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.

Dual-Output Video Playback

  • Use a variety of file formats and resolutions up to 4K/Ultra HD.
  • For playback, choose professional output cards from e.g. Blackmagic, or a local graphic card output for easy use cases
  • Place a graphic or video file as a continuous background when no clip is playing from the playlist
  • You want to fade in a clip from the background or fade it out into the background? Easily done with the fade function!

Advanced playback functions

  • Use different fade effects for the transition between clips.
  • Skip a clip from the playlist with a simple mouse click.
  • You can play a single clip, multiple clips, or a whole block in the loop.
  • You only want to show the beginning and the end of a clip during a rehearsal? Then use the Jump function with adjustable remaining play time.

Keep control over the progress of your show

  • Use the Schedule Block feature within the playlist to get a countdown to the scheduled start time of each block
  • When selected, receive visual and audible notifications shortly before or when the planned start time is reached
  • The start of your show is delayed? A program point ran faster than expected? No worries, Playdeck automatically adjusts the planned start times of the following blocks, if desired.

Inform your crew about the state of affairs

  • Keep your colleagues up-to-date via the Production Window
  • Time, remaining time, preview window of the output channels, and upcoming clips can be taken in at a glance
  • The output of the Production Window is easily done via the extended desktop


Recording with edit-while-ingest functionality

  • Conveniently record an incoming camera mix.
  • Cut your favorite scenes while still recording.
  • Immediately send your clips to the playlist and make them available for playback, or use the upload and streaming features to put your clips online.