1. File Manager

1.1 File Manager Overview

The File Manager is a module dedicated to importing and converting media files. It also allows you to create media playlists, sort files imported on the servers, and can be used to recall Timeline media clips when programming a show (see Section 2.2 Adding Media in Chapter 4 Programming a Show).

The File Manager window can be divided into 5 window sections:

Media Files List

This list contains all of the media files (images, video, sound, 3D Models) that were imported in PHOTON (see Section 4. File Management and Display in Chapter 3 Importing Content).

Module Top Section

The window’s top section contains a series of buttons and toggles that include checkboxes, as well as a search field. The buttons and toggles support a wide range of functions, including media file import and conversion, and Media File list display categorization (described in subsequent sections of this chapter).

Playlist and Sorting Tool. The left section of the File Manager window contains a list of toggles that correspond to different media categories and control which items will be shown in the Media Files List (see Section 4.4 Files Visibility and Media Category in Chapter 3 Importing Content).

A [+] button located underneath the sorting tool will allow you to create custom Playlists from selected media files (see Section 5.1 Playlist Creation in Chapter 3 Importing Content).

Media Preview Panel

The top right part of the File Manager window is dedicated to media preview.

  • Select a media file from the Media Files List by clicking on it.

  • Click on the preview button to watch a preview of the content, or scroll through content by clicking and dragging the time slider located beneath the window.

  • To hide or show the Media Preview window, click on the play toggle located in the window top section.

The Media Preview Panel has audio playback capabilities. If a playback device is set up in the I/O Manager, sound might play (there is a [Mute] button at the end of the timeline).

Task List

The lower right part of the File Manager window contains a list where the progress of Import and Conversion tasks is shown in sequential order.

The Task list has 3 slots for importing media files (copying media files via the network to the devices in the Server Group) and 3 slots for media conversion (creating local VCI copies of the original media files; VCI is VYV’s own uncompressed file format).

Ongoing tasks can be:

  • paused by clicking on the button;

  • resumed by clicking on the button;

  • cancelled by clicking on the 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.

To hide or show the Task list, click on the toggle located in the window’s top section.

1.2 File Manager Settings

Click on the button to open the File Manager Settings window. This window contains various parameters that will affect PHOTON’s behavior when performing media imports and conversions.

1.2.1 Import Settings

This section contains 2 checkboxes:

  • Enable Image Sequence: This option supports the creation of a single container for video rendered from .jpeg, .png, .tga or .tiff image sequences.

  • Refresh model library after import: If activated this option will enable an automatic refresh of the model library after an import. If deactivated, it will prevent 3D models imported through the File Manager from loading automatically in the 3D Scene in memory. This option can be useful if you don’t want servers to stutter during a viewing session but still need to import 3D objects.

The VCI created from an image sequence will automatically have your project’s frame rate (see Settings > General).

1.2.2 Splitting

When dealing with very large media files and Screens, you might have to split your content in order to be able to play it back and apply crossfades between files.

With the Splitting dropdown menu you can select 3D Models functioning as Screens, and activate media splitting. This function will split media files during conversion, and only select the portions of the media files needed by the servers for playback.

In order to access the screens through the menu, they should already be instantiated in the 3D Scene and their [Splitting] toggle should already be activated through their {Properties > Blending Options} panel. For PHOTON to know which portion of the media file each server needs for playback, outputs have to be set correctly and the projectors assigned to them must be calibrated with the screen.

Splitting for Multiple Screens

If split content needs to be sent to more than one server in a project (this might happen if content is used in different Screens), you will have to change the screen splitting selection. You will also have to re-convert the files for the other screens because this option only allows you to split content for one screen at the time.

1.2.3 Conversion Settings

This section contains 2 checkboxes:

  • Auto Convert After Import: If this option is selected, media conversion will start automatically when media is imported.

  • Delete Original Media After Conversion: If this option is selected, original media files such as .mov or .png will be deleted once they are converted to VCI. While this frees up disk space, it might prevent you from synchronizing your media from scratch in cases where a new server is integrated in the Server Group. (Note that this action will delete files previously copied on the servers, but not the original files residing on a network drive.)

1.2.4 File Format Conversion Dropdown Menu

Selecting an item in this menu will determine the destination file format for conversions. The menu contains 3 items:

  • VCI: VYV’s video file format that does not feature any time compression. It should be the preferred format.

  • VCI Compressed: VYV’s video file format featuring time compression similar to H.264.

1.2.5 Mpixel Limit Sliders

This section contains 2 sliders:

  • Mpixel Limit Slider: This slider will set the megapixel threshold for Display Servers and Display Master Servers. If the media file resolution is greater than the import threshold PHOTON will automatically reduce the resolution so it respects the megapixel limit.

  • Preview Mpixel Limit: This slider will set a megapixel threshold for Controller Servers. Since the Controller will playback all of the screens in your installation, it will reduce the size of your media files. If the media file resolution is greater than the import threshold PHOTON will automatically reduce the resolution so it respects the megapixel limit.

1.2.6 GPU Conversion Toggle

PHOTON’s file conversions are usually done by the server’s GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). This option for converting files has been the default since Windows 7 build 7264. The GPU can be changed so the Central Processing Unit (CPU) can take care of the conversion tasks. Note that some encoding formats (YUV422 and YV12 for example) do not allow GPU conversion and will disable the GPU conversion option.

1.2.7 Video Encoding Format Dropdown Menu

This dropdown menu allows you to choose the type of color encoding system that will be used when converting video files.

FORMAT

YUV 4:2:0

encoding format 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 format 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.

1.2.8 Task Group Selection List

Each entry in this list corresponds to one of the servers included in the Server Group (their names are preceded by checkboxes). All of the servers with a green check mark in the checkbox will be included in file import and conversion processes because they are part of the network ring.