Using Video in Live

  • Live Versions: 8.4.1 - 10, Standard and Suite only
  • Operating System: Mac, Windows

Live is the perfect choice for scoring to video. Read on for our tips and recommendations for using video with Live.

Understanding video files

A digital video file (e.g. .mov, .mp4 or .avi) is a container that encapsulates one or more video and audio streams. Each of these streams again is encoded using an industry standard codec (e.g. mp3 or aac for audio, H.264/AVC or MPEG-2 for video).

Recommendations for optimal playback of video in Live

For best performance 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. 

  • For videos up to 1080p we recommend using Photo-JPEG
  • For high resolution videos, use H264
  • As container file format, the best choice is .mov or .mp4

Note: Encoding in these optimal formats will require more disk space, but this trade-off is necessary for smooth editing. Once finished scoring to video, you could encode the final video export with a different compression setting and keyframe amount, if you would rather have a smaller video file size.

Recommended codecs 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 is installed by default. That's why you might need to install additional codecs. Both a suitable demuxer for reading the container file and a matching decoder for each audio and video stream must be installed.

Live has been tested with the following two solutions:

1. CCCP provides a wide ranging collection of free codecs here:

2. Matroska Splitter and FFDShow (both components need to be installed):

Important: Windows defaults to the first installed codec pack. Therefore if you are trying out both of the solutions above, you need to uninstall one in order to be able to use the other.

Recommended video conversion tool

We recommend using MPEG Streamclip if converting videos for better playback in Live.

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 accessible after enabling "Create Video". The options available depend on which encoding method you select (which varies depending on your operating system).

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 MPEG Streamclip.

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.

Further Reading