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Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24/7)

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Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24/7)

Postby vmbrouwer » 13 Nov 2015, 19:37

Hi guys!


Less then a month ago I started a project called 'CasparAPC', currently I'm still developing the core functionality, and testing it's stability. It's not finished yet, but I'm spending lots of hours every week working towards a beta version. I already tried some other automated playout clients for CasparCG server, but those programs didn't meet the requirements we had as a local television station in The Netherlands.

I'm curious whether people are interested in this free application. If so, it will be available in the near future to download.

The reason I'm developing this program is mainly because I like to program. Also, our local radio/television station in The Netherlands was searching for a fully automated playout solution alternative. Once I showed them this alpha version they got really excited because it would be a cheap alternative to high-end television playout systems which cost a fortune (keeping in mind there are less options). Since it's a volunteer-based organization, this application would become a real alternative for them. They very much appreciate the fact that I'm creating this application in my spare time and will release it once there is a beta version. They already showed interest and they already pledged to try it out once release.

About CasparAPC:
- Uses SQLite
- Manage Media
- Manage Mixers
- Manage Items
- Playlists
- Live control panel
- 24/7 playout client

Finished:
- Add/edit/remove Media
- Add/edit/remove Mixers
- Add/edit/remove Items
- Start item on startup of CasparAPC. (In case you reboot your CasparCG server and want to play a specific item on startup)
- Play item in background

Working on:
- Live control panel (Load + Play + Stop + Clear items finished)

To-do:
- Create/edit/remove playlists
- Add/edit/remove items in playlist
- Start items automatically
- Manage transitions between playlist items
- Auto-generate playlist

How it works:
With CasparAPC you add your media files (which must be located in the media directory of CasparCG server) by creating a new media object with the Media Manager. Once you added your media you create a mixer with the Mixer Manager for this type of media. In the mixer you can define the media location, size, transitions on show and other stuff as shown on the right in the screenshot. Once you are done creating a few basic mixers and added your media, you can create an item. An item consists of at least one media-item. A media-item is a combination of a media object and a mixer object. This way you can create items which consists of multiple media-items (aka media), like a logo in combination with a video and a newsticker on the bottom of the screen. Because of this dynamic setup you can re-use your media and mixers objects, in case you want to play a video one time in full screen, and the other time in a frame, you only need to create another item with the same media and a different mixer.

Once you created an item, you can load, start, stop, or fade to black this item with the Live Control Panel. This will communicate with CasparCG server which displays the item containing all media-items. You can also create, edit and save playlists by drag-and-drop items from the Item Manager to the playlist. Last but not least, in the top right corner three clocks are displayed. The cyan one shows the current system time, the red one displays the time until 'on the hour', and the green one displays the time left for the current item playing.

As you can see, there is lots of cool stuff embedded already. The plan is to migrate our television playout system to CasparCG server in January 2016. If you got any suggestions or idea's for this application, please let me know by writing a comment.


Thanks for reading all of the above, and I apologise for any grammar mistakes.


Greetings from The Netherlands,

Vincent Brouwer
Student and Developer of CasparAPC
Working at a local radio/television station in The Netherlands.
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casparapc_preview1.png
Current state
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Vincent Brouwer
CasparAPC programmer, volunteer at a local radio station in The Netherlands.

Caspar Automated Playout Client - Broadcasting 24/7 with CasparCG.
http://www.casparapc.org
(Will be released for free in the near future).
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby SteveElkington » 14 Nov 2015, 12:15

Very interested, look forward to testing a beta version if you choose to release :)
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby balte » 14 Nov 2015, 18:24

Interesting, I too created / am creating a 24/7 scheduled playout client to be used by local tv stations in the Netherlands. I originally developed it for rtv slogo, but it is being used by schagentv right now while rtv slogo is still integrating to a new transcoding hub. After the integration rtv slogo will run completely (infochannel and video playout) on a single instance of casparcg.

Maybe some day we can gather our strengths.
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby vmbrouwer » 15 Nov 2015, 15:03

If anyone has any suggestions in case of functionality, I'd like to hear from you! Once there is a beta version, I will let you know at this topic. The program itself will be released for free at: http://www.casparapc.org
Vincent Brouwer
CasparAPC programmer, volunteer at a local radio station in The Netherlands.

Caspar Automated Playout Client - Broadcasting 24/7 with CasparCG.
http://www.casparapc.org
(Will be released for free in the near future).
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby Jonas Hummelstrand » 16 Nov 2015, 13:52

Cool, thanks for sharing with the community!
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby vmbrouwer » 17 Nov 2015, 00:42

Quick update on playlist development:
http://www.casparapc.org/development/quick-update-on-playlist-development/

Thanks to those who showed interest so far! I'll keep you up-to-date at this topic.
Vincent Brouwer
CasparAPC programmer, volunteer at a local radio station in The Netherlands.

Caspar Automated Playout Client - Broadcasting 24/7 with CasparCG.
http://www.casparapc.org
(Will be released for free in the near future).
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby vmbrouwer » 19 Nov 2015, 16:01

Bug fix on adding new items to the database.
More info: http://www.casparapc.org/development/bugfix-adding-items/
Vincent Brouwer
CasparAPC programmer, volunteer at a local radio station in The Netherlands.

Caspar Automated Playout Client - Broadcasting 24/7 with CasparCG.
http://www.casparapc.org
(Will be released for free in the near future).
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby vmbrouwer » 19 Nov 2015, 18:53

I updated the CasparAPC functionality/development list, which can be found here:
http://www.casparapc.org/status/

I'm curious whether you guys might miss crucial things in terms of functionality. Keep in mind that CasparAPC is not being developed as an alternative to CasparCG client. It's purpose is to start media 24/7 based on playlists.

I'm exciting to get feedback based on the screenshots I posted here and on my website. I'd like to adjust this program so it can be used in as many ways I could think of.

Thanks!
Vincent Brouwer
CasparAPC programmer, volunteer at a local radio station in The Netherlands.

Caspar Automated Playout Client - Broadcasting 24/7 with CasparCG.
http://www.casparapc.org
(Will be released for free in the near future).
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby haydent » 19 Nov 2015, 23:54

sounds similar if not suitable for the task i have in mind, though i would be simplifying things down to make it very simple and easy to use for a no video experience user, just a few click to schedule content or camera selection for say a week or month in advance, likely base it on the layout of a calendar appointment app.
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby balte » 20 Nov 2015, 06:55

haydent wrote:likely base it on the layout of a calendar appointment app.


Tried it, but unless you have a really good idea this won't work for most channels.

The problem is that most of the weeks most channels will want to keep repeating every bit without changing the schedule, but then some weeks they want to start messing around with little things, but that can't mess up the rest of the weeks.

Also, calendar apps seem intuitive because they allow for drag and drop, but in reality that is never as time accurate as having a user put in a start time.
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby haydent » 20 Nov 2015, 07:15

would they would specify a start time and date, and it would be displayed in calendar layout, see this isnt a station that would always have something on, defaulting back to scenic webcam when nothing scheduled.

i thinking they would need option to specify a new shedule to occur once or at some interval, then have a check to make sure there is no clashes
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby vmbrouwer » 20 Nov 2015, 11:00

I agree with @balte on time accuracy, this is essential.

It's already possible to make items in the playlist static by configuring a specific start time (in case you want to schedule a news video 'on the hour'). Normally every playlist item is dynamic (calculated by: next start_time = previous start_time + previous item duration).

For example:
start_time / item_duration / item
14:00:00 / 00:07:00 / Play news item [STATIC, SO TRIGGERED ON TIME]
14:07:01 / -00:00:01 / Play default item, in this case text tv (which is unlimited) [dynamic].
15:00:00 / 00:07:00 / Play news item [STATIC, SO TRIGGERED ON TIME]
15:07:01 / 00:04:23 / Play commercial item [dynamic]
15:11:24 / -00:00:01 / Play default item, in this case text tv (which is unlimited) [dynamic].

@haydent: I added the functionality "Auto-generate tomorrow's playlist if it does not exist (add default item only, for now)" to "TO-DO BEFORE BETA RELEASE".

As said, you can also specify a "default item" to play in the CasparAPC configuration. You can enable this to get executed on CasparAPC startup and if tomorrows playlist doesn't exist in the playlist directory at 23:45, it will automatically generate a new playlist and add the "default item" only (just for now). If the "default item" doesn't have unlimited duration, it will trigger the "fallback item" once the "default item" has finished playing. The fallback item can also be specified in the CasparAPC configuration.

Overview of playlist generation functionality:
- Generate playlist;
-- for selection of one or more days (calendar);
-- based on existing playlist (/template playlist);
- Auto-generate tomorrow's playlist if it does not exist (add "default item" only, for now);

I hope this is clear.

Thanks guys!
Vincent Brouwer
CasparAPC programmer, volunteer at a local radio station in The Netherlands.

Caspar Automated Playout Client - Broadcasting 24/7 with CasparCG.
http://www.casparapc.org
(Will be released for free in the near future).
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby vmbrouwer » 20 Nov 2015, 16:11

I updated the "FUTURE FUNCTIONALITY" list at http://www.casparapc.org/status/. Let me know what you guys think. After beta-release, that's what I'll be working on, and you can post other functionality right here at this topic.

I know that it's a long list, but every idea is more than welcome!

The beta release is planned for February 2016, by then, one local radio/television station will start using CasparAPC in combination with CasparCG Server as a broadcast solution.

I'm very excited about the program itself and I hope that it will be of practical use for those who might use it in the future.
Vincent Brouwer
CasparAPC programmer, volunteer at a local radio station in The Netherlands.

Caspar Automated Playout Client - Broadcasting 24/7 with CasparCG.
http://www.casparapc.org
(Will be released for free in the near future).
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby itod » 21 Nov 2015, 14:58

vmbrouwer wrote:The beta release is planned for February 2016, by then, one local radio/television station will start using CasparAPC in combination with CasparCG Server as a broadcast solution.


Efficient way to iron out the bugs is to use a software in production!

Nice project, congratulations.
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby vmbrouwer » 21 Nov 2015, 15:58

Thanks itod!
Vincent Brouwer
CasparAPC programmer, volunteer at a local radio station in The Netherlands.

Caspar Automated Playout Client - Broadcasting 24/7 with CasparCG.
http://www.casparapc.org
(Will be released for free in the near future).
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby SteveElkington » 23 Nov 2015, 10:03

Good luck with this, exciting project!
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby vmbrouwer » 25 Nov 2015, 21:06

First test with CasparAPC and CasparCG server! #exciting
Photo: http://www.casparapc.org/development/first-test/
Vincent Brouwer
CasparAPC programmer, volunteer at a local radio station in The Netherlands.

Caspar Automated Playout Client - Broadcasting 24/7 with CasparCG.
http://www.casparapc.org
(Will be released for free in the near future).
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby SteveElkington » 25 Nov 2015, 21:10

Exciting times! Good luck!
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby ddonoghue » 26 Nov 2015, 12:04

fyi, casparapc.org does not appear to be working at present
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby vmbrouwer » 26 Nov 2015, 13:44

Thanks ddonoghue! I noticed it a few minutes ago, I will contact my service provider.

Update:
26/11 - 14:44:00 - Problem awareness
26/11 - 15:10:00 - I had to update the name servers of http://www.casparapc.org. It will take some time to resolve. Cause of problem still unknown.
26/11 - 15:20:00 - Name servers updated. Resolving of hostname will take some time.

27/11 - 15:20:00 - I've been in contact with the registrar since this afternoon and te problem is about to be resolved. I forgot to verify my e-mail address with ICANN, something that they require with .org domains (which I didn't knew). It should be back online within in a few hours.

27/11 - 15:32:00 - Website up and running again.

Sorry for the inconvenience guys! My mistake.
Last edited by vmbrouwer on 27 Nov 2015, 15:33, edited 1 time in total.
Vincent Brouwer
CasparAPC programmer, volunteer at a local radio station in The Netherlands.

Caspar Automated Playout Client - Broadcasting 24/7 with CasparCG.
http://www.casparapc.org
(Will be released for free in the near future).
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby vmbrouwer » 27 Nov 2015, 15:31

If you want to keep informed about the latest development via twitter. Please follow @CasparAPC here: https://twitter.com/casparapc. You can also check out http://www.casparapc.org/status/.
Vincent Brouwer
CasparAPC programmer, volunteer at a local radio station in The Netherlands.

Caspar Automated Playout Client - Broadcasting 24/7 with CasparCG.
http://www.casparapc.org
(Will be released for free in the near future).
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby vmbrouwer » 10 Dec 2015, 14:01

Hi guys!


Last week I've added the 'Shotbox' feature to CasparAPC (CAPC) as 'easy-to-use' control panel for switching between media, in addition to the 'Live Control Panel'. If you want to know more about it you can find out here: http://www.casparapc.org/development/added-shotbox-to-capc/

If you have more suggestions for CAPC, please contact me at Skype: @vmbrouwer.

Image

Soon more!


Greetings from The Netherlands.
Vincent Brouwer
CasparAPC programmer, volunteer at a local radio station in The Netherlands.

Caspar Automated Playout Client - Broadcasting 24/7 with CasparCG.
http://www.casparapc.org
(Will be released for free in the near future).
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby Jesper Stærkær » 10 Dec 2015, 14:09

This is nice
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby SteveElkington » 10 Dec 2015, 14:25

Really looking forwrd to seeing a demo version of this, it looks a nice client!
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby red455 » 14 Dec 2015, 09:52

It looks great . when the Beta version will be available ?
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby zbang » 18 Dec 2015, 04:49

Looks very interesting, but when can we get our hands on it? I'm in mid-port of a similar project from mplayer/freebsd to caspercg/windoze but would be happy to abandon that and work with another code base. (I'm a prof. development/test engineer that happens to do video, too.)
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby vmbrouwer » 05 Jan 2016, 21:50

Hi everyone! First of all, happy new year!

It will at least until the end of February. Currently I'm still working on the playlist functionality. December has been a very busy month for me, so I couldn't find the time to work on CAPC. I'm also working towards my exams which take up a lot of free time also. Although the complexity of CAPC isn't that high, I do want to make sure it handles all items in the playlist correctly, even if they are of unlimited duration or static. I don't want an unstable or unusable application to be released, not even as a beta.

I hope you guys understand this situation, if someone with programming skills is willing to help me out with some of the problems, I'd like to hear from you! You can contact me at skype (vmbrouwer). Thanks in advance.

And thank you all for your patience.


Greetings from The Netherlands.
Vincent Brouwer
CasparAPC programmer, volunteer at a local radio station in The Netherlands.

Caspar Automated Playout Client - Broadcasting 24/7 with CasparCG.
http://www.casparapc.org
(Will be released for free in the near future).
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby aladinko » 01 Mar 2016, 15:10

It looks great, Good luck!
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Re: Announcement of CasparAPC (Automated Playout Client - 24

Postby arkadas » 17 Jan 2017, 13:31

Hi Vincent,

Following this with special interest for a hospital radio station in the netherlands

We wrote a simple playout for caspar, but we are no programmers so we just do simple playout of video files.

Kind regards,
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