Anthony S Jaques has released VidPlayVST, a freeware video player in VST/AU plugin formats for PC and Mac.
Although a video player in VST plugin format might seem like a silly idea at first glance, there’s actually a lot of sense behind developing such a utility. The first time I looked for such a plugin was around six years ago when I was doing my first sound design project for a short video clip. Having the ability to play the video material that you’re working on inside your DAW or audio editor is a must in such a scenario.
Some commercial digital audio workstations (like Studio One and Reaper, for example) offer video playback capabilities out of the box, but that is not the case with freeware DAW applications like Tracktion 5, MuLab Free, or Podium. So, if you’re composing music or editing audio for a video project in a freeware DAW, VidPlayVST could be just the right tool for you.
VidPlayVST is surprisingly polished and functional for a freeware video player. The user interface is simple, easy to use, and fully resizable which is great. The two buttons in the upper-left corner of the UI are used for loading the desired video file and adjusting the playback settings. From the options menu, the video can be played in full-screen mode, synced to tempo changes (a very cool feature), or muted so that it doesn’t interfere with the rest of the audio. Looping a specified section of the clip is also supported, although it needs to be activated in the options menu first.
Another neat possibility is to trigger the clip via a C note, so that you can sync different clips to different parts of the project, or cue the clip to a particular section of the project’s timeline. I also liked the fact that, since VidPlayVST is loaded as a VST plugin, the loaded file’s audio output is treated as any other audio source, meaning that it can be processed using the effects available inside the DAW. This is pretty useful for fixing a bad sounding clip quickly using advanced audio effects that aren’t available in some video editing applications. Of course, you’d still need to export the edited audio and combine it with the original video file in a separate application.
One thing to keep in mind is that the product is officially still in beta testing phase, so occasional performance issues and bugs are to be expected. During my test in MuLab Free, though, I haven’t experienced any significant stability issues. The plugin crashed only once, when I tried to load a compressed video file that is over 2 GB in size. It did manage to load a variety of raw footage from my Nikon and Sony cameras, though, as well as some older clips in MPEG format. The complete list of supported video formats is available here.
VidPlayVST is available for free download via vidplayvst.com (12.1 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac OS).