Putting a bug to air – Orad style

Part of the huge change that is going on at e.tv is our on air graphics system. We invested in 6 Orad 3DPlay systems (Now part of Avid). For those of you who don’t know what these systems are, here is a quick primer. 3DPlay is a real time graphics play out device that can be controlled either via automated events coming from the schedule of the channel or manually for live events. So elements like bugs, straps, age restrictions, etc are all controlled via this system. Its power comes from being able to create relationships between your different graphic elements so that you can have a synergy and intelligence in layout and animation on screen.

Orad playout layout
The 3D Play interface with actions defined for the FCC crew.

For e.tv, this system is part of a huge upgrade to our workflows, with a lot of the small repetitive work being done via the automated systems. This will allow us to focus on bigger, more elaborate aspects of the channels identity and promotion.

I was charged to get the system up and running with the engineering, FCC and scheduling teams.

So after two great training sessions with the Orad team I set to work. My first objective was to get the current on air toolkit for all 5 channels running on the new system before we started to implement new dynamic elements. At the same time I did a tidy up of the toolkit so that the viewer navigation was a little more elegant.

  • 3D Designer with the bug project
    3D Designer with the bug project
  • The cue commands for the bug in 3D Play
    The cue commands for the bug in 3D Play
  • The play commands for the bug in 3D Play
    The play commands for the bug in 3D Play

The bugs are set up to move to either the top left or right of the screen. They are the anchor of the entire on-screen experience. All other elements will come from there. So the age restrictions, straps, tags etc will move and animate relative to where the bug is. When the bug is triggered to come off, it first checks to see if the age restrictions are still on screen and pulls those off first before taking itself off air.

I have found that I have revisited these templates for the bugs a couple of times already, as I find better ways of implementing them the more I learn about the system. I suspect this will happen again in the future.

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