Configuring the Multiscreen Output, the Control Monitor for I/O Signals of the Server

MScreen1.jpgSL NEO server of any series may be equipped with additional SD/HD SDI outputs and/or HDMI outputs, for displaying all I/O signals at the SDI/HDMI monitor in the MultiScreen mode.

 

This function is optional and is not included into the set of basic functions of the SL NEO server: first of all, because of the necessity of installing the additional output board HD SDI/HDMI and the necessity of increasing the server CPU productivity.

 

Nevertheless, you can adjust this function of the SL NEO server without the additional activation, if you use the "free" HD SDI/HDMI output with available spare of CPU productivity.

 

The spare resource of the processor and the "free" IP-output also allow encoding the Multiscreen-composition into the standard UDP/RTP IP transport stream for the on-line monitoring of the I/O signals by the network users.

 

We can't but notice that the MultiScreen output displays the stream not directly from the physical outputs of the server, but from the output of the appropriate software module that is placed logically "before" the output board/interface. This circumstance can't be treated as the absolutely correct method of monitoring.



For solving this question, Skylark Technology has developed a separate line of products for monitoring: SL NEO 8000 series processors that are the autonomous devices and work with the input SPTS/MPTS over ASI/IP and HD/SD SDI signals.

 

The server software module MultiScreen serves for forming the multiscreen composition.


The module supports indication of the audio levels, alarm signaling in case of freeze frames, control of increasing/decreasing the audio level relative to the set values. Information about all emergent situations is displayed in log-files. You can adjust displaying a few fields with the clock and the current date in the separate window (the system time of the server is displayed). The instrument for adjusting the multiwindow composition contains the web-editor that allows users to set the position and size of every window, and the channel name. 

 

The module MultiScreen supports integration with systems for recording and automated broadcasting of the SL NEO platform: you can configure the windows to display additional text information that comes from the services Program Channel (the module for control of the playlist execution) and Record (the server module for control of recording).

 

The order of configuring the module that forms the multiscreen composition

Step 1. Add a new component (the module Multiscreen) to the server configuration

SLNEOintray.jpgBy the right click on the blue icon SL NEO in the taskbar, choose Stop Server and stop the server components. After some time the icon will change its color to red, then right click on it and choose the item Configure Server Components. Find the field Available components in the configuring window and add the element Multiscreen into the right field.

 

The module Multiscreen functions jointly with the I/O devices, you should pay attention to presence of the appropriate elements of the server software in the system.

Step 2. Launch SL NEO server software and adjust the parameters of the Multiscreen module and the composition

After the start of server software, further adjustments will be implemented from the Administrator Control Panel. Login to the console is implemented locally from the server, or from any machine in the network by the address http://ip of the server:7901. You should login to the control console as an administrator. 

 

The tab Multiscreens in the section Manage allows adjusting parameters of one or several server Multiscreen modules, each of which provides the forming of one multiwindow composition.



Basic Parameters of the Composition



ms_pl_parameters.jpgActivate the item Service Enabled and enter the parameters of the service: find the item Playout Parameters/General in the field Video Mode and choose the mode (resolution and frame frequency) for the output stream. For avoiding additional load of the processor, the current parameter should coincide with the parameter that is set in the settings of the output board (the Playout service).

 

The field Audio сhannels requires setting the number of audio channels that should be formed in the output signal. In the field Report folder specify the path to the folder, where the log-files will be created.

 

4 parameters Margins set the sizes of borders on edges of the composition and borders ("gaps") between the windows, in pixels.

Creating a new Window

Now let's configure the item Windows: here you can adjust the number of formed windows and the parameters for each of them. The tab Layout contains the editor of compositions with the 16x16 grid. By the button New you can create a new window - an element of the composition. Find the field Window Name in the opened dialogue window Edit Window with settings for the new element and enter the name - this text will be displayed as a title at the top/bottom part of a displayed window.

 

Choosing a Source of Signal for the Window

 

ms_w_param1.jpg

 

Choose a source of audio/video stream for the given window. Set the type of source in the field Source type. Variants of choice (types of sources):

 

LIVE is a "streaming" source. The "stream" is the "internal" uncompressed stream from the output of one of SL NEO platform software modules.  For displaying the signal that comes to the server input, you should choose an appropriate capture service Capture or Record from the drop-down list in the field Source name. For displaying a signal of the output program channel, you should choose Program Channel or Playout.

 

FILE is a previously uploaded file, you can choose it from the list in the field Source name. Uploading files to the SL NEO server/processor is implemented directly from the control web console. Choose the item Files in the console menu, then click Upload File and choose the file. The procedure of uploading is simple copying of media-files without any conversions. After the file is loaded, it appears in the list at the page Files of the control panel. This technology allows uploading the file from the remote machine to the server using a web-browser.

 

URL is a clip from the SL NEO server database, or a file from a local/network folder. For specifying the name of a clip placed in the database, find the field Source name and enter medb://server_ip/title:clip_name, where clip_name is the name of the clip in the database (the field Media).

 

For setting a name of a file placed in the local or network folder, you should specify a path to the file in the field Source namedisk:/folder_name/clip_name or host_name/folder_name/clip_name. The selected clip will be played back in the window in the "infinite cycle" mode. Choice of the file source is actual for displaying the date and the "digital" clock that are contained in the file with the graphic composition.

 

NONE - the source of audio/video stream for a given window is not set. In case of setting NONE, you can create a new window that will display only the text.

 

Positioning the Window

 

The item Layout serves for positioning the window and setting sizes. You can specify the initial sizes of the window and its position in the fields Position (X, Y) и Size (W, H). The unit is one element of the editor grid (16x16).  You don't need to set the exact parameters for the window at this stage: you can correct them directly in the visual editor of the composition.

 

The parameter Lage Alarms is responsible for the type of text that is displayed in the window in case of triggering the alarm: when the parameter Lage Alarms is on, the full phrase is displayed (for example, Video Frozen), when the parameter is off, the abbreviation is displayed (for example, VFR).

 

Configuring the Text Alarm in the Window

 

ms_w_param2.jpgThe item Alarms serves for configuring the text alarm in the window. The conditions for triggering the alarm are:

 

Still Detect – detecting a freeze-frame or a black burst, Audio Level – increasing or decreasing the set audio level by the dBFS scale.

 

By the button Add in the section Alarms you can add a new condition. Choose the type of detecting in the field Alarm Type, choose the addition to the condition in the field Alarm Sub-Type. Open the field Delay and set the delay for triggering in seconds, if needed.  The item Alarms allows you to configure simultaneous executing of a few conditions.

 

Text alarm is functioning when choosing sources for the window that have the types Capture and Playout and doesn't work from the "internal" sources that have the type Program Channel.

 

Displaying the current information from play/rec lists

 

The item Information Overlay serves to configure displaying the text information that comes from the services Program Channel (the module for control of the playlist execution) and Recorder (the module for control of recording).

 

ms_w_param3.jpgIn the field Service Type you should choose the type of service, in the field Remote Host specify the IP-address of the server with the appropriate functioning software module, or enter 127.0.0.1 if the value is localhost. The parameter Background adds a semitransparent backing to the displayed text.

 

If you choose the value Program Channel in the field Service Type, the composition window will display:

 

C: - current - the name of the current executable event in the playlist (the field Media), the time passed from the beginning of the event and time remaining to the end of the event (Remaining).

 

N: - next - the name of the next event in the playlist.

 

Configuring the Audio Parameters

 

The item Audio Configuration serves for adjusting the number of displayed channels in the indicator of audio levels in the window.

 

In the field Audio Channels choose the number of audio channels for displaying in the indicator, in the field Audio Layout choose Add and in the opened dialogue window set the channels for switching to the outputs of the Multiscreen service.

 

Configuring the indicator parameters is implemented in the field Audio Bar Options of the main editing window:

 

Audio Bars activates displaying the indicator;

Base Audio Level sets the static shift of the level readings in dB, you can use it for adjusting the indicator according to the needed type of scale (considering that the maximal readings of the indicator = 0 dBFS);

Audio Position – variants of location of the indicator (left/right);

Audio Bar Width – width of columns;

Display Numbers – turning on/off the numbers that display levels;

Font Size – the size of font for the numbers.

 

Window Design Elements

 

ms_w_param6.jpgThe field Title Options in the main editing window allows users to set parameters for the text displayed as a window name:

 

Title Foreground – text color, Opacity – text transparency;

Title Background – text background color, Opacity – background transparency;

Title Position – text location (at the top/bottom part of the window);

Font Size – the font size;

Inside Window – the parameter that allows location of the text directly over the picture;

Border Size – size of the window frame, Border Color – frame color.

 

Creating a window with a clock and a current date

 

For creating a clip with a clock, you should use the graphics editor of the client application Air Manager. The user guide for Air Manager contains detailed instructions for creating such compositions.

 

You should create a graphic composition with a clock with no help of the database service. Save the file with a composition (the extension *.slg) to the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\SL NEO Media Platform\run\files at the server.

 

The next stage is creating a new window in the multiwindow composition and choosing a file source for it: FILE  - from the list in the field Source name or URL, a source of playout in the window (a clip from the SL NEO server database, or a file from the local/network folder). For specifying the name of a clip placed in the database, find the field Source name and enter medb://server_ip/title:clip_name, where clip_name is the name of the clip in the database (the field Media). For setting a name of a file placed in the local or network folder, you should specify a path to the file in the field Source namedisk:/folder_name/clip_name or host_name/folder_name/clip_name. The selected clip will be played back in the window in the "infinite cycle" mode.

 

Creating a window with text

 

You can create a window containing only text by the button Text Items in the section Layout. Find the field Text in the opened dialogue window Add Window with settings for the new element and specify the text that will be displayed, set the font sizes, color and transparency of the text and the backing.

 

You can specify the initial sizes of the window and its position in the fields Position (X, Y) и Size (W, H). The unit is one element of the editor grid (16x16).  You don't need to set the exact parameters for the window at this stage: you can correct them directly in the visual editor of the composition.



Copying the composition windows

 

Editing of the window is finished. As a rule, most of the composition windows contain identical parameters: for copying windows, you should use the buttons Copy/Paste in the section Windows – Layout. You can set the size for every window by dragging the white marker at the right bottom part of the window.

 

The item Windows – Properties will display all formed composition windows as a list. You can open the menu for editing the parameters of the appropriate window by the button Edit in the list.

 

ms_w_param7.jpg

 

Saving the created composition into a file

 

For saving the configured multiwindow composition, you should use the button Save Config, located in the window Multiscreen. Physical location of the saved file is the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\SL NEO Media Platform\run\files at the SL NEO server. This function allows saving/uploading the xml configuration file from the remote machine to the server, by using a web-browser, and without using shared resources.

 

Configuring the module Multiscreen is finished: for applying the current settings, press Apply Changes at the top part of the control web console. The Multiscreen service with the changed configuration will be reloaded, playout of the composition will be stopped during reloading.



Step 3. Forming the output signal: switching the Multiscreen service to the SDI/HDMI output

 

Choose the item Status from the left main menu of the control web console. The page contains windows, according to the configured hardware and software components of the SL NEO server. At this stage you should implement switching the streams between the basic software modules and implement final adjustments.

 

The page Status contains the Playout modules, which are responsible for the channels of playout through the I/O boards. You'll have to send the stream from the Multiscreen module to the input of the appropriate Playout module. Choose Input in the icon of the Playout module, then choose Set Input in the new window. Find the field Source type and specify the type of the source LIVE (the "streaming" source). For displaying the multiscreen composition, choose the appropriate Multiscreen service from the drop-down list in the field Source name.

 

If switching is successful, the icon in the Playout window will display the signal that comes from the Multiscreen service, the appropriate signal will appear at the SDI/HDMI output.



Switching the audio signals to the Multiscreen output

 

Find the appropriate Multiscreen window in the section Status and choose the parameter Action. Choose the action Set Active Window in the window Execute Action. Find the field Param 1 and specify the name of the window with the audio that should be broadcasted to the output. The action Next Window will make the next window active, so its audio stream will be directed to the output of the Multiscreen service.

 

With the help of the service GPI/Hot Keys you can adjust switching the audio sources by means of buttons at the keyboard of one or several PCs.