Step 1: Manage Your Assets
Three simple tools are required to publish digital signage consisting of mutliple file types: A MediaEdge video distribution system with the new "DS" upgrade; an internal FTP site where content can be staged; and the new Display Content Manager (DCM) software tool from Grass Valley. A MediaEdge video distribution system normally includes a MediaEdge server on a campus, connected via Ethernet to some number of players. The number of players is really up to you, and can be as many as needed. Multiple MediaEdge servers (on multiple campuses) can be tied together over a wide-area Ethernet and used to provide unified content libraries throughout the enterprise.
In networks that span multiple campuses, the FTP site can run on one of the MediaEdge servers in your network. The wide-area network will be used to keep each MediaEdge server up-to-date with content staged at the FTP server.
The Display Content Manager is the tool used to manage media and graphic assets, create screen layouts, create playlists and schedules, then publish and "commit" MediaEdge resources to run the content.
An asset is any type of media you plan to display. The DCM is organized with Bins and Categories where content may be registered. Use the Import function to gather assets into the DCM and, if you wish, assign assets to categories.
Bins are used to organize content by type- the video bin, the still-image bin, the scrolling-text bin, and so forth. Categories let you gather mixed content types into common projects or themes. For example, if I create a “Training” category, I can then assign video, text and other graphics to that category. When I work on the “Training” project the DCM can filter my assets to only show those associated with this category.
Step 2: Create a Layout
A layout is the template MediaEdge will use to arrange assets on the screen for display. Use the Layout Tool to define regions on the screen and to decide, if regions overlap, which should be on top of its neighbors. Region names are simply for your convenience, as any asset can be placed in any region.
Step 3: Build Playlists
A playlist- and this is key- is based on a layout. Each layout region needs content assigned. Further, content needs time. There are three regions in my example. I want to run video in the full-screen region, a still image watermark or glass bug in the upper left region, and scrolling text in the bottom region.
I defined a 30-minute playlist. I want to run six videos in sequence (each five minutes long), but keep the same watermark graphic and scrolling text throughout.
Step 4: Schedule Playlists
By now you can see how this will all come together. I created a layout, used a playlist to assign assets and time to my layout regions, and now I’m going to tell the system when and where to run these playlists.
The DCM is used to create a channel. During installation your MediaEdge players were assigned to channels (any number of channels may exist). You simply drop your playlist on the channel, date and time you want it to run. You can even set a 30-minute playlist to run all day. By selecting repeat, you can run the playlist over and over again for as long as you wish.
Step 5: Commit
The final step is to commit MediaEdge resources to the task- that is, to publish your assets, layouts, playlists, and schedules throughout the network. Fortunately, the DCM does this in the background. The DCM will, without further intervention from me, send messages to the MediaEdge servers in my network informing them of the assets, layouts, playlists, channels and schedules they need to run. Each MediaEdge system will pull only what it needs from the FTP server, and run the programs as scheduled.
In most cases updates will be scheduled to take place at night, or on weekends, when network bandwidth is more available. If needed, you can force an update in real-time by selecting Update from the File menu, but you’ll need to allow sufficient time for everything (particularly video assets) to be moved into place.
Tools Used: Grass Valley MediaEdge, multiple content sources (video, still graphics, Flash animation, HTML, etc.)
Product Marketing and Business Development Manager, Enterprise Video Distribution and Digital Signage, Grass Valley
Ray Brooksby is based in San Jose, California, and is responsible for developing and implementing international marketing and sales strategies for IP video distribution products. His career spans more than 30 years in television production, digital video, and video compression products and services. He has managed start-ups and developed product strategies that continue to shape multimedia video systems around the world. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts and Communications from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Ray Says Keep in MindÃ¢Â€Â¦
Grass Valley recently updated the MediaEdge video distribution system to support delivery of mixed media content. Video, still graphics, scrolling text, animated Flash, and HTML can now be combined on a single display. I’ll show you how you can use MediaEdge to publish digital signage using the new Display Content Manager, or DCM.
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