Isadora 2.0 - Responses and Reactions from the Community

  • 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.
  • Tech Staff

    I find Isadora to be very stable. It allows nearly anything to be done, and manages to remain stable. The biggest problems I have ever had or tried to help with have always been user error based.
    Isadora allows me to create nearly anything I can think of.

  • Beta Platinum

    I think there should be a new series of tutorials for the new features(edge blend, mapping, etc)

  • Yes, please... tutorials for the new edge blending and mapping features.

  • Hi Mark

    I'm thrilled about the new upgrade, Izzymap looks amazing! This looks to be the start of a new era for Isdaora, and I wish you the best of luck. Without wishing to tear you away from your final coding and testing, are you able to say how likely it is that the upgrade will be released before the end of this month (If at all?). We are planning to upgrade all our licences at the university, and would like to see if we can get it into this years budget?

  • Sorry, I've just read the timeline again and found the release date for the 31st...

  • Congrats Mark 

    ...and to the new additions to the staff Jamie, Ryan, Michael, and Graham.
    So looking forward to upgrading, I have to say living off the remote west coast of Ireland and suddenly realising you screwed up a show thru human error, I rest in the knowledge that there will be a quick response from you and the team with a solution (as it has done many times in the past with clear and precise instructions)  

  • Great to meet you, Joe :)

  • Beta Platinum

    Looking at my calender... Is tomorrow the big day?

  • @feinsinn Annoucement coming later today... :)

  • Beta Gold


  • We're not quite there in terms of the final final release, but we're ready for the enthusiasts to get on board. See my announcement.

    -- M
  • Beta Gold

    Isadora in her new dress is a hottie!!!!