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February 7th, 2012

DT Videolabs has a short, sweet product line. Along with two versions of its playback software, PlaybackPro and PlaybackPro Plus, the firm makes two USB keyboard controllers and a few other products. Adding Playback Pro Plus software and the 40-key PlaybackPro Plus USB Controller turns your computer into a digital video powerhouse. DT Videolabs’ products work with Apple towers, laptops and the iMac, but not Windows PCs.

Playback Pro

Setup and use

The PlaybackPro Plus software is a snap to install, and the keyboard simply plugs into a USB port. Because the products are Mac-centric, DT Videolabs recommends that you save clips in Apple’s ProRes 422 format on a RAID 0 drive to ensure the best quality and reliability. CRE, of course, is an expert in Xserve RAID and other mass storage solutions.

This software/controller combo gives you a flexible multi-channel player that becomes a recorder, too, when you add the RecordPro application. The features are extensive:

  • cut and dissolve between clips
  • variable fade and kill settings
  • individual control of gain, saturation, gamma, volume and black levels
  • automatic adjustment of output resolution and aspect ratio
  • works in any ratio (4:3, 16:9, etc.) with infinite adjustability of sizing, stretching and cropping
  • completely non-destructive to original files
  • full start and end point controls
  • easy fade-in and fade-out settings
  • time-elapsed and time-remaining counters
  • SimpleSync application enables multiple machine synchronization

Straightforward and efficient

With keyboard controls logically laid out, the learning curve is short, and adding the appropriate QuickTime components lets you use almost any file format. With a switching system that accepts VGA, DVI, DisplayPort or HDMI high-res inputs – which the Thunderbolt port on new Macs like our MacBook Pro rental can handle with simple adapters – you can connect directly, and even gen-locked signals can be handled with just a simple add-on or plug-in.

The same kind of tight hardware/software integration that makes using a Mac Pro a “seamless experience” enables the DT combo to give you total control of every function. The device is essentially half a keyboard with buttons in clearly divided Preview and Program areas (left and right, respectively), with Loop, Freeze and Link buttons in the middle. Group buttons are color coded, and there’s a double-sized green “Take” button on the left and a same-sized red “Kill” button on the right. It all makes sense – and works great.

Bottom line

The PlaybackPro Plus software/controller combo is perfect for corporate presenters, and is even making inroads into the hotel, theater and concert/touring industries. Adding DT’s controller and software to a Mac yields a dependable, professional presentation solution. And we should know – CRE is the leader in trade show convention rentals, as well as potent post-production gear, high-end A/V equipment, plasma display rentals, touch screens, workstations and computers. Call or e-mail an Account Executive, or use our Quick Rental Quote form, to get the right tool for the right job – right now!

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