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Video Mill - User's Guide
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Load Templates

Overview


What is a Load Template?

Think of a Load Template as a viewport through which a Media Item is loaded and played. Load Templates provides a method to Load any Media Item using one custom layout template. For example, you can create a template which includes themed signage to wrap around your videos for a specific event (see Figure 1 example). You can get as creative as you like, however, some features will not work with templates (ex Video Filter).


How Templates work

When a Media Item is loaded via a template, the attributes of the template are what controls which display the Media Screen is loaded to, its size, display location, layout, and other properties. Essentially, all the attributes Media Item are ignored except the media file name. Only one Media Screen is created for the template and it is reused for subsequent requests to play other media items.


Template Efficiency

Templates can be more efficient (faster loads) than loading each video into its own Media Screen. It takes the Windows second or so to build each new Media Screen as a separate window. When you use a Load Template, each subsequent video play is inserted into the existing Template Media Screen. The Media Screen is reused. This is more efficient than creating a Media Screen to play one video. Then destroying the Media Screen and creating a new one to play the next video.


Operating Like a Standard Media Player

If you want to operate the program like a standard media player (ex Windows Media Player) which plays one video at a time, on one display, then using a Basic Template (see below) is the best approach for performance reasons.

Figure 1. Example Load Template
Figure 1. Example Load Template

How it works
  1. You create a Media Item which includes all the attributes that you want in your template: a background image, cropping, video sizing and placement, etc.
  2. Save the Media Item as a Load Template.
  3. Turn on Load Templates.
  4. Select the template you want to use as the current Load Template.
  5. Now any video you play will be rendered using the attributes of the current Load Template.

Load Template Basics and Rules

Automation Script Dos and Don'ts with Templates

Tips

Template Source Mode: Global vs Media Item

Global Template is a designated template that can be used by all Media Items. You can select a new Global Template at any time from the list of templates (see menu items below). There is only one Global Template at any given time. The current Template Source Mode determines how the Global Template is used.

Media Item Template is a template designated by an individual Media Item in its Media Screen Dimensions panel (Figure 2). This allows you to play Media Item's using different templates. The current Template Source Mode determines how the Media Item Template is used. (See more detail on the Media Screen Dimensions panel)

For both template types, changing the designated template will not affect Media Screens that are already loaded/playing.

Load Template Source Mode: When a Media Item is loaded/played, the template used is selected based on the current Template Source Mode. These modes facilitate many Media List design approaches. Select the Load Templates Source Mode from the Behavior menu or Behavior toolbar.


Source Modes

When the Exclude checkbox is checked in the Media Item's Media Screen Dimensions panel (Figure 2), no template will ever be used on that Media Item.

Figure 2.  Media Screen Dimensions panel
Figure 2. Media Screen Dimensions panel

Menu Locator: Media List Editor > Tools > Load Templates .

Load Template Basic Settings Editor


Basic Template

You can edit some basic settings of any template with the Load Template Basic Settings Editor, including the Basic Templates discussed in the section above.


Template Settings

There is more detailed information on the editor controls at the Screen Dimensions Controls Help page.

Figure 3. Load Template Basic Settings Editor
Figure 3. Load Template Basic Settings Editor

Creating Standard Basic Templates

A Basic Template is a bare bones template that simply designates: 1) a target display; 2) A location and size on the display that a Media Screen should occupy. It essentially sets the settings values shown in Figure 3. All other possible template attributes are set to the default values (ie no special video geometry, no video filter, etc).

To create a Basic Template, go to Tools > Load Templates > Create Basic Templates.


Padding

First, do this BEFORE creating any new templates. Decide how much padding space you want between Media Screens if you are using multiple templates on the same display device. You can create padding (aka gutters) between adjacent template cells by setting the Screens(1) Options > Horizontal and Vertical Padding. Changes to the padding values, will not be reflected in existing templates. The padding values are only used for calculations during the template creation process. This is ignored for "Full Screen" templates. See Padding example in Figure 6.


Target Display

You are prompted to select the Target Display for the template. A display will not appear in the selection list dialog unless it is connected to the computer and Extended on the Windows Desktop.


Basic Template Styles

Then you are prompted to select one (or multiple) of the Basic Styles: "Full Screen", "Top Half", "Bottom Half", "Left Half", "Right Half", "Top Left Quadrant", "Top Right Quadrant", "Bottom Left Quadrant", "Bottom Right Quadrant". The Template Dimensions (location, size) will be calculated based on the selected Target Display size.

After creating a Basic Template, it is added to the Template list and you can edit it with the Load Template Basic Settings Editor just like any other template to tweak its properties.

In Figure 4a,4b and Figure 5, the blue area represents the total surface of the display. So depending on the style template you create, the Media Screen will occupy one of the rectangles within the display.

Figure 4a. Top Half, Bottom Half
Figure 4a. Top Half, Bottom Half
Figure 4b. Left Half, Right Half
Figure 4b. Left Half, Right Half
Figure 5. Quadrant Styles
Figure 5. Quadrant Styles

Figure 6 shows a display with two Media Screens playing using two templates ("Top Left Quadrant" and "Bottom Right Quadrant"). Note the Padding between the templates (blue areas between the Quadrants). For this screen shot, we Loaded a Media Screen behind the template screens. The Media Item was a simple clear dot image (1 transparent pixel) and the background color was set to a blue gradient.

Figure 6. Using Template Styles - Top Left Quad, Bottom  Right Quad
Figure 6. Using Template Styles - Top Left Quad, Bottom Right Quad

Creating Custom Templates by Rows and Columns

The Standard Basic Templates are limited to halves or quarters of the display area. If you need a different uniform matrix of templates, this will generate templates by a number of Rows and Columns that you specify (see Figure 7).

When you click Tools > Load Templates > Create Basic Templates > Custom Templates by Rows and Columns, you will be prompted for the following inputs via pop-up dialogs.

After you generate the templates you can use them like any other Load Templates.

Figure 7 shows 6 Media Screens (loaded with dice images). Each Media Screen is loaded with a different template. Templates were generated for 2 rows by 3 columns. For example, the number 5 die image (red die) is loaded via the "Row 2, Column 2" template. Note the 10 pixel Padding between the templates (light blue gutters).

Figure 7. Custom Templates - 2 Rows by 3 Columns
Figure 7. Custom Templates - 2 Rows by 3 Columns

Themed Background with Load Template - Example

Here is a step by step process for creating the themed Load Template shown in Figure 9.


Create a Background Screen
  1. Go to Edit Media Item > New Background Screen.
  2. In the Background Screen Media Item Screen Layout controls:
    • Set the Background Style to Image.
    • Set the Background Image File to the desired image file (Figure 8).
    • Set the Image Layout to Stretch.

Create the Load Template for Videos

Next we'll create the Load Template that will position videos in the correct location when played on top of the Background Screen. You will need to calculate the video Size (Width, Height) based on the size of the Target Display and the space taken by text in your background image.


Template Creation Steps
  1. Go to Tools > Load Templates > Create Basic Templates > Custom Templates by Rows and Columns. For rows and column values use 1 row, 1 column. (see section above for steps to create this template.)
  2. Now edit the template. Go to Tools > Load Templates > Manage Load Templates. Select the template and click Edit. The Load Template Basic Settings Editor will open (Figure 3).
  3. Edit the Dimensions to set the video Size (Width, Height).
  4. Set Target Display to the correct display.
  5. Set Align to "Middle Center". Or if you need fine control on video placement, set this to "Location (X,Y)"; then set the specific Location in the Dimensions (above).
  6. Other settings should not need any adjustments. You can Rename the template if desired. The Size Mode should be set to "Media Item Dimensions".
  7. Close the editor.

Assign the Template to Video Media Items

Test The Setup
Figure 8. Media Item Background Image
Figure 8. Media Item Background Image
Figure 9. Video Played via Load Template
Figure 9. Video Played via Load Template