Cloud Based Remote Productions

COVID-19 has given a huge boost to cloud-based remote production. More and more TV production companies rely on virtual OB vans and perform the image mixing online. So it is only logical that the video playout system is also located in the cloud. PLAYDECK is equipped with NDI inputs and outputs and thus integrates into almost every modern broadcast environment.
PLAYDECK runs smoothly on aws ec2 systems and thus offers a wide range of possible applications.

Easy Highlights Editing: Recording with Edit-While-Ingest Functionality

Creating match highlights for a football game or best-of scenes from an event has never been easier: In the Studio Edition, PLAYDECK provides a recording channel and another playback channel in addition to the two output channels for the playlist. On top of outputting videos from the playlist, you can record an incoming video signal and create any clips from the recording while recording is in progress.

Of course, all editing functions can be operated via keyboard shortcuts, as you know from your NLE editing program. All clips can be subsequently edited, moved to one of the two playlist channels, and even exported to a finished video.

Various codecs are available for recording, so you can set the optimal parameters for you.

Useful additional features such as the Timeline Reset (this sets the timeline to 00:00:00 at the beginning of the show, for example) or the Timeline Offset (this sets the timeline to 45:00:00 at the start of the second half of a football match) make PLAYDECK a very easy-to-use and comfortable highlights editing system for your live production.

Find out for yourself: All the functions of the Studio Edition are unlocked for you in the free and unlimited trial version of PLAYDECK!

Easy Integration with Playback Remote Control

These days, this is almost standard on a production: various devices communicate with each other and are partially coordinated by a central control computer. PLAYDECK supports several remote-control options, which we’re constantly expanding:

Control via Keyboard or Elgato Streamdeck

Nearly every function on the PLAYDECK interface can be assigned with an individual keyboard shortcut. This means that frequently used commands can be executed with the touch of a key instead of a mouse click. And you can easily assign PLAYDECK with the same shortcuts from a previous editing program that you’re familiar with, so that you don’t have to get used to new shortcuts during first use.

So that different operators have their personal shortcut set quickly available on any PLAYDECK system, it can be exported and copied to any other PLAYDECK system. A PLAYDECK system can store any number of shortcut sets which can then be switched between with a simple mouse click.

And if you crave even more comfort, just use an Elgato Streamdeck with the stored shortcuts.

Control via Network Commands TCP/IP

If you want to integrate your PLAYDECK system into a real media control system, then you can easily use TCP commands for this. This way, you can automatically integrate PLAYDECK into a complex show process and control all functions from one central control computer. And if you use Universe Show Control as the media control system, PLAYDECK is already integrated into the device library for you.

Control via Tally Interface

The PLAYDECK built-in Auto-Cue feature allows you to play a full show with virtually no operator intervention. It is especially easy to start a clip when the start command is automated from the image mixer. PLAYDECK supports control over the tally jack from practically any video mixing console on the market. This requires a COM port on the PLAYDECK computer or an inexpensive USB interface.

Control Directly via Blackmagic Design ATEM Switcher

Now, Blackmagic Design devices are found almost everywhere in video production. In order to make the use of the Auto-Cue function particularly easy and comfortable for users of Blackmagic Design ATEM Video Switchers, your PLAYDECK system can easily be connected to your ATEM Switcher via the network. You only need to assign which input channel of the ATEM the two playout channels should react. As soon as the corresponding channel is switched on by your video operator, PLAYDECK starts playback almost instantaneously.

Intelligent Special Functions for Video Playout

The small, clever extras are what distinguish a good video playout software from an exceptional one!

Who hasn’t had to deal with the following typical situations in everyday production?

The Production Window

The live show has just started, the first video player is running. And the director immediately begins the countdown via the intercom: “One more minute until the end of the video”, “another 45 seconds”, “another 30 seconds”, etc. It would probably be enough for three-quarters of the trade, if the corresponding warning came five seconds before the end instead. But: How should the person in charge know the personal preferences of each operator?

With PLAYDECK, they don’t have to. Instead, they just provide all parties with a compact preview of both channels, indicating the remaining time and upcoming clips, available via the local HDMI output of the PLAYDECK system, cutting out the announcements completely. This is the Production Window. Try it out for yourself! You’ll be amazed!

The Schedule Block Function

Particularly with tightly timed productions, the operator’s gaze always wanders back and forth between the current time, the directorial schedule, and the remaining time of the currently playing video clip. What’s better than collecting this information in one place? In PLAYDECK, the scheduled start time can be taken from the schedule and stored for each playback block from the playlist using the Schedule Block function. PLAYDECK then displays a clearly visible countdown to this time on both the user interface and the production window. At a glance, the director can see how they are doing for time. And if a program point takes less time than planned and the next video must be brought forward, PLAYDECK automatically adapts the start times of all subsequent pieces accordingly.

Sounds too good to be true? We promise you: It’s true! And it’s better than good, it’s great!

The Auto-Cue Function

If everything goes exactly as planned during a production, then life as a video operator can be quite comfortable: start the video, wait to make sure after the end of the clip the mixer has switched to the right camera, place the next clip into the cue, wait, etc. You might ask: is an operator needed for such productions at all, or could they be doing something more meaningful with their time? Yes, they can, if they use the auto-cue function! With this useful feature, at the end of a playback block, PLAYDECK waits on the last frame of the clip (for a freely adjustable time set by you) to allow the image mixer a steady fade. Then PLAYDECK jumps to the first frame of the next clip and waits for the start command. And if this comes automatically from the video mixing console (via Tally Interface, or directly via LAN if you use a Blackmagic ATEM image mixer), then no one is actually needed for the regular operation of PLAYDECK.

Preparing a Show

This is also not an unusual scenario: The production system is already loaded on the truck and there are still some videos, sometimes altered, sometimes completely new. As operator, you would like to play them for testing purposes, update the playlist, and maybe the videos also need to be cropped. Not a problem with PLAYDECK: Even without a license, you can test and prepare your entire show with the trial version. Connected hardware can be accessed too. The only difference compared to the licensed version: A watermark on the output signal.And when you use the “Collect all Media Files” function to copy all the clips from your playlist and all the edits you have made to a USB flash drive, in just a few moments you are ready to start working at the production site.

Can it get any easier?

The Perfect Video Playout Software for Windows

Just how long were we on the lookout for the optimal video playout solution before we started developing PLAYDECK? Some programs were simply not professional enough, others didn’t run reliably, then there were those not suitable for Windows PCs, and finally there were the big media servers, which are just too time-consuming and expensive for a lot of tasks.

So, the big question right at the beginning of the development of PLAYDECK was: Though it’s subjective, what would the perfect video playout software for Windows be like?

General Requirements for a Video Playout Software

In many talks with friendly colleagues and technicians, the following points came up, which almost everyone considered essential and which we kept in mind throughout the entire development of PLAYDECK:

  • Top reliability when running video playout software on Windows.
  • Videos should be processed in as many codecs as possible and at different resolutions/frame rates and scaled to the output format during playback.
  • Still images and graphics should be playable, each displayed with a separate duration.
  • For smaller productions on a budget, video output should be possible via a local HDMI output (extended desktop). For larger productions, via the use of separate video playout cards (e.g. Blackmagic Design, AJA, Bluefish, etc.).
  • The user interface should be clean and easy to use, yet still have all the advanced features readily accessible.
  • The video playout software should be easily remotely controllable.

Special Requirements for a Video Playout Software

And then we heard a series of wishes, usually beginning with “It would be great if…”, which we also kept in mind during the developmental stages of PLAYDECK:

  • Playout from two independent channels with the ability to output different resolutions or frame rates. For example, videos can be played from the one channel, while lower-thirds with an alpha channel are played from the other. Or channel 1 plays all backgrounds, while channel 2 plays all video clips. Or channel 2 can be used to play music. The use cases in a live production are almost unlimited.
  • A wide variety of available licenses, depending on the specific application: online licenses for unrestricted transferability between different systems of a company, USB dongles for dry-hire use, hardware-linked offline licenses for fixed installations, theaters, museums, and sport arenas.
  • Individual clips or entire playback blocks can be looped with different settings: Unlimited loop, loop for X amount of times, loop for X amount of minutes, loop up to XX:XX hours.
  • When no clip is playing from the playlist, the video playout software can display a background graphic or a looping background video.
  • When clips with different volumes are loaded into the playlist, PLAYDECK analyzes their loudness levels and adjusts all levels automatically.
  • Clips can be trimmed with in and out points, as well as resized, without making changes to the original file. There are different scaling options available in PLAYDECK.
  • Changes to the playlist on the video playout software can be made within seconds, even during operation, by using drag & drop from the integrated File Explorer.
  • Each clip in the playlist can be previewed in a separate preview window, even when playback of the playlist is taking place simultaneously.
  • Graphics and videos can be assigned to separate buttons (Overlay Buttons and Action Buttons) so that they can be accessed directly and played at the push of a button.

The easiest way to find out whether PLAYDECK is the perfect video playout software for Windows is by trying out our free unrestricted trial version: Just click here.

License Manager

To remove the watermark from the trial version and use PLAYDECK without restrictions, you need a valid license. On the website www.playdeck.tv you can choose between different licenses (Lite, Plus or Studio version) with a duration of one month or one year, with or without automatic renewal.
After the purchase you will automatically receive an e-mail with your access data for the online license pool. If you do not receive this mail within a few minutes, please check your spam folder.
To transfer your license from the online license pool to your system, please open the License Manager under the menu item Help.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * License Manager Control

If you have not yet transferred a license to your system, the left list (Local Licenses) will only show the trial version. To connect to the online license pool, please press the Connect and Update Licenses button.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * License Manager Connect Update License Login Online Pool

Now enter the e-mail address you used to register and the password you received and click OK. If you ever forget your password, simply request a new one by clicking Forgot Password.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * License Manager Checkin Checkout License Online Pool Local System

After PLAYDECK has successfully connected to the online license pool, you will see an overview of your available licenses in the right list. Select the license you want to transfer to your local system and click Checkout.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * License Manager Automatic Activation after Checkout

You will now be asked if you want to activate the checked out license for immediate use. If you click Yes, PLAYDECK will restart and activate the new license, if you select No, the license will still be available for later activation in the left list of local licenses.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * License Manager Activate License

You can switch to another of the local licenses at any time by selecting it and then pressing Activate License.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * License Manager Offline License Activation

If your system is not connected to the Internet and you therefore cannot or do not want to use the online license pool, another option is to use a so-called Offline License. This license is not available in the webshop. Please contact our support at support@playdeck.tv.
In order to send you a valid license key for your system, we need the System ID, which is displayed here.
You will then receive an e-mail from us with your license code, which you should copy into the window below. After successful verification of the license code (no Internet access is required) your offline license will appear as usual on the left side of the licenses stored locally on your system and can be activated exactly like an online license.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * License Manager Password Protection

If you want to protect access to the license manager from unauthorized access, you can set up a password. To remove the password protection, you must enter the password again. If you ever forget the password, please contact our support at support@playdeck.tv.


Audio Settings

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Audio Settings
PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Audio Settings Audio Normalization

One of the most convenient features of PLAYDECK (from the Plus version upwards) is the automatic adjustment of the playback volume of each clip. This means that the viewer will perceive them as equally loud.
Please set your desired Target Loudness as well as the True Peak Level. PLAYDECK will now ensure that the maximum level is not exceeded even during peaks.
As a rule, you should leave the Loudness Range value as it is.

PLAYDECK Professional Video Playback Playout Software for Windows * Audio Settings Gain Adjustment

You can set separate values for output volume or input sensitivity for the two stereo channels of all outputs and inputs.
You can also output the two playlist outputs as a mono summed signal and mute the output via the Windows standard audio device. The latter is useful to avoid slightly shifted audio playback from the video output card if it is inadvertently selected as the Windows default audio device additionally.