What is the best configuration for running PlaybackPro/PlaybackPro Plus?
Due to the broad range of systems and media encoding formats we prefer to list recommended specifications likely for successful playback. Recommendations are for 1920 x 1080 resolution or lower.
- CPU: Quad core or better
- Graphics: Dedicated (AMD or Nvidia) with at least 512 MB of video RAM
- System RAM: 4+ GB
- Storage (in order of recommendation):
- Internal PCIe Flash SSD storage
- Internal SSD
- RAID 0 SSD internal or external connected via Thunderbolt or USB3
- SSD external drive connected via Thunderbolt or USB3
- 7200 RPM drives connected via USB3 or Thunderbolt
- NOTE: Apple Fusion drive is NOT recommended
- OS X 10.6 – 10.10 (10.11 beta version available)
- Recommended Codecs:
- ApplePro Res 422 (standard)
- H.264 encoded with variable bit rate between 15-30 Mbps
- .mov (.mp4 is not recommended)
- QuickTime components:
- 3rd party QuickTime components like Flip4Mac for .WMV encoded files may be added to a system to allow for expanded playback options however it is still advisable to stay with the recommended
I/O cards such as Decklink or Kona can be added for capturing, however their outputs cannot be used by PlaybackPro (see Can I use a video output device (UltraStudio/T-Tap/Decklink/MXO2/MOTU) with PlaybackPro?).
If you’d like to use an older Mac with DT Videolabs’ applications, send your specifications to firstname.lastname@example.org for review.
How do I activate an IA (Internet Activated) serial code license?
1) Connect the system to the internet.
2) Download the appropriate IA application from the link provided on the purchase email or from the second table on the download page.
3) Place unzipped IA program files in the Applications folder then double click to launch.
4) In the dialog box click the “Activate” button under the name of the application to be activated.
5) Enter the serial number provided at the time of purchase. Include the dashes. Enter registration information in the remaining fields and click “Activate Now”
* Internet access is required to activate or release a license, however it is not necessary for program use once a license is activated.
* Registration information can be unique each time an application is activated.
* Licenses are single seat and allow for the use of one application at a time, on one computer at a time.
* License may be released from one computer and moved to another using the release process outlined in the FAQ.
How do I release an IA (Internet Activated) serial code license?
1) Connect the system to the internet.
2) Launch the application.
3) Go the main application menu (to the left of the File Menu), select “Manage Activations.”
4) Write down the serial number. A DT Videolabs serial number will always be 4 sets of 8 digits with dashes in-between.
5) Click on “Release License”. The system will report when the license has been successfully released and available to activate on another system.
What are recommended video types?
The best video format (codec) for PlaybackPro is Apple ProRes 4:2:2 Standard (not HQ or LT). Our second choice is h.264. Both in a .mov wrapper (.mp4 is not recommended) This holds true for client recommendations, DVD rips and conversions from formats with less than ideal playback characteristics such as .wmv files.
All MacIntosh non-linear-editors can export ProRes as long as its QuickTime component is installed — just place the unzipped Apple ProRes component file in the HD/Library/QuickTime folder.
Additional QuickTime Components are included in the Extras folder on our download page.
If your content is created with an Avid or other Windows editing software, we may be able to help with the workflow.
Can I use a video output device (UltraStudio/T-Tap/Decklink/MXO2/MOTU) with PlaybackPro?
Cards and devices that have SDI and genlock capability (such as Blackmagic’s Decklink or UltraStudio, Aja’s Kona, IO and T-Tap, Matrox’s MXO2 and MOTU’s HD) are all video output devices and therefore very limited because they have no GPU and require that video be formatted for the device.
PlaybackPro is built for production efficiency and utilizes the computer GPU for the massive per-pixel-processing requirements of real time transition, geometry and level settings.
Most switching systems accept high resolution computer inputs like VGA, DVI, DisplayPort or HDMI, the Mac can be plugged directly into the switcher. If you require HD/SDI or genlocked component signals, a digital DVI to SDI/Component/Composite SD/HD frame-buffer like the original Matrox MXO (not MXO2), the Convert DVI (Plus) and Blackmagic and AJA mini converters work well. The highest quality converter would be the Folsom ImagePro.
What other software works well alongside PlaybackPro?
Codec conversion (transcoding) software can be extremely useful. Apple’s Compressor ($50) software is excellent for transcoding batches of files, as is Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate ($30-60). MPEG Streamclip works on both Mac and Windows and is a good free application for single file codec conversion and DVD ripping to a format such as ProRes 4:2:2 (Quicktime encoding component required) or h.264.
QuickTime Player 7 Pro may be used for codec conversions and audio track assignments (when using multi-channel audio, see Can PlaybackPro handle multiple audio channels?). When using OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard), QuickTime Player 7 must be installed from the operating system DVD and then upgraded to Pro.
When DVDs need to be ripped from an encrypted DVD (movies, etc.), Handbrake can often be used, although the quality is less than desired.
Flip4Mac is a QuickTime component that allows QuickTime, and therefore PlaybackPro, to decode .wmv files. Although a .wmv file can then be played back directly in PlaybackPro, we recommend converting it to Apple ProRes 4:2:2.
Can still images be used?
Still images are directly supported in PlaybackPro Plus. For best results, images should be re-sized to the resolution of the video clips. If still images are needed when using PlaybackPro a conversion of the still image to a video clip will be necessary. Editing software like iMovie will allow the import of still images and export of video.
If you have QuickTime 7 Pro follow this procedure to create a video file of the image:
- Open QuickTime 7 Pro, select File, then Open File (⌘O), and select your image.
- Edit – Select All (⌘A)
- Edit – Copy (⌘C)
- Edit – Paste (⌘V) do this five or more times.
- Repeat Steps 2 through 4 until you have about 10 seconds of usable footage.
- Important! Export to a format like ProRes 4:2:2. DO NOT use Save As.
- Open the exported file as a new clip in PlaybackPro.
How do I playback DVD content?
DVDs must be ‘ripped’ to Apple ProRes 4:2:2 for use in PlaybackPro. Use an application like MPEG Streamclip or Cinematize to rip unencrypted DVDs. For encrypted DVDs, Handbrake can often be used, but does not produce the highest quality.
What are the recommended System Settings?
It is important to set a few global System Settings prior to using DT Videolabs’ software.
- Uncheck Automatic Graphics Switching if this item is available.
- Set Computer Sleep and Display Sleep to Never in both Power Adapter and Battery sections.
- Uncheck Put the Hard Disks To Sleep when possible. THIS IS IMPORTANT!
- Uncheck Power Nap
Desktop & Screen Saver:
- Set Start Screen Saver to Never
- Set Alert Volume to Zero
- Uncheck Play User Interface Sound effects
- Uncheck Play Feedback When Volume is changed
- Set Output Volume to full
CDs and DVDs:
- Set all options to Ignore
Although not in System Preferences, it is best to unmount any network shares before going into show.
Can PlaybackPro handle multiple audio channels?
Yes. QuickTime compatible movies can be created with multiple audio channels. To assign channels to audio output devices (such as Fastrack 8r), use QuickTime Player 7 Pro.
- Open the movie, then go to Window / Properties in the menu
- Select audio track, then select the Audio Settings tab
- Assign channels to outputs
- Save movie
Audio channels will now map when played back.
Can I run multiple machines in sync?
PlaybackPro Plus, with the SimpleSync application, will run multiple machines simultaneously. SimpleSync does not require a license or USB enabler key.
Do I need the controller to operate PlaybackPro?
No. All playback controls can be accessed using keyboard commands or mouse clicks. The PlaybackPro USB controller simply allows quick and accurate access to PlaybackPro show controls.
How does PlaybackPro handle interlaced video?
When interlaced video is decoded in PlaybackPro (using QuickTime), it is automatically de-interlaced on-the-fly using the graphics card if the QuickTime component that’s decoding the video supports this. ProRes and DV can be de-interlaced on-the-fly, h.264 cannot. If you have interlaced video that cannot be de-interlaced on-the-fly (you see combing during playback), you can either convert to a format that does, or use a file-based de-interlacer such as JES De-Interlacer.
Can I playback timecode?
PlaybackPro doesn’t currently handle timecode directly. Audio timecode can be placed on an audio track (see Can PlaybackPro handle multiple audio channels?). Audio levels are important, so test prior to using.
Can I run PlaybackPro and other DT Videolabs’ applications like InstaCue and RecordPro on the same machine simultaneously?
For performance reasons, only one DT Videolabs’ application should be run at a time. Be sure to quit one application before launching another.
Is there a Windows version of PlaybackPro?
Not at this time. While that may be an option in the future, currently PlaybackPro will only run on the Mac operating system.
Can different user accounts on the same system work with Internet Activated (IA) licenses?
Yes, the Ticket folder must be shared and Read and Write access provided for all users. To set the shared permissions:
Use a the main admin account and go to the main drive > Users> Shared > Ticket.
Right click on the Ticket folder and select Get info. Scroll to the bottom of the Get Info dialog box to the Sharing & Permissions section and change all users to Read and Write access.
This should allow all user accounts to run without having to activate under a specific user account.