3. Conversions

In order to playback visual content in PHOTON, you have to convert your media files — .jpeg, .png, .targa, .tiff, .mov, etc. — to the .vci file format. .vci media conversion does not compress media. Prior to file conversion, you should choose what kind of video encoding you will apply to the media content. Compression can only be done in color space. PHOTON is a frame accurate system and does not support temporal or spatial compression.

3.1 Conversion Options

  1. Click on the Settings button to open the File Manager Settings window.

  2. Use the Color Encoding Format dropdown menu to select the color encoding system that will be used during conversion:

FORMATS

YUV 4:2:0

encoding system where the chroma channels are sampled at half the rate of luma, occupy half the horizontal resolution and are interlaced.

YA16 - (4:2:0 + alpha)

same as YUV 4:2:0 but includes a channel dedicated to alpha content. This encoding system is our preferred option because it is the only one that allows our system to split media content in real time.

YUV 4:2:2

encoding system where the chroma channels are sampled at half the rate of luma.

RGB 4:4:4

fully uncompressed.

Auto

automatically choose between YUV 4:2:0 and YA16 depending on the presence (or not) of an alpha channel.

3.2 Convert Media Files

  1. Make sure you have selected the appropriate Color Encoding Format before starting media conversion (see article 3 .1 Conversion Options in Chapter 3 Importing Content).

  2. Make sure the media file you are about to convert was properly imported into all of the servers in your Server Group.

Look at the Media Files List. The first column to the left should be titled “Net” (if the column is missing from the table, right-click in the header to add “Net” with the help of a contextual menu). A green check mark should precede all of the original media files that you want to convert. If a media file is preceded by a red X mark, it means the file wasn’t properly imported into all of the servers in the group. This problem can be solved in different ways depending on its cause:

The Media Files List was not refreshed:

Click on the Refresh button located at the top left corner of the File Manager window to refresh the Media Files List.

The import was not completed:

Check the Task list in the lower right corner of the File Manager window. Media files might still be importing or the import could have failed.

A server was removed from the Server Group:

Return a server to the network ring by rebuilding the Server Group in the Settings window and relaunching the Conversion (or relaunch Import if the media file is missing).

When the media files are consistent on all of the servers in the network, you are ready to start the conversion.

  • Select the original files you want to convert by clicking on their name in the Media Files List and then click on the Convert button . You can also select files that you want to convert by right-clicking on entries in the Media Files List to open a contextual menu and then selecting {Convert}.

3.3 Pause/Resume/Cancel Conversion

To manage media files while they are being converted use the Task list module located in the lower right part of the File Manager window.

Conversions can be:

  • paused by clicking on the Pause button;

  • resumed by clicking on the Resume button;

  • cancelled by clicking on the Cancel button.

These actions will impact the entire Task list. Other actions, such as “re-prioritize” or “cancel a single task,” can be achieved by using the contextual menu which can be opened by right-clicking on a task.

3.4 Conversion on Display Servers or Display Master Servers

Conversion is not an instantaneous process. The Task list will display a “Conversion Net” rate (measured in percentages), which indicates how much of the original media file has been converted on the Display Servers (or Display Master Servers) in the network.

The conversion process will create downsized media files on Controller Servers. This speeds up the process and provides early access to the files so you can begin to place them in the Timeline and preview content right away. Keep in mind that the files will probably still be converting on the Display Servers (or Display Master Servers) and images won’t be projected until this process is completed.