Isadora 2.0 - Responses and Reactions from the Community

  • Tech Staff

    2.0 will be fully compatible with the current release/pre-release versions.

  • Maybe I missed it : Will 2.0 work natively in 64 bits ?
    Will it be compatible with osx 10.6 ?


  • **Isadora v2.0** is 32-bit application that uses 64-bit AVFoundation based plugins for media playback, ensuring smooth and efficient playback of H264.
    There is some useful info here: It is a common misconception that 64-bit applications always run faster than 32-bit applications. But [Apple's own documentation]( as well as [other expert opinions]( show that 64-bit applications may run more slowly than their 32-bit counterparts.

    After 2.0 is released at the end of July, there will be a Road Map released as well, outlining the next steps forward for Isadora and the planned schedule for those implementations including the 64bit Isadora Roadmap :)

  • Thanks Jamie for the explanations.


  • I'm very excited about Isadora 2.0, native mapping options, and Javascript coding.
    Agreed with Simon that native out-of-box support for multi-machine setups (for example, for live backup) would increase the likelihood of managers who are nervous about Isadora on a show being more open.

    A question: If Isadora v2.0 is based on AVFoundation, does that mean we will lose support for some codecs, like Animation, DXV, or other "third party" codecs that AVFoundation does not allow?

  • Izzy Guru


    A question: If Isadora v2.0 is based on AVFoundation, does that mean we will lose support for some codecs, like Animation, DXV, or other "third party" codecs that AVFoundation does not allow?
    Isadora 2.0 will support the HAP codec, this is not part of the supported codecs from AVFoundation. As you can see Isadora will play other codecs than supported by AVFoundation.


  • To be clear about the AVFoundation question: Isadora 2.0 adds AVFoundation support on Mac OS, and will play codecs that AVFoundation likes (e.g., H264 or Apple Pro Res) using that system. Other codecs, like Animation or HAP will be played using QuickTime.

    Best Wishes,

  • To @Simon to @dbengali,

    Thank you for being direct about Isadora's perceived lack of stability. I know that Isadora's once very powerful reputation has become tarnished in the last couple of years, because there were problems with crashes as Mac OS evolved. It most certainly is my intention to regain that reputation of rock solid stability with 2.0.
    Regarding Simon's comments about Isadora's perceived stability. Is that perception due to:
    1) Isadora failing them directly on a show
    2) Because they've heard bad stories to that effect from others
    3) Because they perceive Isadora to not be equal to it's more expensive competitors for other reasons?
    Any suggestions as to how might we address these concerns?
    One thing I can tell you: video playback -- which is at the core of whatever instabilities have crept up, mostly in Mavericks -- will be handled in a totally different way in Isadora 2.0\. This new method means that, in a total worst case scenario, if the process that is playing the movie crashes, the result will be that the crashed movie will disappear from the output. It most definitely will not take down the the entire application.
    Also, I can tell you, when using AVFoundation for playback, the probability of a crash due to video playback will go down to very nearly zero.
    Also, there have been at two very high profile projects done with the Isadora 2.0 beta – one was a product launch that featured 14 projectors and a single 100m x 25m (300 ft x 75 ft) projection surface with edge blends; the other was a really projection mapping project at a one of the most important music festivals in the world. (I would be a bit more specific, but I'm waiting on the creators of those projects for permission to mention them more directly in relation to Isadora's use.)
    Do you think that giving profiles of these projects on the web site would have any effect on that perception?
    Best Wishes,
  • Beta Platinum

    I can say that Mark helped a lot on my crashing system (Mavericks) during the preparing time of our last project. There are hidden tools, that can be changed to make Isadora more stable. The tweaks really helped to make the system perfectly stable.

  • I appreciate the stability of this user community!!

  • @Mark I think giving more exposure to projects like the ones you mention would be a brilliant way of countering the perception + its always really inspiring to see how other people are using Isadora.

    In my experience the perception of instability is probably based more on 'bad stories they have heard'. In terms of solutions a live backup system would be my number one. 
    In relation to making more stable patches, I think publishing the road map of developments that you mention could also be really helpful: knowing when features plan to be released might mean that users are more inclined to wait for a stable tested release rather than jumping in and using pre-release versions in show situations. I also think the new way of giving cpu and loaded media information is great in getting more sense of when you might be overloading the hardware. 
    I hope my initial comment didn't come across as too direct or negative, it just felt that if the development of Isadora was at an important juncture where there might be capacity to develop certain aspects I should flag up something that had been on my mind. 

  • @simon,

    Thank you for these thoughts. Directness at this juncture in Isadora's history is critical. So no offense taken at all. I need to know the score, and your comments help greatly in that regard.
    Best Wishes,

  • My own thoughts on stability... (my personal opinion only!)... I rely on Isadora as the base software in my professional theatre design practice. It think it is always the case that the good stories don't really filter through, and this fact can put an imbalance on the picture?

    Some more positive eg's ...

    • I ran an Isadora interactive video/audio system outdoor projection system (using a particle system and interactive sound, as well as secondary custom software controlled over OSC, for three months in a park in London, from a rooftop weatherproof enclosure. It ran flawlessly, with auto-start up and and shutdowns daily.
    • I also ran a month-long theatre design with edge blending on four main screens, plus 19 additional projection-mapped surfaces. The show was cued by the theatre staff from QLab for 30 days, again flawlessly. We won a design award for that show, in Canada. They were nervous to start with so I hired a local Isadora designer to be on call for the theatre. They never needed him.
    • I am currently designing a touring active 3D projection show, again to be cued by the sound operator via QLab, with a complex design and custom secondary software controlled over OSC by Isadora.

    Having grown to know the program well, it has been the changes to the OS and untested hardwares/drivers that have caused issues for me when they have arisen, as well as the fact that I tend to be working on the latest beta versions.
    Pushing the system to untested limits, coupled with running live shows on beta versions of the software are risk-taking behaviours! We shouldn't do it, but we do sometimes. Why? Because we can and the rewards are great when it all comes together. I think there are different kinds of Isadora users. And different ways of approaching the designs. Crashes I have encountered really seem to me to be more about beta-testing new variables, than about Isadora being an inherently unstable system. Unfortunately in our industry there is never enough time to properly beta test new ideas. We run against the edge of that, with clients hiring us because they expect the latest newest designs and technologies. Some of the bleeding edges, I happily admit, come from my own desire to try out new possibilities in front of an audience... and in this case it is it about knowing the tools you are using, and finding a responsible professional balance between what is possible to achieve under the time and budget constraints versus what is new and groundbreaking. But I always try to pull back to what is achievable and what is the responsible choice, also to protect my own reputation!

    So I have been fortunate (touch wood) that in ten+ years of designing with Isadora, I have never had a show 'fail' on the night due to an Isadora software crash. I have had problems with a computer crash that was caused by powerful radios in a large venue, and firewire cameras being kicked unplugged by dancers, and a projector knocked off position by a clumsy catwalk tech, and power failures.. and all sorts of digital tech risks that we fly against every day....

    We also don't get to hear the big media server horror stories. Like an un-named singers BIG show in Poland recently that had to fly out a team of technicans from the media server company to fix the show AFTER opening night failed.
    Anyway, its certainly a dangerous world out there in experimental interactive show design. I do think when the commercial (non-beta) version of Isadora is being used by experienced designers, and the designs are being put together on stable computer operating systems, Isadora is a reliable and exciting choice.   The other factor that has to be acknowledged is budget. Isadora users are often running on lower budgets, than the shows using the big media servers. And that in itself translates to greater risk-taking behaviours.

    Cheers, Jamie

  • Izzy Guru

    I can add to Jamies comment by saying the Helsinki gig I did was running a beta as was the Glastonbury video mapping event.

  • @mark

    Just saw more detailed post about 2.0, first of all, thank you to keep Isadora an affordable tool !
    Few questions:
    -Are you planning to do a pre-order system for the release, not to be overwhelmed on the D-day? If yes, i would sign up for it right away!
    -Would you consider giving a presentation of new functionalities in Berlin? It might not be necessary (hard to say before knowing the tool), but i guess some things are going to be really different than previous versions, I'm especially thinking about this Javascript coding possibility, that i might have to use very quickly.
    Thanks again for all that work!
  • Izzy Guru

    Having a ' pre-order system for the release' is a good idea actually.

  • Beta Tester

    We have discussed this in person, Mark, but to answer your question directly, my current perceptions about Isadora's stability or lack thereof are based exclusively on first hand experiences that I have had over the course of using Isadora on dozens of installation and live performance projects over the past few years. While Isadora has typically, though not always, been reasonably stable once we get a show open, frequent crashes during the programming process, tech, and previews are the rule not the exception. While we are often pushing the performance envelope of Isadora, a complete crash isn't an acceptable failure mode vs slow framerates. Additionally, bugs like the issue with dongles losing connection that continue to go unresolved weaken our ability to feel safe using Isadora on certain segments of projects, particular when we know that a qualified programmer won't be there to babysit it. For example, we have a several hundred thousand dollar installation project that has been running for several months using four computers running Isadora and we have had near weekly service calls to our shop for software related issues. Many of us know that this has not always been the case with Isadora which is why you have so many loyal users (myself and many of my colleagues included) and I hope that we will be able to get back to a point where it is no longer the case.

  • Dear @MatthewH.

    Thank you for your very honest assessment. I am doing all that I can to ensure that 2.0 will be as stable as humanly possible.
    Best Wishes,

  • Viva Isadora and thank you very much Mark!

     The love and dedication with which you lead this project, allowing all of us to give life to our creative ideas, is as inspiring as the tool itself.