While most PC media players are identikit clones which bring nothing new to the playback, mrViewer is a rare exception. A program that has the courage to do things differently. Very differently…
This starts less than impressively with an oddball interface. Menu bars, ribbons, standard toolbars? MrViewer doesn’t have any of the usual UI chrome, and leaves you looking at tiny buttons with such informative text as “F” and “W”.
Each interface element had a tooltip with more information, but hunting around didn’t help much– we couldn’t even find a way to open a file.
Fortunately, this wasn’t as bad as it seemed. We found we could drag and drop images, files or audio files into the program, use the standard Ctrl+O “Open File” shortcut, or choose File > Open from a right-click menu. Easy, when you know how.
Interesting playback pluses started when we realised the spin-mouse-wheel-to-zoom features didn’t only work on images. MrViewer supports it on videos, too, enabling you to zoom in and out during playback.
We could similarly adjust the frame rate, image gain, gamma, exposure, frame/ field display and more, and see the results in real time. Even while playing videos backwards, if that helps.
The program can display multiple windows with more information about the file. There’s a histogram which updates in real-time for videos, ICC colour profiles, a Vectorscope, and a Media Information dialog with a host of low-level detail (video, audio and subtitle streams, colour space, codecs, bitrates, pixel formats and more).
Helpful viewing features included options to display selected file details during playback: Name, Resolution, Frame, Timecode, IPTC data, more.
You can also choose from a set of “masks” to show you how the image would look if it was cropped to fit a standard aspect ratio.
It wasn’t always clear what a function might do. Could we use “Attach Audio File” to create a video by attaching an MP3 to one or more images, we wondered? Apparently not. But, we did manage to replace the soundtrack of a video with another audio file, and even found a tool to adjust the audio offset– not something we were expecting.
Other mrViewer features are even less obvious, only appearing when you need them. Like the program’s support for playing assorted 3D media types (anaglyphs, top/bottom, side by side, interlaced, checkerboard), animated GIFs, or saving them to different formats (animated GIF > MP4).
There’s also some very capable specialist functionality, including support for professional HDR imagery (HDRI, OpenEXR including multichannel, multiview, multipart), multichannel PSD/ TIFF/ MIFF, ACES 1.0 colour management, Colour Transformation Language and more.
MrViewer’s non-standard interface makes all of this much more difficult to use than it should be, but there’s plenty of power here for anyone who needs it. Just be ready for the steep learning curve.
mrViewer is available for Windows 7 and later and Linux.