OAS Playout Manager
Audio Control and Management.....
|OAS Playout Manager is the application
included with the system designed to manage all the audio which Playout
works with. It also is the central point for the creation of playlists
and voicetracking. Playout Manager provides the following key features:
- Bulk loading of entire directory trees
of audio files into Playout making much of the data entry an automated
- Audio files not restricted to any predetermined
location, can be located on any local or remote system
- Full metadata/tag
processing (title, artist, album etc.) automatically read during
- Powerful metadata editor included, includes
ability to write data back to audio files.
- Edits can be applied to single or multiple
tracks providing rapid updates of information
- Separate editors for music and miscellaneous
audio eg. Jingles, Adverts etc.
points editor and normalisation
creation and manipulation including automatically generated playlists,
playlist exchange using industry standard playlist format
- Voicetrack programme editor
- Music/Advert log viewer.
Prior to using Playout, the first
step is to import your music, jingles and other audio into the system,
this is accomplished via Playout Manager's importers. There are
two of these - one dedicated to music and the other for jingles,
adverts and other miscellaneous audio however they both work in
a similar manner. Firstly, you tell the system the folder where
your physical audio files are located (these must have already been
converted or ripped from CD). Playout Manager will then search for
all the recognized audio files in this folder and all the sub-folders.
This process also extracts any metadata held within the audio
files (this optional data includes the track Title and Artist
information). The list of tracks is then displayed within the importer
The importer also includes logic
to look for identical or similar tracks which may already be present
in the system (allowing for a degree of spelling mistakes or possible
subtle re-wordings). Those tracks deemed to be similar are colour
coded for easy review. The user now has the opportunity to select
or de-select tracks prior to them being loaded into the system.
Only when the Update button is pressed are the tracks actually stored
into the Playout system.
Once the audio has been loaded
into the system, it is them possible to make changes to the information
held against each track. Once again there are two editors for this
purpose - one dedicated to music and the other for Jingles/Adverts
etc. The editors allow the user to change any aspect of information
held against a particular track, from altering the Title,
Artist, Album fields etc. to physically updating the
location of the audio file if it has been moved for any reason.
Furthermore it is possible to make changes to any number of tracks
at the same time. For example, given a set of tracks from a given
album, the album name may be changed for all tracks simply by highlighting
them and making the change just once.
As with the importers, no changes
are actually physically made to the system until the Update
button is pressed. The editors also provide the capability for setting
Playout specific aspects for the tracks including the Cue
points and Normalisation
Playlists are a central
component to the Playout system and the Manager software has a fully
featured editor to enable any number of these to be constructed.
A playlist can be constructed either manually by picking and choosing
the tracks (and optionally any jingles, adverts etc.) which a presenter
wishes to include in their broadcast. A time indicator gives a rough
summary of the amount of audio included in a given list. Alternatively,
playlists may be automatically produced via the use of a playlist
generator. These additional plug ins allow for many hours of
music to be produced based upon a set of rules (eg. which tracks
must/must not be included) and logic held within the generator itself.
This predominantly used during periods of unattended operation ie.
automation. The Playout system ships with a single playlists generator
which is designed to produce a semi-random playlists, evenly spacing
out tracks by identical artists for a specified duration which would
probably suite many western music based pop stations however we
have also written customised generators targetted towards a given
stations needs. For example, the new community station Unity101
have a special version designed around the asian music they play.
It is also possible to schedule when Playout should automatically
execute a given playlist.
Playlists may also be imported
into the Manager tool from other third party applications which
support the industry standard m3u
playlist format. It is also possible to export playlists
in this same format and into HTML web pages such that they can be
easily embedded into a station's website if desired.
A playlist also forms the starting
point in the creation of a voicetracked programme.
Playout Manager provides a dedicated
editor to examine and manipulate the music logs generated by Playout.
Tracks may be sorted by date/time and occurrence providing a complete
profile of music being played over any given period. Filters are
also available to remove tracks from the view based on time/date
and Playlist. Any given view may also be exported to text or HTML
format ready for inclusion on a web site - for example:
|As The Rush Comes (Radio
||Sat - 17/07/2004, 20:15:14
|Town Called Malice
||Sat - 17/07/2004, 20:18:17
|Under Your Skin
||Careful What You Wish For
||Sat - 17/07/2004, 20:21:49
||Sat - 17/07/2004, 20:26:31
||Sat - 17/07/2004, 20:29:58
||Rocky Horror Picture Show
||Sat - 17/07/2004, 20:34:47
||Sat - 17/07/2004, 20:38:11
|roll with it (live)
||Sat - 17/07/2004, 20:43:26
|find your way back
||Sat - 17/07/2004, 20:47:47
You can also use the logs as
a basis for producing a playlist eg. most played tracks in a given
|Cue Points and Normalisation
During the import process, the
system automatically calculates the Start Cue and End
Cue points for the track. The Start Cue is designed to skip
over any leading silence that may be part of the track such that
when playback commences it begins instantly. The End Cue is only
used when Playout is in Auto mode and is used to trigger the playback
of the next track in the sequence such that they overlap each other
However there may be occassions
when these automatically calculated values are not correct - for
example a track which finishes abruptly or has a very quiet start.
As such, they can be manually edited through the Edits tab (both
music and jingles) using a graphical cue points editor.
Cue Points Editor
Normalisation ensures that the
output levels of all tracks use the full amplitude range that is
available ie. they should all play back at roughly at the same volume
level. Generally normalisation should be applied during the CD ripping/encoding
stage of the audio however if this has not been done or cannot be
done (eg. the track has been downloaded) then Playout offers the
ability to perform this normalisation during playback. Prior to
this, the Manager tool needs to scan the tracks to work out the
correct levels to apply during playback. This information is then
stored in the systems database.
Both the Cue point settings and
normalisation values can be written to the audio file's metadata
such that in the event of catastrophic data loss or the tracks need
to be re-imported to the system the values will be automatically
extracted from the data held with the file.
allows entire programmes to be pre-prepared by simply selecting
the music you wish to include then recording and placing your links
(or segues) at appropriate intervals between (or over) the
tracks. Playout Manager provides all the tools you need to achieve
this, allowing a voicetrack programme to be created from scratch
or from an existing Playlist. Central to this is the voicetrack
Segue Editor which allows you to record and place your segues
at the correct points in the programme.
At any given time, the Segue Editor
presents a graphical view of the overlap point between two audio
tracks - at the point one finishes and the next one starts. From
here you can then adjust how the tracks overlap and include any
existing jingle or other pre-recorded audio clip anywhere within
the two tracks with a simple mouse drag and drop operation. To include
a 'link' (or segue) simply then record your segue using any Wave
Editing software (not included) and drop it into the view at the
appropriate point. Finally, preview how the link will sound using
the play controls and save the changes.
Any number of voicetrack programmes
may be created and scheduled for broadcast at a later date and time.
At this designated time, Playout will automatically execute the
programme for you.