The Broadcast Television Engineering Technology program at Napa Valley College has a Philips BTS Media Pool digital video server. It was likely made in 1995, given that the copyright for the manuals contains this date.
This document attempts to provide a server operation manual that is customized to our program. It partly draws from the manuals the program has on the server, partly draws from my experience, and partly draws from the experience of others in the program.
This document was last updated on $Date: 2007/03/15 07:15:23 $.
The video server is comprised of the server itself and two workstations.
The server is located in the server room. There are three sets of equipment racks in the server room; one of these sets holds the video server. This set is comprised of three equipment racks, located near a wall in the middle of the server room, further away from the exit doors than the other rack sets. The center and leftmost racks contain mostly tan/gray boxes with few or no controls/lights (the main video server components). The leftmost rack also contain:
Other components associated with the video server are in the rightmost rack and include:
Just to avoid confusion as to which rack set is the one for the video server, this paragraph describes the other rack sets in the server room. One other equipment rack set is the one holding the audio patch panel, house sync, effects 3 and effects 1 monitors, video switcher, and other gear; this is the set that is nearest the exit door to the control room. The other equipment rack set is the one holding the video recorders (including a Sony Betacam VTR and two Sony D-2 VTRs); this is the set that is nearest the exit door to the stairwell.
There are two workstations, one in the control room and one in the studio.
The workstation in the control room allows easy access to recording and playback using the video server. There are a set of three small monitors mounted in the counter that provide the ability to monitor material being recorded to and played back from the video server.
The workstation in the studio allows easy access to the video server for those using the various editing systems (Avid, Adobe, Final Cut Pro), so that recordings can be transferred between the server and individual editing systems.
This section provides the basics of starting the video server. It is a good idea to get the experience of starting the server a few times; while it is almost as boring as watching paint dry, after a few boots you get an idea of the normal startup sequence of events, so that on the one day you do start it up and you observe abnormal behavior, you may be able to predict a failure or at least remember that the failure you experience later that day may have been related to the abnormal startup sequence you witnessed.
Here's how to start up the server:
The video server is now ready for use.
AC0 and AC1 need to be plugged into receptacles serviced by different circuits. If they are plugged into the same circuit, the breaker for that circuit will blow during the boot process.
There are three software applications supplied with the video server, two of which are of general interest to video server users.
The SPLASH name is an acronym for Software Program for the Logical Administration of System Hardware. The SPLASH application allows you to
The Stream application provides a UI that operates as a virtual VTR, allowing you to record and/or play back media files.
The topics are listed but most don't have information for them yet.
Here's how to start up a workstation (the one in the control room and the one in the studio near the editors).
There are two application types to be familiar with
You will use streams to record and play back media files to various control room and server devices. You will use BetaCPs to record and play back media files to various video editing systems located in the studio.
The Splash main window contains two sections
In order to invoke an existing inactive application
If this operation fails
The Stream interface presents a VTR interface on an associated media file. The interface presents some fairly obvious controls to do some fairly obvious operations. This section will talk about the non-obvious details of using Stream in our environment.
To start recording, move the mouse pointer over the record button and the click on both the left and right mouse buttons simultaneously.
The EE/PB (electronics to electronics / playback) check box is located at the lower left of the Stream window. When it is deselected, the monitor output of the VTR is always what is being played back currently or the most recent frame of what was played back most recently. When it is selected, the monitor output is the selected input source when recording or stopped, and the output shows the effects of any compression being applied to the recorded material. Apparently, one can't see the effects of compression unless the application is configured to use 1:1 as the minimum compression.
If you are recording in the control room, you should select the check box so that you can monitor the video being recorded while you are recording it. The three little monitors mounted within the counter top to the left of the workstation monitor allow you to view server 1, server 2, and server 3 as VTR1, VTR2, and VTR3, respectively. If you are the recording engineer, and you are using a stream that has the EE/PB box checked, and you don't see in the appropriate little monitor the video you are recording, then the server isn't recording it.
If you are playing back a media file to insert into the video switcher via VTR1, VTR2, or VTR3 inputs, and are also recording the output of the program and/or effects buses on the video server, you should ensure the EE/PB check box is deselected on the Stream used to play back the media file, or else you will generate some feedback which will make your video look interesting but will probably not be the effect you want.
I don't have time to fill out this section right now. However, there are some system limitations about which you should know.
If you plan to record audio, you must record audio to server 1's audio channels. This will be true until we receive our dedicated audio A/D converters and set up an audio patch panel or source/destination control panel at the video server. So, ensure that any Stream configuration you use for audio recording uses Server 1's audio channels.
Configure existing applications by either:
You can view, but not modify, the configuration of an application whose icon is located in the Running Software subwindow by double-clicking or choosing the Views->Instance Configuration menu item.
In order to change properties, you must be logged on either as the owner of the saved media file(s) of interest or as the system administrator.
In the Splash window, choose the File->Show Media List ... (Ctrl-m) menu option. (Ignore the square on the left side of the menu pulldown entry - it isn't a check box toggle)
This opens the Media File List dialog with a list of files and attributes, and OK/Cancel/Apply/Delete buttons.
The Apply button should enable after making a change. To commit the change, click Apply or OK.
To change file permissions, click on the cells within the appropriate column. The permissions are like UNIX file system permissions: there are read, write, and execute permissions and there are three sets of users: owner, group, and world. The letter r will show up if that user category has the right to read the media file, and the letter w will show up if that user category has the right to change the media file. I've seen the x show up but I've not seen how to apply it or what it means in this context. When you click on the cells, the permissions on the file will change. Warning!: clicking the Cancel button does not cancel permissions changes you make here!
You'll likely want to set permissions of the media files you value to read-only by everyone, since people will often choose an existing media file to load when they are learning how to use the Stream application, and if they happen to click the record button as part of their learning process, you will lose some or all of your recorded material.
To change the file name, click on the file name column in the row corresponding to the desired file. The system will replace the cell with an editable text box, in which you can make the change you want.
To exit the Splash application
To log out, click the Exit button on the task bar near the center of the bottom of the screen.
After logging out, wait for the logout process to complete and the login screen to redisplay on the monitor, then press and release the power button on the workstation (that will shut down the workstation). Wait until the shutdown process is complete before powering down any associated power strip.
The server room contains three digital-to-analog converters, Behringer Ultra Match Pro (Model SRC2496), that we use to perform digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital conversion of audio between the video server and the rest of the audio system in the studio.
In order to record or play back audio, you must use VRs 1, 2, or 3, since the audio system only has three D2A converters, and they are assigned to those VRs.
When patching cables between ports on the audio patch panel, ensure that the polarity of the two cables is the same, otherwise the audio from the two channels (now out of phase) will cancel each other upon playback unless you again reverse the polarity. The patch panel cable plugs each have a gold screw and a silver screw; ensure that both patch panel cables have the same orientation of gold screw and silver screw when the cables are plugged into the patch panel.
The analog audio patch panel contains jacks that go to and from the D2A converters. In the bottom row of jacks, the six left-most jacks connect to the inputs of the D2A converters as follows:
|Jack Pair Number (from left)||Current Label||Connects To|
|1||Edit Mix In # 1||D2A converter # 1 (top one), left channel|
|2||Edit Mix In # 2||D2A converter # 1 (top one), right channel|
|3||Edit Mix In # 3||D2A converter # 2 (middle one), left channel|
|4||Edit Mix In # 4||D2A converter # 2 (middle one), right channel|
|5||Edit Mix In # 5||D2A converter # 3 (bottom one), left channel|
|6||Edit Mix In # 6||D2A converter # 3 (bottom one), right channel|
In the second row of jacks from the bottom, the six left-most jacks connect to the outputs of the D2A converters as follows:
|Jack Pair Number (from left)||Current Label||Connects To|
|1||Edit Mix Out # 1||D2A converter # 1 (top one), left channel|
|2||Edit Mix Out # 2||D2A converter # 1 (top one), right channel|
|3||Edit Mix Out # 3||D2A converter # 2 (middle one), left channel|
|4||Edit Mix Out # 4||D2A converter # 2 (middle one), right channel|
|5||Bridge Out # 1||D2A converter # 3 (bottom one), left channel|
|6||Bridge Out # 2||D2A converter # 3 (bottom one), right channel|
The digital audio patch panel is located on the leftmost video server rack. It is normalized to defaults of channel 1 (left) and channel 2 (right). Override this by patching in the next adjacent pair if you want to use channels 3 and 4. This paragraph needs some more specifics on which ports go to which channels and how to patch.
There are a bunch of buttons and knobs on the D2A converters. Here's what you need to know about them.
Many of the displayed values will be preset when the D2A converter reads the AES stream.
The source switch on the left side has the choices of analog in or analog out. These only affect the LED meters next to the source switch, and the headphones. For example, if you choose analog in, the LED meters will reflect the amplitude of the incoming analog audio and the incoming analog audio will be routed to the headphone jack.
Ensure it is set to A/D & D/A conv.
This is the source for the digital side. This should be set to RCA.
Should be set to AES/EBU.
Should be set to digital in. In this case, the D2A will recover the clock from AES, and will set the sample rate and word length for you.
If using 16- or 20-bit data, the D2A will dither to 24 bits.
This knob sets the incoming level for analog input. Use this when outputting 1 kHz tone at 0 dB. Brian has been setting this at -4 dB just for headroom. There is no gain on analog out, since it is at line level.
After the LED status lights BTS VTRs go green, the VTRs will output null AES data, and that should turn on the lock lights on the D2A converters.
To set up for recording audio on the video server:
To set up for playing back audio previously recorded on the video server:
The video server system uses a Sony BKS-R3205 source and destination control panel to route video to and from the server. There are 16 sources represented by 16 green buttons on the left, and 16 destinations, represented by 16 amber buttons on the right. Each source may be matched up with one destination (TBD - check if this is true, or if a source can go to multiple destinations).
View routes by:
Leave the green source buttons alone unless you intend to change the source associated with the selected destination.
Pushing a green source button will change which source is routed to the currently selected destination; this is why it is important to push the destination button of interest before pushing any source buttons. This seems a bit convoluted if one wants to determine to what destination a source is routed, since in order to find out, one must potentially select each destination to find out to where the source of interest is being routed.
There is a toggling push button labeled protect on the left side of the control panel. If you are concerned that somebody else is going to change your settings before you are through with your work, you can press the protect button. When viewing a particular source/destination combination, if the protect button is lit, users can't change the source routing for the selected destination without first hitting the protect button to disable protection. If the protect button is not lit for the selected destination, that destination is not protected from change. The protect button applies to individual destinations, not to the control panel as a whole; you can choose one destination, see it being marked as protected, and choose another destination and see it being marked as not protected. So, if you want to protect a set of destinations, for each destination you wish to protect, you must select the amber button for that destination, then push the protect button if needed so that the the protect button light is lit.
You can ignore the Level switches.
Here are the sources you can choose to route:
|Srv001||Server VTR 1 Output/Play|
|Srv002||Server VTR 2 Output/Play|
|Srv003||Server VTR 3 Output/Play|
|Srv004||Server VTR 4 Output/Play|
|Srv005||Server VTR 5 Output/Play|
|Eff001||Video Switcher Effects Bus 1 Output|
|Eff003||Video Switcher Effects Bus 3 (Program Bus) Output|
|SELE001||Video Switcher Select Switch (what's this?)|
|AVID001||AVID editor output|
|FCP4001||Final Cut Pro 4 editor output|
|HDCM001||High definition camera output|
|Lab001||Output from lab|
|Aux001||Auxiliary Device 1 output|
|Aux002||Auxiliary Device 2 output|
|Aux003||Auxiliary Device 3 output|
|Aux004||Auxiliary Device 4 output|
Here are the destinations you can choose to route:
|Srv001||Server VTR 1 Input/Record|
|Srv002||Server VTR 2 Input/Record|
|Srv003||Server VTR 3 Input/Record|
|Srv004||Server VTR 4 Input/Record|
|Srv005||Server VTR 5 Input/Record|
|VTR001||Video Switcher VTR1 Input|
|VTR002||Video Switcher VTR2 Input|
|VTR003||Video Switcher VTR3 Input|
|AVID001||AVID editor input/capture|
|FCP4001||Final Cut Pro 4 editor input/capture|
|MON001||Monitor on the Video Server in the server room|
|Lab001||Input to lab|
|Aux001||Auxiliary Device 1 input|
|Aux002||Auxiliary Device 2 input|
|Aux003||Auxiliary Device 3 input|
|Aux004||Auxiliary Device 4 input|
Here is the list of tasks necessary to perform in order to shut down the video server.