VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

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RoxyTheater

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VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostFri Feb 01, 2019 5:51 pm

Hey all,

First timer here. I work in a multi auditorium movie theater. We host many film festivals through out the year and are looking to upgrade our "shorts block" programming this year. We have been using Mac Mini's and VLC out to either Epson or Christie(DCP) Projectors. Our screenings have been glitchy, torn and loaded with sync issues, thus the need for change.

A colleague has recommended that we purchase a BM Mini Monitor(in route) to help with all the different file types we get and help properly buffer playbacks. He also suggested we use SWITCH by Telestream as our playback software alternative to VLC.

I understand VLC is a free, non-pro software, but the ability to drag in multiple files, multiple file types and in-house made media and play them in succession, is the most important element for us here. Seamless playback is of course our primary concern for our guest and filmmakers.

Sorry for the super long question... :)

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much everyone!
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pederdingo

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostFri Feb 01, 2019 6:43 pm

OnTheAir Video Express is very easy to use and works with bm products.
It’s a bit expensive though (i guess thats relative)
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RoxyTheater

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostFri Feb 01, 2019 6:59 pm

Thanks so much for the info! Just spoke w the folks over at Softron. Looks like it’s a perfect fit for us.
It is indeed pricey though, with 3 auditoriums running film at the same time we would need 3 licenses. 3,000.00 might break our non-profit bank.

Any other similar alternatives to OnAirExpress that is compatible w Black Magic products?

Thanks again!
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RoxyTheater

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostFri Feb 01, 2019 7:33 pm

Awesome! Thank you. Seems like that is the product we need. Unfortunately, I’m not sure we can afford 3k to get our auditoriums up and running :/. Any other products out that that are comparable and possibly cheaper?

Thanks for the input! :)
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roger.suski

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostFri Feb 01, 2019 7:44 pm

Not knowing what vintage your MacMini is, and what the file types/sizes are -- not sure that it is VLC that is causing you problems.

The closer you can get to a universal file type standard, the closer you'll be to trouble-free playback. I get trying to be as accommodating as possible, but at some point, the two letter word needs to be uttered.

Get a copy of Compressor or Handbrake to convert to known good playback formats to help with those last minute requests.

Or....try to get everyone to DCP :)
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RoxyTheater

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostFri Feb 01, 2019 7:59 pm

I hear ya Roger. We are moving forward on that for sure.

I will give that a try.

Really appreciate the help with this. :)
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Jack Fairley

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostFri Feb 01, 2019 8:17 pm

Perhaps Scratch Play Pro would work?
Threadripper 1950X 3.7GHz
64GB DDR4-2666
2x GTX 1080 Ti
DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G
Resolve Studio 15.3.1
Windows 10 Pro 1803
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Andrew Martin

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostSat Feb 02, 2019 12:20 pm

Ok, this one is a little " alternative " and an untested theory but...

Use an NDI infrastructure.
VLC has an NDI plugin that changes the played output to an NDI IP feed.

Running http://www.sienna-tv.com/newsite/ndi.html with their NDI outlet multi software app would playout that feed through ur mini monitor. ( Or as it's BMD 'compatible' any other BMD output card )

Given NDI is an IP infrastructure any Mac running VLC/ NDI on ur network can now playout on the sienna app connected mini monitor.

http://www.sienna-tv.com/newsite/ndi.html

From my mobile using Tapatalk
Last edited by Andrew Martin on Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Tarek Saneh

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostSat Feb 02, 2019 12:29 pm

Check vMix
Tarek Saneh
Creative & Technical Director
http://www.wonderweb.ae
Dubai - UAE
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Andrew Martin

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostSat Feb 02, 2019 12:30 pm

Tarek Saneh wrote:Check vMix


Not if they're using a Mac. vmix is only available for windows OS

From my mobile using Tapatalk
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wolfgang hershey

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostSun Feb 03, 2019 7:18 pm

hello

I volunteer for a small movie theater in brooklyn NY "The Spectacle"
and we show all sorts of films from terrible sources (mp4, avi, MKV, prores, etc etc)
(but great films)

I too would like to see a good alternative to VLC
especially around issues of locking FPS between computer and projector
(one suggestion is to use a BMD mini monitor thunderbolt to HDMI)

but until something better comes along we too use VLC
with two screens off a four year old mac mini (one projector & one booth screen)
&
only occasionally do we have to re-encode
like one file in 20 -- we use handbrake

a few thoughts:

do check for malware on your computers
this was a problem for us -- "malwarebytes" fixed a lot of problems

make sure your outgoing resolution is 1080p and 60Hz or 50Hz
VLC is meant for that and automagic-ly converts to 25 24 29.987 fps
trying to get VLC to output 24fps from a computer set to 24Hz will not work
- you will get dropped frames and stutter

the other thing is get a SSD drive
much smoother playback

cheers
and send a link to your theater

WH
imac/hackintosh 14,2 (4-core 4.0 GHz i7) - 32GB - 980Ti
OS X 10.13.6 / 15.3 Resolve Studio - DeckLink Studio 4k
10Gb ethernet network
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Robert Betzner

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostTue Feb 05, 2019 8:51 am

Just go the PC route or install bootcamp and use Caspar CG:

http://casparcg.com

It is open source and free and you can use any kind of Blackmagic card to play out stuff. It is multiformat and can resize/convert in realtime. There are some free clients out there (one from the CasparCG Team) that allow playlists and many more options. It plays many different formats.

Cheers

Robert
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RoxyTheater

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostTue Feb 05, 2019 8:02 pm

Thank you all for the feedback. This really helps. We are hoping to replace all of our Mac's with Pc's in the future. Mac's were here when I started so starting to get everyone on the track.

Looks like our options are spend the 3k for OnAirExpress or give Andrews suggestions a try, or...switch over to PC and have access to all the other programs Mac's cannot run.

Thanks Wolfgang for the reminder and suggestion on the malware. Im sure there is some on one of these units. Good call.

Thanks again. This community is such an amazing resource for me and others. Ya'll are great. :)

A. Roos
www.theroxytheater.org
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pederdingo

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostTue Feb 05, 2019 8:48 pm

You could also check out Imimot's Mitti and Non-Lethal Application's Video Slave.
They are designed for synced playback, but you might be able to use them for your application as well.
And they are a bit less expensive.
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Edgar Bueltemeyer

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostWed Feb 06, 2019 1:47 pm

Hey,

i`ve had similiar requirements.
Why don't you use Davinci Resolve?
It uses the Blackmagic interfaces (obviously) and has a good playback engine....
You can play files in the media tab or create a timeline with the clips.

The Decklink plugin for VLC totally sucks and is unreliabele.
The Scratch Player is not freely available anymore.
Blackmagic's own "Media Express" Player sucks in terms of formats. (I still don't get why they're not updating it with Resolve's playback engine...)

So the best solution is to install the free Davinci Resolve and use it as a player..
May sound strange but works best.

Regards!
--
Machine 1:
Resolve 15.1.2 - BM Intensity Pro 4K - Tangent Wave
Win. 10
HP Z620 - Dual 8 core
NVIDIA QUADRO K2000+GTX 1060

Machine 2:
Resolve 15.1.2 - BM Ultrastudio SDI USB3
Win. 10
ATI Radeon R9 390
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Edgar Bueltemeyer

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostWed Feb 06, 2019 1:49 pm

Oh, and i forgot to mention...
Since Version 15 you can slso Play DPCs!
(At least in the studio version i have..., which is still cheaper than most "professional" media players)
--
Machine 1:
Resolve 15.1.2 - BM Intensity Pro 4K - Tangent Wave
Win. 10
HP Z620 - Dual 8 core
NVIDIA QUADRO K2000+GTX 1060

Machine 2:
Resolve 15.1.2 - BM Ultrastudio SDI USB3
Win. 10
ATI Radeon R9 390
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RyanGallagher

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostThu Feb 07, 2019 8:55 am

VLC is workable if you really spend time hiding the onscreen menus, but only for the lowest of budget solutions.

For mac based playback with playlist support I'm surprised no one has mentioned PlaybackPro from DT Videolabs. (prior v2 offers a 50% cost savings compared to OnTheAir) Demo versions free to try.

I am a playback operator with it constantly on high dollar corporate shows. The only gotchya is that it really prefers ProRes files, as should you, it will play MP4 x.264 but you run the risk of hiccups. I haven't had the opportunity to try it yet but I think it even supports network sync'd playlists on multiple media machines (You mentioned multiple auditoriums).

So keep a copy of MPGStreamClip handy for transcoding (or Handbrake), and get your Quicktime/ProRes codec installation sorted (doable without retail apple video software, but requires some effort).

For PC CasperCG was a good recommendation (OpenSource).

Cheers,
Ryan
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marc.colemont

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostFri Feb 08, 2019 6:47 pm

For rock solid frame accurate playout on Blackmagic hardware, for many years I have been using OnTheAir Video from Softron. Tried many things, but always come back to that software.
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Peter Aellig

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostMon Feb 11, 2019 1:01 pm

MAC:
+1 for Mitti
it is cheap, supports SDI out via BM Ultrastudio Moni Monitor (Thunderbolt)
they have a demo version for free.

PC: or MAC with BOOTCAMP
+1 for VMIX, it runs on a relatively good Office PC for one HD out, or a Gamer PC for 4K.
they have also a full version trial for 60 days.
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Brian Hancock

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostTue Feb 12, 2019 3:47 am

Has no one really said pro presenter... mac or pc based
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Ian Morrish

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostTue Feb 12, 2019 5:18 am

OBS now has Decklink output support (latest Beta version). This lets you use the media source engine to play any video format and assign to a scene so playback starts as soon as it is selected.
Only tested with playing back 25p video at 50p which is seems to do well. With the NDI add-in for OBS it will probably work for converting NDI to SDI also.

Just writing a PowerShell script now to initiate OBS scene selection from ATEM Input Selection and changing scene from media slot selection (just as a dummy ID creator so you could use a hardware panel to select the OBS scene number).

Regards,
Ian
Regards,
Ian Morrish
Video Integrated Scripting Environment
(Windows PowerShell with ATEM driver + more)
https://ianmorrish.wordpress.com
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RoxyTheater

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostMon Feb 18, 2019 7:53 pm

Thanks again everyone. Really helping me suss through all the options with this issue. One main problem we run into with the festivals is not affecting a filmmakers film in any way as they are usually are in attendance and don't care for that too much. ;)

So it looks like OnTheAir and Miti are the 2 options we are going to try out.

Thanks again and I'll respond in a few months after we have giving one of them a good trial run.

:)
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Kevin Copeland

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Re: VLC alternative for Film Festival Playback

PostTue Feb 19, 2019 9:04 pm

Someone earlier did mention ProPresenter. I suppose you could also use PowerPoint for that matter. Make sure your computer is only running necessary programs, disable screen-savers, fresh re-boot, etc.

What about a hardware solution? HyperDeck Studio mini. If you have Adobe Media Encoder (or other), you could make presets and batch encode all your clips. Copy to SD cards and playback from the HyperDeck. Very solid hardware solution.

kc

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