Using Video

  • Live Versions: All
  • Operating System: All

Video import and export is available in Live 10 Standard and Suite. In Live 11, video import and export has also been added to Intro. You can find more information about the features of each version of Live in our Feature Comparison.

Recommendations for optimal playback of video in Live

We recommend using videos with a keyframe every frame, or at least every two frames. Lower keyframe amounts will result in higher CPU demand, possibly resulting in stuttered or glitchy playback. You can use video tools such as Handbrake to convert your videos if necessary. 

  • For high resolution videos, use H264
  • As container file format, the best choice is .mov or .mp4

Note: Encoding in these formats requires more disk space. When exporting the video file, you can choose different video encoder options if you want a smaller file size.

Recommended codec for Windows (Live 64-bit)

The 64-bit version of Live can use any DirectShow compatible demuxers and decoders that are available on the computer, but on a fresh Windows system, only a limited number of video codecs are installed by default. That's why you might need to install additional codecs.  Live has been tested with this codec:

  • Haali Media Splitter (also known as MatroskaSplitter), direct download here (right-click and select 'Open in new tab')

Important: Windows defaults to the first installed codec pack. Since the Haali Media Splitter is the only third-party codec that currently functions with Live on Windows, you'll need to uninstall any other previously installed codecs, and leave only the Haali Media Splitter installed.

Recommendations for encoding video when exporting

When encoding uncompressed video, use as many keyframes as possible (optimally encoding with keyframes exclusively), which will noticeably enhance responsiveness and lower CPU usage. If you wish to have a smaller video file size, you can reduce the keyframe amount.

In Live, you'll find the "Encoder Settings" in the "Export Audio/Video" dialog after enabling "Create Video". The options available depend on which encoding method you select (which varies depending on your operating system).

Importing images on MacOS

AVFoundation is the framework for working with audiovisual media on MacOS. Note that .jpeg and .png image files are not supported anymore since Apple introduced this framework.

Using Mac exclusive formats on Windows

Although some Windows codec packs may claim to support them, certain Mac-only proprietary formats such as M4A or ALAC may not work on Windows. In these instances we recommend converting the file format first using a video converter such as Handbrake.

How to make a video window fullscreen

Double click the video window. This will toggle fullscreen view on and off (when double clicking again). If the video window needs to be fullscreen on a second monitor, drag the window there before double-clicking it.

Troubleshooting issues with video

In case you are experiencing problems regarding the use of video in Live, see our dedicated article Troubleshooting issues with Video.

Ableton offers these in-depth help and learning resources: