Arkaos Pro recently released Media Master 4, the latest iteration of their Media Master line. The update sees many boosts across the board, but no major features that are groundbreaking. The two new features that Arkaos Pro is publicizing primarily are the new licensing system and the updates to the Video Mapper extension.

The licensing system probably has the biggest change with this release. It is “completely redesigned.” Steps were taken to make it easier to move your license between machines. You can de-activate it on one machine and re-activate it on a new machine. This occasionally requires internet connection to verify the authenticity of the license, but it doesn’t need to happen on the machine the show is running on so your closed system isn’t exposed to the internet. If you don’t want to or can’t connect your server to the internet, you can download a serial key file to do this.

The other side of the reinvented licensing system is the use of a dongle license. This is becoming standard for a lot of media servers that sell their software. The dongles work instantly and are even hot swappable, so you can switch in the middle of a show and the license should take right away.

Other boosts that this update includes are an extended fixture library, dmx cropping, hue/saturation/lightness control, per layer aspect ratio control, per layer detailed audio controls, pause function, and some improvements to the interface.

With the updates to the Video Mapper tool, Media Master 4 can really slice and dice your output pretty well. It has basic geometry corrections, akin to Watchout’s geometry controls. This isn’t a part of the Video Mapper extension, but rather your first line of defense against simple mappings that go beyond keystone corrections. Within the Video Mapper extension, you have a whole new swiss army knife of adjustment tools. The new updates to Video Mapper allow you to handle several surfaces better and combine them as one output.

The Video Mapper extension will be useful for many projects, I’m sure, but it falls short in its capabilities to handle more complex mapping compared to the other media servers out there, such as Pandora’s Box or d3. Both of these systems let you handle content as it exists on an object and your projectors are merely a camera looking in on your show. This allows for a lot of flexibility. Video Mapper can provide some flexibility to a degree, but not as much as these systems.

At the end of the day, Media Master is a dmx-based layer media server. You think about content in terms of finite layers and you pick an output for that layer. This also brings up a disconnect. Video Mapper is an extension: a separate window that you open to handle your outputs. Pandora’s Box also has this disconnect with their warper. You have to jump between applications to make your output changes and you are just picking an output for the layer. Systems such as Watchout and d3 have similar functionality to Media Master’s output control, but their systems are more tightly integrated within the software. The content becomes output-agnostic on Media Mapper. This gives some broad flexibility, but you lose the ability to really dial in a mapping.

This being said, Media Mapper never claims to be a tool for high-level projection mapping. It's good at the medium-level projects, and that's fine. Media Master 4 adds some boosts in several areas, but don’t expect a whole new server.

There will be hands-on training for the Arkaos Media Server on November 19-20 at the LDInstitute™ during LDI Trade Show and Conference, November 17-23 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Full registration is now open.