Table of Contents
Before You Begin
PlaybackPro is designed to make professional media playback on a Mac quick and simple. Utilizing the best in Apple video technology, PlaybackPro has been optimized to play virtually any modern Mac file type. The intuitive interface allows you to rapidly add media, organize and play clips, apply custom settings and save playlists, all without altering the original files.
Automatic output resolution and aspect ratio functions are built-in, with real-time manual adjustments available for sizing, stretching, cropping, as well as gain, saturation, black levels and volume.
Connecting a PlaybackPro Plus system is easy too. By using modern Apple video adapters or third party converters, PlaybackPro Plus easily connects with high-resolution monitors, video projectors, LED video walls, professional switchers and converters. PlaybackPro is not compatible with video output devices such as an Aja T-TAP or Blackmagic UltraStudio device. Please visit our FAQ for current information.
General Hardware Setup
You will need a license for any DT Videolabs application. We off\n\ner USB and Internet Activated (IA) licenses. Follow the steps on page 5 to activate your license.
Demo Mode - If you need to evaluate PlaybackPro or set up a show off-line, you can use Demo mode. It is fully functional but has a watermark on the fullscreen output. Download the USB version of PlaybackPro (Internet Activated versions do not offer a demo mode), launch it, click on “New Show.” After a few moments, you will get a dialog box with options for the USB key. Select “Run as Demo.”
Each version of macOS has specific settings which have a great impact on playback performance. Before you begin, please visit PreFlight. This page also includes a link to a printable PDF if needed.
Top Keyboard Commands
For 1920 x 1080 and lower resolution content we recommend a quad-core CPU, dedicated graphics with at least 512 MB of video RAM, 4+ GB of system RAM and internal PCIe Flash SSD drives.
Our recommended codecs are Apple ProRes 422 or h.264 in an .mov container file.
For the most current system specifications visit the PlaybackPro Page
Currently audio is handled by macOS. To change the audio output go to System Preferences, Sound, Output. Multi-channel audio is possible with PlaybackPro (Plus). Please Contact Us for current instructions.
Common compatible codecs are AAC, AIFF/AIFC, MP3 and .WAV.
Also from DT Videolabs
Controllers greatly improve the efficiency and ease of use for PlaybackPro and PlaybackPro Plus. The controllers offer dedicated keys for the most common commands such as Take, End, and Goto 10/20/30. We offer a 40-key controller for PlaybackPro Plus and a 10-key controller that works with PlaybackPro and PlaybackPro Plus.
Using an Internet Activated (IA) Serial Number
PlaybackPro can be activated using a serial code for either PlaybackPro, PlaybackPro Plus or the PlaybackPro Collection.
- Download the PlaybackPro IA application from the link provided in your purchase email or from the Internet Activated (IA) table on www.dtvideolabs.com/downloads
- Place the unzipped program file into the Applications folder then double click to launch.
A delay of up to 10 seconds can occur when launching the application. This is normal behavior as the application checks the license.
- In the dialog box click the “Activate” button under the name of the application to be activated
- Enter the serial number provided at the time of purchase, including the dashes. A DT Videolabs serial number will always be 4 sets of 8 digits, separated by dashes. For example, xxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxx. Enter your personal registration information in the remaining fields and click “Activate Now”. It is required you enter text in each of the fields.
- 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 below and at Activation
To Release an Internet Activated Serial Number
- Connect the system to the internet
- Launch PlaybackPro
- Go to the PlaybackPro menu (to the left of the File Menu), select “Manage Activations”
- Store the serial number. A DT Videolabs serial number will always be 4 sets of 8 digits with dashes in-between.
- Click on “Release License”. The system will report when the license has been successfully released and is now available to activate on another system.
***IMPORTANT*** License information will be retained on your system after you release a license. Users of previous versions will notice the addition of the “Clear Info” button which removes previous license info from your system and can aid in troubleshooting. If you have trouble activating a license, clear the info and try activating again. If you use the “Clear Info” button, it is important for you to retain a copy of your license number so you can reactivate.
New USB Installation Collection Instructions
- Insert the USB Enabler key into the system
- If you haven’t already, go to Downloads to download the Collection
- Place the unzipped program files into the Applications folder then double click an application to launch
- If you are running an application on a system for the first time, a window will open after you attempt to create or open a show. Select “Install Key Driver” and follow the on-screen instructions.
PlaybackPro is designed to run on a primary screen for the interface and a secondary output for full screen playback. Displays may be reordered under the Displays section of System Preferences.
It scales to any hardware, but may be limited by the computer’s processor speed, disk bandwidth and graphics power.
PlaybackPro automatically adjusts to the aspect ratio of the external display. To manually change the output resolution (or aspect ratio if no external display is present), click Setup in the red Program Section.
Show files are saved as individual documents. Multiple shows can be created but only one show file may be opened at a time.
PlaybackPro is based on the QuickTime Framework. Any video file that runs smoothly in full screen mode in QuickTime Player should run in PlaybackPro, however, PlaybackPro requires approximately 10% more peak processing and graphics power. Virtually any file type can be played by installing third-party QuickTime plug-ins. Not all file types work well for live playback. Recommended codecs are Apple ProRes 422 (standard) and H.264 in .mov containers. mp4 content is not recommended.
Preview / Program
PlaybackPro is designed on a Preview/Program paradigm, similar to a production switcher.
Preview - Preview is what will play next. Preview is always in blue. When a clip is selected from the playlist, it is placed in Preview and will automatically transition to Program when a Program clip ends. Preview is used to set in/out points, set levels, fades and geometry.
Program - Program is what’s going to the output. Program is always in red. When a clip is Taken from Preview, it transitions to Program and plays with any attributes you’ve set (in/out Points, fades, geometry, levels, etc). The Program window shows the clip exactly as it appears on the external output. When a clip in Program ends, whatever is in Preview will automatically transition to Program, known as a roll-through.
Green Counter - The green counter is located over the Preview and Program window and shows the time elapsed relative to the In Point.
Red Counter - The red counter is located over the Preview and Program window and shows the time remaining relative to the Out Point.
Setup - The aspect ratio of the output is reflected in the Preview and Program sections. To change the output resolution use the “Setup” button in the red Program area and select the desired resolution.
Clips are shown in the Playlist and attributes are applied as clips are played. The clips are only being referenced, PlaybackPro is nondestructive to original clips.
Select the “+” button in the program interface
“File” menu and select “New Clips”
Press COMMAND + N
Drag and drop from a Finder window
Select the “-” button in the program interface
“File” menu and select “Remove Clip”
Highlight clip and press COMMand + Delete
Select the “Duplicate” button in the program interface
Highlight clip and select “File” and “Duplicate”
Highlight clip and press COMMAND + D
Duplicated clips create a new clip entry in the playlist but do not create a new file on a hard drive.
Clips can be reordered by dragging and dropping, or by using the “Move Up” and “Move Down” buttons in the program interface.
If a clip has been moved from an original location or is off-line, its text will be grayed out. The “Locate” button allows you to redirect the reference to a new location, however the clip must have the same name.
# Field - Enter alpha numeric text to help organize clips. The clip number field is for operator convenience, and does not affect the order in which the clips are played.
Title - Allows you to rename the reference of the clip for easier selection. Changing the title in this field does not change the filename of the original file stored on a hard drive.
Comment - Enter text / production notes for the clip
Section - Enter text / production notes for the clip
TRT - Total runtime of the clip
Link - When checked, the next clip in the playlist will automatically load into Preview and will automatically transition to Program after the current clip completes plaback
Delay - A delay (black screen) between clips can be set with a range of .25 seconds to 5 seconds
Loop - Select to loop an individual clip. When playback begins for a clip which is set to loop, the “Loop Temp” button in Show Controls is activated. See page 13 for more information on Show Controls. An entire playlist may be looped by selecting the “Link” checkbox for each clip.
Log is designed to track the number of times a clip is played during a PlaybackPro session. This is helpful for live events where advertisers pay based on the number of times an ad is played.
The playlist can easily be printed or saved as a PDF file by using the File menu and selecting Print.
The clip settings are found on the Preview side and determine how a clip appears in Program. Clip settings only affect the selected clip, whether in Preview or Program. All settings are saved when the playlist is saved.
Fade-In - Tells clip to Fade-In on start
Fade-Out - Tells clip to Fade-Out on end
Loop - Changes the time that will elapse between loops. For additional looping and fading controls see the Looping and Fading section on page 14.
Fade In Each - Fade in at the beginning of each looped clip
Fade Out Each - Fade out the end of each looped clip
Set In - Sets where clip will begin playback
Set Out - Sets where clip will end playback
Set Slate - Sets the Slate image for the clip
Geometry settings are available on the Preview side to control the size, aspect ratio, cropping and positioning of clips. If a clip is in Program, changes are seen on the video output, as well as in the Program section.
Geometry settings can be copied and pasted between clips using the “Copy Geometry” and “Paste Geometry” buttons.
Levels affect the black level, gain, gamma, color, and volume of the current clip. If a clip is in Program, changes are seen on the video output as well as in the Program section.
Levels can be copied and pasted between clips using the “Copy Levels” and “Paste Levels” buttons.
Navigation Controls are used for finding specific parts of a clip to set the In and Out points and the Slate image. Although they control the clip while in Program, they are primarily used to set up a clip in Preview.
- Goto In - Moves the playback position to the In point
- Goto Out - Moves the playback position to the Out point
- File Path Indicator - Shows the path and name of the referenced file
- Control Buttons - Fast Reverse, Step backward by frame, Pause, Play, Step Forward by frame and Fast Forward (in order from left to right)
- Shuttle - Temporarily changes the playback speed. Primarily used to set up a clip in Preview, however it can be used in Program. Clips in Program always begin playback at normal speed.
- Scrubber - Used to quickly find specific parts of a clip so that In, Out, and Slates can be set. This is primarily used in Preview, however, it can be used while in Program. When a Preview clip is Taken to Program, it starts from its In Point regardless of the Scrubber Position.
The Show Controls breakdown into 2 areas: Take and End All. They are not saved in the playlist and have no permanent effect on a clip.
- Quick Select - Allows you to select a clip by number or name
- Select Previous - Selects the Previous clip in playlist
- Clear - Clears the clip loaded in Preview
- Select Next - Selects the Next clip in playlist
- Take - Takes Preview clip to Program
- Delay - Changes the amount of time that will elapse between Preview and Program clip
- Goto Buttons - Sets the Playback position to 10, 20 or 30 seconds from the Out Point
- Loop Temp - Temporarily Loops or Un-loops the Program clip. Click “End All (esc)” to immediately end a loop, or Take if a clip is loaded in Preview. This does not affect the clip’s permanent Loop setting.
- End All (esc) - The audio and video of the Program clip will fade, and the clip loaded in Preview will not play
Looping and Fading
PlaybackPro gives you advanced control over looping and fading. The “Fade In Each” and “Fade Out Each” buttons are only visible when Loop is selected. To end a loop while in Program, click “Loop Temp” in Show Controls. It’s best to experiment with these controls to master them. Here are a few typical examples: