Visual effects artists work in frames sequences. That’s what we expect to get from the client, and it’s what we give back to them. EXRs, DPXs, PNGs, TIFs, even TGAs and JPGs. Compressed movies are for reviewing, but our main means of delivery on feature films are frame sequences. Independent projects can have a variety of different formats for delivery, but even then, it’s recommended that you work from frame sequences and just create the delivery movie from the final frame sequence at the end.
In case you don’t know what frame sequences are, it means that every frame of a visual effects shot (or a video clip) is saved into a folder as an individual image file. The folder contains all the frames that make up the shot. So every shot has it’s own folder of frames. For example, if you have a 300 frame visual effects shot, that folder would contain 300 images, each one numbered sequentially. Frame.0001, frame.0002, frame.0003, etc, all the way to frame.0300. You can download a bunch of frame sequences from my Free Stuff page if you don’t have any.
Being able to view these frame sequences without opening up a compositing or editing program every time is important, and it’s something you’re going to be doing a lot, so naturally, a few programs have turned up to make viewing them easy and fast. When I was deciding on one, it was hard finding any video tutorials or reviews on them, so I had to just download them all and try them out. I thought it’d be useful to post little overview videos of what are, in my opinion, the top three. In future tutorials here at OpenVisualFX, you’ll see me using one of them all the time.
There are quite a few others out there that I haven’t reviewed here (such as Scratch Play and BView), but I wanted to cover ones that were available on all OS platforms and played all the formats a VFX artist typically uses.
I suppose I should also mention that for viewing movies and videos, I use VLC. I haven’t touched Quicktime in years. Quicktime’s playback tool are terrible on Windows, and not only is it being discontinued on Windows, the US Department of Homeland Security actually advises you to uninstall it. So yeah, leave Quicktime behind. VLC is spectacular.
You can download mrViewer HERE, and see some short videos from the creator HERE.
This one can be downloaded HERE, and this is the one we use at the VFX studio where I work.
My personal favorite, which can be downloaded HERE.
There is also SqCheck http://sqview.sourceforge.net/
Not very pretty, but does the job.
Have you used SqCheck, j4rnold? What do you think of it? Missing anything that you wish it had? Does it have any particular features you love?
On the bottom of the Software page here, there’s a link to my Free & Open Source Graphics Software List. I actually have 17 programs listed there under “Video Players & Viewers”, including SqCheck. There’s definitely a lot of options out there! 🙂
I didn’t know SqCheck was already on your software list.
Personally I prefer JefeCheck and DJV, because they have more features. I tried Bview lately. Seems to be a very robust player as well.
Unfortunately, I can’t run Jefecheck. Crashes on my Windows10 machine. But DJV_view works really well. The only thing I can’t figure out is how to create movie files from the DJV-View interface. Looks like there are command-line options but, not a fan of those. Thanks for the recommendations!
Interesting. I haven’t yet tried JefeCheck on my Windows 10 machine, but maybe I’ll test it out. Maybe the JefeCheck folks haven’t updated it for Windows 10 yet? I’m with you about the command line stuff, I’m not a fan either. Nothing beats a UI, even it’s simple.
I’ve figured out you can export as anything you want…
click ‘file’>’save’ in 1.1 or ‘export sequence’ in 1.3 (nothing happens when I try this in the 2.0.3 beta for me).
Find the location you want to save in, type the name of the file and give it an extension e.g. ‘.mp4’, ‘.mov’, ‘.jpg’ etc.
Then save and it will export.
The options for each file format are in ‘file’>’preferences’
Thanks for the viewer round up, I’ve been using DJV but will give JeffeCheck a trial. Given JefeCheck is made in Mexico, I’m guessing the “J” is pronounced as a “H” as in Jeffe=Boss.
I didn’t even notice where JefeCheck was made, nice find! I’ll be curious to hear if you like it better than DJV.
JefeCheck crashed on first run on my Windows 10 64 bit system. Unsurprising, considering the code doesn’t appear to have been updated hasn’t been updated in quite a few years. They require you to pick your OS and only offer Windows 7. :/ Back to DJV for me…
Wow, bummer. I have Win10 on my laptop, and Jefecheck runs fine on it. I guess not a huge deal, though, since DJV is pretty nice.
Not sure if this is relevant, but here’s a potential fix for those having issues trying to run JefeCheck on a Windows 10 Machine:
1. Download & Install 7-Zip
2. Right click the setup.exe for JefeCheck, go to the 7-Zip subentries in the context menu and click “Open” (it should open the setup file like an archive)
3. Extract the contents whereever you want, you don’t need the ones starting with the $ sign.
4. Run the extracted “JefeCheck.exe”
5. If it works => Profit.
Great, thank for the info! If anyone tests this, please leave a comment with your results!
This worked for me! Thanks friend.
If this helps anyone, I found out that the JefeCheck crash on W10 is related to the LUT files provided. If you go to your:
You will see a bunch of .jfx files. Move those into a /tmp folder (or delete them, up to you), and JefeCheck will work 🙂
Wow, great tip! Thanks for sharing! I’ve actually been using DJV almost exclusively lately, but I want to try this out!
Is it me or does DJV 1.3 has better functionalities than the recent verion 2.0.8?
I prefer the video opening directly in a sequencer instead of having a big canvas, and the export function and annotations don’t exist anymore.
I’m sure the developer has reasons but to me the older style seems more suitable to work with.
I also wish there was an A/B compare functionilty like the commercial V-ray frame buffer or Pdplayer.
I totally know what you mean. I had some issues with a more recent versions not being able to open old TGA files, but I reported the issue and it got fixed very quickly. I’d definitely advise you post your thoughts over on the Issues page. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t happy to work on some or all of these issues! https://github.com/darbyjohnston/DJV/issues