Learn How to Use Amped FIVE’s Video Mixer to Compare Different Points of the Same Chain

Dear friends welcome to a brand new tip! Today we’re sharing a very simple yet handy Amped FIVE tip, which can help you get better results and present your work at its best. We’ll see how to compare the result at two or more different points within the same chain. Keep reading!

When delivering training, there’s a quote that I repeat to students from time to time: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

That is to say, use only the filters that are actually needed to reach your goal. It is not infrequent, indeed, that you end up with many (probably too many) filters in your chain, so that you may wonder: is this step here actually useful? Let’s go practical with an example: we have this image here, and we need to get a better view of the writing on the signboard.

After some work, we have applied a crop followed by Motion Deblurring, Unsharp Masking, Wiener Filter, and, finally, Levels.

And now we wonder… was it better just to stop earlier? Normally, an excellent way of making a decision is to visually compare side by side the result with and without the additional processing. There is more than one way of making such a comparison in Amped FIVE. The most straightforward one is to create a copy of the chain, take out the filters whose usefulness you’re not sure of, and drag the chain tab on the right or at the bottom of the Viewer panel, so to activate the side by side view:

Using multiple panels is indeed a great way of comparing different results (we also have a past tip about panels), but it has two limitations:

  1. If you need to include the comparison in your report, perhaps to justify a choice you make, you will have to do that manually (e.g., take a screenshot of the Viewer panel, which is suboptimal, of course);
  2. Duplicating the chain will inevitably use more computer memory, which could be an issue when working with beefy videos on a not-so-performant machine.

So if what you need is to compare the results between two different points of the same chain, here’s an alternative way: use the Video Mixer tool! It’s available under the Link category since, in principle, its purpose is to connect two different chains putting their output side by side (or overlaid, or combined in many possible ways). But we can even use it to compare two different points of the same chain!

Another advantage of this approach is that you may choose to add a textual explanation to the comparison adding just one Annotate filter in the mixer chain, as shown below, instead of annotating each copy of the chain:

Now, if you generate the report, you’ll have the Video Mixer part that allows anyone to understand what you’re mixing and how each part of the mix was obtained (they’ll just need to go looking at the corresponding point in the Full chain”).

A little note is needed now: If there was a Resize filter between the two points of the chain you need to compare, you’d be combining pictures of different resolutions when using the Video Mixer. In such case, you should go to the Blend tab of the Video Mixer setting and instruct the filter to use the largest of the two inputs as the target resolution, and (for the fairest comparison) to resize the other pictures with the same interpolation algorithm that you used for the Resize filter in your chain, as shown below:

Just a final note before we say goodbye: in the example above, we only needed to compare two partial results, so the Video Mixer was enough. But if you need to compare more, you’d be better served with the Multiview filter, which allows connecting an arbitrary amount of chains (or filters of the same chain, as in our case).

We hope you enjoyed this Tuesday tip! Stay tuned and don’t miss the next ones. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook: we’ll post a link to every new Tip Tuesday so you won’t miss any!