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Old 23 October 2007, 05:05   #1
Pyromania
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Amiga Video Toaster in FPGA just like minimeg

Can it be done? Even if it was the original more limited Video Toaster 2000 card at first? Sounds like a hot new project for Dennis or someone else. We have a free Video Toaster 4000 card up for grabs for a hardware hacker that wants to take a stab at it.
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Old 23 October 2007, 11:29   #2
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The video toaster hardware will still be covered by patents as it is much later than the Amiga OCS hardware. Get the OK from NewTek before starting.

P.S. Who wants a video toaster?

P.P.S. MiniMig costs over $180 for Amatuers to make, and is 99% digital design (cheap). A video toaster would be a 50:50 analog design and so you'd be looking at a price well in excess of $250, is it worth it at that price?
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Old 23 October 2007, 11:42   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
The video toaster hardware will still be covered by patents as it is much later than the Amiga OCS hardware. Get the OK from NewTek before starting.

P.S. Who wants a video toaster?

P.P.S. MiniMig costs over $180 for Amatuers to make, and is 99% digital design (cheap). A video toaster would be a 50:50 analog design and so you'd be looking at a price well in excess of $250, is it worth it at that price?

Good points, how much do the video toasters go for 2nd hand now anyhow?
Besides what can a video toaster do that we can't do now with cheaper PC hardware?
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Old 23 October 2007, 12:21   #4
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Does anyone care these days? In TV don't they work solely in the digital domain? Even film camera's are digital these days. Meaning all you need is software and a BIG hard drive.
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Old 23 October 2007, 14:02   #5
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ive read it as "minikeg" ))))))))
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Old 23 October 2007, 14:30   #6
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Hooooo

A Minikeg stores a keg of beer digitally on your hard drive. It is equipped with a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) to convert the beer back to analog form under software control.
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Old 23 October 2007, 16:13   #7
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The video toaster hardware will still be covered by patents as it is much later than the Amiga OCS hardware. Get the OK from NewTek before starting.
A hardware (FPGA) implementation of a "replacement Video Toaster", i.e. a card that plugs into the Amiga video slot might possibly be affected by that if sold in the USA. But I'm guessing it would be quite easy to work around the patents, especially if the replacement worked with component video or digital video rather than composite. Designing a replacement Toaster would be an interesting project, but not really commercially viable.

Interestingly, there are no US or European patents where NewTek is listed as the applicant/assignee. The only NewTek/Toaster-related patents or patent applications I could find have Timothy P. Jenison as the inventor.

There are no granted European patents. There was one application which was discontinued: EP0484521 - METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR SYNCHRONIZATION IN A DIGITAL COMPOSITE VIDEO SYSTEM

The US patents are, if anyone's interested in looking at them on Google or the US PTO web site:
  • US 5068717 "Method and apparatus for synchronization in a digital composite video system", filed 1990-04-27, granted 1991-11-26
  • US 5175623 "Method and apparatus for linear video mixer with digital control" filed 1991-04-04, granted 1992-12-29
  • US 5402181 "Method and apparatus utilizing look-up tables for color graphics in the digital composite video domain", filed 1991-04-01, granted 1995-03-28
  • US 5426468 "Method and apparatus utilizing look-up tables for color graphics in the digital composite video domain", filed 1994-07-08, granted 1995-06-20
It's possible that other patents apply to components of the Video Toaster card, e.g. Sony might have patents on some aspects of the chips.

Didn't the original Video Toaster plug into the A2000 video slot (and not into a Zorro slot)? With that in mind, it might even be possible to emulate the original Toaster some day, since emulation could more or less be tacked onto the UAE video output code. (That would be cool, and might even be useful in a way; imagine setting AVI files as input and capturing the output as an AVI file on a PC, using the Toaster software on the emulated Amiga.)


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Old 24 October 2007, 01:00   #8
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@DrF

The Video Toaster includes a four input switcher, this is still expensive and not standard for Windows & Mac OS X.

Used Video Toaster 4000 cards with a nice software bundle are $199 from DiscreetFX. They require a Amiga 4000 for maximum benefit.
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Old 24 October 2007, 02:12   #9
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Originally Posted by mark_k View Post
Didn't the original Video Toaster plug into the A2000 video slot (and not into a Zorro slot)?
Yes.

Quote:
With that in mind, it might even be possible to emulate the original Toaster some day, since emulation could more or less be tacked onto the UAE video output code.
The video slot has other signals including a parallel port.

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(That would be cool, and might even be useful in a way; imagine setting AVI files as input and capturing the output as an AVI file on a PC, using the Toaster software on the emulated Amiga.)
The heart of the toaster is analog video mixing!!

Ok so you might be able to use the software to pretend to edit analog data (which is really digital data), but there is MUCH better software out there for digital editing and mixing on the PC.
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Old 24 October 2007, 08:08   #10
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@alexh

It seems like the best thing on Windows that is like the Amiga Video Toaster is the Windows Video Toaster. But that will set you back about 3K. Some people might bring up Vegas or Final Cut Pro, Avid etc. These are cool but they don't have a realtime switcher or any switcher for that matter.
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Old 24 October 2007, 11:36   #11
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@DrF

The Video Toaster includes a four input switcher, this is still expensive and not standard for Windows & Mac OS X.

Used Video Toaster 4000 cards with a nice software bundle are $199 from DiscreetFX. They require a Amiga 4000 for maximum benefit.
I guess $200 is not bad for something which cost serious money all them years ago, I mean if you really wanted one then but has no cash (thats me) now you can have it

Shame I got no big box Amigas
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Old 24 October 2007, 12:23   #12
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Originally Posted by Pyromania View Post
It seems like the best thing on Windows that is like the Amiga Video Toaster is the Windows Video Toaster.
Not true, there are lots of other bits of software, admittedly commercial, that do great jobs, you've just not heard or used them.

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Some people might bring up Vegas or Final Cut Pro, Avid etc.
Or any of the other dozen "user" grade editing tools. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...iting_software

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These are cool but they don't have a realtime switcher or any switcher for that matter.
Why have a "switcher" when you can non-linear edit any frames from any source into any sequence?

Last edited by alexh; 24 October 2007 at 12:30.
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Old 24 October 2007, 17:16   #13
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Nice list alexh, I have to go through it and see if there are any apps DiscreetFX has not tried. A switcher comes in very handy in a live setup, VJ, concert, live webshows etc. You kind of have to try it to understand it. It is not a software feature, it requires hardware.
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Old 24 October 2007, 19:26   #14
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Nice list alexh, I have to go through it and see if there are any apps DiscreetFX has not tried. A switcher comes in very handy in a live setup, VJ, concert, live webshows etc.
Oh, ok. Never considered the VideoToaster to be a truly live video editing suite. Did NewTek sell it as such or did it just develop into it for you?

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You kind of have to try it to understand it.
I do, please believe me I do.

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It is not a software feature, it requires hardware.
I but I fear these are analog hardware features.

Features that you will not be able to replicate in a digital FPGA.

To re-create the video toaster card you might be able to re-create all the digital bits in an FPGA, but for the analog bits you would have to use the same (or similar) analog hardware components to those on the original VideoToaster card(s).

I tried to explain it earlier, MiniMig is almost 100% digital and lends itself to recreation an FPGA.

The video toaster card is at least 50% analog.

Last edited by alexh; 24 October 2007 at 19:39.
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Old 24 October 2007, 20:21   #15
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NewTek made the Video Toaster a live device on Amiga & Windows. I think your right on how a FPGA Video Toaster would have to be recreated. Analog bits will be needed.
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Old 24 October 2007, 22:33   #16
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I never thought that... I always thought that it's main purpose was for compositing broadcast quality analog video with digital rendered scenes from lightwave. It's second purpose was to be able to mix various analog video streams and add "transitional" effects such as crossfade, sweep, dissolve etc.

The idea being not for live broadcast, but that you put a mix together and then record it for transmission much later.

It's not like the video toaster offered anything near the quality or capability for live TV of even the most basic TV mixing desk (that every TV station would have).

This is the first time I've ever heard anyone talk about the video toaster for "live" video editing.
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Old 25 October 2007, 01:15   #17
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The Video Toaster was and is a lot of things.

: )
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Old 25 October 2007, 02:18   #18
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The video slot has other signals including a parallel port.
Ah, right. I really should have known that.

Still, in theory emulation of the original Video Toaster hardware should be quite do-able. But I very much doubt whether it will ever happen, due to the effort involved. Reverse-engineering how the Amiga communicates with the Toaster should be much easier now that the Toaster software source code is available though.

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Ok so you might be able to use the software to pretend to edit analog data (which is really digital data), but there is MUCH better software out there for digital editing and mixing on the PC.
Well sure. For me, the attraction of being able to emulate a VT would be seeing what it can do and playing with the software (I read a lot about it at the time, but it was only ever sold in an NTSC version and I never saw one).

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Old 30 November 2007, 02:42   #19
Pyromania
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mark_k do you still have a big box AGA Amiga? (A4000/T)?
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