This page links to some vey useful information for any hospital tv or hospital radio station engineer.

Virtual Cart Machines

Jazler Screen

Whether it's a TV or Radio station we all need to play audio clips, music and promos. We need to be able to play clips from two areas: Network control and the main studio sound control area. I spent a long time trying to find something that suited all our requirements and came up with the decision we needed two different versions. There are many devices that would have filled both rolls but all of these cost too much for us - the following are free!

The simplest to use is from Jazler and is called Jazler Show. It works really well with a touch screen. It works in a similar way to "Spot On" but I think it's even simpler to use. It has one limitation - it can't be started remotely by a "fader start". For that reason it's not suitable for our Network control area as we need a player that can be started from the mixer automation. For that reason I chose to use Sonicart 2.0 from Babyfishmouth software. It resembles a traditional cart stack but visually it's not as simple to use as Jazler. It comes into its own when you want to start a clip. It runs clips in any order by using the F-keys. Best of all you can start the next clip in the stack from a fader or automation start by using the "fire" button on the joystick port.

One other option we looked at was Rivendell this is a total open source radio automation system. It's free, Linux based and will run a complete radio station. It was more than we needed but if you are setting up a hospital radio station it is worth a very serious look.


PPM - level metering

PPM (c) Darkwood

I have been using good old fashioned Peak Programme Meters for all of my working life. It's such a shame that the software geeks who produce modern audio and video editing products seem to think useless waggle meters are all the users want. I'm a huge fan of Apple's Final Cut Pro but the audio metering drives me insane and I end up using a set of traditional PPM's on the output. If you use any PC based system then you do have an alternative. Visit a site called Darkwood by Paul Marshall. He has written the software for some excellent audio meters. You can choose from replica analogue meters or modern digital versions but they all have proper scales accurate ballistics and work so well it's hard to believe they are freeware. I just wish he would make one of an Apple Mac.

Some other bits

Simon in Edit1

Some years ago I attempted to write a bit of software to put a professional VTR into record at a preset time. I needed to find the control protocol for the Sony RS422 9pin remote. I had no luck from Sony but found this... on the Internet. With the relevant information I soon had it working. Sadly I never developed it any further so it soon fell out of use.

If you want to control something made by Quantel, Probel or Aston then you need pcpromtions. I came across it while trying to control our Probel matrix but since then I've used several programs from here.

If you do any multimedia work you may want to make sure the audience doesn't see you are using one of those wonderful Microsoft based machines. Screen Monkey lets you have two video card outputs - one for the audience and one for you with all of the controls.

If you need to calculate a passive attenuator then if you are like me then I still have to look up all of the maths and get out my calculator. This site has a simple calculator on the page that takes all the stress out of it.

If you need to find the wiring for an odd or old connector, cable or obsolete computer kit then try the Hardware Book. It's got me out of trouble on many an occasion.