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Old 06-24-2011, 02:04 AM   #1
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Default Video Playback and Exporting

-update- 2020.04.19

The most up to date information on video playback and export is always available in the manual of Reaper. (thank you JamesPeters for pointing out the flaws in the previous version of this post)

Updated the WIKI page to have more general links for folks to more easily find the most up to date versions of FFMPEG libraries and VLC.

Video Playback with Reaper

The easiest thing to do is to install the Video Lan Client player. It will enable Reaper to play almost any video file out there.
  • VLC
    A free, open source player that Windows and MacOS users can download the latest version (v3.0.8 as of 7.11.2019) at this location.

    Get the version for your operating system.

    MacOS users just grab and install the most recent version of VLC. Reaper will find it and use it for video playback by default. If not, check the Video preference page.

    Windows users need to download the 32-bit version of VLC if they're using the 32-bit version of Reaper and the 64-bit version of VLC if they're using the 64-bit version of Reaper.

You can always check what Reaper is currently using to play a video by checking the Source Properties of the video item in either the context menu of the item, or via the default shortcut , which is CTRL+F2 on Windows.

Reaper can use different playback engines for different filetypes. Refer to the Section 20 of the manual on how to do this.

Video Playback & Export
Reaper comes with a small free FFMPEG library that can produce videos with free codecs, but you can add other codecs by downloading and installing one of the large FFMPEG libraries for your system (Windows or OSX, no idea about Linux yet).

Those downloadable libraries are not produced or maintained by Cockos and cannot be distibuted by Cockos with Reaper due to licensing restrictions.

The free FFMPEG library included with Reaper can encode the following formats :
  • AVI container
    • DV video codec (not recommended
    • FFV1 video codec (lossless)
    • Huffyuv video codec (lossless)
    • 16, 24 or 32-bit PCM audio
  • MKV container
    • FFV1 video codec (lossless)
    • Huffyuv video codec (lossless)
    • 16, 24 or 32-bit PCM audio

Exporing to non-free formats like H264 in MP4 containers
MP4 video files use AAC audio content. Many folkes use that when uploading to Youtube. Reapers video encoding speed is limited, unless you're using MacOS and the AVFoundation encoder.

For everyone else, it's easier to export to a free lossless format and then transcode that with the highly effective and fast free tool Handbrake.

Target format : MP4 container with H264 video and AAC audio

How to get there : Render lossless video and audio in Reaper and encode final MP4 with the free tool Handbrake.

Get Handbrake here for Windows or OSX :
It comes with many encoding presets for devices and online video sites.

First, render your video with the following settings in Reaper :
MKV container, HUFFYUV video codec, 24 bit PCM audio
This will produce a rather large file. Check your video dimensions and frame rate before starting the render, so they match the source video in your timeline. The small arrow box on the right lets you pick various resolutions, frame rates or the resolution and frame rate of the source video.

Now use that resulting file as a source video in Handbrake, pick your preset and where Handbrake should save your video, and off you go.
Why go with the free codecs out of Reaper ?
Handbrake and other video encoding applications offer much better control over the target format. You produce an excellent source with Reaper and use the best video encoding applications to produce your desired results. You don't get that kind of control in Reaper(yet).
Replacing an audio track in a video
It is possible for most video formats.

For Quicktime, use the Quicktime Pro player.

MKV files, try the MKVtoolnix package.

MP4 files, try the MP4box frontend YAMB since it can demux and mux video and audio streams in to a new MP4 file.

In Reaper render the audio, perhaps encode it to AAC audio with Neros AAC encoder(Tips for Neros AAC Encoder) or ITunes for example and then use one of the tools above to remove the original soundtrack and add the new one.

This produces a video file without transcoding the video.

Stay tuned for news on this, and do not hesitate to post anything to this thread that YOU know about replacing soundtracks in videos.

Expand the encoding capabilities by installing a more complete FFMPEG library from an external source

Windows x86 and x64
Zeranoe FFMPEG builds of the FFMPEG libraries:

The latest release with a proper version number is recomended. Please refer to the manual for the most up to date information.

Files to use from the archive:
Reaper requires all the DLL files.

First, find the resource folder by using the command Options / Show REAPER resource path in explorer/finder .

Copy those DLL files from the archives bin/ directory(Zeranoe)in to the UserPlugins directory of Reapers resource folder. Restart Reaper.

OS X 10.4+
Check out this thread for some good information.

Files to use from the archive:
Where to place the files :

Unpack and put right .dylib files into:
<home folder>/Library/Application Support/REAPER/UserPlugins
Reaper uses the system search path to locate the library as well.

(According to the wiki entry ( ) Reaper should pick it up from here or /usr/local/lib )

Note on OSX 10.7 and 10.8 from Schwa (one of the Reaper developers) :
OSX Lion(and Mountain Lion -ed) makes it much harder to access <username>/Library.

By default, that folder will not appear in the Finder.

The "official" way is to open the Finder, open the Go menu, then hold down the Option key.

Alternatively, open Applications/Utilities/Terminal and type "chflags nohidden ~/Library". This Lion behavior will cause all sorts of inconvenience for advanced REAPER users who are familiar with the REAPER inifiles.
Vide Format Conversion

TEncoder (Windows, open source, free)


Can convert most formats to almost any other. Preferred tool to produce Prores Proxy files. Does not require Quicktime to be installed.

MPEG Streamclip ( OSX and Windows , free )


Can convert most formats to AVI, Quicktime, DV and MP4. Batch conversion, transform, frame rate conversion.
Preferred Containers and Codecs

Quicktime/MKV Prores Proxy(any source and frame size)

Quicktime MJPEG A(interlaced SD sources) / PhotoJPEG (progressive source of any frame size)

Quicktime H264 with no B-Frames works well too.

Last edited by airon; 04-19-2020 at 04:33 AM. Reason: osx x64 additions
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