QLab 5VideoCamera Cues

Camera Cues

Camera cues allow you to display live video through QLab using the same cueing, routing, and video effects that are available to Video cues. New to QLab 5, every Camera cue contains an embedded Mic cue which allows you to play live audio along with the live video. The source of the live audio can either be the same device that’s providing the live video, or a different one.

Camera cues can use any of the following as sources of video:

  • Any USB video device class camera or input device. This includes most webcams and any video capture device that does not require its own drivers or software to be installed.
  • Any IIDC-compliant camera or input device. These are typically referred to as DV devices1, and are FireWire-based which means they are rather passé and hard to come by.
  • Any Blackmagic Design DeckLink, UltraStudio, or Intensity device.
  • Any Syphon source on your Mac.
  • Any NDI source available to your Mac via its local network.

macOS Security

macOS requires you to proactively grant permission to each program that wants to use a camera or any video input device in order to limit sneakiness and make it harder for programs to spy on you. You will need to grant QLab permission for camera access in order to use Camera cues. If you’re not automatically prompted to do this the first time you try, or if you need to change QLab’s permission, you can do that by visiting System Preferences → Security & Privacy → Privacy, choosing Camera from the list on the left, clicking on the padlock icon at the bottom to unlock it using your password or biometric ID, and then checking the box next to QLab in the list on the right side.

Giving QLab permission to use the camera

The Inspector for Camera Cues

When a Camera cue is selected, the inspector shows the Basics tab and Triggers tab, used by all cues, as well as the following tabs:

The I/O Tab

The I/O tab lets you configure the cue’s source and destination for both video and audio, as well as the number of audio channels used by the cue.

The I/O tab

Video Input. This pop-up menu allows you to select a video input patch for the cue to use as its source of video. Clicking on the menu allows you to select one of the video input patches already configured in the workspace, or (unpatched) if you want to ensure that the cue does not play when started. You can also choose Open Camera Settings to edit patch list… to quickly get to Workspace Settings → Video → Video Inputs, or choose New patch with camera device to quickly generate a new video input patch and select it for use.

The Monitor button opens the monitor window for the selected video input patch, showing you an immediate live view of the input from that patch.

The Edit… button opens Workspace Settings → Video → Video Inputs.

Audio Input. This pop-up menu allows you to select an audio input patch for the cue to use as the source of audio in the cue. Clicking on the menu allows you to select one of the audio input patches already configured in the workspace, or (unpatched) if you do not want the cue to handle audio. You can also choose Open Audio Settings to edit patch list… to quickly get to Workspace Settings → Audio → Audio Inputs, or choose New patch with audio device to quickly generate a new audio input patch and select it for use.

If the selected video input patch uses an NDI source, QLab automatically uses the audio from the NDI source as the audio input for the cue. This input comes directly from NDI and does not use an audio input patch. Camera cues which use NDI sources for video cannot be configured to use other sources of audio.

x input(s) starting at channel y. This pair of pop-up menus allow you to configure the audio input channels of the cue. The first menu sets the number of channels, which can be anywhere from 1 to the number of input channels available in the audio input patch, up to a maximum of 24. In the screen shot above, you can see that the audio input patch uses a device with only one inputs, so for this cue, the number of input channels can only be 1. The second menu sets the number of the first input that the cue should use, which can be anywhere from 1 to the number of input channels available.

To the right of those menus, QLab displays the sample rate of the audio device used by the selected audio input patch. Note that for virtual audio devices such as Existential Audio’s BlackHole or the venerable Soundflower, the sample rate may not display accurately at all times, or even at all. Virtual devices are not always able to provide this information; it’s not necessarily a sign of a problem.

The Edit… button opens Workspace Settings → Audio → Audio Inputs.

Video Output. This pop-up menu allows you to assign the cue to a stage, which is QLab’s video output mechanism. Every Camera cue must be assigned to exactly one stage, and the way that the stage is configured defines how the imagery will ultimately be displayed. You can learn more about stages from the Video Output section of this manual. Clicking on the menu allows you to select one of the stages already configured in the workspace, or (unpatched) if you want to ensure that the cue does not play when started. You can also choose Open Video Settings to edit stage list… to quickly get to Workspace Settings → Video → Video Outputs, or choose New stage with video route to quickly generate a new stage and select it for use.

The Monitor button opens the monitor window for the selected stage.

To the right of that button, QLab displays the pixel dimensions of the selected stage. QLab always displays the actual pixel dimensions, not the effective point size, so for Retina displays, these numbers may be considerably higher than the resolution reported in System Preferences.

To the right of that, the Edit… button opens the video stage editor for the currently selected stage.

Audio Output. This pop-up menu allows you to select an audio output patch for the cue to use. Clicking on the menu allows you to select one of the audio output patches already configured in the workspace, or (unpatched) if you want to ensure that the cue does not play when started. You can also choose Open Audio Settings to edit patch list… to quickly get to Workspace Settings → Audio → Audio Outputs, or choose New patch with audio device to quickly generate a new audio patch and select it for use.

To the right of those menus, QLab displays the sample rate of the audio device used by the selected audio input patch. Note that for virtual audio devices such as Existential Audio’s BlackHole or the venerable Soundflower, the sample rate may not display accurately at all times, or even at all. Virtual devices are not always able to provide this information; it’s not necessarily a sign of a problem.

The Edit… button opens the audio output patch editor for the currently selected audio output patch, for quick access.

Using different devices for audio input and audio output is possible. You can read more about the technical considerations related to this in this part of the section on Mic cues in this manual.

The Geometry Tab

The Geometry tab behaves the same as the Geometry tab for Video cues.

The Levels Tab

The Levels tab only appears if the cue uses audio. It behaves the same as the Levels tab for Audio cues.

The Trim Tab

The Trim tab only appears if the cue uses audio. It behaves the same as the Trim tab for Audio cues.

The Audio FX Tab

The Audio FX tab only appears if the cue uses audio. It behaves the same as the Audio FX tab for Audio cues.

The Video FX Tab

The Video FX tab behaves the same as the Video FX tab for Video cues.

Broken Camera Cues

Camera cues can become broken for the following reasons:

No camera access

QLab has not been given permission to access camera inputs. To clear this warning, open System Preferences → Security & Privacy, then click on the Privacy tab and select Camera from the list on the left. Then, find QLab in the list on the right and check the box next to it. This step typically does not need to be repeated, but may need to be if you completely uninstall and then reinstall QLab or perform a major macOS version update on your Mac.

No video input patch

The cue has no video input patch assigned. Assign a video input patch to clear this warning.

Incomplete video input patch

The cue has a video input patch assigned, but something is wrong with it. The video input patch will have warnings of its won, listed in the Warnings tab of the Workspace Status window, which you can use to figure out what’s wrong with it. Either fix the video input patch or select a new video input patch to clear this warning.

No video output stage

The cue has no video output patch assigned. Assign a video input patch to clear this warning.

Incomplete video output patch

The cue has a video output patch assigned, but something is wrong with it. The video output patch will have warnings of its won, listed in the Warnings tab of the Workspace Status window, which you can use to figure out what’s wrong with it. Either fix the video output patch or select a new video output patch to clear this warning.

No microphone access

QLab has not been given permission to access audio inputs. To clear this warning, open System Preferences → Security & Privacy, then click on the Privacy tab and select Microphone from the list on the left. Then, find QLab in the list on the right and check the box next to it. This step typically does not need to be repeated, but may need to be if you completely uninstall and then reinstall QLab or perform a major macOS version update on your Mac.

Audio input patch does not have enough input channels

The cue has been configured to use more audio channels than the input device has available. Either select an audio input patch which uses a device with enough input channels, or reduce the number of channels used in the cue to clear this warning.

Issue with audio input patch

The cue has an audio input patch assigned, but something is wrong with it. The audio input patch will have warnings of its own, listed in the Warnings tab of the Workspace Status window, which you can use to figure out what’s wrong with it. Either fix the audio input patch or select a new audio input patch to clear this warning.

No audio output patch

The cue has no audio output patch assigned. Assign an audio output patch to clear this warning.

Issue with audio output patch

The cue has an audio output patch assigned, but something is wrong with it. The audio output patch will have warnings of its own, listed in the Warnings tab of the Workspace Status window, which you can use to figure out what’s wrong with it. Either fix the audio output patch or select a new audio output patch to clear this warning.

Missing cue audio effect

The cue has an audio effect assigned, but that AudioUnit is not installed. Either remove the audio effect from the cue or install the missing AudioUnit to clear this warning.

License required

A video license is required to use Camera cues. Install a video license or remove the cue to clear this warning.

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