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Video Mill - User's Guide
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Text Screens


Figure 1. Text Screen with Background Image
Figure 1. Text Screen with Background Image

A Text Screen is a special type of Media Screen that displays multiple lines of text.

Text Screens provide a quick method to compose a message and present it on a visually interesting screen with minimal effort. Any Media Item with a text file for the Media File will be treated as a Text Screen. Just drap and drop a TXT file into the Media List to create a Text Screen Media Item. You can optionally select a subset of the lines in the TXT file (Figure 2). Then just load the Media Screen by clicking the Play button. The TXT file must be a local machine file -- it CANNOT be a web linked file (ex http).

A Text Screen Media Screen is treated basically the same as an image based Media Item (static image Jpg, Png, etc).

Text Screen Themes

The Text Screen Theme fonts, colors and other presentation properties are set using the Text Screen Theme Editor . You can create as many themes as you like. One theme may be applied to many Media Items. If a Text Screen Media Item does not have a theme assigned to it, then a default theme is used.

Usage scenarios
Listing 1. Text File Contents Example - SunsetConcert.txt
    Sunset Concert Series

July 15 - Bikini Bottom Blues Band
July 22 - Patrick's All-Stars
July 29 - Krusty Krab Trio

More Info:

Creation Steps

Figure 2. Text Screen Attributes panel
Figure 2. Text Screen Attributes panel

Note: None of these steps will affect the content of the source TXT file.

  1. Create a Text Screen Media Item
    • Drag and drop the TXT file into the Media List.
    • Or there is a menu item that will create the Media Item AND create and open a new text file for you (Edit Media Item > New Media Item > New Text Screen and Create New Text File ).
  2. Select a Theme - (Optional) Click the Select Theme button (Figure 2) to pick from your Favorite Themes.
  3. Play the Text Screen - Now click Play to display it on the Target Display.

TXT File Editing

Use your favorite text editor (ie NotePad or other text editor). The TXT file can reside in any folder. You can change the text in the TXT file at any time; Save the TXT file; then just close and reload the Media Screen to see the updates. You can use a rich-text editor (such as MS Word, WordPad, etc.) to edit the text, but you MUST Save-As a Plain Text Document. (See Listing 1 example)

Text Screen Attributes panel buttons

The Default Theme

There is always one theme designated as the Default Theme. When a Text Screen Media Item does not have a selected theme or its theme cannot be found (ie it was deleted), the Default Theme is used when you Play the Media Item.

One possible strategy for using the Default Theme, is to leave all (or most all) Media Items set to the Default Theme. Then you can change the Default Theme at any time to another one of your Favorite Themes . That one change will cause all of these Text Screens to have a new appearence when they are Played.

Menu Locator: Media List Editor > Tools > Text Screen Themes .

Menu Items

Fading Text In/Out

You can fade the text in/out using the Fader Bar. And the standard Fade-In/Fade-Out controls also apply to Text Screens. If you have set up the Theme to use a background image, the image along with the text will fade in/out. If you want to just fade the text, but leave the image visible, see the Text Screen with Background Video or Image section below.

Text Screen Time Duration

Static Image files (Jpg, Png, etc) and Text Screens do not have an inherent time duration (length) like video and audio. See Default Image / Text Screen Duration for rules on how a time duration is determined.

Formatting Tips

Formatting the Screen

Edit your text file to modify the Text Screen appearance as follows:

Save Text Screen as Image File

If you want to save the Text Screen as an image file (png, jpg, etc) for other purposes, click the Screens >Screen Capture menu. For best results (ie best resolution image), set the Screen Dimensions - Size Mode to Natural Media Size.

Figure 4. Text Screen with Unicode Character (☼)
Figure 4. Text Screen with Unicode Character (☼)

Slide Show with Text Screens and Images

You can create an Automation Script to run a a multi-slide presentation composed of Text Screens and/or Images which will automatically move from one screen to the next in a timed sequence (similar to a Power Point presentation). You can have cross-fade transitions and accompany it with a music track if desired. See this Knowledge Base article for instructions.

Text Screen in Figure 5 uses: Background Color Gradient (3 tri-colors yellow / orange /blue); Drop Shadow (black); Text Background Mask (white).

Figure 5. Text Screen with Background Color Gradient
Figure 5. Text Screen with Background Color Gradient

Text Screen with Background Video or Image

You can use a Background Video with a Text Screen (Figure 6) with a couple added steps. After setting up a Text Screen as described above, follow these steps. This also works for Media Item Background Colors or Background Image. This approach will allow you to fade the text in/out using the Fader Bar while leaving the Background Video or Image visible.

Setup Steps
  1. Add a Background Video - Click the Screen Layout > Screen Background > Media File folder Browse button (Figure 2) to select a Background video (or image) for the Media Item.
  2. Set Screen Background Style to Video on C1. Or to Image on C1 if it is an image. (Figure 2)
  3. Apply a Transparent Theme - Select a Text Screen Theme that has its Backgound Style set to "Transparent".



A Text Screen's Background Video will NOT play when Load Template mode and/or Cross-Fade mode are active. In these modes, the Text Screen text will show in front of the Background specified by the selected Load Template.

Figure 6. Text Screen Over a Background Video
Figure 6. Text Screen Over a Background Video

Text Screen for Adhoc Messages

A message Text Screen is an easy way to present spur of the moment audience messages (Figure 7). You would create one Text Screen Media Item dedicated to adhoc messages. Then when you have a need to present a quick message, you simple change the message text in the associated text file and save the file. After the message text is saved, just Play the Text Screen. The process literally takes just a few seconds.

Steps to Create
Figure 7. Text Screen Adhoc Message
Figure 7. Text Screen Adhoc Message