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Closer Look: Watchout 6

Closer Look: Watchout 6

Dataton released Watchout 6, the much anticipated successor to the popular Watchout software that has been on version 5 for some time now. Watchout 6 is currently live.

Watchout has been especially popular in the theatre and corporate environment because of its reasonable price point and easy-to-use 2D interface. Version 6 brings brand new 3D capabilities to the table, able to handle a plethora of 3D file types. Watchout is now capable of 3D projection mapping using the point-based calibration tool similar to other media server platforms. There are also many new types of content sources that Watchout can handle, extending what was previously possible. Many more file types are now supported, such as Apple ProRes, HAP codecs, image sequences, as well as uncompressed video, to name a few.

The interface has been revamped with a new, darker skin, better for low-light environments. The new interface is not a far departure from version 5, but it feels a bit smoother and more modern. Watchout is the go-to for many when there is a simple 2D video environment. This simplicity has led to its wide adoption. By adding the new 3D component, there was a risk of over-complicating the user interface, especially when people just want the 2D environment they are used to. However, the new 3D toolset fits seamlessly in the 2D environment that users are familiar with. Because of this, in instances with very complex 3D projection mapping, there may not be tight enough controls to really hone it in. But for the majority of 3D projects, there is just enough 3D power without having to reinvent the wheel of the classic Watchout interface. In the case of a 2D environment, the 3D environment is invisible and doesn’t get in the way. For Watchout to adopt 3D, this is definitely the right way to go about it.

In terms of new features for the 2D environment, there is now a tool called “virtual displays,” similar to feed mappings on d3. You can visualize your environment as it is in real life but then chop it up with a virtual display if your LED processor needs something that doesn’t match the real world. This was previously a large shortcoming of Watchout that would quickly make it not the right tool for the job. Now, with virtual displays, Watchout’s ability in the 2D world has greatly expanded.

There are even more features that are not touched on here that have greatly increased the abilities of Watchout. The interface has improved without creating a new learning curve. The basic philosophy behind Watchout has not changed, only the abilities have expanded, which is the perfect step forward for this software.

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