Video transparency/opacity solution?
December 21, 2006 6:54 AM   Subscribe

Help me watch anime while I work [aka video transparency/opacity solution?]

I spend 5+ hours daily in front of a Word doc.

I'd like to be able to set the Word window to say 50% transparency and have a video file running behind it - so I can watched subbed anime while I work. [Productive, ahn?]

Google fu turned up the program Vitrite which works in making the Word window transparent. Unfortunately when I play a video file [either full screen or maximized] and place the 50% transparent window in front of it, the video output turns black. The sound still works fine, though, and when I alt/tab back into the video player, the video stream is perfect again. I get this black screen problem with all my media players when I try them with Vitrite: VLC, Media Player Classic, Zoom Player, Real Player, Quicktime... so I'm guessing it's an issue with Vitrite. I've tried many different video files/formats too [avi, ogg, etc]

Other searching has led me mostly to Mac programs. Does anyone have a solution to this? I really need something to watch while I'm typing and a second monitor is out of the question. Tiling the windows so half the screen is Word and the other half is say VLC is a stopgap measure at the moment, but I'd really like to get this transparency setup right.
posted by Chorus to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This issue is not with Vitrite but probably with the version of Quartz, or the video card, you are running. Playing a video file behind a transparent window is extremely processor-intensive and it may be that your video card ain't up to it. I'm pretty sure Quartz will dumb down its compositing effects to keep things moving in the user interface.

What OS Version, processor and video card are you running?
posted by unSane at 7:10 AM on December 21, 2006

Doh -- I assumed you were on a Mac. Sorry.
posted by unSane at 7:12 AM on December 21, 2006

Response by poster: D'oh, should have stated that at the start

Thanks though.
posted by Chorus at 7:25 AM on December 21, 2006

i *think* this could be a limitation within windows itself. dont hold me to that though!

but i always have problems when trying to do anything fancy with video on windows
posted by moochoo at 7:43 AM on December 21, 2006

Try running your vids in wallpaper mode. Video > Wallpaper
posted by banshee at 7:48 AM on December 21, 2006

Try disabling the video overlay feature. The video will probably appear, although your computer will need rather a good bit of oomph to make it appear at an acceptable frame rate.
posted by majick at 8:03 AM on December 21, 2006

Response by poster: Disabling video overlay makes the video "appear" [YAY!] - however majick is right, there's an awful flicker which I'm guessing is a frame rate issue. Anything I can do about the flicker or am I limited by my graphics card?

[Tried wallpaper mode, didnt work]
posted by Chorus at 8:44 AM on December 21, 2006

Running the video isn't that hard (VLC player will let you do it, IIRC) but I don't think word is designed to allow it to be transperant.
posted by delmoi at 8:52 AM on December 21, 2006

I just tried this out, and it somewhat works.

Download PowerMenu This program adds a menu when you right-click a window's bar in the task bar, and gives options like Transparency, Always on Top, Minimize to Tray, etc.

I played a video in WMP, and set the Word window to 40% transparent. While this works, the problem is that (unless I am scrolling in Word), the video itself is fully visible. I suspect this is somewhat affected by my worse-than-the-card-in-my-3-year-old-laptop video card, so you may get better results.
posted by niles at 1:21 PM on December 21, 2006

Ok, assuming you have video card card better than mine (I have an Intel card w/ ~96 mb, shared), you will get better results. I just tried it on another computer, and the video was transparent most of the time. It flickred in and out, but it seems like it would work for what you want.
posted by niles at 1:47 PM on December 21, 2006

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