Using NewTek LivePanel™
October 24, 2018 by Chuck Baker; video by Richard Evans
One of the powerful workflow boosters for NewTek’s All-IP production systems, TriCaster® TC1, NewTek VMC1, and 3Play® 3P1, is the ability to control any aspect of live production from a simple, thoroughly customizable browser-based interface. LivePanel™ will work from laptops, desktops, tablets and mobile phones - anything that can run a browser, and is on the same local area network as the production systems. You can use it to put every aspect of live production capability into a single pair of hands free to roam at will and control from any location with wireless access to the same network, or into a squad of hands where a dedicated specialist runs each aspect of your show.
You get started with LivePanel by purchasing a license for TriCaster TC1 or 3Play 3P1, or downloading it free for NewTek VMC1, getting a serial number, and activating the product in the systems you intend to use it with. The video demonstrates the steps in the UI common to NewTek production systems.
First, exit to the Session startup screen, select Shutdown, and then select Administrator mode.
Next, on the Administrator mode screen, select “Enter Feature Key” and put the LivePanel serial number into the feature key entry field. Click “Enable Feature.”
Exit the Administrator mode, and start a Session on your NewTek production system.
Get the IP address for the system by clicking on the “Globe” icon in the top right of the UI.
That opens the browser window, which will display the IP address for the built-in home page in the system. Make a note of it. By the way, this is also how the home page in LivePanel will look on your networked system or device.
On the device that you wish to use for LivePanel, open a browser. Enter the IP address from your NewTek production system into the browser’s address bar.
The LivePanel web UI will come up in your browser window.
There are two controls on the home screen that are also available in every module that you might enter.
- On the right side of the top bar is a “Home” icon button. This will always bring you back to the home screen, from any of the modules that you have entered.
- On the left of the top bar is a “Menu” icon, that opens a menu down the left side.
- The menu has a “Home” option to return you to the Home screen, and you can also get directly to any of the LivePanel modules from the menu.
Several of the modules closely reflect the portions of the NewTek production system UI that they can control. Above, the Audio Mixer is on the left, and you will note that the UI is split across two pages, due to the available resolution of the device used in this example. Top right is the Switcher UI, which shows a multiviewer section, with Program output at the top, and all available inputs, media players, graphics players and buffers. The top right menus Main and Transition provide a variety of Switcher control displays to choose from. Below that is the Media module.
The Keystrokes module contains a guide to the commands and shortcut keys available for control of your NewTek production system. Top left we see the list of sections of the guide, bottom left we see the partial list for the Switcher section of the guide. The Resources module provides links to documents and information both locally on the production system, and on the web, including for support, training resources, downloading updates, and more. The images at the right show the upper and lower portion of this screen of information.
Next our trainer gives a quick tour of the simple Scoreboard module in LivePanel. For this example, we look at the Baseball module. In the NewTek production system, our trainer selects a simple sports graphic for a lower-third scoreboard. All that is needed to prepare for LivePanel use is to set the variable entries to the two LivePanel score variables: “%NtkHomeScore%” and “%NtkGuestScore%”. From the LivePanel Baseball Scoreboard control you can then enter the scores for Home and Guest team using the “+” or “-“ buttons on the screen, and when live on program output the graphic will automatically display the scores.
Now our trainer takes us into the Builder module. We see that he has a custom control page with a number of color-coded control buttons, plus multiple monitors. He shows a couple of the pages that he has already customized for different operational assignments for a NewTek production system. By clicking on the Settings Gear icon at top right of the Builder UI, you can open the page controls. There are 16 pages available on a NewTek production system for creating custom UIs for control from your networked devices. Our trainer selects an empty page to show us how to set up these custom controls.
Click on any button to edit it. This will open a panel labeled Edit Trigger, but you can edit everything about the button, including the width and height as shown. A page is by default an 8 x 6 grid of size 2 x 2 buttons. The numbers on the default buttons are the number that would appear in the top right button of the given 2 x 2 area if all buttons were subdivided to 1 x 1. Our trainer edits button one and turns it into four 1 x 1 buttons to demonstrate. Next we see how a button is given a label and assigned a task to do when activated. Tasks are accomplished by assigning NewTek production system automation command macros to buttons.
Notice that the button type is Two-State Button. You can think of this as a two-position button that starts in its “up” position. Press it, and it sticks in its “down” position until pressed again. The first assignable macro is therefore called the Down Macro. For our first example, our trainer selects Switch to Page 1 as the macro and types that into the Label field as well. The page switch macros are provided so you can set yourself up to easily navigate among the pages you create without going into and out of Settings mode.
Now our trainer reverts the button size to 2 x 2, types in DSK 1 Auto as the Label and selects DSK 1 Perform Auto as the Down Macro.
Next, the color blue is selected as the Background for the button, which will be the color of the button in the “up” position, and red for the Alternate Background, which will be the color when the button is in the “down” position.
The button is ready for use, and our trainer presses it to bring up a lower third over Program Output.
The Background for a button can also be any image or a video source. Our trainer continues his example for the DSK 1 Auto button by setting GFX1, which contains the lower third graphic, as the Background, and blue as the Alt Background. Note that all inputs, buffers, DDRs and output Mixes are available for use, provided to LivePanel as NDI® video-over-IP by the NewTek production system. This allows you to create virtual monitors on your custom control panels.
And again our trainer demonstrates the button, which now shows GFX1 in the “up” state, and a blue background in the “down” state.
So, as you can see there are a huge range of possibilities for custom controls. The standard page is essentially 192 buttons that can be used individually or “ganged” into groups for more convenient sizes for controls or monitors, simply by setting the unit size. With the Two-State button type you can set Alt Background, Alt Label and an Up Macro to execute when the button is pressed a second time to revert to the Up state. For the above example, a single button could both take on the lower third graphic, and then when pressed again take it off.
M/Es and presets from the Composition Panel can also be used on buttons, so you could easily control camera moves and complex effects throughout a live show via LivePanel.
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