>Eleven Ways to Play Back Your Renderings Without Paying $5,400

>1. One of the cheapest ways to play back a sequence of frames or videos is by using QuickTime Pro ($29, OS X & Win.) However, QuickTime Player’s RAM caching isn’t exactly stellar so expect to get a lot of stuttering. Also, it’s supported file formats is limited and you can only see certain channels such as the alpha. On the plus-side is the number of conversions that you can easily do directly from player.

2. If you add $249 you can get the GlueTools CineonDPX Pro components for QuickTime on OS X, which adds nice stuff like timecode, anamorphic correction and 16-bit support.

3. At a cheaper $99 you’ll find the beta version of DrasticPreview (Windows only) which also supports Cineon files, among other features. Unfortunately it doesn’t support OpenEXR sequences.

4. Another Windows-only software is tv-player ($139) which has some GPU-accelerated functions. A note-worthy feature is realtime field-swapping and an RGB histogram.

5. The current version of Tweak Software’s RV ($299) runs on Linux and non-Intel Macs , but the new version with both Windows and Intel-Mac support was shown at Sigraph 2007. Like some of the others, RV can handle HDR images and it also has EDL support.

6. FrameCycler Professional used to cost thousands of dollars, but nowadays there’s a version for $299 available for OS X, Linus and Windows.

7. Of course, if you can live without the ability to play back frame sequences, you’ll probably love VLC which is fast and free.

Updates:
8. ILM has a free and open source player for OpenEXR files available for OS X and Windows. Brendan Bolles (of the free OpenEXR AE plugin fame) has kindly compiled the
Mac OS X version and Windows version for those of us who are not comfortable around compilers.

9. Another PFClip is availbale for Mac OS X, Windows and several Linux 64-bit versions. Realtime 3D LUT support sounds promising, and the price is £199 excluding VAT.

10. Here’s a dark horse; pdplayer doesn’t have more than a small screenshot at the site, so if you know how to access the beta version, please post a comment.

11. Here’s another tip via the comments: Jahplayer looks like a serious contender with GPU-based zoom and pan, RGB parades and 4K downsampling among others. It claims to play both DPX and OpenEXR and can also transcode into other formats. Add to that the fact that it’s available for OS X, Linux and Windows, that it’s free, scriptable and open-source (making it “easy” to integrate into current pipelines) and it sounds to good to be true. Please post a comment with your own findings!

So, what if you had $5,400 to spend? Well, you could get the FrameCycler DDS that plays directly from disk and outputs to external monitors via SDI.

Please post a comment if you know more players or have had good/bad experiences with any of them!

- Jonas

6 Responses to >Eleven Ways to Play Back Your Renderings Without Paying $5,400

  1. Stephen

    >I just completed testing of most of these for OpenEXR playback that work on Windows and here are a couple of others:

    PFClip: http://www.thepixelfarm.co.uk

    pdplayer: http://www.pdplayer.com

    My fav so far is tv-player. The only con limited to 2K support (but then again, I have not 4k display device.

    Framecycler engine works well but the UI was awkward to use and it refused to work in dual monitors for me. Also double the price of tv-player.

    Drastic Preview has no OpenEXR support. PF Clip crashed on any machine I tried on launch. Tweak RV and PD Player I requested beta but they are not available yet.

  2. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >Great, thanks for the tips! I’m updating the post right now! I’m also adding links to compiled versions of ILM’s free players.

  3. andrewkramer

    >Nice post. I’ll have to give a few of these a try.

  4. Anonymous

    >you might also take a look at jahplayer (jahshaka.org) – it’s free, crossplatform, opensource, etc. just if it’d workout at last half good as it sound.. ;)

  5. Anwar

    >So far just downloaded tv-player and it wont work on my pc laptop … sent off a bug form!

    will try some others soon.

    quite keen on jahshaka but the website wont load currently

  6. André

    >another OpenSource RAM player is djv (http://djv.sourceforge.net)… available for Mac PPC (no Intel version unfortunately), Windows and Linux