Accurate clocks and countdowns can be a huge help when it comes to keeping services and productions on time. In our control rooms, we use these clocks:
They’re made by a company called ESE and they are basically network-based POE-powered NTP clocks. Because they are synced to NTP (Network Time Protocol), they are all in sync to the exact same time down to the second. We like them because they are big and grab your attention. We have them mounted above the multiviewers in each control room along with a couple of others in the actual tech booths out in the auditoriums.
But what about everyone else, like the band or people on stage? We don’t have clocks like this where they can easily see. And, the ESE clocks just tell the time, they don’t count down to a specific time.
I decided to do something about that. We have a server in the video rack room that has a video out connection into the video systems. It’s just a simple output of the secondary monitor. So, I figured it would be pretty easy to display a clock in a browser, and run it full screen on that secondary monitor, that feeds into the video router where I can then easily send it to any screen in the system that needs it.
This computer’s time is synced to NTP, so it stays in sync with the clocks in the control rooms, too.
I quickly decided to take this a step further and incorporate some countdowns. I had a couple of self-imposed restrictions though:
- I wanted the countdowns to be customizable as our needs change, not just always count down to the same date/time.
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="30">
Dashboard has a built in date picker and time picker, which makes it super easy.
I added two options in addition to the date and time, publish time, and expire time.
I’ve made the files available on my Github, if you can benefit from them! We will be giving this a trial run on Sunday.