Repeat Signage V4 help

Control - audio

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Audio control

 

Supported file types *.mid, *.mpa, *.mp1, *.mp2, *.mp3, *.snd, *.wav, *.wma, *.wmv
Playlist support Yes
Scheduler support Hourly, daily and weekly scheduling
Scrolling support No - This is a non-visual control - It is not displayed on screen
Rotation support Not applicable
File locations Files and folders on local or network drives (all editions), Internet websites, RepeatServer.com and FTP sites (Standard and above editions)
   

Description

The audio control allows audio files to be played.  When creating/editing presentations with the designer, you will see a speaker icon for each audio control.  They is not visible when you do a preview or play the presentation.  

Note - When designing a presentation and you insert an Audio control onto the screen, you will see a speaker symbol:

Audio control symbol at design time

This allows you to interact with your Audio control so that you can double click it to change it's settings.  When you play your presentation, this is not shown.


Simple audio files

On the designer screen menu, click on 'Insert' then 'Insert audio'.  Click on the 'Browse' button and select an audio file.  When you have selected one, then click on the 'Open' button to return to the previous screen.  Then click on 'OK' button to insert the audio control into the presentation.

Playing part of an audio file

Insert an audio control as above and then double click it to view the properties page.  The first tab is the 'Choose audio' tab.  Look at the bottom of this tab for the 'Play time settings'.  Select 'Specify part of audio to play' to display the 'Play settings' box.  You can manually type in from and to values but it is easier to click the 'Play audio and get play times' button.  This button opens a screen that shows you how long the audio file is and have options to play the audio file and set start and end positions.  For more information on using this screen, press the F1 button when you are on it.  When you have finished selected the start and end times then press the OK button to return to the properties screen.  Then click on the OK button on this screen to play just part of your file in a loop. 


Playlists of audio files

You can create a play list of audio files:

- Insert an audio control as for 'Simple audio files'  above. 
- Double click the audio control to display it's properties. 
- Put a tick in the 'Use play list instead' tick box.  This will take you to the Playlist  tab.  Your first audio file appears in the grid for you. 
- Use the 'Add' button to add other audios to the list. 
- When you are finished adding a list of audio files, then press the 'OK' button to save your changes and to start playing your playlist.

Note - Use the 'Add blank' button to add blank items which can be used to give a pause between playing your audio files.  For example, you could insert a single audio file and set it to play for 5 seconds.  This could be used to draw attention to the screen periodically in a public location.  Some amusement arcade machines use this technique to attract children to 'egg' machines (the ones where a chicken lays a plastic egg with a toy inside).  Just insert a blank item to play for 20 seconds, i.e. you get no audio for that period.  This is more useful with the scheduling of audio files, where you may want to just play some audio at the start of every hour.

Note - look at the different tabs when adding/editing play list items.  You can use the 'Play type' tab to specify the start and end points of an audio file rather than playing the whole thing.


Scheduling the playing of audio files

The information on creating a play list above shows you how to create a play list that just loops files.  On the play list tab, there is a 'Schedule type' drop down list.  You can change this from 'PLAYLIST' to 'HOURLY', 'DAILY', or 'WEEKLY'.  The difference between this and the 'PLAYLIST' option is that when you add items you have to specify 'From' and 'To' time values.  For example, an HOURLY scheduler can be used to play an audio file at the start of every hour for 1 minute (0 minutes 0 seconds to 0 minutes 59 seconds).  You have to put in files to cover the entire hour.  If you don't want anything playing for the rest of the hour, then insert a blank item that covers from 1 minute 0 seconds to 59 minutes 59 seconds.  At the end of an hour, the entire hourly schedule will loop again.  When you play a presentation, it displays items based on the current time or day.

The DAILY schedule type allows you to specify files and blank items to cover the entire day.  At the end of the day, the schedule will start again.  WEEKLY allows you to schedule what happens on each day of the week (at any time), and then restarts at the beginning of the next week.  Repeat Signage uses Monday as the first day of the business week.  Another thing to note is that every control that supports scheduling runs independently of all others, so you can have lots of different controls all doing different things.

Tools have been added to Repeat Signage to help you test scheduling.  On the designer screen menu, you can click on 'View' then 'View program time for schedule testing'.  Clicking on this puts the time on the bottom right of the designer screen menu.  This is the clock that Repeat Signage uses with controls.  You can change this time using 'View' then 'Change program time for schedule testing'.  This allows you to change either the time or date, so that you can see what will be displayed at any point.  For example, you may have an 'offer of the day' for each day of the week, made by displaying pictures in a picture control.  Changing the program date to another day will allow you to test that the correct picture file, with that day's offer on, is being displayed.


Playing audio from video files

You can play just the audio from video files rather than displaying them on screen.  Insert an audio control onto the screen, but when you browse for a file then change the filter on the 'Select audio file' dialog screen from 'All audio files' to 'All video files' and then browse from a supported video file.


Playing audio files from RepeatServer.com or another website

You can create a free RepeatServer.com account and use this to upload audio files to your online account.  When you insert an audio file in your presentation you can choose to collect it from a website and point it at audio files that you have uploaded.  You then get your presentation to monitor the online version for changes.  When it detects that you have uploaded a new version of the, then this is automatically downloaded and played whilst your presentation is running.   You can do this in the following way:

1.  Create a free RepeatServer.com if you haven't already done this.  This can be done by visiting www.RepeatServer.com in your web browser or via the 'RepeatServer.com' tab on the main Repeat Signage screen.

2.  Log onto your RepeatServer.com account and on the menu click on 'File' then 'Upload files'.

3.  Use the 'Browse' button and then locate your audio files on your hard disk (hold down your keyboard Ctrl key to select more than one at a time) and then click the 'Upload' button.

4.  On the RepeatServer.com menu, click on 'File' then 'Documents and files' list.

5.  Find the line in the grid for one of your audio files that you just uploaded.  (You may have to use the page buttons if you can't see your file on the first page).

6.  Click on the hyperlink under the file which will be in the format:  http://www.repeatserver.com/Users/YourCompany/Audio/MyAudioFile.mp3 and then copy this address (right mouse click it and select 'copy').

7.  Create a Repeat Signage presentation on your computer or open an existing one. In the Repeat Signage designer, click on 'Insert' then 'Insert audio'. 

8.  In the dialog box that appears it will ask you where your file is located, so click 'On a website'.   In the 'File name' box, stick in the URL of your file that you copied in Step 6 above which will be in the format:

      http://www.repeatserver.com/Users/YourCompany/Audio/MyAudioFile.mp3

9.  Click on 'OK' to insert the control.  The next thing to do is to resize the control to an appropriate size.

10. Double click your new control to see it's properties.  Click on the 'Refresh' tab.  By default, new controls that are collected from a website location will automatically check for changes every 15 minutes.  You can set this value appropriately.  If you need the presentation to update itself almost as soon as you make a change online, then set this value to check every minute, or 15 seconds, etc. 

To give this a test:

11.  Edit the audio file and make some changes (or overwrite it with a different audio file). 

12.  Log onto your RepeatServer.com account and upload the new version which will overwrite the original.

13.  Your presentation will update itself (even in the Repeat Signage designer) within 15 seconds.

You don't have to use RepeatServer.com as you could use your own website instead and use FTP software to upload and download files. 


Sources of audio files

Try a Google search on 'copyright free audios' to find footage that you may be able to use within your Repeat Signage presentations free of charge. 

Editing audio files


Free Studio is a completely free suite which includes an audio file editor which allows you to cut out the parts of the audio file you wish to use.  It also allows you to convert audio files from one format to another. 


Taking audio files from CD and converting to MP3 files for use in Repeat Signage

Free Studio has a tool to convert audio files on CD to MP3 files that will play using the Repeat Signage audio control.


Converting audio from one format to another

Free Studio and Free make have tools for converting audio files, from say .wav files to .mp3.  This can be very useful for compressing audio files so that they are as small as possible then sending them across the Internet.


Troubleshooting audio problems

Please see our Troubleshooting audio and video problems page.