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July 24, 2014
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How To Set Up Simian For Network Feeds With Local Breaks

Introduction:

The following information details how to implement network programming with locally played spots into your Simian schedule. Setting up a network feed with local spots involves various hardware and software settings, and log programming explained below. The network audio is passed through your audio card so Simian can control its volume. Using the contact closures from your satellite receiver, Simian can react to local breaks, optional breaks, mandatory breaks etc.

To accomplish all this you will need to set up a mixer in Simian to control the volume of the network audio, a Trigger Set will need to be created for your network programming (if you have multiple shows using the same closures, you can set up multiple Trigger Sets and switch between them using the LOADTRIGGERS macro), and program your breaks in your program log using the techniques described in this document.

Setting up the Mixer:

You will need to set up a mixer to control the satellite audio play through volume. From the Mixer view in Simian, click the caption button below the fader (See Figure 1) to enter the Mixer Setup.

Figure 1, The mixer caption button is shown
Figure 1: The mixer caption button is shown above

In the Mixer Setup Window (See Figure 2) you can add a friendly name (instead of "Mix1") and select the appropriate options for your Soundcard. Choose the appropriate Mixer, Line, and Fader selections for your audio card, then click on the "+" button to the left of the first Selected Controls to save the configuration to the mixer. Figure 2 shows a typical setup for AudioScience audio cards (an AudioScience 6012 is used in this example) to play the Network from Line In 1 through Line Out 1. The mixer has also been set up to AutoMute the channel while Simian is playing Audio files. This option helps to insure that your Network does not play over the top of your spots.

Figure 2, Mixer control setup
Figure 2: Mixer control setup

Setting up the Triggers:

Note: This section assumes that you have already set up and confirmed operation of your trigger device as specified by the hardware vendor.

The next step in the process is to set up a Trigger Set so Simian will react to incoming triggers from the satellite receiverís contact closures.

To create a Trigger Set, open the Trigger Set Editor by going to the Async menu and choosing Triggers then Edit Sets. You will need to drag and drop events into the Trigger Set under the appropriate trigger numbers using Simianís Event Builder. To start a local break from the network, a STARTNEXT macro is used which will start an event in Simianís Program Log. The Example in Figure 3 shows the STARTNEXT macro configured to run when trigger number 2 is fired.

Once you have completed your Trigger Set, save the set by going to the File menu and choosing Save As. Once the Trigger Set is saved, enable the Trigger Set for use by selecting it from the Startup Triggers and Current Triggers dropdown boxes.

When you are ready to use your Network Triggers you will need to ensure that Triggers are turned on in Simian.

Figure 3, A Trigger Set with a STARTNEXT macro added to trigger 2
Figure 3: A Trigger Set with a STARTNEXT macro added to trigger 2

Building the Log:

Once your Triggers are setup you will simply need to set up your Program Log to anticipate your breaks as specified by your network programming clock. Logs can be scheduled in your Traffic Scheduler, or manually in Simian. Either way, the concept is the same. The First item in each break (referred to as a "Stop Set") will need to be an event with a Manual Start cue. Simian will stop and wait at a Manual Start event, and the STARTNEXT macro in our trigger set will start playback of that item when the network triggers it. A manual start item is needed in the program log to "catch" each STARTNEXT macro triggered, this means that even if you donít have any spots for a particular break, you need something in your program log to catch the STARTNEXT command so your program log will stay in sync with your network programming (see line 71 and 72 in Figure 4 for an example of a break with no spots scheduled).

In each Stop Set, the first item to insert is a Manual Start MIXVOLUME macro which will bring your mixer volume to 0 to mute the network feed (as shown in the example log in Figure 4.).

TIP: If desired, instead of using MIXVOLUME macros for your network break and rejoin, you can use a MIXFADE macro for a gradual fade in or out of your network audio.

After your first MIXVOLUME macro, you can insert the needed spots, jingles, liners, or any event you desire. These should have a total length equal to your Network break time. Each event after the first line in the Stop Set needs to have an AutoStart cue so playback will progress through all items consecutively.

Figure 4, This program log contains several Stop Sets
Figure 4: This program log contains several Stop Sets

At the end of every Stop Set, you will need to bring your network feed back up. This is accomplished with a MIXVOLUME (or MIXFADE) macro. Add the MIXVOLUME (or MIXFADE) macro as an AutoStart Event at the end of each break.

TIP: To ensure your log uses the proper Stop Set at the proper time, a REM macro with a Time Immediate cue can be inserted several minutes before each network break is expected (see the log in Figure 4 for example). Simian will move the Program Logís focus to the proper Stop Set throughout your network programming.

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