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Installation and Overview Mercalli 2 - Stand Alone Version

Installation and Overview Mercalli 2 - Stand Alone Version By Le Papy - Last updated on Sunday, October 28, 2012
36112 Views :: 7 Comments :: Article Rating (Total Votes: 7)
Category: Tips & Tricks: proDAD Mercalli Tutorials  -  Previous tutorials
Published on Sunday, December 11, 2011
Created on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 9:26 AM
 

I have given you the opportunity to learn Mercalli Easy in the "Getting Started with Mercalli Easy ..." tutorial. I wanted to step it up a notch by giving you the added element of choice and appreciation. Mercalli Easy is extremely easy to use since most everything is fully automated but this is not the case with Mercalli V2, which it would pay to get a better grip on because it is you who controls the software. But with a little effort, greater results are waiting for you. And when you know that there are primarily just two important parameters and the rest is only adjustments, your natural apprehension should fade.

For now, I have tested Mercalli V2.1.4319 SAL (Stand-alone version). Shortly I will write a tutorial on the Mercalli V2 plugin that integrates the stabilizer into Pinnacle Studio 1-15, Avid Studio and new Studio versions. The principle is the same but in the SAL version, you have even more parameters available than in the plugin version, which allows you to save clips you never thought were useable.

Step 1 : Installing the software

Your purchase confirmation email includes a link and product key. By clicking on this link, it downloads an executable file that begins to download the software. This download of less than 400 KB is very fast. I'll skip the screenshot that offers to save the file Download-(1)(support+mercalli)-mercalli-20-sal32bit.exe (or 64 bits depending of your OS)

Once this file is saved on your hard drive, just run it. The usual warnings are shown to you before you run a file of this type. But the publisher is clearly identified and known, so I think you can run it without worry ... Run the file to launch the download
The download starts quickly. It should take less than a minute with a broadband connection.

At the end of the download, the file Mercalli-20-sal32bit.exe is available. A shortcut to access the file-Download (1) (support + Mercalli)-Mercalli-20-sal32bit.exe is automatically created on your desktop. You can delete it at the end of the installation, but if you keep it, it will be useful for future upgrade, since this file is the one to be used for upgrading.
Download begins

You have two options:

  1. Save the installation file on your hard drive. It can be useful to keep it together in a single backup file with your order confirmation, the product key and the setup file ......to be used again later if needed.
  2. Or simply install the software and hope that everything goes smoothly on your computer a few months or years from now.
Installing the software
Either way, installation starts with the traditional welcome window and copyright information. The Welcome and Information window
Then comes the famous window for acceptance of the terms of the license agreement. Read the license agreement if you wish but you can not continue the installation if you do not accept the terms... The acceptance of the license window
I hope that your purchase confirmation email is close at hand ... The best option is to copy & paste your serial number from the email into the input field of the serial number window.

You can then click on "Use Full Version" button which becomes active.
Entering the serial number
Selecting the target directory for installation:
  1. The installation program then offers a default installation directory:
    • C:\Program Files\proDAD 32 bits
    • C:\Program Files (X86)\proDAD 64 bits

It is recommended that you accept the default chosen by the installer.

Selecting the installation directory

The installation program automatically selects a number of default options and displays them for you.
Click the "Start the installation process."

Summary of installation options

Installation is complete. You can:

  1. Try Mercalli V2 version SAL right now;
  2. Postpone using the trial by simply exiting the installer...
End of the installation
Step 2 : Getting started with the software
Mercalli V2.1 SAL interface
The program shows this interface when it first opens. Almost all the options are grayed out. Only the central band "Post video here" flashes. That's because there is nothing to do until you have loaded your video in the central area (you can use the traditional "Open Video" at the top left).
Loading video and settings

Once you have loaded the video, I advise you to adjust the two most important parameters before starting the analysis:

  1. The Field-order setting : this is at the heart of good stabilization. By default, Mercalli V2 selects "Auto", ie it determines the field order on it's own. But it doesn't work every time. As explained in the help file, some codecs store incorrect information or none at all, and automatic detection may fail as a result. This may lead to incorrect stabilization. If this occurs, the correct field order must be selected manually to achieve optimum results. It sometimes happens that you are sure of a lower field priority first for example and Mercalli doesn't accept lower or higher. It only accepts "Progressive". You decide the outcome, if there is still a better stabilization.
  2. The choice of the stabi-cams: it is, in my opinion, the second most important point. Mercalli by default chooses "Universal Camera." The parameter is actually happening everywhere but it's not one that gives the best stabilization. You can choose between "Glide Camera" "Rock-Steady Camera" and "Alternative Camera". For a panorama video, you will of course select "Glide Camera". For a shot that should have been made with a tripod, choose "Rock-Steady Camera". Finally, in most other cases, try sample tests made between "Universal Camera" and "Alternative Camera" so you can judge which gives the best stabilization. The choice of a camera can change some default settings. You can always adjust them if necessary and in such a case, an asterisk is added after the name of the selected camera.
Now you just have to start the video analysis and monitoring tools and graphs. The help file includes numerous screen shots that allow the process to follow.
The treatment phase of the video file

Here is an example where several analysis graphs (including Avid Studio and new Studio versions, which now gives this information) indicate that this video is an AVI format with a lower field first setting. Even though Mercalli is indicating the right field setting, it will treat this video with "Progressive" priority. In other cases, it will display the pink banner that you see on the screenshot of this graph, because the fine saw tooth graph is a reliable sign of incorrect field order identification in the Pan movements graph.

Once your video has been correctly processed, Mercalli will show you the results and you can make any necessary settings adjustments, especially at the borders, and zoom in to fine tune the results of the adjustments.

The result of the stabilization treatment

After stabilizing your video, Mercalli provides you with useful information to make final adjustments, Pan Shot Smoothing, Smooth out zoom, Rolling Motion Compensation, Decrease Horizontal Tilt or Decrease Vertical Tilt and Border Handling.

  1. Playback controls such as Play / Pause lets you view the stabilized video. During play, the tools (item 5) display the corrections in real time.
  2. The two bracket sliders located on both sides of the timeline are used to limit the portion of video to be treated;
  3. By default, Mercalli shows the Pan Shot Compensation graph and marks the parts that have reached the limits of stabilization according to the settings you specified at the start. If adjustments will be needed it tells you the parameter in question (in this case the "Cam limiter"). The adjustments that you make directly improve the shape of the graph and may even do away with the critical areas;
  4. To supplement this information, Mercalli shows two bands with red danger signs on both sides of the video when playback reaches these critical areas;
  5. Throughout the viewing of the video, each tool continuously displays the corrections made and if the tool has reached its limits within the parameters chosen at the outset;
  6. The main adjustment settings are accessible directly from the main window and the cursor parameter to change is flashing red;
  7. All the adjustment settings and options chosen are available respectively in the "Adjustments" and "Extras" tabs;
  8. To help you in your adjustments, you can check these boxes according to the defects reported by the tools. Activation of compensation changes are automatically set to default values​​. But you can always make changes to add your own personal touch. These check boxes allow you to activate or not activate:
    • "Rolling Motion-Compensation" (R).
    • "CMOS-Sensor-Rolling-Shutter-Compensation" (S) The rolling shutter effect is an unwanted effect inherent in components known as CMOS sensors, which are commonly used in digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs), pocket cams, mobile telephones and video cameras.
      Rolling shutter effect tends to be undetectable or hardly noticeable in footage before stabilization. But after a video is successfully stabilized in post-production, the rolling shutter effect remains and may slightly or severely impair the quality of the footage.
    • "Zoom Compensation" (Z).
    • "Tilt Compensation" (T).
  9. After your adjustments, you can export to a video format of your choice for your stabilized clip.
Step 3 : Conclusion

Certainly, there are comcepts to grasp but once you see the video I've prepared from an amateur SD film, I think you will love it.

This shot was made without a tripod from a boat sailing on the Rhône River Delta in France and the zoom has been used a lot. It was a lower field first priority. Naturally, I chose the "Rock-Steady-Camera" Stabi-Cams and for adjustments in processing borders, I opted for the Best Stabilization and Avoid Border with the zoom pushed almost to the maximum. I'll let you see the results, you can compare with this split-screen view, stabilized video on the right of the screen, as if I had to clarify that.

Of course, the maximum zoom that I was obliged to apply to the video to remove the rolling movements has greatly reduced the sharpness of the shot. However, the clip becomes more useable and to avoid the maximum zoom, you can try other options that are available, plus other tricks such as using it in a montage theme or in a PIP. But you will always have the freedom to choose between excellent stability at the expense of the details of the video or the vice versa: you can be the judge. Choose the best compromise.

Finally, here is another test on an HD clip made available to me by Mamounette who gave me his kind permission to play it. Although the interlacing of this clip is "Upper field first," Mercalli V2 chose to treat it with Progressive priority. This clip was shot with a slight pan so I chose "Glide Camera". I made no other adjustments. The most important corrections have taken place on the Roll and Pan Shot. Here are the results:

This Getting Started tutorial is not all inclusive of the possibilities of Mercalli V2 stand-alone version but it should suffice to give you a pretty good idea of it's ease of use and the results that can be obtained.

{Screen Capture made with TechSmith Snagit 10}
{Thanks to Loosecannon for the fine tuning}

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Comments
Joe By # Joe @ Tuesday, March 13, 2012 11:00 AM
Hello,
I also tested the ProDad Mercalli SAL V2.1 and it works fine regarding the stabilizing result.
But then I exported the video clip in *.wmv format and put it into Pinnacle Studio 15.
Surprise:
Studio 15 cannot handle the *.wmv format.
When I try to play the clip in Studio 15 I get the blue question mark instead of the video.
Then I tried other output formats and got the error message from Mercalli:
"No combination of intermediate filters could be found to make the connection".

What can I now do to use the Mercalli 2.1 SAL stabilizer with Pinnacle Studio 15?

Regards Joe

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Tuesday, March 13, 2012 1:22 PM
Hello Joe,

That's the reason why it exists a plugin...
;-)
Because it's easier to use.

But normally, you should not have any problem importing video into Studio 15. Can you send me a small WMV file that you done (I will get in touch with you through email). Normally, you should be able to choose another export format as well.

Let's get in touch,
DV FX

Joe By # Joe @ Wednesday, March 14, 2012 2:15 PM
Hello,
I have just sent you the short wmv video clip.
I can import the wmv file into Studio 15, but when I add a transition then the problems start.
When I try in Prodad Mercalli-2-SAL to export as a Microsoft MPEG-2 file I get the following error message:
“No combination of intermediate filters could be found to make the connection”.
What does that mean???
Let’s see what you can find out.
Thanks and regards
Joe


Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Sunday, March 18, 2012 10:46 AM
Hello Joe,

If you manage to import into Studio, then re-export with Studio ? Regarding MPEG2 exportation using proDAD, I have no idea. Try getting in touch with them, they should rapidly solve your problem, they are usually very reactive.

DV FX

David By # David @ Wednesday, March 21, 2012 2:51 PM
how do I adjust the vertical? It's cutting off the entire top half of the video.
thx much!!

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Saturday, March 24, 2012 7:42 AM
Dear David,

You need to correctly choose the field order settings to avoid such problem. Try to change it and keep us informed.

DV FX

Andy Rivers By # Andy Rivers @ Thursday, May 10, 2012 3:51 PM
Hello, I have the stand alone version of Mercalli 2.0.3931 Tech.r66
I am still now able to convert mpeg to wmv without first converting it to wmv. when I drag the mpeg, prodad has stopped working and the program closes. I have used several codecs, none work.

Thank You - Andy

 
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