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.
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.
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, 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 and Akai MPC.
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, PreSonus Studio One and FL Studio.
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.
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. 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 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 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.
Acoustica Mixcraft, Zynewave Podium, Cantabile and LMMS:
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. 'MIDI: Cue with any C note' cannot be used with these hosts. 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 videoe 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
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.
November 2018: released VidRenderVST for OSX/macOS. Includes Audio Unit version VidRenderAU.
August 2019: added option to display SMPTE timecode.
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
Various third party appraisals
Used in Propellerhead 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)
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
Sonic State - News, Reviews, Video Features, Music Making Gear
POND5: FREE VIDEO CLIP OF THE WEEK