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cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17
Video playback on 68k and OS9 Macs

I'm currently emulating the classic Mac OS and running Tiger through Sierra natively, so while I can run virtually anything on Snow Leopard forward, things get a little more restricted the further back I go. Since we don't have a forum geared specifically for A/V, I'm asking here Smile

When I posted the Plex Media Center for PPC, it got me thinking about DiVX and VCD playback on Mac OS9, which was great on G3 and G4 Macs, and IIRC, VCD also played on older hardware like my old PB1400c's CD-ROM.

My question is this: how far back has anyone been able to go with AV? When Quicktime debuted, I remember using QT 1.6 for tiny 320x240 Cinepak 256-bit bw and color playback, but by the time the 840AVs and Quadra 950s with AV cards were at their prime right when PPCs were entering the Mac space, surely there must have been some level of decent video playback on 680x0 Macs.

I ask because having SheepShaver on W7 and OSX, it would be nice to see how these older Mac systems handle AV. I've been experimenting with Basilisk II in full HD and the thought of getting some video playback has been running through my crazy head. I know all of this sounds a little retro-crazy (well.. because it is), but that's surely why we're all here anyway (in one way or another), lol Wink

Are there any AV mad-scientists in the house? I'm especially interested in 68k video playback formats and hardware and/or software rigs and emulation feats. Obviously I don't expect 1080p with 32-bit resolution pre-PPC!

I was thinking about QT 4.0.3, Sparkle 2.4.5, older QT versions and players as well as some of the 68k video authoring software, like QT Pro, Avid, Premiere, etc. as well as the QuickCam video editor Retake, which I don't think I ever found it anywhere. If I reached VCD, SVCD, or KVCD quality playback through emulation or if it's possible natively on 68k, I would bow down to the AV gurus who knew about such Mac martial-arts. Laughing out loud

Ps. of course I haven't asked the question about 68k audio playback, MOD, MIDI, MP3s come to mind.. although rocking an Axel F in 22kHz anti-aliased stereo using 1992s SoundTrecker through my BT soundbar running System 7 a few days ago was a true surreal experience!

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Gary's picture
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Joined: 2011 Jul 21

I worked for a small company in the mid 90's that tried to put full frame (640x480) video at 30 FPS onto the Nubus. We succeeded but only by doing all of the disk fetching and video processing on our own cards that used a private bus called the VideoBahn. The Nubus itself was too slow to handle the data/video stream. We used the Nubus strictly for Mac interface things such as the GUI and file management.

The price for our 2 board system with 4 GB of video storage (about 2 minutes of full frame video) was $13,000.

True self-contained full frame video was only possible after the PCI bus came out.

Gary

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Sign me up up for one, Gary! Laughing out loud

Okay, maybe $13,000 is a whole lot for nearly everyone, but that proves the bleeding edge Mac has always pushed with their products. I like the name of the video bus too, VideoBahn! Tell me a little more, we are talking about the likes of the $5100 840av Macs with 3 Nubus slots or the $9600 950 w/up to 256MB RAM, 1 '040 PDS and 5 Nubus slots, right? What kind of codecs did these cards run? This is way too cool! I may have to get in touch with my old boss; I know he was testing the AV DSP chip on a Centris 660av connected to some high-end video equipment when that AV Mac first came out.

I still can't believe Basilisk II has allowed me 512 MB RAM, 2GB and 1080p, but through emulation I suppose you can achieve these over-the-top specs straight from your hardware's native capacities. Which means that, theoretically, higher-end video will likely be possible in an emulated 68k Mac with the right mix of old programs and codecs.

Gary's picture
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Joined: 2011 Jul 21

The 2 cards were (1) ours (called Digital Magic) and (2) Theirs (Intelligent Resources) Digital Explorer.

The Digital Explorer was actually a family of boards giving the buyer a choice of signal processing. One board (the most expensive) was for D1 video. Another did Component video and the last one did S-Video. Prices went from $5000 for the s-video model to $13,000 for the D1 model. This card provided the connections to and from the raw video signal. That signal was transferred over the VideoBahn to the Digital Magic board. The DM board managed the 2 SCSI drives attached to the DM board (for video storage) and provided access to the individual frames for things like rotoscoping and compositing. I wrote several Photoshop plugins to assist that process and we also provided an easy interface to After Effects as well.

The system was targeted at the Broadcast Industry who were paying $100,000 per seat at the time for Avid's Media 100 product. So a $13,000 version was quite a bargain.

There were no CODECs used. This was UNCOMPRESSED video.

The problem was we had no PCI bus version and the year after we shipped the first system, Apple discontinued the Nubus. Our market dried up and both companies went bankrupt.

Gary

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Thanks for your insight, Gary!

Sorry that the company you were with went through all that trying to sell some super-cool Apple digital video tools. One shift in specs and small tech companies can lose everything they built!

By the way, I'm going to post a little more info I uncovered recently, now I just have to find it again Smile

bertyboy's picture
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Joined: 2009 Jun 14

QuickTime v1.0 was only a year or so before the AV's and PPC.
For those of us who ran QT on IIsi and IIci, it was nicknamed TreacleTime. but we still loved it.
Videos were tiny, rarely more than 160x120, or 240x180, encoded at about 600kb/s, with 22kHz audio. Linear PCM was the usual format.
The biggest limitation on video was, of course, physical media.
The world still revolved around floppy disk. CD readers were a year away from being available to order, with a six month wait for delivery (Apple CD300e). I didn't get a CD burner until USB and iMac rev.A. Then the m68k hard disks were tiny too, 40MB, 80MB or 100MB. no-one wanted to keep a 10MB video on their 80MB disk, especially when they were already giving up 17MB for a swap file because they had upped to 16MB RAM.

Others may remember it differently.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

I still remember the 20MB drive in my SE! I was over-the-moon when I got a IIsi with an 80MB drive. I also recall buying a 16MB stick of RAM for AU$1000 in the mid 1990's, thinking that wow RAM prices have really dropped! Smile

@cbone: MpegDec for good MP3 playback on '030 - '040 Macs.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

I too remember when I first used a IIci with an 80mb hard drive and I thought I was literally in heaven, such a powerful machine at the time Smile

And MegDec, thanks Mike! And now that I remember, I think added it to the BII OS8 disk image I made, although when I tested it, I'm not sure if I actually got it to run, lol!

SkyCapt's picture
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Joined: 2017 Jan 11

I paid over $500 US for a 40MB harddrive that corrupted itself when you bumped into it. Its driver software had a "Park" command, the harddrive required that you "Park" it before powering down, this moved the head off the platter so you could get physical and not lose potentially everything. Image me when I found out this wasn't normal.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Wow! 'It's not a bug', 'It's a feature'? does come to mind Laughing out loud

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

You know Berty, you're right. Macs were transitioning from the bunch of bw macs in college to the sleeker Quadras in the early 90's. When PPC started coming out, they seemed slower because most of the system and program code was still 68k-based.

I remember that $200 SCSI Zip 100 external drives with $20 Iomega disks became the rage for design and media bureaus during that transition period around '94-'95 onward. Most mid-to-high-end Quadras came with 500mb hard drives, even a few 1GB HDs for top-of-the-line models. Because of Kodak's PhotoCDs, CD-ROM games and educational titles, as well as to finally get rid of multi-floppy installs, most Quadras came with CD-ROMs as well as floppy disks for small file backup and less preferred 'floppy-net' transfers.

Even so, all of the Quicktime videos I remember on the CD-ROMs I ran were always tiny, as Gary explained about Nubus-[under]powered displays.

WhosIt.There's picture
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Joined: 2014 Aug 23

"Video", in the sense of moving images, goes much further back than the Mac. Some games, etc. had "video" back in the days of the Apple II and Commodore 64. Smile That was mostly something like an animated GIF rather than actual video ... but then again, video itself is simply a set of quickly-flicked still images anyway.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

Yes, and (back to the Mac again) HyperCard animations Smile

SkyCapt's picture
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This is video played in real time from an Atari 800XL (8bit 6502 @ 1.79MHz) :

https://youtube.com/watch?v=bTCVpCPvfBM
(NUMEN by Taquart)

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

I love the retro 3D walthroughs.. the cartwheeling stick-man was my favorite! Atari, that does bring back some memories.. good times! Laughing out loud

SkyCapt's picture
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Atari 8bit had lots of rendering tricks, there's more rendering going on in that vid than actual recording+playback, and, they probably used some modern tools rather than 100% A8 environment when making it. Impressive tho, nothing like it was seen back in the day. One of the Numen comments on atarimania likens Atari 8bit being carried into the new millennium to that of observing one of our first space probes leaving the solar system ... tears of pride.

Technically Numen was made on/for PAL video, so 1.79 MHz isn't its cpu clock, because 1.79 comes from the NTSC television "color clock" crystal frequency 14.31818 MHz divided by 8.0 to get 1.78977ish MHz (1.79 is rounded up) ... the Atari cpu clock was perfectly synced with its TV color clock, for spot-on video fx.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

As I wrote this topic, I recalled how animated GIFs made the Internet so much fun. I had some beautiful animated background pictures (was it Mac or Windoze, though?) with GIFs as well. Flash animation was also very popular for online animations (and later on, actual videos, i.e., youtube).

24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

Found one for you on one of my old MO images.
A true "Mouse Cinema" file from those days, but wasn't´t it the bummer?
See second DL here: http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/daystar-powercentral-rel-7

I came across some QTVR stuff while looking, any takers?

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Ohh, me, me! Laughing out loud

24bit's picture
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See here for QTVR: http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/qtvr-player-10-and-qtvr-files
Here is 3DMF also: http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/3dmf-viewer-plus-3dmf-models
Have fun!

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Thanks 24bit!

I've had a crazy year, so much kept me away from fun projects, but I like to check in every once in a while to at lest reply and hopefully add some more tidbits I uncover here and there.

Well. I know I saved some info on some actual 68k video encoding that appears can be done in modern macs and played back in pre-ppc macs. As soon as I can find it I'll post it here to see if any of us can jimmy some 'reel' 'ol time videos! Of course, 68k video playback will be more of just having some fun with it than any practical application, but you never know!

Thank goodness for those old gif and vector-based flash and shockwave web animations and even old-timer Hypercard and all it's variants to add some video fun back in the day! Stay tuned! Laughing out loud

cbone's picture
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I found my notes! These encoding settings should work fine for 68k Macs on System 7-8:

Media space, system requirements and encode settings:
1) Settings: Cinepak, 15 fps, 320 x 240 68k-based Quicktime video @ about 2175 kbps
2) System: LC/Quadra, 68040/68LC040 chipset would be needed
3) Media space example: 400 mb 320 x 240 Cinepak video equals a little under 25 minutes

Encoding for 68k Cinepak video:
1) Enable legacy codecs in QuickTime Pro
2) On Leopard you go to the Advance tab in QT's prefs pane
3) On SL install QT7 player & use terminal command: qtdefaults write LegacyCodecsEnabled yes
4) Open your video files in QT7 player and export them with the proper legacy settings

Cinepak video results:
1) 15 fps loses frame content and 24 fps pushes 68k Macs to their limits
2) 24fps, 320x240, 1800kbps Cinepak settings may offer the best 68k video encodes
3) YMMV - under Basilisk II emulation, I successfully tested a Cinepak sample using QT player

Sample tested: I found a Cinepak .mov video of Apple's '1984' ad here: http://samples.mplayerhq.hu/V-codecs/CVID/1984.apple_ad.mov

Since my Mac Mini and my older Macs are not in use, I watched the sample video above using my chromebook's 68k emulator and doubled the video's size on QuickTime. It was like watching old SD videos on Youtube on a low-end tablet or smartphone; just smooth enough for young kids to watch. Hard drive space is the biggest constraint, although I believe Orb removable drives might be compatible with real 68k Macs. Emulation will work best I think due to the processing power and space of our current systems.

Here's a Quadra 700 playing a full-screen Cinepak video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9PyMmlUhNI

A friend at VideoHelp.com encoded a 15 fps video using VirtulDub. It played back fairly well on my emulator. He did ask if these videos could be tried on some real 68k Macs, but mine are all dead, even my PPC Macs are down.

Here's the link to those Cinepak encodes if anyone wants to try them out to see how they run on your Macs:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1aoePo3au41ABsuph5vKNxyBKf0YdrlG8

Here's a link to the screenshot of me playing back the video on my chromebook using Basilisk II:
https://forum.videohelp.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=44966

fogWraith's picture
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Joined: 2009 Oct 23

I have a couple of older machines laying about, I'll definately give them a spin (hopefully) this weekend. Very interesting !

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

thanks a lot fogWraith! yes, its comforting to see our grandaddy Macs churning out some pre-vcd video playback. back in late '92, I played with some 320x240 quicktime videos on a quadra 950 and no long after on a powerbook 180, outputting to a 16-inch monitor, running quicktime 1.5 and later on 1.6, iirc. It was all very new territory for Macs back then, but very, very 'cutting-edge' exciting to play with at the time! Laughing out loud this exercise is more of a bit of nostalgia for me than anything else Shy

Katie Cadet's picture
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Joined: 2016 Feb 15

I uploaded some Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment Trailers in QuickTime format from my Stuart Little Deluxe Edition (2002) DVD here: http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/columbia-tristar-home-entertainment-movi...

These videos might work for you on Mac OS 9, but you will need QuickTime 4.1.2 or later and a PowerPC Mac (or SheepShaver) to play them.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Thanks Katie! I may be able to play your DVD on my Sheepshaver PPC Mac.

Not counting 68k Macs, like your uncle, I've also donated several PPC Macs a while ago: a PB 2300c, 1400, several 3400c models and even a 6400 Tower. I also had a pismo G3 a 17-inch PB G4, an eMac, and more recently using a Macbook and a Mac Mini.