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Guide: Fluent Macros & Memories

Common Situations:

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Fluent_logo.jpgMacro Tutorial and Example

 

click to download sample macro
Click the image to download the macro that you see
Simply extract the file and place it in the following directory on your Broadcast Pix Computer Workstation:
C:\BroadcastPix\memories\

 

This is an example of an Alpha Wipe (a video transition between twoexternal or internal sources).  It uses the file "02 Light Swipe-A.bpa"to transition between what is currently set to your Program source andwhat is currently set to your Preview source.

This Macro is ready for use as soon as you put it in yourmemories folder and then start your Broadcast Pix Switcher Application. Simply go to "Window>Float>Macros" or press "CTRL + M"simultaneously when the software loads.  This will bring up your FluentMacros window.  Click the "Macro Editor" button and select "Open" andbrowse to the file in your memories folder.

Now by pressing the large "Play" button at the bottom of the screen,you will see this alpha wipe in action!  If you do not see the LightSwipe between the images, then the sample clip, "02 Light Swipe-A.bpa"may have been removed from your system. 

You can re-download that clip here.
Extract this file and place it in the "D:\Clips\Sample Clips" folder in order for it to run automatically.

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Understanding the Sample Fluent Macro

Breaking it down step by step

Each line in the macro is referred to as a "Step."  Each Step performsone "Action" within the Broadcast Pix software. 

You can view the StepNumber by holding your mouse over any line of a Macro in the Editorwindow.  This macro contains four steps right at the beginning that wecall "Preparation Steps." 

  • Step One changes the Transition Rate for the Direct Key 3 button to 15 frames.  This allows the Direct Key 3 to fade in over a span of 15 frames instead of simply turning on and off instantly.
  • Step Two fades Key 3 off of program, if something is already on that key and on the air at the time.  This will prevent an ugly switch from occurring while on the air.  This step is not always necessary, but it is good practice especially with multiple operators working on a show.
  • Step Three assigns Clips 1 into Key 3.  This is because the Clip, "02 Light Swipe-A.bpa," will be playedout of Clips 1.  This step also has a hold on it.  If you look at the column labeled, "Hold," you will see the number 16.  That means that this step will wait 16 frames of video before playing THIS STEP.  In this case, the macro is waiting 16 frames because the Key 3 fade, as ordered from Step One, and started in Step Two, will take 15 frames and we don't want to change the assignment of Key 3 while it may still be on the air.

This can also be accomplished by adding a "Pause" from"Insert Step>Macro Utilities>Pause" and changing the Hold Timefrom "0" (wait for user input) to "16" (Times Pause), and then makingthe Step Three Hold Time "0."

  • Step Four assigns the clip, "02 Light Swipe-A.bpa," to Clips 1 so it wil play automatically when Key 3 is put on the air.

Here's where the real meat of the Fluent Macro begins.

  • Step Five turns the Direct Key 3 on and the Light Swipe begins to play.
  • Step Six "Performs CUT," and takes your Preview Source and brings it to Program BEHIND the Light Swipe animation.  It Holds 26 frames in order to wait for the animation to fill as much of the screen as possible before the cut occurs.
  • Step Seven turns Key 3 off so that the animation can rewind itself (if set properly in the Clip Controls) and be ready for its next use.

And that's all it takes to create a quick, reliable alpha wipe!

So far we have discussed the "Hold" and "Action" columns.  Let'stake a look at some of the rest of the Macro Editor window.

The firstcolumn is labeled as "Run Time."  This is the calculated time yourentire macro will take to run, not including pauses.  You do not needto ever change anything in this column, it will change whenever youchange the Hold Time on any step.

There is also a "Notes" column.  This column is very usefel tohelp you serarate your actions visually to remind yourself of what eachstep does.   Also, in the Macro Player Window, any text in the Notescolumn will show up as the Macro is playing.

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Customizing the Sample Fluent Macro

Making Fluent Macros work for you

Now let's try adapting this macro a bit.  First thing we will do isclick the "Save As" button at the top of the Macro Editor.  When theSave As window opens, change the Macro name to 998 Alpha Wipe 2.  Nowwe can make changes to this while keeping the original in workingcondition.

Let's say we have TWO alpha wipe animations.  We want to use oneanimation to GO to a replay, for example, and we want to use adifferent animation to RETURN from that replay.  First of all, we willneed a second alpha wipe.  Check your Sample Clips folder, If you see afile there called: "Lens Flare Swipe.bpa."  If you do not see it, youcan download it here.  Place that file also in your"D:\Clips\Sample Clips" folder.

Now let's add a new step. 

  • Click on the bottom line, below the "Remove Direct Key 3" line and push the "Insert Step" button.  You will see the Edit Window on the right change to the insert menu and by default the "Pause" Macro Utility will be selected.  In this case, that is exactly what we want, so click the "Accept' button.  The Edit Window will change to the Pause properties.  We will leave the Hold Time at 0 because we want a indefinite pause to wait for the user to tell it to continue.
  • Next, let's add a note so we can tell the user what is happening during the production.  Type, "Waiting..." in the "Note" text field in the right hand Edit Window.  You will see the text appearing in both areas, and when the Macro is played back later, this text will show when the Alpha Wipe is paused waiting for the user to continue the macro.  In our example, this is happening "during the replay playback."

 

add_pause.jpg

 

Just as an experiment, go ahead and play your Macro now. You probably won't see much of a difference, except that when the Macroreaches the Pause step, The Play button will blink (on the ControlPanel, the button will remain lit Red during a pause). Simply press the Play button again to continue the Macro, which in this case will simply end it because there is nothing after the pause.

Let's try adding some time to this pause step. 

  • Click the "0" once on the Hold column of the Pause action row.  You won't notice a change, but now you can type directly in that box instead of adjusting the Hold Time with the arrow keys or the text box in the Edit Window.  Type "15" instead of "0" for our new Hold Time.

This direct typing can be done on the "Hold" and "Note" columns directly in the Steps without having to go to the Edit Window. 

Now play the macro again.  This time you will see the Playbutton flash briefly, but then stop because the Pause only paused for15 frames, then continued the Macro Playback and ended.

Now let's look at another way to insert a pause. 

  • Click on the Pause step and then select the "Delete Row" button.  This will remove the Pause from our macro and it will be back to where we started.

The next step that we want to see visually is the new animationcoming BACK from our replay.  So we need to change our animation inClips 1. 

  • To do that, we will push the "Record Steps" button.
    (Just before we deleted the Pause, this button just said "Insert Steps" when we had a row selected, and if we had pressed it then, it would have started recording ABOVE the step we had selected at the time.)

You will notice than when you press the "Record Steps" button the firstthing it does is insert a pause for you!  This serves two purposes.  Itallows a visual note as to where you began your step recording, as wellas adding a pause because everything that happens after that pause willhappen instantly.  Using the Record Steps feature instead of the normalRecord feature will record all the moves you make at a hold time of 0instead of recording the time between button pushes.

  • Now that we are recording, select the "Clips 1" button on your Control Panel (Physical Control Panel or Softpanel will work) and then select the "Lens Flare Swipe" clip. 
  • Now press "Stop Record"

Don't see the clip in your PixPad?  No problem with Fluent Macros!  Select any clip in your store and then press Stop record.  You will see something like the image below:

 

clip1dummyfile.jpg

 

 

  • Now simply click the Browse buttonmacrobrowsebutton.jpg next to the Filename in the Editor Window and select your the "Lens Flare Swipe.bpa" file from your Clips folder.  

Because Fluent Macros are File-Based, the clip will play regardless of being in the show or not. This might come in handy to get some of these animations away from theoperator so you don't accidentally select them during a production.

Now we are going to record the Wipe the "normal" way so we can getthe timing close.  There are three steps to do this, Add Direct Key 3,Perform Cut, and Remove Direct Key 3.  Now that we have our newanimation in Clips 1, it is the exact same steps to use this one as itwas to use the one above. 

  • Press the "Record" button
  • Then, on your Control Panel, press the "Direct Key 3" button once to turn it on,
  • Wait a moment, then press the "Cut" button
  • Soon after press the "Direct Key 3" button again to turn it off. 
  • Then press "Stop Record in the Macro Editor."

We now have our macro almost entirely complete.  The only thing left isto adjust our Hold times on these last three steps because it isdifficult to get the timing correct live.

wipefinished-wrongtimes.jpg

  • Click on the Hold Time for the new "Add Direct Key 3" step we just created. 
Notice that the Hold time for this step is stillat "0" even though it probably took you a moment from the time you hitrecord until the time you hit the Direct Key 3 button on your ControlPanel?  Macros will wait for you to start the steps you are goingthrough and not just start when you hit "Record." 
  • Let's change this step to Hold "1" frame to give the Clip Store a moment to change to the correct clip.
  • Now, without clicking anywhere else on the screen, simply press the DOWN arrow key on your keyboard.  This will let you type in the Hold column of the "Perform CUT" step without moving your hands away from the keyboard. 
  • Change this Hold Time to "30" because this animation is just slightly longer than the first. 
  • Then hit the DOWN arrow key again and change the Hold time for the final step to "13." 

This is a great feature if you're changing a bunch of values at once, simplychange your hold time, then using the up or down arrow keys, change thevalues on the other steps above or below as needed.

Now don't forget to press the Save button at the top of the screen!

wipefinished.jpg

And with that, we have a completed two-step Alpha Wipe with a differentanimation for GOING to a source and RETURNING from a source.  Play itthrough, adjust the times on the Perform Cut Steps and the RemoveDirect Key 3 steps to see what changes. 

If you want to further customize the Macro, you can define a specificsource for it to go to each time (set Preview Source before the PerformCut step), or select a Clip at the very end that wil will be likely toneeded next so it is already loaded in the Clip Store (and you won'taccidentally play the Alpha Animation again later).  Maybe you want tomake sure at the top of the macro that more keys are removed, or theyare removed when the macro cuts using the Next Transition layers. Maybe you want a certain key to come back on the air each time afterthe second wipe (like a scoreboard or a logo or date). 

The easiest way to customize your own Alpha Wipe Macro is to changeyour the clip(s) into ones with your logo on it.  As we've learned,that is as simple as clicking a browse button and changing which filethe Macro is looking for!  For situations where you don't know too farin advance who might be sponsoring your replay, for example, you canjust open the macro, change which sponsor wipe you want to use and hitplay!  One button for your TD and countless possibilities at theirfingertip!

There is a lot you can do with Fluent Macros, this is just a quick example. 

For more information, refer to section 4.12 in theupdated 7.3 manual that comes with your new version of software.  Go to"Help>User Manual" from the Broadcast Pix Switcher Application tolearn more!

 

 

NEIT LogoWe were really sold as soon as we saw what it could do and it fit our budget. It was a pretty easy decision.”

- Tom Strolla
Professor and Department Chair
New England Institute of Technology
East Greenwich, R.I.