I spent some time this past week writing and testing support for ProTally with Blackmagic ATEM switchers. I didn’t have one to develop with, and after posting on a discussion group about the software, a new friend sent me a unit to work on. Thanks again, Kyle!
Version 1.2.0 now supports:
Blackmagic ATEM switchers – it will auto discover any ATEM switchers on the network, or you can manually type in an IP Address as well
Ross Carbonite Black, Carbonite Black Solo, and Graphite switchers
And I now have a Windows release build in addition to a MacOS release build!
Dropbox is an excellent tool for production use. We use it for everything, from weekly temporary files just for a particular weekend service, to long term resources that need to be available on a regular basis. It’s great because the files automatically sync to all the devices, and it allows us to collaborate with a lot of people/contributors. The files are stored locally on each device/computer, so they are quickly accessible.
We also like syncing our ProPresenter Libraries in Dropbox, and I thought I would share that method with you. If you haven’t heard of ProPresenter, it is an media presentation software package from a company called Renewed Vision that is designed specifically to make live production easier. In my opinion, it’s the best lyric presenting software out there.
ProPresenter maintains its own internal library/folder system of all of your presentations (songs), background videos, images, etc. This allows you to easily search and re-use songs week to week. The software auto-saves changes when you make them, which is great.
But what do you do when you have multiple ProPresenter computers in multiple venues and rooms across the campus or ministry? This is where a syncing method comes in very handy.
ProPresenter has two built in options for sync, “local sync” and “cloud sync”. The local sync option is free and you can set it up yourself to sync to a local drive or network share. The cloud sync option uses Renewed Vision servers and costs a small monthly fee.
However, we don’t use either of these options. I tried the local sync option and never got it to reliably work like I expected, and the cloud sync was not something we were interested in paying for at the time.
We use Dropbox instead. We have a shared Dropbox account logged into all production devices. Each computer using ProPresenter is set up with its own library folder in the Dropbox account. This allows that computer to make all the changes it needs while those library files are in use.
As changes are made, they are automatically synced to Dropbox and back down to the other devices, into that same folder name/structure. Essentially, every computer has a full backup of all the other computers’ ProPresenter libraries, accurate to within the last time it synced, typically within a couple of minutes at most.
We have found this to be very helpful, because a volunteer running ProPresenter in one Auditorium can fix or redesign a slide, and the volunteer running ProPresenter in another Auditorium can simply pull up that file on their computer and copy it into their local library.
To sync over mass changes, we create a ProPresenter bundle file of presentations and save it to Dropbox. The other computers see the bundle file almost immediately and they can then be imported to get any new changes needed.
We have been using this workflow for over a year now and it has been great for us. Do you use ProPresenter and Dropbox together? If not, give this a try. Or, if you have a great syncing method that works well for your team, share it! I’d love to hear how you are using technology well to help the church be more efficient.
Awhile back, I wrote about the on-screen tally software I recently developed. We needed a way for our CG operators to know when their source was on-air or about to be on-air. I won’t rehash the definitions or inner-workings again, so if you didn’t read that first post, I recommend you read that before this.
I had hoped to give a release build much sooner but lost time waiting on some other people to test it in their environments. We’ve been running it in our environments for almost 2 months now with no issues, so I finally gave it some final polishing and bug squashing to get it ready for release. The interface has changed some, and for now, you can choose between a generic TSL 3.1 device or, specifically, a Ross Carbonite. (Not a Carbonite Black, Solo, or any of the other models.) Why specifically that model? Because I have two of them, and that’s what I know and use!
I hope to add support for the Blackmagic ATEM protocol soon. I need to connect with someone who has one, so if that’s you and you’re interested in testing with me, drop me a line!
And this should go without saying, but even though I’ve made software to augment your use of software like Renewed Vision’s ProPresenter and other products, it is in no way associated with any company or product. This is distributed under the MIT license and is available for anyone to use without cost.
I had someone send me an email recently asking how they could set up their Ross Carbonite to control ProPresenter, advancing slides and playlists through a custom control. After writing it out for them, I thought I would share this step-by-step tutorial.
It does require a Communications module license in ProPresenter. If you don’t own one, you can purchase it from RenewedVision.
First of all, in ProPresenter, you need to set up the Communications module to be a RossTalk Device (not a Controller).
Go to Preferences, and choose the Communications module from the menu at the top.
Click “Add Device” at the bottom and choose “RossTalk” from the list.
Under Behavior, choose “Device”. If you wanted to control your Ross Carbonite from ProPresenter, you would choose “Controller”.
Type in the IP address for the Carbonite and the port you wish to use. The default RossTalk port is 7788. I would recommend limiting the traffic to the single network interface that is connected to the same network as your Carbonite.
When you are done creating the device, click Connect.
If ProPresenter has connected successfully to the Carbonite, the button will turn green.
Next, you will want to create a new Device on your Ross Carbonite switcher to connect to the ProPresenter computer.
On the Carbonite, hit Menu, then choose System > Next > Next > Device Config.
If you don’t see Add (new), scroll the far left knob (device select) until that option appears.
Turn the far left knob to choose the slot you want to assign it to. For this example, I chose Slot 1.
Turn the middle knob to select Type: RossTalk.
Use the far left knob to change the subtype of the server to xpression_1.0.
Turn the knobs to enter in the IP address of ProPresenter computer.
Turn the far right knob to set the Port if you didn’t use the default of 7788.
Tap the far left knob to save the device.
Tap the far left knob again to confirm the new device settings.
Now Hit Menu, then choose Config > Input (the far left knob).
Turn the far left knob to scroll through the inputs until you find the input for your ProPresenter computer. In my example, my ProPresenter input is labeled GFX.
Hit Next twice until you see the Device option. It should be unassigned.
Tap the center knob to enter the Device assign settings.
Turn the far left knob to select the Device Slot you set up earlier in Step 3. I chose Slot 1.
Tap the far left knob to add the device, then tap again to confirm.
Now any time you bring that ProPresenter input up in Preview or Program on the switcher, it should automatically bring the device settings up on the menu screen of the Carbonite.
If you tap the far right knob (NEXT), it will advance to the right in ProPresenter, going to the next slide. If you turn the far left knob (UP/DWN) to the left or right, it will advance up or down in the playlist.
If you hit the NEXT button beside the Menu button on the Carbonite, you can see other options for the device. You can clear the various ProPresenter layers, etc.For your reference, those are:
Layer 0: Clear All
Layer 1: Clear Live Video
Layer 2: Clear Background
Layer 3: Clear Slide
Layer 4: Clear Props
Now you need to record a Custom Control in order to create a macro for this.
Hit CC, and then select a blank bank/button.
You’ll need to then put the ProPresenter video input in Preview, to bring up the device settings.
Tap the far right knob for “Next”, which will advance the slide.
Then stop recording.
You can edit the CC to remove the step of putting ProPresenter in Preview, as that was only for recording purposes.
We recently purchased some TP-Link HS100 Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plugs to allow us to remotely turn on speaker amps to support our outdoor speaker systems. Turning the amps on each time by going to the physical amp location in the racks located all across the campus was very inconvenient, so this was a great upgrade.
It pairs with an app called Kasa to allow you to turn the outlets on and off pretty easily, however in our testing, we couldn’t get it to work with more than one smartphone. Plus, we didn’t want volunteers to have to install this app on their phone, or provide a phone just to run this app.
The TP-Link protocol has been reverse engineered pretty well, so I had hopes that this would be a quick and easy project, and it was! The core protocol uses JSON to communicate, however it is obfuscated heavily to the user and you have to send a hexadecimal payload to it in the end in order to trigger an action.
Once we set up the devices as recommended through the app to use our internal network WiFi, I had our IT department create IP address reservations based on the MAC addresses of the outlets, so that they would always have the same IP address. If you use these plugs, I recommend doing that in your setup as well.
Then, I researched the protocol and figured out what the hexadecimal payloads needed to be to power it on and off. I didn’t really care about any of the other status settings. Just a simple on and off.
Here is the function needed to do that, written in ogScript for Ross Dashboard:
function tellOutlet(address, port, protocol, command)
var enabled = ogscript.getObject('outletEnabled');
var payload_on_hex = "0000002AD0F281F88BFF9AF7D5EF94B6C5A0D48BF99CF091E8B7C4B0D1A5C0E2D8A381F286E793F6D4EEDFA2DFA2";
var payload_off_hex = "0000002AD0F281F88BFF9AF7D5EF94B6C5A0D48BF99CF091E8B7C4B0D1A5C0E2D8A381F286E793F6D4EEDEA3DEA3";
var sendCommand = "";
if (command == "on")
sendCommand = payload_on_hex;
else if (command == "off")
sendCommand = payload_off_hex;
rosstalk.sendAsBytes(address, port, sendCommand, callback);
ogscript.debug("Outlet turned " + command + ".");
The key function here is the RossTalk SendAsBytes command which sends the TCP message as hexadecimal data.
Once I did a test and was satisfied it was working properly, I built out custom panels that use our master production control system, so now volunteers can easily turn the amps on or off by just clicking a button!
I also built a stand-alone version in case anyone else could benefit from it.
As I said in a previous post, we rely heavily on our Clearcom intercom system to have good lines of communication between all of the tech team and the band as well.
In each control room, we have a “director’s station” which has a 4-channel intercom where he/she can talk to all four channels of the intercom system: the tech team in Auditorium 1, the band in Auditorium 1, the band in Auditorium 2, and the tech team in Auditorium 2. All other intercom stations are single channel and that person can only talk on the particular channel they are wired for.
For the most part, this works great and does well to keep intercom chatter down and keeps the director as the funnel of communication. However, I have found that quite often, when we are doing smaller events in our smaller auditorium, that I am sitting at the video switcher with no way to talk to the band without having to get up and go sit at the director’s station behind me.
When our integrators built out the AVL for our new auditorium, they installed a Clearcom RM-702 2-channel rack mounted intercom into the rack room for Auditorium 2. I found that after a year and a half, we never use it there, so I decided to move it to Control Room 2, which is the video control room that drives operation for Auditorium 2.
As I operate the video switcher, I like to keep my hands on the switcher (and my streamdeck!). Reaching over to press an intercom talk button is an interruption to my workflow. The nice thing about the RM-702 is that it has an accessory port, which allows you to connect a footswitch to activate the talk channels!
The accessory port is a DB-15 connector, so I bought an extension cable, along with a DB-15 plug. I bought these from Amazon:
I also bought two Yamama FC5 foot pedals.
To wire everything up, I had to cut off the plug at the end of the pedals to expose the wires. The wiring is pretty simple. Clearcom has it well documented what the pinout is.
Pin 1: Ground
Pin 2: Talk Channel A
Pin 9: Talk Channel B
The Yamaha pedal is a contact/no-contact switch, so it doesn’t matter which color wire goes to which pin.
Once I connected everything up, I realized that the Yamaha pedal works the opposite of what I needed: it was making contact when the pedal wasn’t pressed down (shorting the connection in the Clearcom, keeping the talk channel turned on) and then when I would press the pedal down, it would break the connection, turning the talk channel off.
I opened up the pedal and modified the two leads so that it would make a connection when pressed down. I basically just swapped the position of the two copper bands.
Voila! Now I have two footpedals that I can use to talk on either channel, hands-free! The next step will be labeling them and then taping them down to the floor.
All in all, this was a very inexpensive improvement. The pedals were about $15 each and the cable/adapter was about $10, and the project was simple.