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Build Help Request

Help to specific problems with your setup, or discussing CasparCG bugs

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Build Help Request

Postby AlphaOgre » 21 Dec 2016, 20:52

Hello all!

I dabbled with Caspar a few years ago for a basic key/fill setup and it worked great. Now I have a new project that I'm pondering and I want to run the concept by you fine gentlemen (and ladies if any).

Need: Minimum: 4 channel HD-SDI 1080i, Prefer: 8 channel HD-SDI 1080i playout server. (Simultaneous playback on all channels).
Need: Minimum: 8 embedded audio channels on each playout channel. Prefer: 16 Channels on each playout channel.
Need: Selectable source clips from a source bin. Each clip will be roughly :30 seconds in duration. Each clip will have embedded audio. Once selected/loaded into a playout channel, these clips need to be played on an endless loop until a user interacts with the channel.
Need: To be user (idiot) friendly. Once I build this I need anyone with basic knowledge to be able to operate it. The user interface will need to be almost too simple.

My questions are basic: What type of hardware would suit these requirements? (MB/CPU/RAM recommendation). For the actual playout card, will the BM cards meet our needs or is there another/better option? I've seen some very impressive user interface setups built by users on this forum. Do any interfaces that are currently available for download handle multiple/simultaneous playout? Is what I'm pondering even possible with Caspar?
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Re: Build Help Request

Postby didikunz » 21 Dec 2016, 22:51

You did not said, how that interaction work. Does each channel react individual and you only have 8 in one box or is there any interaction across channels?

To me is sounds a bit like a museum / exhibition application with multiple languages or something similar (Do you need SDI for this). Have you considered using smaller / cheaper systems for one channels each? Because to keep 8 channels HD in a single box and to perform responsive is quite tough from the hardware demand. While a single channel does use much less resources. You would also have less of a single point of failure.
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Re: Build Help Request

Postby itod » 23 Dec 2016, 09:52

+1 for the multiple systems solution. This is how I've managed to do exactly the same requirement as yours (synchronous 8 channel HD playout), sorry for the bad quality of pictures:



Nine "cheaper" machines in a rack, 8 for playout and 9th to rule them all with custom CasparCG application to edit/save the playlist in tree fashion and send commands to all machines. Working for almost 3 years without maintenance and zero problems in 7 days/week usage, in 3rd year one machine needed some care. It's questionable if the single machine machine would have such long uptime and zero problems.
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Re: Build Help Request

Postby AlphaOgre » 23 Dec 2016, 17:18

I should have clarified it's usage a little better. It's purpose is to provide a test A/V loop for transmit paths. The 8 channels will be routed via a SDI router to multiple destinations when there is no incoming video being sent to the transmit paths so the receiving side of the path can maintain confidence that the path is indeed working. The clips themselves would be nothing more than an animated clip with audio channel identification. The channels do not need to be synchronized. We inject timecode between the playout server and the encoders.

I agree that 8 channels inside a single box would be resource heavy. In regards to redundancy/uptime, I'm not too worried about it. A daily restart for something like this would be perfectly acceptable. What I am concerned with is rack real-estate. I need to be able to mount this (All 8 channels) in a 6-8 RU rack space.

My current base hardware plan is to have x2 2-4 RU rack mounted PCs, each with it's own 4 channel playout card. This would aid in the resource/redundancy concerns. With this concept in mind, what level of MB/CPU/RAM spec would you consider adequate enough to drive 4 channels in a single box?

In regards to control/user interface, I'd prefer to be able to interact with these units simultaneously via a single GUI of some sort. It could be a web interface or a client based program running on a centralized user PC. Even having two instances of the control interface would be fine if the user can use both on the same screen.

We currently use a 4 channel unit which is mounted in a 1RU chassis. It uses a web client to manage the channels. It works fine, but we've outgrown it (need 8 now). The unit we're currently using costs well over $20k USD. It's more of a replay server and is overkill for what our required use is. Due to it's complexity, it's rather cumbersome to use.

My goal is to simplify this whole process with this Caspar and a couple BM cards. Though, I wish that I had a full height rack to dedicate to this project.
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