Area of Interest

PLAYDECK can freely scale and position the content to be played back within the selected output resolution. This is especially useful if the playback is to be performed on a medium which has a different physical resolution and expects the signal to be pixel accurate, e.g. an LED wall. In many cases you can save yourself an expensive hardware scaler. This function is also called “Mapping”, “Pan & Scan” or “Region of Interest” by other manufacturers.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Area of Interest Region of Interest
Example of scaled content within a Full-HD canvas using PLAYDECK’s Area of Interest Feature
PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Area of Interest Region of Interest


Using the Area of Interest menu, you can determine at which position (based on nine possible reference points, adjustable to pixel accuracy) and in which size (percentage or in pixels, with or without maintaining the aspect ratio) your content should be output. You can also crop the content from all four sides and add an inward pointing colored frame to better control the correct position on your LED wall.
When you have entered the desired values, please press either Update & Preview (the values are transferred and you get a preview window for checking) or Update (the values are only transferred, no preview window is opened) and activate the checkbox Active.

Playlist Live Input

Within a playlist, you can not only use videos, graphics or audio tracks for playback, but you can also receive and output a live video signal. So you can automatically switch to another video source directly from the playlist without the need for an additional video mixer.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Playlist Live Input


In the two upper drop-down boxes Video Device and Video Line, please select the live input you want to display.
In the Video Format field, please select which video format is available at the Live Input. Alternatively, you can also use the Detect from Signal button. If the information about the input resolution is transmitted from the card to the system, the correct value is automatically entered.
With Audio Device you can specify a different device for receiving the audio signal.
In the Background section you can set what PLAYDECK should show you if there is no correct video signal or the signal fails. You can choose between a text insertion (“No Video Signal”, <Message>), a file that you can assign using the file explorer on the right (<File>), or a still image of the last received video signal (<Last Frame>).
After you have confirmed the Active checkbox, you can check the incoming live signal in a preview window using the Preview button.
You can assign two different live signals for channel 1 and channel 2. Using the same connector for both playlists is currently not supported.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Playlist Live NDI Input

You can also use NDI streams in your playlist as live input. By pressing Detect NDI signals PLAYDECK will scan the connected network for NDI streams. If there are multiple NDI streams, please enter the name and group of the desired stream. Activate NDI Input by checking the corresponding box.
You should only change the NDI Bandwidth to Lowest if you really want to get only a preview quality display.
PLAYDECK does not currently support NDI|HX.

Export

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Playlist Export
PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Playlist Export

PLAYDECK can render all clips of a block including all used transition effects or overlays to a single file for you. Use the drop-down fields in the Export area to select the file path and codec, etc. where PLAYDECK should create the file.
By default, the resolution of the exported file corresponds to the set output resolution of the playlist. If you want a different resolution, please set it in Video Resolution. Otherwise, please leave the values at zero.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Playlist Export

The export of a block is usually executed at maximum speed. In individual cases, this can lead to some black frames appearing at the beginning or end of the exported file. If you want to exclude this, please deactivate the checkbox behind Fast Export.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Playlist Export

You can customize the settings used to export the playlist (bitrate, keyframe interval, etc.) by entering them in the field that opens when you press the Custom Settings button. To get an overview of the available options, please open the help text under Show Options.

Channel 1 / Channel 2

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Playlist Output Settings
PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Playlist Output Settings Video Format

Use the top three drop-down boxes to set the desired values for output resolution, color space and audio bitrate. Please note that the output card you are using may not necessarily be able to display all offered resolutions. If in doubt, please contact the manufacturer of your output card.
The Automatic setting for the color space is recommended for most use cases. Only if you want an output with alpha channel for transparency information, please select the ARGB32 setting.
You can also create a custom output format. Please make sure that the output board you use can actually reproduce the values you set.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Playlist Settings Background

In this section you can set the content that PLAYDECK should display when the playlist is in STOP status.
Select <File> to store an image or video file and assign it using the File Explorer on the right. Selected video files are played back in a loop. For an optimal playback, please make sure that the start and end frame match each other to ensure a clean loop. If you want the sound to be audible during playback of the desired video loop, please activate the Keep Background Audio checkbox.
Select <Last Frame> if you want PLAYDECK to hold the last frame displayed when you press STOP.
Alternatively, select one of the four available test patterns, or choose a blue, black or white background or transparent output.

In the Device Output section please select your desired output board. Some output cards provide different signals (e.g. SDI and alternatively HDMI). In the Line section you can activate the different jacks. Under Keying you can select whether the output signal should contain transparency information. The entries that you find in the drop-down field are provided by your output card. If in doubt, please ask the manufacturer of your output board which keying method you have to select for your desired purpose.

If you cannot use a dedicated playout card for video output, you can alternatively use a local output of your graphics card in the Desktop Output area. Before activating this feature, please make sure that you have selected “Extended Desktop” in the Windows settings for the screen display and that the settings of your graphics card for the extended desktop correspond to your desired playlist resolution and refresh rate. Please note that the quality of the color reproduction for the desktop output is determined by your graphics card and PLAYDECK has no influence on it.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Playlist Settings NDI Output

Additionally, you have the possibility to provide the video signal via network as NDI stream (NDI is a trademark of NewTek). Give your playlist stream a different name (if desired) and assign an NDI group name if necessary.
Check the box to start the NDI stream.

Advanced Settings

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Advanced Settings
PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Advanced Settings

PLAYDECK supports GPU-supported decoding via compatible Nvidia or Intel graphics cards for playback of files created in H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC) or mpeg2 codec. In addition, a large number of rendering processes (scaling, frame rate conversion, output rendering) are performed on the GPU by default, if your system has an appropriate graphics card. This results in a significant reduction of the CPU load. In some cases (all videos of the playlist have the same resolution and the same frame rate as the desired output format, …) it may be more efficient to execute the remaining render processes on the CPU depending on your system resources (very fast CPU, less powerful graphics card). In this case please activate the checkbox CPU Rendering Mode.
Please note that PLAYDECK is not automatically compatible with every version of your graphics card driver. If you experience problems during playback in rare cases, please deactivate GPU-based rendering as a test and check if the error has disappeared afterwards. In such a case, you should then install an alternative driver.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Advanced Settings

Select this check box to enable 10-bit HDR mode for output. Please note that not all output cards support HDR playback and that the performance requirements for your system will increase significantly if you use this mode. You need a suitable Nvidia graphics card to use this mode.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Advanced Settings

In order to enable a fast program start and an optimal use of system resources, PLAYDECK by default only starts the required processes and adds further processes only when they are needed. For example, the renderer for the second channel of the playlist only starts if the loaded playlist actually uses the second channel or if you assign media to the second channel for the first time. Deactivate the checkbox if you want to start all processes at program start.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Advanced Settings

If you have a 64-bit operating system, PLAYDECK also starts the 64-bit process of the video engine by default. If you experience output problems and suspect that the 64-bit video engine is not running optimally on your system, you can use the 32-bit engine by selecting the checkbox.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Advanced Settings

Some hard disks go into an energy-saving mode after a certain period of time without read/write access, which in some cases cannot be influenced by the Windows system settings. In such cases, a clip that has been in CUE state for a longer time may start up after startup and then stall briefly until the hard disk has reached its nominal speed again. To avoid this phenomenon, PLAYDECK writes small files to the hard disk at regular short intervals and then deletes them again. Uncheck the checkbox if you want to disable this function.

User Profiles

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * User Profiles

Under this menu item you can save your personal PLAYDECK settings under one of the ten available user profiles. All settings you have made under the menu item Settings are saved and are available after selecting a profile. If you want to transfer a user profile to another PC, you can export it from one PLAYDECK system and import it on another PLAYDECK system. In this case, system-specific settings (all settings with hardware reference) will not be transferred in order to avoid possible subsequent errors due to different hardware configurations.

Shortcuts

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Shortcuts
PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Shortcuts

By default, PLAYDECK displays a text when the mouse is held over an active button. By deactivating the upper checkbox, you can turn off these hint texts. By activating the lower checkbox, the hint texts are only displayed for those buttons to which you have assigned a keyboard shortcut. The assigned shortcut is also displayed as a reminder.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Shortcuts

If you select this check box, all keyboard entries in the main window and in the SmartClips Editor are locked, except for your personal shortcuts. This helps you avoid unwanted interactions with Windows commands.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Shortcuts

The “Edit Shortcuts” button takes you to the input window for creating keyboard shortcuts to operate Playdeck. For more details please refer to chapter 2.2.
The “Search for External Keyboards” button allows you to connect Playdeck to an external USB keyboard and assign shortcuts to it. The following models are currently supported: X-Keys XK-68 Jog & Shuttle, X-Keys Stick
Directly below this menu item you will see which external keyboard your PLAYDECK system is currently connected to.

Additional Views

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Additional Views
PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Additional Views

By selecting this checkbox, PLAYDECK will be displayed in fullscreen mode and hides the Windows taskbar.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Additional Views

If you don’t need the Overlay and Action buttons for your work, uncheck this box to gain more space for displaying the playlist.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Additional Views

Activate this checkbox if you want to have the possibility to control both playlists in parallel when the SYNC function is activated.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Additional Views

Select this check box if you want to preview the incoming video signal in the SmartClips window. If you do not display the preview, system resources are saved.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Additional Views

Select this check box to output the Production Window. In the selection field behind it you can choose the output of your graphics card to be used for this purpose.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Additional Views

Selecting this check box displays an automation tool that can record and play back all mouse clicks and keyboard commands.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Additional Views

When the function is activated, a lock symbol is displayed on the user interface. This allows you to protect your PLAYDECK system from unauthorized use if you ever need to leave your workplace. The remote control continues to function as usual. You can freely select the password for unlocking the control protection.

Playlists

In this menu item you can set all parameters for your optimal work with PLAYDECK:

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Playlists
PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Playlists

If you select the first checkbox, PLAYDECK will automatically load the last used playlist after each start. This feature is useful if you usually want to start your show or start your work based on the last used playlist. If you additionally activate the second checkbox, PLAYDECK will automatically start playing the playlist.
If you place PLAYDECK in the Autostart of your computer, you can start a playlist automatically by booting your PC without having to make any further entries.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Playlists

With these settings you can determine which behavior at the end of a block should be set by default when creating a playlist. You can change this setting for each block later. It is therefore best to specify the setting that you would normally use at the end of a block.
If the first checkbox is unchecked, PLAYDECK will automatically stop playback when a block end is reached and display the selected default background. This can be a test pattern, a color area, or even a graphic or video file. See 2.1.2 for more information on setting up the default background.
If you check the first checkbox instead, PLAYDECK will hold the last frame of a block, allowing you to fade smoothly to another source on your image mixer.
If you also check the second checkbox, then PLAYDECK will wait on the last frame for the given time, and after this time expires, it will automatically wait on the first frame of the following block. This function saves you from having to manually put the next clip into the CUE each time. In combination with the Remote Start function of PLAYDECK , you can even play back an entire playlist automatically without having to manually operate PLAYDECK . See 2.1.9 for details on how to set up the Remote Launch feature.
You can subsequently change the preset waiting time separately for each block.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Playlists

Under this menu item you can set whether the progress bars in the navigator for the block timer, the clip timer and the schedule block timer should take on a signal color shortly before the time expires to draw your attention to the approaching end. You can also set the output of a signal tone. This will be output from the standard Windows audio device. You can choose from various signal tones and adjust the volume. With the help of the test button you can check your settings immediately.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Playlists

If you activate the “Track Playhead in Playlist” function, then PLAYDECK will always align long playlists so that the currently playing clip is centered. This facilitates the overview when working with long playlists. Please keep in mind that this feature may be confusing if you often work on other parts of the playlist while playing a playlist: Each time a new clip is started, the playlist is recentered by PLAYDECK.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Playlists

By clicking this check box, you activate automatic time correction for the schedule block function: If you start a block to which a scheduled start time has been assigned earlier or later than scheduled, the scheduled start times for all subsequent blocks are automatically corrected by the deviation that has occurred. For more information on the schedule block function, refer to chapter 3.1.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Playlists

These settings define the appearance of the playlist. You can use four different line heights and decide whether a preview image should be displayed next to each clip. In addition, you can choose whether all blocks and all clips in the playlist should be numbered. This feature is useful when you remotely start PLAYDECK via TCP/IP commands and want to jump directly to a clip this way. Finally, you can hide the block headers and captions to oversee a maximum number of clips in the playlist. Selecting the reduced block view displays the end of the block graphically:
A red line indicates a stop at the end of the block, an orange line a pause command, an interrupted orange line an auto-cue and a green line an adjusted loop.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Playlists

In this item you set the default display duration of a still image or of a Live Input when you drag it into the playlist. You can subsequently change the display duration of each of these items separately.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Playlists

Here you can set how PLAYDECK should behave when a played back action clip is over. You can choose from the following options:
Pause on last Frame of Action:
PLAYDECK stops on the last frame of the action clip and waits for further commands.
Stop Playback and show Background
PLAYDECK stops playback and displays the default background. For details on setting the default background of a playlist, see chapter 2.1.2
Return to Playlist Clip on Last Position
At the end of the action clip, PLAYDECK jumps back to the position in the playlist where the action clip was started. The state of the playlist when the action button is pressed is taken into account: If PLAYDECK was in a running playback, the playback will continue. If PLAYDECK was in a pause or cue state, this state will be restored.
Replay last played Playlist Clip
If the action button was pressed during an ongoing playback, the interrupted clip is played back from the beginning after the action clip has ended.
Play next Clip in Playlist
If the action button was pressed during an ongoing playback, the interrupted clip is skipped after the action clip is finished and the following clip is started.
Play selected Clip in Playlist
While the action clip is playing, the operator can decide where to resume playback after the action clip is finished by selecting a clip from the playlist.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Playlists

Here you can set the default behavior of PLAYDECK when a Schedule Block time is reached. You can choose from the following options:
Don’t Play, only show Countdown
PLAYDECK does not start playback automatically, but only shows a countdown timer on the user interface. This feature is especially useful if you want to keep track of the progress of the event, but always want to start playback manually.
Always play, independent of Playlist status
PLAYDECK will always start playing the corresponding block at the specified time, regardless of whether playback is in progress or not.
Play only if first Clip is in CUE
PLAYDECK starts playback at the set time only if the first clip of the corresponding block is in CUE state.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Playlists

Here you can set the default behavior of PLAYDECK for scaling a video if it has an aspect ratio different from the set video output format:
Letterbox / Pillarbox
PLAYDECK scales the video while maintaining the aspect ratio until the video image just reaches the horizontal or vertical border. Correspondingly, vertical or horizontal black areas are created.
Pan and Scan (Crop)
PLAYDECK scales the video while maintaining the aspect ratio until the entire output image is completely filled with image content. Image contents outside the image are cropped.
Fullscreen with no AR
PLAYDECK scales the video without keeping the aspect ratio so that the whole screen is filled.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Playlists

Here you can set which function PLAYDECK should perform when you double-click on a clip in the playlist with the mouse. The following options are available:
Playback of the clip starts; the clip is put into cue state; the clip is faded in or out (works only when PLAYDECK is in STOP state); the clip is displayed in the preview window; the window for cut/crop opens; the window for editing transition effects opens; the window for inserting overlays opens; the clip loop window opens; PLAYDECK does not respond to the double-click.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Workflow Playlists

By default, for each clip in the playlist, PLAYDECK checks that the clip’s resolution and frame rate match the selected output settings. PLAYDECK does this to draw attention to unnecessary scaling and conversion processes. These cause increased CPU and GPU load and can have a negative effect on less powerful systems. If not, PLAYDECK displays a small orange square with a white “i” behind each clip. Select the checkbox to disable the check.