ProTally 1.7 with support for Roland Smart Tally!

In my last post, I mentioned my partnership with Tony at Calvary Chapel in Las Vegas, writing software to support their Roland V-60HD switcher.

As I was reading the specs on that switcher, I noticed it had a feature Roland called “Smart Tally”. It allows users to pull up a web page on their phones and monitor sources for being in Preview or Program live as the switcher is used.

maxresdefault

118170-lamroland2-3-org

I knew I just had to add this support to ProTally, so while working to implement the remote control module, I snooped how the Smart Tally service worked and came up with a way for ProTally to monitor for tally changes the same way mobile users accessing the server directly would.

It was actually pretty straightforward: When a user goes to to the IP address of the Roland V-60HD in a browser, they are presented with a list of addresses. Clicking on any of these addresses then loads a page where the browser repeatedly requests this url in the background:

http://[ipaddress]/tally/[tally address]/status

This status page simply returns three values: unselected, selected (in Preview), and onair (in Program).

Since I wouldn’t have access to the Roland switcher to develop and test with, I needed a solution to be able to test locally. I’ve been learning the Python programming language recently, so I decided to whip up a simple web server in Python to emulate this page request, with it turning one of the three values based on the seconds of the clock. If the time of day was between 0 and 20 seconds, it would return unselected. If between 20 and 40, it would return selected, and finally, if between 40 and 60, it would return onair. This was a simple way to emulate the setup of having a Roland switcher with Smart Tally.

Screen Shot 2019-03-28 at 2.34.47 PM
This simple Python script made testing a lot easier!

This feature has been released, so you can go get it now up on the Github repo!

Controlling a Roland V-60HD video switcher with a Stream Deck and Companion

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted through the blog by Tony Perez, longtime staff member at Calvary Chapel in Las Vegas. He asked if I could help their team to control their Roland V-60HD switcher through a stream deck using Companion.

God has given me a heart and passion to be a resource for other churches, so I jumped right in and started reading the TCP protocol specification for their video switcher. The protocol was simple enough, basically just a telnet protocol to send parameters with a terminating character to designate the end of the command.

rol-v-60hd
This is the Roland V-60HD video switcher.

I had to take a sick day recently to take care of one of my kids who had an ear infection, so while he was resting, I sat down and prototyped a module for Companion to control their video switcher.

Tony and I then set a time to talk on the phone and do a TeamViewer session, and after doing some slight debugging, we had it working!

The protocol is pretty straightforward. For example, with this command:

\u0002CUT;

The switcher will perform a cut between the current on-air source and the preview source. “\u0002” is the ASCII control code “02H” which tells the switcher that a command code is coming. “CUT” is the command , and the semicolon terminates the command.

We were able to implement every video-related operation and some of the system operations that seemed necessary to control remotely from a Stream Deck.

So, with just a few short hours of work, now his team can control their Roland V-60HD video switcher from anywhere on their network! This will be a great help and add to their flexibility.

Screen Shot 2019-03-28 at 2.12.50 PM.png
You can see some of the options available for the module in this screenshot.

This was a fun project to get to help with, especially since I had not ever seen or used this particular video switcher before, and I was able to help a ministry on the other side of the country.

Here are some pictures of the module in action!

The module is open-source and part of the Companion project now, so anyone else who has this switcher can jump in and use it too! You can view the module code here.