide MPEG-1 use comes from churches who've bought numerous data CDs or DVDs with tons of animated backgrounds and images. Those disks primarily have offered the files in AVI or MPEG-1. It sucks, and churches likely aren't really excited about transcoding their (sometimes) hundreds of disks of media.
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post #36 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Could yuou expand on this? You took the "expertise" of "someone", and I notice immediately that this is the only statement you've made in your post that leaves this "someone" unnamed. Could you specify whther this was a Windows or Mac person, and why you took their advice and estimates to be more knowledgable than that of Apple and Apple's recommended developers?

Let me be clear. Apple did not give us an estimate of how long the project would take to complete nor how much we could expect to pay. Apple did graciously provide the Robosoft code review as a good will gesture. Apple simply, initially, assured us their technology would allow us to accomplish our goal and get there with less effort than we could expect under Windows. I am not blaming Apple except they did help set our expectations that this should be easy. But that's our bad.

We did trust the recommended developers. However, Robosoft's estimates and efforts ended up being more than double their estimate at the time of canceling the unfinished project. Apple's code review of Robosoft's effort in progress indicated a re-architecture would be necessary to have the project done right.

The estimate from Big Nerd Ranch ended up being three times the amount of time and over double the cost with both clock ticking and meter running when we mutually agreed to let the project end. Big Nerd Ranch was unwilling to give a Not to Exceed amount and so there was no end in sight with regard to time and cost.

I purposely did not name the person who gave us the estimate because I don't know if I'm at liberty to share. His qualifications are impeccable in both the Windows and Mac world. Among the long list of cross platform apps he has worked on and been the project lead on are many extremely recognizable graphics, video and 3D titles.

We chose his estimate based on his track record over the proven unreliable estimates of the recommended developers. But in the end we don't really trust any estimate anymore since everything always seems to cost at least double and takes at least twice as long no matter what platform your on.
post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by costique View Post

Robosoft? Big Nerd Ranch? 6+3 months? $80000?

Something doesn't connect. I can't say anything about MPEG1 (you could always try another stream format unless it comes from uber-expensive obsolete hardware), but what you describe is a joke for Quartz. Have you played with Quartz Composer?

6 months and $80,000 for Robosoft only. I didn't go into all the details about the Big Nerd Ranch deal other than to express that they also hugely under estimated the scope of this project. is right!

I can't tell you how many times we've heard things like this is so easy, a no brainer, and a joke for Quartz. I have yet to see it. If anyone is interested in proving it please get the file I referenced in my first post and show me. I really want this to be true. I'd love to be able to tell my partners see I told you a Mac technology driven app would be better.

The basic operating premise of MediaShout is that you can present your presentation at the same time your building your presentation and the audience should never be able to know the difference. There is no such thing as Edit mode and Present mode or rendering. Therefore, being able to have a looping video background while changing any overlaid text should not disrupt the playback of the background video.
post #38 of 45
Thanks for the thread dudes, I have no interest in the sofware, or the technical information presented, but, really enjoyed the back and forth.
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post #39 of 45
Media Shout will be featured at the Unite In Worship conference in Toronto next month, and I promise not to keep harping on the fact that there's no Mac version.

I hope you do find a solution quickly though. Unlike a decade ago, Mac laptops are quickly becoming the standard for musicians and technicians at most Christian events.
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post #40 of 45
Wow I didn't even know they were working on Media Shout for OS X. A friend and I were joking when we were sitting in the sound booth together. He said, you know what you need here a Mac Mini and a 20in Apple Cinema display. It would be awesome if that could happen because our current booth is small and we have this huge tower right were the feet of the computer operator needs to go. That sucks. Quicktime could do on-the-fly video transitions and text-over-video rendering. That's why Apple said they could. They just don't want to work on it and they probably don't see the need of it. That's why their not continuing to make it.
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