How To Make Great Digital Signage Content – #1


Click here to view a low-rez playlist preview – May take a few seconds to initialize, requires Adobe Flash Player plug-in Those who know me,…

Thursday, Jul 07

Click here to view a low-rez playlist preview – May take a few seconds to initialize, requires Adobe Flash Player plug-in

Those who know me, know that I am deeply involved in the Digital Signage business.  Digital signage is an interesting space because it demands of its principles,  many unique and diverse disciplines.  In this series of posts, I’d like to concentrate on digital signage content.

Digital signage content is quite different from many other types of content.  The content you can use in your digital signage project will depend to a large extent on the capabilities of your media players.   Media players vary in capability from simple, low-cost stand-alone memory players that can read pictures or video from a directory on the memory stick to fully-managed multi-media players capable of displaying many types of media and content in parallel.

The media players (and back-end content management system) you choose for your digital signage project will be determined by the complexity and variation of content that needs to be displayed in combination with the number of displays that need to be addressed.  For example, a stand-alone location could build a very simple digital signage solution based on consumer grade T.V.’s that can read content from USB sticks.  Whereas a large multi-location deployment will need the convenience of a centrally managed enterprise class content server in combination with managed media players that can display content in an automated manner according to defined schedules.

Digital signage content consists of many different media types including images, videos, text, dynamic data such as RSS, XML, HTML and live streams even PowerPoint presentations are supported in some environments.  Digital signage content is strung together in containers called ‘playlist’ that combine all the media types into serial or parallel structures with or without special transitions.

A serial playlist typically contains a series of media elements, displayed in a full-screen format, one after the other in a continuous loop with or without transitions.  A parallel playlist on the other hand, is built using a template that divides the display’s real estate into multiple zones or frames, each zone displays content independently and in parallel.

The basics

Digital signage media elements have 3 basic properties:- Resolution, Aspect Ratio and Duration.

Resolution = Size of media element in pixels
Aspect Ratio = Shape of media element expressed as a ration of width to height
Duration = Time the media element will be displayed

Applying these properties to a series of images, that must be displayed in full-screen format on a modern High Definition display, we get the following:-

Resolution = 1920×1080 pixels
Aspect ration = 16:9
Duration = 10 seconds (duration could be any required value)

Notice that DPI is not relevant – DPI is a unit of measure applicable only to print media – because digital signage content is displayed on screens, only screen resolution is important.

Next time:- Using images in your digital signage project.

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