I feel the need to write about professional video apps for macOS. There are many available, and you may have trouble finding them. These apps have their uses. The apps listed here have been tested for on-site client review purposes but also home uses.
Why would you want to use one of these players?
Here are some of the reasons you as a professional videographer, semi-professional, or just regular technical-savvy person might want to use such an app:
- They are good for previewing material.
- Some allow to do some color grading in advance.
- They can convert videos to other formats.
- They can export stills.
- Some have integrations with cloud client review platforms.
- Some allow playback on a professional preview monitor.
The reason I’ve been looking for such an app, though, was because we needed a way to stream videos to, say, an AirPlay device or a Chromecast. Surprisingly none of the apps listed have this functionality.
So-Called Pro Players
At the moment this one’s my favourite. It’s not as pricy as the other options but also comes with fewer marketing whistles as the high-end ones. It’s a straight-up video player with some professional features. As I said, this one’s the one I like the most.
A runner-up is Pro Player by Digital Heaven. The problem with this one is not its professionality but its design. The app is hard to use, forces an in-app purchase, and the general user flow could be improved. That said, it’s still a good app, so check it out!
Switch is an app made by Telestream. I’m not a huge fan of their Mac product ScreenFlow anymore. It’s small and big issues that I have with Telestream. Switch is one of the high-end players though. It’s got playout options for preview monitors, color settings. So you can get really nitpicky with this one. The one that you want (Pro) has a hefty price tag of 295$ attached to it. Not for regular folks. Here’s their compare features page.
CinePlay integrates with Kollaborate. Kollaborate is Digital Rebellion’s client review platform. The platform is great, but I found that CinePlay is also not very nice to use. Actually a common theme among these “professional” player apps, with the exception of Videoloupe. It’s not very expensive though, so it still might just be your cup of tea!
Non-“Professional” But Still Very Good
I want to finish off this piece with a couple of the non-professional apps. The reason here is that I found that these players do offer more capabilities when it comes to our original goal (on-site client review using a Chromecast). But they are sold as non-professional and so they’re just listed here below.
The VLC Client used to be the best video player for home use. With the years, however, there’s been less and less going on with this user-facing app. Videolan has been focusing on behind-the-scene stuff, like their encoders, which I highly recommend. VLC could use a modern design. It could use a little speed boost. The thing is, it’s still a good app. Actually one of the best because I wouldn’t want to have anything listed here that is just not very good.
I’ve been using the VLC 3 beta for a year or so now. You have to download it from the nightly builds.
Movist is the app that I use for my own personal use. It’s what opens all movies that I watch normally. Again, this one has fewer whistles and bells but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some good features covered under its sleeve. Playback speed, playlists, picture adjustments, etc. Those are all available. Check it out.
These two apps have been solving zCasting 3000’s original problem. Beamer is a simple video player that can stream any video to a streaming receiver, like a Chromecast, but it doesn’t have any additional features. You can’t change the playback speed, you can’t add bookmarks for to-do’s, you can’t adjust the picture. But it streams videos. And that’s what it does well.
AirParrot is one of my favourites too! It has more features in terms of streaming. Basically it allows you to use your Chromecast as an external monitor. It can also “stream” a windows’ content to an AirPlay/Chromecast device. This makes it pretty much perfect for client review applications. Again no added whistles. So you have to take notes yourself for the production process.
If you just like to do streaming, and all your other options fail, check out these two apps!