Multi-Format Video Player for Audio Workstations

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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.

If you have a video file formatted with any freely licensed codec, then VidPlayVST will probably be able to open and play it.


  • Facility to pick out a specific cue from a longer video reel.
  • Loop mode, which is useful for live performance or rolling presentations.
  • By default video start synchronises to time zero in the host transport. Optionally, a MIDI note C can be used to trigger playback at any other project position.
  • The plug-in window is resizable and, optionally, the video may be viewed in a detached window or full screen.
  • Video may be viewed at its original aspect ratio or scaled to fit a chosen window size.
  • Plays the soundtrack if present within the video file, or it can be muted.
  • Option to display SMPTE timecode.
  • Designed to be light on computer resources so it can be used within complex audio projects.
  • Supports in-DAW video rendering using companion plug-in VidRenderVST.


Microsoft Windows and Apple OSX/macOS

Distribution downloads are available for Windows (version 7 or later) and OSX/macOS (version 10.8 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, Nuendo, Reaper, Bitwig, EnergyXT, Studio One, Renoise, Harrison Mixbus, Propellerhead Reason, MAGIX Samplitude, Zynewave Podium, MOTU Digital Performer, MuTools MuLab, Ardour, Cantabile, Steinberg Dorico, SoundBridge, Jeskola Buzz, OpenMPT, Vienna Ensemble Pro, Carla Plugin Host, Kushview Element, Gig Performer, Plogue Bidule, Akai MPC, AudioModeling Camelot, Cognitone Synfire, MusicDevelopments RapidComposer and Serato Studio.

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 Logic Pro, GarageBand, AU Lab, Ableton Live, Tracktion, PreSonus Studio One, FL Studio and Universal Audio LUNA.

Please refer to the Linux Page.

System Resources

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.

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/macOS 10.8 or later is required (Intel and ARM CPUs are both supported). VidPlayVST will not run in OSX Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard or Lion. See below: 'Apple macOS 11 Big Sur: What a muddle!'.

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. Use a plug-in such as MeldaProduction MRecorder, if necessary, to record to file in a mixer bus.

Synchronisation in Cakewalk Sonar and MOTU Digital Performer:
In these DAWs it is recommended that you use the 'SYNC: Use PPQ position' 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 and SoundBridge:
In these DAWs 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 these particular DAWs. For Bitwig there is now a workaround for this discussed here: Bitwig Page

Acoustica Mixcraft, Zynewave Podium, Cantabile, LMMS and Serato Studio:
In these hosts the VidPlayVST option 'SYNC: Use PPQ position' MUST BE SET. Without this setting video playback runs free and does not synchronise to the transport timeline. LMMS also requires 'Sync VST plugins to host playback'.

Tempo changes in Ableton Live:
VidPlayVST will not work correctly in Ableton Live when there are tempo changes in the project. A fixed tempo must be used due to a limitation of the plug-in interface provided by this DAW.

VidPlayVST is configured as an 'Instrument' (VSTi v2.4):
VidPlayVST will not work with Steinberg Wavelab, Adobe Audition, Audacity® or Wavosaur. These audio editor applications do not support VSTi 'Instrument' plug-ins.

Key Frames, Key Frames!!:
Most videos are encoded with frequent key frames, and these are required for VidPlayVST to work correctly. A key frame interval of 1 second or less is ideal. Click on the plug-in logo to open the About window, where video statistics are displayed, to confirm the 'Average key frame interval, msecs'. If this exceeds 5000 msecs then there will be noticeable delays in synchronisation when the DAW timeline is moved around.

DRM - Digital Rights Management:
VidPlayVST will not open videos that are encrypted with DRM.

How to configure as a video server using Vienna Ensemble Pro:
Using VidPlayVST with VEPro

Transfer to a new computer, or macOS operating system upgrade
Please refer to FAQs for previous purchasers - transfers, macOS upgrades, lost software.

Apple macOS 11 Big Sur: What a muddle! - Try the Demo before you buy

There are at least 15 different DAWs available for macOS. Each of those DAWs can potentially run in 3 different modes under Big Sur, namely:

  1. native Intel code on Intel CPU hardware
  2. Rosetta emulated Intel code on ARM CPU hardware
  3. native ARM code on ARM CPU hardware
At least 5 of those DAWs are also dual hosts compatible with both VST and Audio Unit (AU) plug-ins.

This means there are at least 15 * 3 + 5 * 3 = 60 different DAW environments which may potentially host our plug-in. It is not possible to thoroughly test a plug-in in 60 different macOS DAW scenarios. Therefore we advise you to try the Demo version in your own DAW setup before you make a purchase.

Development History

September 2019 to Present: No changes to functionality. No maintenance required for Windows compatibility. macOS maintenance updates required for deprecation of OpenGL graphics, Apple notarization, undocumented change to the Apple MetalKit library, Universal Binary build for M1 ARM CPU.

August 2019: added the option to display SMPTE timecode.

November 2018: released VidRenderVST for OSX/macOS. Includes Audio Unit version VidRenderAU.

August 2018: released VidRenderVST for Windows...
VidRenderVST screen shot [300x305]

November 2017: Apple OSX/macOS distribution now includes an Audio Unit (AU) version of the plug-in.

September 2017: added the option to optimize the load speed of long videos. Useful for videos longer than 30 minutes.

August 2017: Free Linux version released.

June 2017: added the option to choose a grayscale interface...
grayscale screen shot [300x278]

April 2017: First releases for Microsoft Windows and Apple OSX/macOS.

Reviewed on KVR

"This is an incredibly useful plugin -- great for just about any DAW that has issues with or is missing video support. Even just as a secondary tool for display on more than one screen, for example. Also supports a bunch of codecs that many DAW engines don't support. Great little plugin, deserves more attention, and great developer too who has added a very useful render feature as well, which most DAWS lack. Easy 5 stars, and a great price too." link to KVR text