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Update digital signage on the fly?

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Matt TownleyUpdate digital signage on the fly?
by on May 21, 2013 at 10:10:19 pm

I have an event coming up for a client and as part of the live event we are producing, we will need to have some digital signage in the room (viewable by the audience) that can be updated on the fly.

The information/design they will need to display is reletively static, in that even a simple PowerPoint slide will suffice, but I need to be able to change some of the information on the display in real-time without having to black out or otherwise impact the display. It doesn't look like there is an easy way for PowerPoint to do this so I'm looking for something else, or a better way to mod PowerPoint.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

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David EaksRe: Update digital signage on the fly?
by on May 21, 2013 at 11:44:38 pm

Is going to be viewed on a projector? Many projectors have a "freeze frame" function.

So, for example you could put up an image, freeze it, then begin working on the next graphic immediately. When you unfreeze the new image will show. Then repeat.

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Matt TownleyRe: Update digital signage on the fly?
by on May 22, 2013 at 2:14:25 am

Thanks for the idea, David. Unfortunately, these are going to be displayed on LCD screens so freezing the input to a projector isn't an option.

I wonder if there is some sort of "black box" widget that can be inserted inline of an HD/SDI or HDMI signal and freeze the signal going to the display?

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Thomas LeongRe: Update digital signage on the fly?
by on May 22, 2013 at 11:39:49 am

You could check out Digital Recall, a free digital signage software from Australia with additional features payable at shareware price -

Not sure if you could update on the fly, but one of the paid features say it can play perhaps 2 alternating ppt files may do it for you.

Thomas Leong

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Tom SeftonRe: Update digital signage on the fly?
by on May 22, 2013 at 12:23:06 pm

Brightsign players have the capability to be updated via local network, or via remote access. You need to learn Brightauthor, their proprietary software, but this should be ok.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Update digital signage on the fly?
by on May 22, 2013 at 1:24:56 pm

I was going to suggest SCALA

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Ronald GilmourRe: Update digital signage on the fly?
by on May 24, 2013 at 8:59:10 am

Lots of ways you can do this, depends on your skills/budget.

Custom software?
I have previously written a pc .exe in director (yea a few years ago) that ran on a dual screen computer, laptop with extended display, where there was a controller screen with buttons that dynamically loaded jpg files in a folder onto each button and you could directly click on a button to switch to that image,
it also coped with video playback as well so you could click through a few slides and then run a video.
There was a section where some preset 'slides' had dynamic text fields - seem to remember raffle ticket numbers- so in the software you could type in the winning number and when you clicked the raffle ticket slide it came up with the bg image and winning numbers ontop.
Custom written took a couple of days to sort but dead simple to use - still runs weekly at a local sports venue 5 years on!

Web page?
Multiple ways of doing this- master and slave scenario is prob best with one pc running a web server, another one connected to it via LAN, have a page designed that auto refreshes every 30 seconds?
and amend the page from the remote computer.
depends on your html/programming skills as to how complex=nice you can make this both for the server displaying the content and the interface for updating it.
I've done this for several events and its stable and powerful as you can have the changes made from anything on the same network as the server - pc, iPad iPhone...

Dedicated software?

renewed vision Propresenter does 'hot folder' dynamic loading of images n videos i think, Think theres also a way to dynamically put text in - $400 or so.

resolume avenue -way over the top but does video playin and has some flash /quartz playback facilities you may be able to butcher to your needs....

sure there will be others as well,

plus as you say the hardware box way -
hire a kramer switcher and use the freeze function (other brands are available :) )

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Matt TownleyRe: Update digital signage on the fly?
by on May 24, 2013 at 8:24:56 pm

Thanks, Ronald (and everyone else).

I looked at BrightSign, ProPresenter and SCALA. ProPresenter ended up doing everything we needed and even some things we didn't know that we wanted to do. :) I'm looking forward to playing with it a bit more to find out how we can use more of it's features. Looks like a very powerful program.

The idea of using web-based tools and just writing a little site to load off of a local network would actually be a really good solution, too. I'll have to play with that when I have some spare time.


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Rich RubaschRe: Update digital signage on the fly?
by on Jun 9, 2013 at 2:36:00 am

Why not just have two computers with a simple switcher. Switch to computer A and modify a graphic on computer B. Switch to computer B when needed...modify on computer A.

Very simple. Other than a second laptop this is very easy.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage

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Matt TownleyRe: Update digital signage on the fly?
by on Jun 10, 2013 at 4:07:51 pm

That was the plan that I started out with, but the two A/B switches that I tested both dropped the signal completely when you went from A to B. This caused the displays we were using to think the signal was gone and go back to the input display list and show the Sony splash screen before detecting the new signal and going back to it. This process took almost 10 seconds, which didn't work for our purposes. If there was an A/B switch that made a seamless transition without any drop in signal it would have worked fine. I am sure this is such a thing, but I didn't have time to locate and test one.

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