Using Cubase+Macbook pro for sample tracks and video


My band has been using a macbook with cubase to play live sample tracks (just around 8 channels) and now we need to play sync’d videos on a video wall, do you guys think cubase will be able to handle it? I’ve read an article on steinberg’s knowledge base about the recommended formats (prores, ndxhd and h264) but I’d really appreciate if someone with more experience on the subject could offer some help.

Thanks in advance,



It depends what MacBook Pro do you have, RAM, etc.

In general: less video compression = less CPU load while decompressing during the poayback.

Sorry for the long delay…

It’s a 2011 i5 with 16GB of RAM and an SSD (along with a SATA HDD), intel HD 3000 512MB graphics.
Please help, I’ve been trying many different formats (NDxHD, H264, lower resolutions, lower bitrate etc) and it still stutters and pixelates like hell. Some of my converted videos play well in quicktime but in cubase nothing works.
CPU performance in cubase shows very little usage, nothing is maxing out, so I just don’t understand what is going on.

Do you recommend a different approach? Different software for video, an external video card, anything?

Thanks again!


i5 is not the best processor for video, but in general it should work too.

Actually Cubase CPU meters don’t show a video. It’s handled outsode by Quick Time. Could you try to open Activity Monitor and do some research here? Is it a processor on the limit, or disk reading?

In general: low resolition, low bit rate and low compression should help.

Thanks for all your help, Martin!
Activity monitor shows high CPU usage by “videodecode” so I guess i5 really isn’t up to the task!
I can’t lower quality too much, because it’ll look awful on the video wall… Do you think an external video card (such as the black magic intensity) would solve the problem? Or maybe using different software?

Thanks again!


If you have Thunderbolt on your Mac, this would be the only one port, which could make sense to connect a graphic card with. All other ports (USB or Forewire) are far to slow.

Other DAW? I cannot imagine. Video is not handled by Cubase, so it’s an external process. It’s on Quick Time side. Do you think, there is less CPU hungry video player? In any case, Cubase can use Quick Time only.

Breaking news! Motion jpeg seems to work! I’m so tired I’ll just leave my desktop converting all remaining videos and will import them into the project tomorrow, but the test file I converted to Motion jpeg in full hd and high quality worked perfectly, and looks great!

I’ll be back with more updates. Thanks for all your help, Martin!