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.
  • Apply offset to playback by setting MIDI C note at start position (choose 'MIDI: Cue with any C note' in plug-in Settings).
  • The plug-in window is resizable and, optionally, the video may be viewed in a detached window or full screen.
  • Plays the soundtrack if present within the video file, or it can be muted.
  • Loop mode, which is useful for live performance or rolling presentations.
  • Video may be viewed at its original aspect ratio or scaled to fit a chosen window size.
  • 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, Serato Studio and audiostrom LiveProfessor.

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

Deprecation of Steinberg VST2 plug-in format
In the future some DAWs may discontinue support for VST2. In preparation for that, VST3 versions of the plug-in are now included in the distribution downloads. VST3 versions have no functional advantage over VST2.

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. 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.

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 Bitwig Studio:
In Bitwig Studio 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 playback start time is moved by clicking in the timeline ruler. This is a limitation of the plug-in interface provided by this particular DAW. A workaround using a Bitwig Extension is discussed here: Bitwig Page

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.

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):
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 (aka I-frames or intra-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.

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

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

Test video
Check the accuracy of your DAW sync with this video: Test-DAW-Sync-30-mins-with-click.mp4

Reviewed on KVR, and Testimonial

"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

"When we take out the Emerson, Lake, and Palmer reunion tour this Fall, I have to project Keith on one video wall, and Greg on another at the same time, while streaming their audio parts into my soundboard Live for Carl and the band to play along with. VidPlayVST now allows me to do that. I have two instances of it running in Nuendo on my laptop, and both HD video streams are working perfectly, while Nuendo handles the multitrack audio! I will be sure to tell everyone what a great find VidPlayVST is for live audio and video production! Steve Supparits, FOH Engineer, Emerson, Lake and Palmer 50th Anniversary Tour" VidPlayVST used in live performance with dual video walls

Developer's note: Steve Supparits is using the Windows version. On Apple Mac, unfortunately, full screen options do not behave consistently across different macOS versions and different DAWs (try the Demo before you buy).

99.9% of videos will play absolutely fine in VidPlayVST. However, occasionally we come across examples which have encoding issues affecting synchronisation when the DAW transport playhead is moved around randomly within a project. VideoValidator is a utility application which quickly scans a video file to diagnose encoding problems which might affect VidPlayVST. It locates errors such as invalid frame time stamps, and provides advice on various playback issues. Free download available: HERE

Development History

April 2024: Customized version with Patreon project for real-time collaboration over the internet. VidPlay-Collaborator VST Plugin

September 2022: VST3 versions, built with the iPlug2 framework, included in distribution downloads.

September 2019 to August 2022: 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.

Interesting Links

Reviews: Various third party appraisals
Used in ReasonStudios Reason by Ken Evans (Tycho Brahe) to score video for choreographer Claire Marshall:
Producing a film score using Reason 12, Ken Evans talks with Grace McCallum about his latest project “Love Blind Love”.
Used in ReasonStudios Reason by Matt Piper to score video for European Space Agency (ESA):
Space Station 20th: longest continuous timelapse from space
Discussions: VidPlayVST on Facebook
Running 6 instances!: VID PLAY VST - MULTI PLAY SCREENS
Used in film scoring projects: Film Scoring with Reason 9.5 - How To Sync A Video , NI ORCHESTRAL FILM SCORE COMPETITION (Metropolis Ark trailer)

Real-time film score collaboration over the internet: Patreon project VidPlay-Collaborator VST Plugin
Synchronized playback of YouTube hosted videos: Patreon project VidPlayYTSync VST Plugin

Free version of VidPlayVST customized for MakeMusic Finale music notation software: VidPlayVST-Finale tutorial and downloads
Free version of VidPlayVST customized for Intermorphic Wotja generative music application: VidPlayV2forWotja tutorial and downloads

Free orchestral sample library: Spitfire Audio BBCSO Discover
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
FL Studio freebies: Orchestral scoring .flp templates (click on SHOW MORE)

Get creative with video in your DAW: VidDancer VST plug-in