Play audio only (turn off video preview)

I would find it really helpful if there was a button or setting that would play audio only and turn off the video preview.

I am putting together a virtual choir video, where each choir member has separately recorded their own video track (~20 tracks). Obviously my system is not powerful enough to play all of these video clips at once, even with proxy and frame skipping turned on.

Because this is a musical production, I frequently adjust audio filters (e.g. changing stereo panning to correspond to moving a choir member in the video layout). My system can play the multiple audio tracks as long as all of the video clips are hidden.

Every time I want to adjust an audio filter and test it out, I need to hide all of the video. There are two issues with this approach: 1) It takes a long time to hide all of the video tracks just to test a small tweak of an audio filter. 2) I often forget to make the video tracks visible again before exporting. So I leave for an hour waiting for the video to export and then come back disappointed having wasted the hour.

I’m spending a significant amount of time hiding and unhiding video instead of editing. Being able to play audio only without hiding all of the video tracks would make this much faster and less error prone.

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I have an off-the-wall idea that may or may not work. I haven’t tried it at your number of tracks.

Let’s say the musicians are on V1 to V20. Try making a V21 track. Put a “File > Open other > Color” clip of any color (not transparent) on V21. Stretch the color clip to cover the entire length of the video. Make the track visible when you want to edit audio. Hide the track when you want to edit V1-V20.

The theory is that Shotcut has an optimization to not composite lower tracks if the top track covers the whole screen. Nothing on V1-V20 would be visible anyway, so why waste CPU compositing lower tracks. So we are creating something simple on V21 to cover the whole screen and trigger that optimization, leaving the rest of the CPU for audio work.

Curious to know if this hack works for you.


Austin - thanks for the suggestion. I’ll give it a try (exporting video now, so don’t want to mess with it at the moment).

Another way this suggestion could be fulfilled might be to let you save macros/sets that adjust user-specified combinations of track to visible / audible. For example, I could set all of my tracks as desired for export, then save that setup as macro 1. Then I could set all of my tracks to audible but not visible for audio editing, then save that setup as macro 2. Then a shortcut key could let me toggle through these macros. This implementation would address my problem, and would likely also solve other users’ related (but not identical) problems - e.g. allowing them to quickly toggle between editing different layers of the video, or different panels of a multi-screen layout.