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  • 1.  Creating News Talent Reopen Assets / Building Modular XPN Scene

    Posted 10-05-2023 14:09

    This may be a loaded question, I'm sure, but I'll do my best to explain the situation and hopefully someone can give me better insight!

    We have 10 news block hours throughout the day, each have a combination of anchors/reporters. Sometimes, some anchors are not available for certain news blocks and my news director essentially wants me to create a reopen XPN scene for every possible combination of anchors, which is not feasible. Currently, I have to build and render out each combination from After Effects and pull it into XPN as a video material. A long, convoluted and obsolete process considering staff turnover and availability currently.

    My question is, can I build a modular scene where the producer can essentially select the hour of news and each talent that will be present in that news hour using dynamic materials, data sources, visual logic, scene directors and triggers? I have it set up now where they can select what news hour animation they want to play using a @TextObject@ macro and they video materials are set up to Auto Start and Play Once, so the producer can simply select from a dropdown menu of which news hour they want to play out. But can I set something up in the scene director to trigger other scenes to play based on a selection of talent? I'm not as familiar with XPN as I used to be and all the new features, but surely someone has a workaround or workflow that works great for them that they can give me insight on.

    Phillip Seitz
    Creative Services Director

  • 2.  RE: Creating News Talent Reopen Assets / Building Modular XPN Scene

    Posted 10-05-2023 18:04
      |   view attached

    I may be wrong in what you're asking but if you use the same graphics for each show and just want an easier way to switch the anchor names you can try using Widgets. You can even use a widget with a tiny bit of scripting to select which hour block video to play. Before each show you just use the widgets to select which block and which names to use on the graphics. I'll attach a sample project I made.

    If you look at the materials you'll see a placeholder colors that represent each block, go to Display > Widgets and you'll see four text list widgets.

    In the FS Block Intro scene you'll see two text objects, "Which Block?" has the the Hour Block widget assigned to it and using Visual Logic it sends it to the "Block Result" object with the script. The script assigns the selected Material to the Background object. I had to use Visual Logic to connect them otherwise Xpression crashes.

    For the lower thirds you can just link the name text objects to an Anchor widget and that will apply the anchor name to all the text objects that are assigned to the Anchor widget. To edit a widget just right click on it and select Properties.

    You can see how it works by changing the widgets, again I'm not exactly sure if this is what you're looking for but hope this helps!

    Omar Reyes
    Fargo United States


    HourBlocks.xpf   122 KB 1 version

  • 3.  RE: Creating News Talent Reopen Assets / Building Modular XPN Scene

    Posted 10-06-2023 21:56

    Hey Phillip,

    I considered an approach like this to tailor reopens to the anchors that are actually working on a given day, but our decision has always been to feature anchors whose show it is, so I've never fleshed it completely out.

    My thinking is that you would build an intro scene, a music scene, anchor1, anchor2, anchor3, and so on, then a close scene if needed.

    Each element scene would do whatever you design and then end with a Scene Director Trigger and an offline event (but not on the music and reopen scenes.)

    The Scene Director triggers would release pauses in the reopen control scene so each element can be the length you need it to be. Triggers only work on scenes that are online.

    The first script event may not work at the very head of the scene director, so slide it down the way a bit. Anchor1, Anchor2, etc are fed by a static list in the Data Source tab of the Object Inspector with the columns named to match the text objects, otherwise you would have to assign objects to columns or vice versa.

    Number the scenes in the Xpression Studio sequence to match your VBscripts.

    The line Sequence.GetTakeItemByName(CInt(ID1.Text), item) converts the text 5101 to an integer

    Reopen and music need to be on separate, unused layers so they stay online. You would decide what layers the element scenes play on depending on how you plan it----with just a dissolve between element scenes, using the same layer would work, but if you plan an effect from one to the next you'd probably want to use sequential, increasing layers.

    Hope this helps...I'd surely like to hear back on whether you have success.

    Oh, another approach would be to build all the scenes and then put them in a timed group in the Xpression sequence----but that is something the operator would have to build every show and what if they forgot?



    James Hessler