A review of a media file in Mirada is a set of comments. Each comment can contain a text message, sketches or a voice track, as well as a message feed with responses to this comment left by other users.
When the application starts, Cerebro provides information about the current user, thus allowing to leave comments in Mirada on behalf of the corresponding account in Cerebro.
The list of comments is displayed on the Comments tab on the right-hand side of the Mirada window. Each comment is linked to a frame of a media file, and this frame contains a label with the number of this comment.
The comment card consists of a header, a middle block for sketches or a voice track, and a bottom part for the comment text and responses. When you hover the cursor over the middle block, the Delete button appears, which deletes the contents of the block from the comment.
There are four types of comments that depend on the contents of the middle block:
- text comment which contains only a text message, and its middle block is empty;
- comment with a sketch which contains a middle block with a single graphic sketch, created with the help of drawing tools (see the “Creating sketches” section);
- video comment which contains a middle block with a voice track and commentator’s actions (see the “Creating video comments” section);
- onion comment which contains a middle block with an animated sequence of sketches, created in the onion-skin mode (see the “Creating onion comments” section).
To create a simple text comment, just input the text in the new comment field at the top of the Comments window and then click the Post button.
As a result, a new comment will appear in the list, its label will be displayed in the preview window in the upper right corner, and there will also be a label next to the corresponding frame on the timeline.
A middle block can be added using the buttons in the comment header (only if such block is currently missing). Therefore, for example, if you want to add a voice track instead of sketches in your comment, you should first delete the sketches and then start recording the track.
To delete the comment itself, use the button at the bottom (the button appears when you hover over it), where the comment text and, perhaps, the responses are located.
Generally, there may be several comments linked to the same frame, and there is no limit to their total number. The viewer displays only one active comment which is selected in the list. Sketches of inactive comments from the same frame are not visible, shaded labels with numbers are displayed in their place, and you can click on these labels to switch between them, while the comment text is displayed at the location of the label. Also, you can simply select the desired comment from the list in the panel on the right.
The Search field located at the top of the Comments window is used to filter comments in the list quickly by keyword or partial keyword.
15.5.1. Creating sketches¶
To create a visual comment, you can click the marker button in the new comment panel or simply select the drawing tool and start drawing over a frame from a media file.
Drawing tools are available in the panel at the top of the viewer:
- Marker and Eraser are used to create and edit the raster part of the sketch. There is a single set of parameters for the marker and vector shapes: color, transparency, and size.
- Image is a button for adding a bitmap image from a saved file (the Comments/Add Image command of the main menu performs the same operation).
- Arrow, Rectangle, and Ellipse are used to create vector shapes.
- Selector (the button with an arrow icon) is a tool for manipulating vector shapes and resizing/positioning raster images. The object selected by the selector can be moved, resized or deleted (using the Delete button or the cross icon at the bottom of the selected shape).
Unlike simple text comments, in this case, the label with the number is located inside the viewer, at the point where the sketching started, and this label can be moved to an arbitrary position using the mouse.
When editing a comment with a single sketch (or after posting it), you can change the duration by dragging, after which the comment will occupy the specified number of frames on the timeline.
15.5.2. Creating video comments¶
Another way to make a review in Mirada is to create a video comment containing a record of manipulations with a media file and a synchronous audio track with the commentator’s voice. To start recording a new track, click the corresponding button in the new comment block.
During the recording, the new comment block displays the duration of the track and the Stop button.
You can speak out your comments to the media file and simultaneously record subsequent manipulations with this file, including:
- cursor movements in the viewer and buttons that are pressed;
- zooming and panning in the viewer;
- movements along the timeline, including when the media file is playing.
In addition, you can make sketches during the recording. Such sketches will also be saved and they will be displayed during playback of the comment.
To complete the recording of a track, click the Stop button in the new comment block. After that, you can add a text message and click the Post button. As a result, a new comment will be created and linked to the original frame from which the recording started.
The middle block inside the comment contains a track and the Play/Stop button. Press this button to play back the voice track and the synchronously recorded manipulations.
15.5.3. Creating onion comments¶
Computer graphics specialists use the “onion skin” term to denote the method of drawing animation frames, when the current frame is displayed along with several neighboring frames. This allows you to create smooth animations based on the previous/next frame.
In Mirada, the Onion Skin mode is used to create an onion comment, which is a series of sketches in several consecutive frames, meaning you can create an animated image inside one comment.
To create a new onion comment, first select a frame of the media file on the timeline, where a series of images will begin. Then click the button to create an onion comment to switch to the Onion Skin mode.
In this mode, you can see not only the sketches linked to the current frame of the media file, but also the sketches from a certain range of neighboring frames. This range is displayed on the timeline, and it is symmetrical with respect to the current frame. You can change the range using the mouse.
For example, if you want to draw a moving object in a series of frames, you should first create the initial image in the start frame. Then draw new versions of the object in subsequent frames. When doing this, you should consider the visible images from previous frames.
Thus, you can lay the desired path for the object by sequentially moving through the frames. The greater the distance from the current frame to the sketch, the paler the sketch becomes in the viewer, and sketches beyond the range are not visible at all.
The top toolbar displays the number of images inside the onion comment, and it also contains buttons for navigating from one image to another.
After posting, you get a comment that spans several frames on the timeline and contains an animated image. When you hover the cursor over the series of frames of an onion comment on the timeline, this comment is activated, and the top toolbar displays buttons for moving between the sketches.
Only after you turn on the Onion Skin mode, the range of frames will be visible on the timeline, and the viewer will show sketches from adjacent frames. Onion Skin mode is automatically turned on when a new comment is created; in addition, you can manually turn this mode on/off using the button located above the timeline to the left of the playback controls.
15.5.4. Responses to comments¶
Comments in Mirada are created not anonymously, but on behalf of your Cerebro account. In addition, a response feed can be created for each comment to aggregate messages posted by various users.
In other words, any user can respond to the comments of other users, but only in the form of a text message without sketches from the original comments.
Please note that after creating a new comment or a response in an existing conversation, the corresponding comment is considered unread for any other user except the author of the new comment or response.
Unread comments have blue labels in the list. You can mark a comment as read by selecting it in the list or in any other way. There is also a command for quickly marking all comments as read (click the button in the upper right corner of the comments panel).
To add a new response for a comment, click the Response button at the bottom of the comment block and enter the message text.
You can reply to any comment in the list, and the maximum number of responses is unlimited.
Comments and responses can be deleted with the following restriction: you can delete only such a comment or response which in turn has no responses. Therefore, if you want to delete, for example, the entire comment along with responses to it, you will have to do it sequentially, starting from the very last response.
A similar restriction applies to editing comments and responses: if there is at least one response to a comment, you can not edit the text and sketches in such a comment.
15.5.5. Posting and exporting reviews¶
There are several ways to save and export reviews created in Mirada.
The simplest and the most commonly used way is as follows: when you close Mirada, the newly created review is automatically sent to Cerebro and becomes available to other users from your universe.
There is a status switch at the bottom of the Mirada window, which allows you to set a new status for a task in Cerebro. Note that each item in the playlist has its own status, which can be changed if this item is active. The task gets a new status after the review is posted to Cerebro.
When you confirm posting, you can use the dialog box to specify whether the forum message should contain a PDF file with comments along with the review in Mirada format (the same file is created when a review is exported to PDF – please see below).
The ability to add a PDF file will be useful to those users who cannot open reviews in Mirada (possible reasons may be associated with an outdated version of the software, incompatible hardware, etc.).
You should also keep in mind that only comments for those playlist items that have changes or new comments are sent to Cerebro. At the same time, several messages in the forums can be created at once, as messages are created separately for each media file from the playlist.
In addition to sending reviews to Cerebro, you can manually save a review to a file on your device using the File/Save Lista or File/Save As… item in the main menu.
In addition, the command for exporting comments of an active media file to a PDF file is available in the Comments menu. The exported PDF contains a page-by-page list of all posted comments for the current media file along with the sketches, frame number, comment text and other information.