It is usually the x-dream-media booth where we demo our solutions and hold meetings at IBC. The company, a software integrator for the media industry, hosts many of it’s partners at their booth, including us.

In addition to integrating third-party solutions, x-dream-media uses MFormats SDK to develop some of their own software. I’ve spoken to Harald Jordan, who told me how he had developed a decoding plugin for the once popular transcoding engine Carbon Coder.

Rhozet’s Carbon Coder was one of the oldest products on the transcoding market, which came out just in time to support the accelerating transition to file-based workflows. “This was the golden times for transcoders: people were standing in line to get to their booth at IBC.”—Harald told me.

In 2007 Rhozet Corporation was acquired by Harmonic and began offering Carbon as part of their WFS file-based workflow engine, an enterprise solution aimed at automating high-volume transcoding tasks. As it often happens, this shift in focus led to the fact that the original Carbon engine did not get that much attention any more.

This looked like an opportunity for a third party developer to step in and address the needs of Carbon’s existing install base:

I was ill for 5 days with a flu, and I was pretty bored and needed something to play with. Turns out, I was able to build a proof-of-concept using MFormats as a decoding mechanism for Carbon Coder.

The x-dream-media importer plugin makes use of the broad range of codecs and file formats supported by MFormats SDK as well as addresses some bugs and weaknesses of the original engine. In total it took Harald about 15 days to bring the product to a point where it was ready to sell. The company started offering the product about 45 days ago, and it looks like sales have already paid of both the MFormats license and Harald’s development time:

The basic reason why I was so fast is that I have had experience with building Carbon Coder plugins for a long time. I already knew what to expect from Carbon Coder: it’s a very stable engine, there were no unexpected things. I just needed around 50 lines of code that contained MFormats-specific stuff, and besides the audio conversion, the rest is just Carbon-related stuff. In this case it was just totally straightforward and very easy to use.
It is extremely nice to use MFormats for decoding projects, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to do so.

Before this project Harald had made another one, also based on MFormats—a free video player, which can be seen as a more professional version of VLC:

A lot of guys use it because it supports a lot of formats, but it cannot seek frame by frame and there’s no playout to professional playout cards. Also, the VU meter is not really usable in VLC. I intended to build a free player that eases the daily life of video professionals.

The free player is a free download from the x-dream-media web site.

See also