Multi-Format Video Player for Audio Workstations
VidPlayVST is a plug-in for producers composing music synchronised to video. It uses FFmpeg, which is an Open Source library of tools for working with video and audio data in multiple formats. The plug-in is able to open and play video files in any format supported by FFmpeg (as of August 2016).
If you have a video file formatted with any freely licensed codec, then VidPlayVST will probably be able to open and play it.
- Loop mode may be set with loop points to cycle through a sub-section of the video.
- By default video playback starts at time zero in the host transport. Optionally, a MIDI note C can be sent to the plug-in to cue the start of the video.
- The plug-in window is resizable and, optionally, the video may be viewed in a detached window or full screen.
- The video may be viewed at its original aspect ratio or scaled to fit a chosen window size.
- The plug-in plays audio if it is present within the video file, or it can be muted. So, this is an easy way to extract audio from a video file and use it in your own production.
Distribution downloads are available for Windows (version 7 or later) and OSX/macOS (version 10.7 or later), in 32-bit and 64-bit compilations. Each version is a single .DLL (Microsoft) or .VST (Apple) file. There is no complicated installation procedure, and no license key validation is required.
Steinberg VSTi Instrument v2.4
The VST plug-in conforms to VSTi v2.4 and has been tested with FL Studio, Cakewalk Sonar, Ableton Live, Tracktion, Cubase, Reaper, Bitwig, EnergyXT, Studio One, Renoise, Harrison Mixbus, Propellerhead Reason, MAGIX Samplitude, Zynewave Podium, MOTU Digital Performer, MuTools MuLab, Ardour, Cantabile and Steinberg Dorico.
Apple OSX/macOS Audio Unit (AU) Version
An Audio Unit version of the plug-in is included with the OSX/macOS download. It has been tested with GarageBand, AU Lab, Ableton Live, Tracktion and PreSonus Studio One.
Please refer to the Linux Page.
VidPlayVST instrument plug-in has been designed to be light on CPU usage and memory, so that it can be run in complex audio projects. The two main processing threads run at low priority, and the memory requirement should not normally exceed 350 megabytes.
The processing load depends mainly upon the frame size of the input video. Frame sizes up to 1920*1080 should play smoothly (in a simple DAW project). Click on the VidPlayVST logo to see statistics about the current video file.
I have come across some stock video footage as large as 3840*2160, which not even Quicktime or Windows Media Player could play smoothly. There are websites available online where videos can be resampled down to a smaller frame size.
The user interface is simple and features large buttons. This is to make the plug-in easy to use on a touch screen without a mouse.
Usage Notes and 'Gotchas'
System Requirements - Microsoft Windows
Windows version 7 or later is required. VidPlayVST will not run in Windows XP or Vista.
System Requirements - Apple OSX/macOS
OSX 10.7 or later is required. VidPlayVST will not run in OSX Tiger, Leopard or Snow Leopard.
System Requirements - Linux
Please refer to the Linux Page.
Audio Render - using the plug-in to extract audio:
Most DAWs have a 'Fast Render' option and many also have track 'Freeze'. These options will not work with VidPlayVST. Please render audio at the normal playback speed.
Synchronisation in Cakewalk Sonar, MOTU Digital Performer and Apple GarageBand:
In these DAWs it is recommended that you use the 'SYNC: Follow Tempo Changes' option. With this option the plug-in will synchronise when the timeline is moved by clicking or dragging within the project.
Synchronisation in Bitwig Studio:
In this DAW VidPlayVST synchronises to the host timeline ONLY WHEN THE TRANSPORT IS RUNNING (i.e. the user has hit 'play'). When the transport is stopped the plug-in window does not refresh if the timeline is moved by clicking or dragging within the project. This is a limitation of the plug-in interface provided by this particular DAW.
Acoustica Mixcraft, Zynewave Podium and Cantabile:
In these hosts the VidPlayVST option 'SYNC: Follow Tempo Changes' MUST BE SET. Without this setting video playback runs free and does not synchronise to the transport timeline.
VidPlayVST is configured as an 'Instrument' (VSTi v2.4):
Most DAWs distinguish between 'Instrument' and 'Effect' plug-ins. Instruments accept MIDI input and also internally can 'see' the status of the host transport. There are several audio editor applications which work only with 'Effect' plug-ins and, for these, special versions of VidPlayVST are required...
June 2017: added the option to choose a grayscale interface...
September 2017: added the option to optimize the load speed of long videos. Useful for videos longer than 30 minutes.
November 2017: Apple OSX/macOS distribution now includes an Audio Unit (AU) version of the plug-in.
February 2018: Released a stand-alone version of the plug-in.
VidPlayMTC is a Windows application which plays video synchronised to MIDI Time Code (MTC). Use that old Windows 7 PC as a video server...
Honourable Mentions and Links
VidPlayVST on Facebook
Plug-in reviewed by: Essential free VSTs - VSTs gratuitos esenciales
Running 6 instances!: VID PLAY VST - MULTI PLAY SCREENS
Used in a film scoring project: Film Scoring with Reason 9.5 - How To Sync A Video
KVR: VST plug-ins, Audio Units (AU plug-ins) & AAX Audio plug-in ...
Bedroom Producers Blog - Freeware For Musicians!
VSTPLANET: Free VST plug-ins - Virtual instruments and effects
Free Treasure Trove of plug-ins | Facebook
MacMusic : Music, MIDI & audio on Macintosh.
Pro Audio News &Tutorials | mixingroom.de
ADSR | Make Better Music
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