Initial Setup

Physical Setup

MTC or LTC

Although Streamers can run on the same computer as the DAW it's synced to, it is usually happier running on a dedicated machine. Many DAW applications tend to hog video power, so even when the overall CPU load is not too high, you may still encounter choppy playback. Running Streamers on a separate machine, whenever possible, helps considerably.

In order to run Streamers on a separate computer, you will first need a way to transmit timecode from one machine to the other. The most straightforward way is to attach a MIDI interface to each computer, and connect the DAW computer's MIDI Out port to the Streamers computer's MIDI In. This gives you a connection through which you can send MIDI Timecode (MTC) to Streamers.

Another way to transmit the same sync information is via LTC (longitudinal, or linear, timecode). Using Lockstep, you can plug an LTC feed into any audio input on the Streamers computer, and translate it into MTC that Streamers can read.

When routing a balanced LTC connection to an audio input, make sure the input is balanced, or stereo unbalanced, to avoid causing timecode audio bleed.

MIDI over network

Mac OS X has a built-in mechanism for transmitting MIDI over the local network. This tends to be ungainly and require a considerable amount of setup and troubleshooting. A few companies have created software (such as ipMIDI) that does the same thing with a more robust setup.

All of these solutions, however, may be unreliable for sending MTC. In some cases, MIDI packets get queued up before being sent out in bursts. MTC depends on the ability to send packets at a continuous rate, four times per frame, so this queueing can cause sync problems or a complete failure to sync.

Networked MIDI is a cheaper option, though, so we recommend testing it thoroughly and reverting to MIDI hardware if the network proves unreliable.

Video output

Streamers will make use of any display connection that your computer sees as a display. (If you see it in the Displays pane of System Preferences, and you can drag a window onto it and use your mouse on it, then it will work.)

To send Streamers's video output to a regular computer monitor, simply connect that monitor to the external display connection on the computer. To send it to a DVI or HDMI distribution amp, connect it the same way, using whatever adapters are necessary.

When working with a composite (analog) video system, from a Mini DisplayPort connection on your computer, you will need a bit of extra hardware. Mini DisplayPort connections cannot be converted to composite video using only adapters. However, a Mini DisplayPort–to–VGA adapter, connected to a scan converter, will allow you to send composite video out to a distribution amp.

Audio output(s)

If you are using Streamers to provide click tracks, warning beeps, or production audio, you will need to set up audio outputs from the Streamers computer as well. Streamers will work with any CoreAudio-compatible audio hardware.

Software configuration

Select MTC source

In the MIDI tab of Streamers preferences, select the source from which Streamers should listen for MTC. For example, if using a direct MIDI connection between computers, select the physical input port to which the MIDI cable is connected.

Next, make sure MTC is making its way to Streamers. For example, to sync to Pro Tools running on a separate computer, go to Setup > Peripherals on the Pro Tools rig; click on the Synchronization tab; and set the MTC Generator port to the physical MIDI port you have connected to the Streamers computer. Then click the GEN MTC button in Pro Tools's transport and begin playback.

If Streamers is online but not receiving timecode, Timecode Display is a helpful (and free) tool to make sure timecode is being received properly.

More information on Streamers's synchronization options can be found in the Synchronization section of this documentation.

IAC busses

Streamers creates its own virtual endpoint when it launches, which other applications running on the same computer (e.g. Lockstep) can see as an output. However, because this endpoint disappears when Streamers quits, it can be useful to create an IAC bus as a more persistent way to communicate between applications:

  1. Launch Audio MIDI Setup, from /Applications/Utilities.
  2. In the MIDI window, double-click on IAC Driver.
  3. Check the "Device is online" checkbox.
  4. Make sure at least one bus is defined in the Ports table. Click the "+" button to add one.

Position output window

Streamers renders video and overlays into its output window, which you will see as a blue-bordered, semi-transparent window when you first launch Streamers. If you have no reels defined, the output window becomes an overlay window and will render only overlays such as streamers, punches, and cue text. The blue-bordered window you see is actually a preview frame, which you can hide once the window is in place.

To move the output window, click anywhere within the window and drag it to its new location. Resize the window by dragging its bottom right corner.

When the window is in position, press P or select Display > Hide Preview Frames to hide it.

Choose display options

A number of optional overlays are available, and can be accessed from the Display menu and manipulated directly on the output window while the preview frame is visible. These include cue text (which can show the name of the current scoring cue or the line of dialog for an ADR cue); letterboxing and pillarboxing; and a bar/beat counter and free-time clock for scoring.

More information about the display overlays, as well as automatic streamers and punches, can be found in the Display Settings section of this documentation.

Building a document

With the hardware and software configured, the next step is to build a document with reels and cues. This process varies depending on the type of project.

For scoring and other musical projects, see Building a Scoring Document.

For ADR, Foley, and other nonmusical projects, see Building an ADR or Foley Document.