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Formatting Content, from Broadcast to Digital Signage

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  • Formatting Content, from Broadcast to Digital Signage

    The race is on among Broadcasters, Advertisers, and Brands, to bring their message to the “Fourth Screen”–the digital screen inside the retail store or in other public places. (The first “three screens” are of course: in-home TV; computer screen; and cell-phone screen. Digital Signage is the new media of this decade, and it holds as much promise as the internet… but repurposing content from Broadcast to fit the different needs of plasma or LCD flat panels that are fed through a network that may be IPTV, satellite feed, store-and-forward, MPEG, or any number of formats–is not always simple.
    I'm wondering what is the most common formatting problem Content producers face, when asked to move content from a Broadcast platform to a digital signage platform (e.g. from HD to SD over IP)?
    David Keene

  • #2
    This may not be exactly what you were looking for: But one common problem we face is converting television spots to a digital signage system without audio. This requires some creativity in keeping the spirit of the original TV ad without making the digital signage spot too long.

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    • #3
      ... yes, audio is certainly part of the format.
      Two main issues are coming up vis a vis audio in digital signage in a retail space, or any public space:
      - repeating audio tracks/audio loops, have been known to drive store employees a bit crazy. They will sabatoge the system if they can
      - even when audio works (and it often does... for example when directional audio is employed... this is not rocket science BTW: just eliminate most of the low frequencies from the signal and viola you can steer the sound and contain it to a specific area), there is the problem of measuring audio. What do I mean? I'm hearing that for some reason, creating the "playlog" an audio message in-store is more difficult than for video. Can anyone explain why?

      David Keene

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      • #4
        David, hands down, the most common formatting problem that producers face is how to get content to display with the right aspect ratio on what ever display might be used to show the content. I have had years of experience in doing "digital signage" or "out-of-home markets", and the single biggest issue is aspect ratio probelms. As you noted, audio can be an issue. Distribution of video content is also an issue. However, neither audio or video distribution problems are nearly as pervasive as mis-matched video aspect ratio issues. Almost every time I see video playing in out-of-home applications, I see standard def content playing on a hi-def screen.

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        • #5
          nice discussion here guys.
          Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.
          wow gold farming

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          • #6
            If you understand compression, and your compression software, aspect ratio is a non-issue. If someone gives me SD to show on my systems, I let them know it's going to not fill up the whole screen. I refuse to stretch it to fit. I tell the clients and content providers that up front, and don't budge. 100% of the time, they say, "Oh, ok, I understand, run it anyway." Fortunately I produce 99% of the content running on my systems.

            As for audio, I have found volume levels are pretty easy to set, with some working gently with the business owner. This is part of the equation when the system is being installed originally. Most of the time, the client wants a unit where employees will see it more than his customers. With some gentle guidance, we re-situate it, find a volume level, and run whatever audio content we want.

            There have been the rare employee complaint, but it's just like the Muzak systems that were there before the HDTVs were in place, so this is not a "new" issue, but something emplyees have delt with for decades.

            Good initial design is vital. Knowing your compression software before you start a system is also vital.
            Digital Media Instructor for
            Louisiana State University & Delgado College

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