The moviePlayer Palette component is a multi-purpose tool for playing, controlling and examining movies. It can used standalone or embedded in TouchDesigner applications.
- The moviePlayer user interface controls the movie's speed, with scrubbing, single-frame stepping and shuttling.
- It plays a movie's audio to an audio device and/or its output.
- moviePlayer lets you switch movies without frame drops via drag-drop, scripting and parameters.
- You can inspect movie images using your mouse with mouse wheel to do zooming and panning.
- You can inspect individual pixels, and display their position, color and alpha values.
- Movie playback can be externally controlled with CHOP ramps, python commands and pulse parameters.
- Using cues, you can set in- and out-points and then loop video.
- Movie Spec components let you set multiple cue points and start-end ranges, which enables you to later play and loop multiple sub-sections of movies.
- Movie Spec components allow non-destructive movie settings and preparation, which you then can recall with moviePlayer.
- movieEngine, a lightweight moviePlayer with the UI removed, can be embedded in other tools and controlled externally.
- moviePlayer is used in TouchPlayer as its default movie player and works well with a touch screen.
Tip: When giving presentations in TouchDesigner networks, use moviePlayer instead of Movie File In TOPs because (1) it can automatically play when you select and pause when you select something else, and (2) it is easier to jump around long movies and play at cue points. (See its Behavior page.)
- 1 Summary
- 2 Quick Start
- 3 Usage
- 3.1 UI Play and Position Controls
- 3.2 Movie Settings and Adjustments
- 3.3 Zoom into Image to Inspect Pixels
- 3.4 UI Setup on the UI and Behavior Pages
- 3.5 Audio
- 3.6 Creating Cues
- 3.7 Using Cues
- 3.8 Movie Spec Components
- 3.9 Movie Spec Metadata Info
- 3.10 More on Cues: Cue Boxes, Columns or List
- 3.11 Cue Internals
- 3.12 Outputs
- 3.13 External Control of moviePlayer
- 3.14 Control of moviePlayer with Python
- 3.15 Multi-moviePlayers or Multi-"Movie Specs"
- 3.16 movieEngine - moviePlayer Without UI
- 3.17 moviePlayer in TouchPlayer
- 3.18 Crossfading Between Two movieEngines
- 4 Parameters - Control Page
- 5 Parameters - UI Page
- 6 Parameters - Behavior Page
- 7 Parameters - Go Page
- 8 Parameters - External Page
- 9 Operator Outputs
Get moviePlayer from the Palette -> Tools, then rclick -> View to get it in a floating window, or simply use moviePlayer in the node viewer in the network.
To play a new file, (1) change the file name in the File parameter, or (2) drag-drop movie files from a file browser onto the panel UI or node viewer (with Viewer Active on), or (3) drag-drop a Movie File In TOP onto the panel, or the node viewer.
On the user interface, press the Par+ (or Controls) button to bring up player parameters and movie parameters. (Alternately on the moviePlayer parameter dialog, press Open Movie Parameters.)
On the top row of the floating dialog, you see the tabs Player (for player settings) and Movie (settings for the specific movie you are playing now). Select Movie and adjust anything (say, Speed, Gamma) and verify the speed/level changes.
UI Play and Position Controls
Play/Pause: The ll and > button.
Timebar Scrub-and-pause/play: When dragging on the moviePlayer scrub bar, when you release the mouse button, if your cursor is above the bar, moviePlayer will continue to play the movie. If you have dragged down off the bar, it will pause the movie. Otherwise it will keep doing what it was doing before you started scrubbing.
Stepping: For precise positioning, the - and + buttons let you step forward and backward one frame. If you hold these buttons down, it will increment/decrement 1 frames every 1/6 second, and as you drag right/left off the + and - buttons, it will increment/decrement faster.
Shuttle Swing (Ladder): The <> button lets you inspect around the current frame: If you click <> and drag left/right off the button, it will go and pause at nearby frames, and if you continue to hold down and bring the cursor back to <>, it will return to the initial frame. The scale is exponential.
Keyboard: The keyboard's left/right arrow keys step forward and backward a frame. The Space bar pauses and un-pauses.
Time code: Roll over the time counter to get the movie length. Select from its menu to switch between seconds, frames and timecode.
Movie Settings and Adjustments
On the moviePlayer parameter dialog click Open Movie Parameters, or on the moviePlayer panel click the Par+ (or Controls) button on the left. This brings up the custom settings of the current movie.
Parameters on the Movie -> Settings 1 and Settings 2 pages adjust and prepare the movie: start-end trim, crop, Black Level / Luminance / Gamma adjustments, speed, audio gain, etc. Note that these adjustments don't affect the movie file itself, only how it is played in moviePlayer.
Zoom into Image to Inspect Pixels
Middle-click, hold down and move left-right on the image to zoom into a pixel of the image, or (with Roller Zoom toggle on UI page On) use your mouse roller wheel. Press 'h' to home. left-click/drag to pan. This zooming does not affect the output movie unless you set the Output Inspect Image parameter on the UI page. When the movie border is yellow, it indicates the movie is not homed in the viewer.
UI Setup on the UI and Behavior Pages
Look at the custom parameters of moviePlayer. On the UI page, all UI looks and customizations are set here.
Viewer Location puts the image behind or above the UI controls.
Here you can turn on Control Panel Always On while you are learning the UI.
You can also size the UI's overlay panels, and choose whether you want them displayed only when you roll over the panels or always.
On the Control page, Force Resolution internally scales the movie to your desired resolution when it is read.
Advanced: On the Behavior page -> Action on Select, you can play the movie when you click on the
moviePlayer1 node in a TouchDesigner network. With other options, it can pause the movie when you click on another node. etc. You can play a certain cue when you select the movie. This is useful when demoing movies in a TD network where you can click a node and it plays your preferred cue.
The audio signal always goes out the second output. But moviePlayer optionally plays audio to the default audio device (Internal Audio Player on the Control page). Its Volume parameter on the Control page is mirrored in the UI as the Audio slider. Alternately the second output of the component can be routed to a mixer/output component.
You can set up cues (a point or sub-section of a movie), each with a "beauty" frame, a "start" time, an optional "end" time and a end-start crossfade time.
Quick Cue: Pause the movie somewhere. Move your cursor to the top part of the player. The cue grid comes up (mostly empty at first). Click Add Cue. It will add a 5 second cue at the current frame. Go and pause to some other frame after the current frame. Again in the top area, press the E= button to set the End time. Now you have a cue segment. Press the grey Cue 1 button at the bottom. It will turn green and play/loop the cue.
Expert: To get at more controls you would use if moviePlayer is small, set Cue Edit Area set to Cue Columns. If you click in the top row of boxes labelled "B", it goes to the respective Cue's Beauty frame and pauses. If you click in the middle row of boxes labelled "S", it goes go to a cue's Start point and plays (hold Shift to pause). If you click in the third row of boxes labelled "E", it goes to a cue's End point and pauses. These provide quick-access jump points.
Once a cue is created, there are 4 ways to set the beauty, start and end points (some are better for touch screens):
Pause the movie where you want set a start, beauty or end point.
(1) Press the S= or E= buttons in the upper section. S= sets both the beauty and start frames.
(2) With Cue Edit Area set to Cue Columns, press Ctrl-click on the B, S or E boxes.
(3) Use the Set> menus in the cue grid.
(4) Right-click on an existing cue in the timeline and use the same Set> menu.
Thereafter, when you left-click on the B, S and E boxes, it will go to those times in the movie.
Assuming you have created at least one cue (see above), in the bottom row of the timeline, if you click on an icon image it goes to the beauty frame for that cue and pauses. If you press Shift-click on the icon, it will go to the cue's start and pause. You can play forward from the beauty or start times if you drag off the icon to the right (convenient for touch screen).
In the second row from the bottom, click the grey cue boxes to play only the cue's segment from start to end, and depending on the Cue's Next Behavior setting, loop the cue. The box turns green indicating it will only play the cue start-end range. Press Shift-click to pause at a cue's start time, or press the cue and drag down off the button. Press > to continue, keeping the cue selected (green). The first click on an unselected cue sets it to the cue start, the next click on that cue scrubs the cue.
End-to-start crossfade times are set per-cue: Set the the Crossfade parameter of the individual cue's parameter dialog via Par+ (or Controls) or via Set> Cue Parameters. (The Crossfade of the full movie (equivalent to cue 0, or Full on the timeline) is set in the movie's Settings 1 page.)
Movie Spec Components
A Movie Spec component specifies a movie file path and movie adjustments like in/out trim points, cropping, brightness/gamma/black level, speed, cues, metadata and more.
To create a Movie Spec component, open a movie via the File parameter of moviePlayer, or drop a movie from the file system or a Movie File In TOP onto moviePlayer's UI viewer. Then go to the External page, and press Copy Cur Mvspec Below. A new Movie Spec component is created below whose icon is the current movie. (You can check its Settings pages and look inside to see its cues.)
Then you can drag-drop these "mvspec" components to the moviePlayer or movieEngine panel to switch movies with all their settings and cues. You can use moviePlayer to edit the mvspec component further.
Alternately, change the moviePlayer parameter Source Type to Movie Spec COMP, and change the Movie Spec parameter to the Movie Spec component that you want to play.
Movie Spec Metadata Info
A Movie Spec component, on its Info page, also holds persistent movie metadata (as read-only parameters) that is normally only available if you open the movie file: images per second, time lengths, resolution, aspect ratio. So you can get movie info without opening the movie. (it is updated/validated every time the movie is opened by moviePlayer/movieEngine).
More on Cues: Cue Boxes, Columns or List
You can change the display of the top area to display cues as a time-ordered list. On the UI page, change the Cue Edit Area menu to Cue List. Cue Columns is convenient for use with touch screens.
Note that every cue is a Base component in
moviePlayer1/mvspec/cues, each with a few custom parameters.
After pressing Open Movie Parameters on the parameter dialog, or Par+ (or Controls) on the moviePlayer panel, if you have set a cue, you can see the Cues' parameters by selecting it in the top row of buttons beside Player and Movie. Or click the Set> menu and select Cue Parameters to bring up the parameters of a cue.
Here you see where the start, end and beauty times are held. You can name the cue. The Enable parameter undisplays the cue in the timeline, and is useful when it gets too cluttered. The Next Behavior menu allows you to stop or loop when reaching the end of a cue. You can set it to go black (0 0 0 1) or zero (0 0 0 0) at the end of the cue. You can safely delete or re-order
cue2... components in the cues network, or via the Set> menu.
The movie image and audio go out the first two outputs. Output 3 is the current movie's aspect ratio, length and rate. Output 4 contains cross-fading channels and diagnostics that may be useful.
moviePlayer contains about 70 nodes initially without cues - your GPU memory may become the limiting factor as you add many moviePlayers. But its default behavior is to pause moviePlayer when it is un-selected, to avoid using GPU and CPU time (see the Behavior page).
External Control of moviePlayer
To drive moviePlayer externally you can use CHOP timing ramps (like from a Timer CHOP, Beat CHOP or LFO CHOP). You can use python trigger commands to position/play at specific times or cues, or pulse parameters on the dialog UI that jump to cues or specific times.
To drive it externally, go to the External page, choose a CHOP and a channel that you want to drive it with and set the CHOP and Channel parameters. Select the appropriate units - seconds, frames (timeline frames) or 0-1 fraction. Then turn on External Control Active. The moviePlayer playbar should go red and the full timeline or the current cue should be under the controls of the channel.
You can refer to values in the third output of the CHOP which contains 3 constant channels: length (how many seconds long in moviePlayer is the currently selected cue (cue 0 is the full movie)), duration (this is the length divided by the Speed parameter - the movie takes longer to play if you set the Speed lower than 1)) and the movie's rate (images per second).
On the "Cues" page of the component's parameters, you can select a cue number and press Go to Cue and Play, for example. You can drive this with python or by exporting to the parameters.
You can alternately set a time and press Go to Time and Play. Also the parameters on the Cues page of moviePlayer can be used to jump to cues, pause, play, etc.
Control of moviePlayer with Python
The python extension in the component has the functions such as
GoToCue(cuenum, cuepoint, play) and
GoToTime(seconds, play). Example to go to 50 sec and play:
See the extension DAT in moviePlayer.
Multi-moviePlayers or Multi-"Movie Specs"
There are two ways to manage multiple movies. Most simply, you can duplicate
moviePlayer1 in the network and alter the duplicates. This will let you play several movies at one time. Changing the file name will delete all its cues and reinitialize all the parameters.
Alternately, if you have more that 10 movies or so, you can have a multitude of lightweight "Movie Spec" components, and drag-drop them onto any movie player. This is equivalent to setting a moviePlayer's Movie Spec parameter to point to the external
To create a Movie Spec component, on moviePlayer, on the External page, press the parameter "Copy Cur mvspec Below". It copies the current settings of the movie of moviePlayer to a component
mvspec1, just below moviePlayer in the network. ( Internally it is copying the template
moviePlayer1/mvspec1 or the latest
The Movie Spec components are very lightweight. Inside it are 5 passive nodes plus one empty Base component per cue.
You can make several copies of
mvspec1. Then for each
mvspec*, you can edit its parameters manually. Then you can drag-drop it onto the
moviePlayer viewer, or assign it to the Movie Spec parameter of
moviePlayer. Then you can edit and add cues etc as you normally would with the moviePlayer UI. All edits are saved in your
movieEngine - moviePlayer Without UI
movieEngine is a lightweight component that can be embedded in other tools to smoothly drive movie playback and switching.
On moviePlayer, on the External page, press Create Engine COMP Below. It will create
movieEngine1 in the network below moviePlayer, which is the same as moviePlayer, but with its UI removed and other non-essential operators removed.
On movieEngine, you can still left-click/drag on the image to scrub, and middle-click to pause/play. Also movieEngine is controllable via its parameters, its inputs and its Extensions calls in the same way as you control moviePlayer.
moviePlayer in TouchPlayer
To play movies with TouchPlayer, drag a movie file onto a TouchPlayer desktop icon, or start TouchPlayer on a movie file in the file system by right-clicking on the file and selecting Open With... TouchPlayer.
Crossfading Between Two movieEngines
To do crossfading or exact frame cuts between movies, you need two movieEngines or moviePlayers.
Every time you assign a new
mvspec to moviePlayer's Movie Spec parameter, it may take a few frames to unload the prior movie, open the new movie and load the number of pre-read frames into the GPU. (It uses the Timer CHOP for this, and you can watch the timing on the
out4 of moviePlayer So one moviePlayer can never guarantee a perfect cut between movies. For this reason you need two moviePlayer components to perfectly cut or crossfade between them. You get the second moviePlayer to pre-load the next movie before making a cut or crossfade. You can use the "
fade fadein" channels coming out of the 4th output of moviePlayer to control the cross-fading.
Parameters - Control Page
Sourcetype - ⊞ -
- File Path
- Movie Spec COMP
Open Movie Parameters
Image Fade Down (sec)
Image Fade Up (sec)
Internal Audio Player
Res - ⊞ -
Parameters - UI Page
Viewerloc - ⊞ -
- Behind Controls
- Above Controls
Control Panel Always On
Control Panel Opacity
Expose Help Button
Cue Edit Area
Cueeditarea - ⊞ -
- Cue Box
- Cue Columns
- Cue List
Cue Edit Area Always On
Upper Area Opacity
Size of Cuebar
Size of Cueloop
Size of Scrubber
Size of View Range
Size of Play Controls
View Range Start (sec)
View Range Length (sec)
Roller Wheel Zoom Image
Left/Mid Mouse Button Pan/Scale
Output Inspect Image
Parameters - Behavior Page
Action on Select Node
Actionselecton - ⊞ -
- Go to Beauty
- Go to Start
- Go to End
Cue on Select
Set as Current Cue
Play on Select
Viewer Active on Select
Action on De-Select
Actionselectoff - ⊞ -
Parameters - Go Page
Target Cue for Go
Action for Go
Goaction - ⊞ -
- Cue Beauty
- Cue Start
- Cue End
Set Cur Cue on Go
Go to Cue and Pause
Go to Cue and Play
Target Time for Go
Go to Time and Pause
Go to Time and Play
Go Back to Prev Mv
Parameters - External Page
External Control Active
Extunits - ⊞ -
Copy Cur mvspec Below
Save Cur mvspec to .tox
Create Engine COMP Below
- Output 0 -
- Output 1 -
- Output 2 -
- Output 3 -
|• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •|
A built-in panel in TouchDesigner that contains a library of components and media that can be dragged-dropped into a TouchDesigner network.
An Operator Family that creates, composites and modifies images, and reads/writes images and movies to/from files and the network. TOPs run on the graphics card's GPU.
A custom interactive control panel built within TouchDesigner. Panels are created using Panel Components whose look is created entirely with TOPs.
The Graphics Processing Unit. This is the high-speed, many-core processor of the graphics card/chip that takes geometry, images and data from the CPU and creates images and processed data.
A state of a node where you can operate the contents of its viewer, like operate the gadgets of a panel in a node viewer, or 3D data in the viewer of a Geometry component. With Viewer Active off you can select, move and delete nodes by clicking/dragging on them, even if the viewer is visible.