01 - Software Installation

Expand / Collapse
 

01 - Software Installation


SOFTWARE INSTALLATION

Getting SCRATCH up and running takes just two easy steps:

  1. Download and Install the SCRATCH software
  2. Activate your license key

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

SCRATCH’s performance relies primarily on the speed of the graphics accelerator and disk sub-system in your host computer system. System RAM and CPU type are also important but in general with more latitude. Below is a list of requirements, recommendations and considerations when setting up a new system.

HARDWARE

  • Graphics accelerator. SCRATCH will work with most modern graphics cards with OpenGL and OpenCL support. SCRATCH is tested on high-end NVidia Quadro and AMD Firepro cards. Please see for an up to date overview of tested graphics cards and recommended drivers - in the Driver Chart available on the Support Site. The exact requirement of the graphics cards also depends on the type of media that you work with: some media require a GPU for debayer while other rely more on CPU decompressing. Some media will benefit from multiple graphic cards in the same system. The recommended minimum resolution to work on is 1920x1200. SCRATCH supports various SDI video output cards: NVIDIA, Bluefish, AJA and DeckLink.
  • High-speed disk sub-system. SCRATCH plays back media files directly from the disk drives without converting to an intermediate file format; therefore the performance of SCRATCH is tied directly to the performance of the disk sub-system. Depending on the type of footage you are planning to process, you will need more or less bandwidth / throughput from your disk system.
    • For real-time playback of 2k DPX material you need at least 350 - 400 Mb/s.
    • For compressed material (like e.g. RED r3d; 35-60 Mb/s) disk throughput requirements is less but more processing power is required from the CPU. Note that to render / write uncompressed material you will need 350-400 Mb/s write speed again.
    • If you are planning stereo projects or using 4k uncompressed footage, disk performance requirements will more than double.
  • x86 64bit compatible CPU. Even though SCRATCH relies in general more heavily on the GPU than the CPU, the choice of CPU is important. Some file formats require substantial CPU power for decoding next to GPU power for debayer: e.g. RED, Sony. Another factor might be that certain plug-ins you are planning to use require CPU processing.
  • 12GB Memory minimum. In a 64 bit operating system there is virtually no limit to the amount of memory that can be used. However, the marginal utility of increasing quantities of memory do diminish; more memory will allow SCRATCH to cache more data. However, you will primarily benefit from that larger cache as long as your media working-set fits in the cache completely.
  • PCI slots. Make sure the system has enough expansion slots to accommodate current and future needs; e.g. professional sound card, disk controllers, capture card, RS422 connector for deck control on play-out, decoder cards (r3d), etc. For the MAC - you can use an Extension Chassis.

OPERATING SYSTEM

As of version 6.0 SCRATCH is released as a 64bit application on both Windows and OS X. For Windows - either version 7 or 8 or higher is required. Windows Server variants have not been actively tested. The minimum supported version for OS X is 10.7.5.

INSTALLING THE SCRATCH SOFTWARE

SCRATCH is typically downloaded from the Assimilate Support Site as a.zip or .pkg file. In the case of a .zip file, you need to unzip the file before you can begin the installation. The file can be unzipped using a default zip utility. Once the file is unzipped, there is a folder with two files in it. In case of the Windows installer these are AssimSetup64.msi and ReleaseNotes.txt. The OS X installer comes in the form of a .pkg file instead of a .msi file. The ReleaseNotes.txt file is copied into the main SCRATCH install directory by the installer. See below for more information about this file.

WINDOWS INSTALLATION

SCRATCH is installed using the .msi file. Double-clicking on this file launches the SCRATCH installer program. When the installer firstlaunches, an initial dialog is shown, indicating that you are about to install SCRATCH on your system. 

Startup Setup Step 1

Installing SCRATCH is a standard Windows install:

  • read the license agreement and confirm / agree to the terms
  • set the install folder
  • copy and install the program files

Note that as of version 8 - the Codec Support Pack (CSP) for additional media format support and the AMT library (for creating AVID compatible MXF) are included in the installer, where as before these were separate installers.

    MAC OS X INSTALLATION

    The install program in OS X is started by double-clicking the .pkg file and goes through a similar series of steps as the Windows install,standard to an OS X installation.

    Installing SCRATCH is a standard OS X install:

    • read the license agreement and confirm / agree to the terms
    • set the install folder
    • enter administrator credentials for installation
    • copy and install the program files

    INSTALLED FILES

    PROGRAM DATA

    WINDOWS

    The default installation folder for Windows is C:\Program Files\Assimilate which contains three sub-folders:

    • Bin64 - This folder contains the SCRATCH executable application and all supporting .dll files. There are also three additional executable programs in the bin64 folder; acopy.exe, diskio.exe and crypt3dl.exe. These are command-line utilities that are used for copying media, analyzing disk performance and encrypting 3D LUTs respectively. See Chapter 11 – Customization for details on these utilities.
    • Fonts - The SCRATCH UI can be customized to use any font loaded under Windows. These fonts are loaded simply to ensure that a default font is available. See Chapter 11 – Customization for more information about customizing the SCRATCH UI.
    • Settings - Containing the default configuration files and a number of predefined Look-Up-Tables (LUT files). Do not modify any of these files directly. Configuration and customization of SCRATCH is covered in detail in Chapter 11 – Customization.
    OS X

    On OS X the installation folder is /Applications and in the /Library/Application Support/Assimilator/Defaults/ the default configuration files are stored.

    APPLICATION DATA

    Once the software is launched, a folder is created in (Win) C:\ProgramData\Assimilator / (OS X) /Library/Application Support/Assimilator/ for storing application data that carry over between software versions. These files and folders are not modified when the SCRATCH software is updated. 

    Note: The Application Data folder is hidden by default in Windows. In order to see this folder you may need to modify the Windows Explorer settings so that hidden files are shown.

    Project

    Everything pertaining to a particular SCRATCH Project is contained within that Project’s folder, allowing for easy backup and transportation of SCRATCH Projects. The SCRATCH Project folder contains a sub-folder per project created. The individual project sub-folder in turn contains- among others:

    • Project.db8; the database containing all project data. Project data is saved automatically on time intervals or when changing between modules. Note that in prior versions this file had the .db extension. When opening an existing project, a new database file is created and the project data is copied into that. The old database file remains in the folder but is no longer updated.
    • Project.bak / Project.$.bak; backup files - when entering a project a copy of the project database is created and renamed to .bak. Any previous backups are renamed with a version number. By default SCRATCH maintains 3 backups - older ones are removed. You can adjust the number of backups in the Advanced System Settings though.
    • ProjectCrash.bak / CrashLog.log; when entering a new a session after a crash, SCRATCH will automatically try to create a backup of the last project database that was used and make a copy of the log file that was written when the crash occurred.
    • Project.dbl; file used for database locking so as to prevent others from entering the same project at the same time possibly causing write conflicts.
    • Additional sub-folders with a specific project: 
    • conform - default location for loading / saving conform files.
    • Constructs - default location for import / export of project data.
    • Colors - default location for saving / loading shot color settings.
    • Temp - default location to store xml data to work with the custom command and project auto-export function.
    • Init - used with XML scripting options for updating a project data through the Watch folder.
    • Animation - default location for saving / loading animation or tracker data.
    • Snapshot - default folder for saving snapshot images in the Player.
    • plugins - default location for storing / loading plug-in preset files specific to your project.
      Users

      This folder contains:

      • A sub folder for each local SCRATCH user created. Each user folder contains a user settings file, any gallery items (looks & grades) that the user saved and possibly customized panel mappings.
      • A Settings folder that  contains an Output and Plugins sub-folder. Both are used to store templates and presets that are available to all local users and are not specific to any particular project.

        Note: The location of the Project- and Users- sub folders can be customized (see Chapter 3 – The  Start-up Screen) and optionally be located on a network drive. that way they can be shared by multiple SCRATCH systems.

      Settings

      This folder contains several configuration files, none of which should be edited directly. For information on customizing and adjusting these setting files, see Chapter 11 – Customization.This folder also contains the LOGS sub-folder: each time SCRATCH is run, a new log file is generated in this folder. The Assimilator.log file is the most current log from the last time SCRATCH was run.Previous versions are numbered from 1 to 10 with 1 being more recent and 10 being the oldest. Only the last 10 log files are kept. Older log files are removed each time SCRATCH is run. 

      Tip: The log files are used to troubleshoot issues with the SCRATCH software. Anytime you have strange behavior from SCRATCH, exit the program and copy the Assimilator.log file from the LOGS folder to another location. This allows you to preserve it and send it to Technical Support.

        UPGRADING SCRATCH

        The SCRATCH software is updated regularly to add new functionality and improve existing features. To upgrade to a new version of the software, follow these steps:

        1. Back-up all project and user information. This information should be backed up regularly, but it is most important to have a backup version of your project information before installing a new version should you ever need to revert back to a previous version for any reason.
        2. Remove the SCRATCH software using Add/Remove Programs in the Windows Control Panel.
        3. Install the new version of software by running the .msi installer that was provided.

        Note: A new SCRATCH license may be required when upgrading to new versions of the software. Check the Release Notes that are included with new versions of the software for information about licensing before beginning the install process.

        Note: It is most important that you check the Release notes of a new version to make sure it is fully backward compatible with the current version you are running. It is discouraged to switch to a new version while working on a project but rather wait to install the new version when starting a new project.



        Rate this Article:


        Details
        Last Modified:Monday, July 09, 2018
        Type: HOWTO
        Options