The default playback mechanism that CatDV uses is based on the QuickTime library. This supports a wide number of file formats and codecs and supports import, transcoding, and editing functions as well as playback. It is possible to install extra QuickTime codecs and importers to support additional formats.
When the QuickTime player is being used a blue ‘Q’ appears in the movie controller.
Certain media formats or codecs can occasionally cause stability problems with the built-in QuickTime player, so that playing a damaged media file could cause the CatDV application to abnormally terminate. To protect against this you can run QuickTime in a separate process by enabling ‘protected player’ in Preferences.
When using the protected player you may notice a slight lag when moving and resizing the window and some features may not be available, also that popup menus may sometimes appear behind the player. A green ‘P’ is shown in the movie controller when using the protected player process.
Java Media Framework player
Older versions of CatDV relied exclusively on the QuickTime API framework to provide its media support. Since CatDV 8 you can also extend CatDV’s media playback capabilities by installing a JMF (Java Media Framework) media handler and codec plug-in, or the Xuggle library (see below).
One such JMF plug-in is Fobs4JMF, based on the popular open source FFmpeg library. This permits playback of MPEG 2, MPEG 4, many MXF and WMV files, HDV and AVCHD transport streams, and more. Another is the JMF Windows Performance Pack which provides access to native Windows Media codecs (on Windows only).
To activate either of these 3rd party plug-ins, first download and install the files following the relevant instructions. Then, in CatDV’s preferences (under Advanced Media Handling) choose the location of the JMF extension jar file, eg. fobs4jmf.jar. (On the Mac choose the Fobs4JMF-0.4.??-JMStudio.app application bundle, which contains the relevant files inside it.). Supporting files (jmf.properties and any dll or jnilib native libraries) should be in the same location as the jar file.
Once you have successfully installed a JMF plug-in (you may need to restart the CatDV application for the change to take effect) CatDV will automatically try to open a file with JMF if QuickTime is unable to read the file. Note that some features (including transcoding media and sequence editing) are not supported via the JMF framework at this time.
A red ‘J’ is shown in the movie controller when using a JMF plugin for playback.
Xuggle is another open source media library based on FFmpeg. It is easier to install and provides better performance than JMF and so is preferred over JMF in most cases. Xuggle provides playback of HDV and AVCHD transport streams, among other formats, though with some limitations (such as not being able to scrub or seek through MPEG and HDV files).
You can download the Xuggle library using this link.
A yellow ‘X’ is shown in the movie controller when using Xuggle for playback.
On Windows you can use the built-in DirectShow player to play files such as AVI and WMV movies. As with other players, you can enable or disable this player in the Media Playback section of Preferences. A magenta ‘D’ is shown when using the DirectShow player.
CatDV has built-in support for displaying common still image formats, including certain camera RAW files. It also has a built-in player for certain types of OMFI files.
Even if no player is available to play or view a file from within CatDV, you can still use CatDV to catalog and tag such files, and double click on the clip (or use the Cmd/Ctrl-L menu shortcut) to open the file in its default application.