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.