Scott Morrison

12 Techniques for NEXUS Series Video Server Users to Maximize Their Workflows
By Scott Morrison

At the heart of every broadcast station is its video server and our NEXUS® series video servers are powering thousands of access centers around the nation, providing its users with a station-in-a-box. Our customers first look to NEXUS series servers for a reliable solution to store, automate, and distribute their video files, but soon find that these servers are capable of much, much more in terms of simplifying a station’s workflow. Below is a list, in no particular order, of some of the features that I’ve found not all users are initially aware of when they first purchase and implement their NEXUS series servers.

Synchronize Time Clocks of Multiple NEXUS Series Units

Up to 10 NEXUS series servers can be synchronized to the clock on one external master clock. Simply connect your external master clock to the serial port on one of your NEXUS series servers, then configure the serial port for master clock usage as described in the “Editing Serial Port Use” subsection of your NEXUS Series Manual.

Synchronizing multiple NEXUS series units enables you to start programming on different channels at the exact same time. Should you want to schedule the same program on two channels that are fed from different NEXUS units, synchronizing the times guarantees that one channel is not slightly ahead of the other. For more on synchronizing multiple NEXUS series servers, see “Sharing Extended Time Clock with Multiple NEXUS Series Servers” in the NEXUS Series Manual.

Export Schedules Into Comma Separated Values (.csv) Files

Many of our PEG customers are required to submit schedule reports, detailing what was aired on their channels, and how much new content was aired. The NEXUS series allows users to easily export their schedules as Microsoft Excel .csv files. With these exported .csv files, users can easily integrate the schedule into reports or simply save them for documentation purposes. This process is outlined in the “Exporting Schedules Into Comma Separated Values Files” subsection of the NEXUS Series Manual.

Perform Scheduled Backups

For many stations and NEXUS series users, performing backups is essential to the stations’ workflows. With the free Total Backup software utility, users can quickly save copies of their MPEG videos, slides, and critical NEXUS series system information such as the network configuration settings and usernames and passwords. Backups can be immediately performed or scheduled to occur once or on a recurring basis, and as long as the TOTAL Backup software is running, will not need to be initiated by an employee. Refer to the “TOTAL Backup” section of the NEXUS Series Manual for instructions on performing backups or the “TOTAL Backup Quick Guide” on the LEIGHTRONIX Support Center site.

Create Background Audio for Your Slide Show

Giving a standard slide show more production value, users can add thematic music to their slide shows. The background music is encoded as a video file with a solid color background to minimize file size. The background is not visible to viewers, while the audio is still played in conjunction with the slide show. To learn more about adding background audio to slide shows, see the “MPEG File Specifications” section of the NEXUS Series Manual.

Automatically Upload Files to PEG Central

UltraNEXUS™ and UltraNEXUS-SDI™ users who also subscribe to PEG Central® or PEG Central PRO™ have the ability to automatically upload files optimized for video-on-demand (VOD) streaming to their PEG Central accounts. With the “Automatic Upload” checkbox enabled on the “File Destinations” page in WebNEXUS, the UltraNEXUS or UltraNEXUS-SDI will simultaneously encode a broadcast quality file and a file optimized for VOD streaming. Users can choose to have their VOD files immediately sent to PEG Central or delay the transfer to a different time of the day and/or day of the week. Users can learn more about utilizing the WebNEXUS automatic upload feature in the “UltraNEXUS-SDI/UltraNEXUS Only: Managing MPEG and VOD Files” subsection of the NEXUS Series Manual.

Create Looping Playlists to Fill Broadcast Time

The WebNEXUS Virtual Channels provide looping playlists of users’ MPEG clips, slides, switcher input devices, and TOTAL INFO® content. Virtual Channel playlists are convenient for filling time when a schedule is not running or between scheduled programs and can also be scheduled as a program event. Anytime there is empty time between programs in a user’s schedule, the Virtual Channel can be set up to automatically display during unscheduled times. For more information, see the “Using Virtual Channels” subsection of the NEXUS Series Manual.

Broadcast an Event Next to Live

The NEXUS series servers work in conjunction with the PEGvault-SD™ digital video encoder or UltraNEXUS series server to provide Next to Live broadcasts of remote events. Simply route a camera feed into the PEGvault-SD or UltraNEXUS at the remote location and after the encoder captures one minute of content it will begin transferring the feed to the NEXUS series server at the broadcast station. Then, after the server receives one minute of video, it will broadcast the file on your cable channel Next to Live. For more on setting up a Next to Live broadcast, see the “UltraNEXUS Only: Setting Up MPEG File Record Settings” subsection of the NEXUS Series Manual or the PEGvault-SD Manual.

Adjust FTP TCP Buffer Size for Faster Transfer Times

NEXUS series servers allow users to adjust the buffer size of the FTP transfers to help control the rate at which data is transferred. The default buffer size of an NEXUS series system is 16 kilobytes but may be adjusted to down to 4 kilobytes or up to 64 kilobytes. Networks that can handle higher rates will see faster FTP transfer times after adjusting their buffer size. A step-by-step guide on how to adjust your buffer size is given in the “Editing FTP TCP Buffer Size” subsection of the NEXUS Series Manual.

Organize WinLGX Schedules with Color Coding

Inside the WinLGX™ scheduling software, users have the ability to assign different colors to schedule items such as events and channel switchbacks. By assigning colors to different schedule items, users can organize a color code system that allows them to get certain information at a quick glance. Users can make all of their channel switchbacks one color and filled switchbacks another. Choose the colors of alternating schedule events to create easy, at-a-glance organization. With full color customization, users can organize their schedule code system any way they like. Complete instructions on how to assign colors can be found in the “Configuring WinLGX Interface Colors” subsection of the NEXUS Series Manual.

Create Custom Schedule Columns on WinLGX

NEXUS series users are not restricted to the scheduling column headings provided by LEIGHTRONIX in WinLGX. Users can assign columns new names to fit their scheduling needs or organizing scheme and create a list of menu options for classifying each event under the custom headings. A lot of times in various scheduling or spreadsheet software we find ourselves thinking “I wish I could sort by X.” With WinLGX you can! Simply add the column heading and create menu options and it is integrated into your schedule. For complete instructions on how to create custom schedule columns, see the “Creating Custom Schedule Columns” subsection of the NEXUS Series Manual.

Increase Digital Media Storage wtih TOTAL SHARE

TOTAL SHARE is an additional option for purchase that allows users to share the same network attached storage (NAS) across multiple NEXUS series servers. With the TOTAL SHARE feature, up to four of a user’s NEXUS series servers may operate from the same set of stored files and videos. This eliminates time spent transferring files between server storage areas and ensures there is no variation in content from one server to the next. For a complete TOTAL SHARE configuration guide, see the “TOTAL SHARE Setup” tutorial on the LEIGHTRONIX Support Center site.

Convert DVDs into Digital Video Files with TOTAL IMPORT

In a few steps, TOTAL IMPORT allows users to create high quality digital video files from non-encrypted MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 DVDs. With the free TOTAL IMPORT software, all a user needs to do is insert the DVD into a PC’s compact disc drive and specify where on his PC or network he would like the file to be saved. Once the file is saved, the user simply uploads the video to his NEXUS series video server through the WinLGX scheduling software, the same way they would any other file. This software is perfect for stations transitioning from a system that primarily used DVD controllers, and is very helpful for stations that accept content from outside entities or sources that may bring in DVDs. All NEXUS series owners have access to the TOTAL IMPORT manual on the LEIGHTRONIX Support Center site.

Scott has been managing sales at the national level for over seven years at LEIGHTRONIX. With 25-plus years of experience in the professional video market, Scott’s primary responsibilities include establishing and maintaining dealer distribution channels.

Want regular LEIGHTRONIX updates sent directly to your inbox? Sign up and never miss out on new blog posts, videos, and special announcements!