Spike Tutorial - Part 4

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Step 24) Press the "Graph" button to display the a data rate graph and more. Pressing the Graph button will open the Graph window for the current movie with the window scrolled to the first frame. Alternatively you can select "Graph" from the "Tools" menu or simply double-click on the Data rates list to open the Graph window.

There are other ways to enter the graph window which cause the window to open scrolled to the current frame: You can double-click on a frame's data rate in the data rates list while holding the option key down. Also, you can simply double-click on the frame number (in the "Frame" field) to open the Graph window directly at that frame.

Step 25) Scroll through the graph my holding the mouse button down as you drag in the frame number pointer (the small red triangle at the bottom of the screen).

The graph above shows two major data spikes for the file selected in Step 17. The red horizontal line indicates the highest data rate for this file. The flap at the left displays the color code and actual values for the various horizontal indicators as the relate to the current file. In this example the highest data rate is clearly over above the target data rate (the green horizontal line) even when taking the spike headroom (orange horizontal line) into consideration. The blue line indicates the "Frame After Spike" requirement calculated according to the settings in the Settings window. Finally, the purple horizontal line indicates the heinous "Average" data rate. The vertical black lines indicate seconds and the vertical green lines indicate key frames. As you can see from this example, key frames can just as readily be at a data spike as they can be well under the average data rate. Further, spikes can be at key frames or quite far from a key frame.

For comparison, the graph below is of the alternative movie referred to in step 17 (the one that "passed"). The window is scrolled to the highest data spike in the movie and as you can see, at 157 kps it is well below the target data rate. Again you can see that key frames can be either above or below the average data rate and that spikes, even acceptable ones as are the case here, can be a key frames or far from a key frame.

Note that selecting "Print" from the "File" menu while viewing a data graph will print the graph (sometimes these can be quite long so you probably want to choose a horizontal orientation for printing).

Selecting "Save" from the "File" menu while viewing a data graph will save the graph as Spike Graph file. You can open this in any program that will open files of type "PICT" -- including Spike (choose "Open -> Graph" from the "File" menu). Opening a save data graph is useful for comparing an optimal movie with a batch you're currently working on.

Step 27) Click on the frame indictor (little red triangle) with the command key down to register a "Spike Alert" and append the details of the a specific spike to either the current Spike List in the Text window or to a new "Spike Alert List" in a new text document. Alternatively you can click on a data rate in the Data rates field (on the "Details" side of Spike's main window) with the command key down to register a Spike Alert. Note that registering a Spike Alert does not bring the Text window to the front, allowing you to register a number of alerts before making the window active for printing or saving.

Step 28) Close the Graph window and press the Play Movie button. This will open the current movie in a separate window for playback. Alternatively, you can select "Play Movie" from the "Tools" menu.

Step 29) Select "List Spikes" from the "Tools" menu. This will create a list of all spikes referenced to frames and SMPTE and place that list in Spike's "Text" window. You can open the Text window by selecting "Text Window" from the "Tools" menu.

You can open other documents in Spike's text window, including Spike Log files an more . A "Text" menu (Font, Size, Style, Align) will appear while you are viewing the Text window and the "Edit" menu will become active allowing for Cut, Copy, Paste, Find, and Replace, etc.

Here is a log file opened in Spike's Text window.

Selecting "Print" or "Save As" from the "File" menu while viewing the Text window will have the expected results and you can give the document to the person editing your source to repair trouble-spots that might be forcing otherwise high-quality movies not to get passing marks by Spike.

Step 30) Select "Save Batch" from the "File" menu to save all the information (including file locations) pertaining to the current batch.will allow you to recall the batch, including all the analysis data and settings.

This is the end of the tutorial. You probably noticed that there's more to Spike than we can cover in this brief tutorial but by now you should be familiar enough with the program to discover the joys of "Spike-busting" yourself.

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