ATLAS Production Screen


The Production window is capable of audit cut production, cut index maintenance, cut rotation creation, and the entry of live tags and copy. We recommend that all people who are going to use ATLAS Production sit down with the computer, display the Production window and follow the procedures described in this chapter. The Production window is the central point of any ATLAS Production Room operation. Nothing can go on the air if the audio hasn't been recorded here. Each new ATLAS system that is factory assembled comes with a complete cut index and some sample audio cuts pre-installed, so it is ready to go as far as running the system. From the Start Screen, select "Production". From the Main Screen, press the (P) key to launch.

Production Screen

This is the primary cut maintenance and audio cut production area. All spots and other digital audio should be produced from this screen. This Production system is designed to be used on a separate computer connect to the Control room via the LAN. The Production window has the following features:

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At the top you also have an events window showing the events currently in the play panels, an on-air countdown timer, a system time clock and four device status lights.

Selecting an Audio Cut

Preplanning and organization of audio cuts is important. You may wish to subdivide categories by specific criteria. For commercials, you may wish to put :30's and :60's in separate defined sections. For satellite liners, you may want specified cut number ranges for certain announcers. In formats that use links or intros of any kind, special care should be made to keep all the audio cuts for one jock or operator together so that they may be cut in sequence. Also, sweep intros that are placed on the log should be in sequential order so that the jocks may cut them by voice in order. Separate sweep liner sets for specific days may be used so that liners may be cut in advance.

To do any audio work, a cut must be selected before the cursor can move to the audio section. When ATLAS Production is first loaded, cut 2000 is on the top line and is selected automatically. Any cut index line may be displayed in the following ways:

Note: Spot recording of audio cuts is not allowed on cut numbers under 2000. In most ATLAS systems all audio spots including commercials, ID's, liners, PSA's and promos will be recorded between cuts 2000 and 9999. The cut index has been organized so that specific cut numbers store specific kinds of information.

The Cut Index Header

Each cut number that is used for digital audio has a header attached to it that describes the cut completely. The cut header is a separate file from the audio cut itself. An audio cut cannot run without the cut header. Movement of the cursor bar within the header box is accomplished by pressing the (enter) key or by clicking on the field you wish to be in.

NOTE: Some of the information entered to the header fields is displayed in the production screen columns. These items are indicated by BOLD type.

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CAUTION: The cut type is used by the ATLAS system as a control device. It is very important that all cut numbers have the correct type in place.

NOTE: By editing the "tfn=" parameter in the EWC.INI file, the TFN description can be changed to any combination of 8 characters.

Recording an Audio Cut

After creating or editing the cut index, the audio production can take place. Be sure that you have highlighted the cut number that you want to record or audition. Be sure that the cut index header has all the information necessary to identify your cut. Follow the sequence below:

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NOTE: If you enter the record mode on an existing audio cut and escape prior to recording, the existing audio file will not be altered.

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Never peak over zero db! Digital audio is level critical. Over modulation will cause a very bad sound from the system. If you feed the ATLAS system input audio channels from the console, the "zero" level output at the console should actually be about -3 db to avoid over-driving the ATLAS audio device.

NOTE: You will need to practice a little to get the "rhythm" and "timing" to make good, tight dubs or original production. It's just like working with any new device that has an unfamiliar set of buttons. Once you get the hang of it, it's no harder than using any other recording device.

Playing and Audio Cut

After the recording is done, or if you just want to listen to any audio cut, press (F5). If you wish to stop the audio cut play back before it is finished, press (F6), click the STOP button or press the (space). If you wish to stop the audio playback on a specific device, press (CTRL+SHIFT) and (F1), (F2), (F3), or (F4) keys. The device status lights may be used to determine which card is currently in use. Red indicates that the card is active.

Cut Index Utility Keys

The keyboard function keys (F1) through (F12) ad more features to the Production screen. Here is a quick description of the keys and their function:

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After an audio cut has been created or edited in a system that has separate control room and production room computers, it is necessary to be able to transfer the audio cut to the other machine or machines. This can be done by recording the audio cut onto floppy disk, thumb drive, etc. ("sneaker net") or by passing it across the LAN. To transfer an audio cut, press the transfer button or the (F2) key. A transfer window will appear with a list of your options. To transfer an audio cut while in the overlay Production screen, the system but be in a stopped status.

After selecting the transfer option, you wish to use press (enter) and the destination window will appear with another options menu. The options listed on this menu are determined by selections entered in the ProdPath.INI file. Select the desired destination option and once again press (enter). (pic)

The items on these menus allows complete flexibility in the movement of important data and in the maintenance of the cut indexes headers and sound files. When ATLAS was set up each machine received a predetermined location and "name" on the LAN.

If a LAN is not being utilized, then data like cut indexes or audio cuts (sound files) may be copied to or loaded from floppy disk, thumb drive, etc. However, this form of operation is limited by device size and is very limited in its practicality.

WARNING: We do not recommend (therefore support) the use of floppy disks, thumb drives, etc. for this kind of operation except in emergencies and will not be responsible for operational errors or limitations.

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Pressing this button or the (F3) key displays a prompt that starts a search for a specific description match in the cut index.

When an audio cut is in play mode, pressing this button or the (F4) key will automatically play the last 5 seconds of the audio cut.

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This is a utility allows the deletion of both a cut index header and a sound file. If there are copy and/or live tags attached to this cut or if the cut is write-protected, then a warning is issued so that they are not destroyed by mistake. There is no way in the ATLAS system to do a mass delete of audio cuts as this is far too dangerous and might cause destruction of all the audio cuts in the system if mistakes were made.

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Pressing this button or the (F11) key will display two boxes with information about the amount of hard disk space that remains on your drive and the number of rotators that contain the cut currently being highlighted. It is important to check the disk space periodically as you do Production because of the large amount of space consumed by audio cuts.

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ATLAS systems that are connected to the optional AS-28 routing switcher will need to select a channel (1-8) for audio input. This is accomplished by pressing this button or the (F12) key and then entering the channel number into the window.

Cut Rotation Tables

Most stations find that it is necessary or desirable to be able to deal with digital audio cuts in groups rather than as individual cuts when they are scheduled on a log for air play. For example, it is much easier to specify just one cut number for an ID or liner set rather than going to the trouble of placing each individual cut on the log.

How Cut Rotations Work: ATLAS can "rotate" up to 50 separate audio cuts per rotation index number. Cuts numbered 0450-1999 have been reserved as "Rotation Table" cuts. These rotation table cut index numbers are not reserved for just spots, liners, ID's and other production like magic calls. Any rotation cut can be used to "link" any group of related audio cut numbers together into a very efficient operation.

In addition, the use of rotation cut index numbers for spots allows some very sophisticated control of copy flights that will eliminate a lot of hard work and the possibility of errors.

Cut # Cut Title Type
0501 Sears Weekend Rotation RT (Rotation Index - No Audio Cut)
2005 Sears #1 (Wed-Fri ONLY) CM (Audio Cut)
2006 Sears #2 (Wed-Fri ONLY) CM (Audio Cut)
2007 Sears #3 (Saturday ONLY) CM (Audio Cut)

Remember, however, that cut 2007 is allowed by its "skip days" set up to play SATURDAY only and that cuts 2005 and 2006 are allowed by their "skip days" set up to play Wednesday through Friday only.

When the 0501 cut rotation runs on the air, a curious and wonderful thing will happen. Because ATLAS always checks for the "skip days", on every audio cut, the Saturday cut (2007) will be ignored Wednesday through Friday. The Wednesday through Friday cuts will not play on Saturday. So finally, the age-old problem of getting the right spots on for the right days is solved. Just load them up for the flight and go. Even through the spot flight may run several weeks, the right spots will always run at the right time, every time!

Another extension of this approach is to include any number of spots into the rotation table and let them rotate on the basis of legal date ranges (start date and end date). This coupled with the "skip days" restriction can make an enormously powerful package.

If spot rotations for commercials are set up and not kept up to date, the system will finally fall through to a "sub" table. If a valid "sub" file cannot be found, then ATLAS will fill. This is especially important in SAT Mode for accurately covering local breaks.


Reserved Rotation Table Cuts: Several rotation table cuts are reserved for specific uses:

NOTE: When checking the length of the audio cut that is to be substituted for, if the cut is not exactly one of the lengths in the table above, the substitute table will look for the next length value, either higher or lower depending upon how "close" the length is to the next value.

NOTE: Regular "Sub" tables are "jock schedule sensitive", if suitable include codes are used.

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NOTE: Cuts may be entered in any sequence, but you must fill the first table (1-10) prior to entering any cut numbers into any other table. Don't worry about leaving spaces in the table, when the table is saved it will automatically condense into the correct form. You may also change the order in which the cuts will play by using the (space) to select the "next" cut to play in the rotation (the current next to play cut will be yellow in color) from this screen. You may also use (CTRL+D) to delete a cut or (CTRL+I) to insert a cut into the list.

Creating Macros

Macros are a very powerful tool for creating complex repeatable lists of events that may be called from the log or through the RTS with a single instruction or cut number. Macros are ideal for handling complex switching from one audio network to another, for involved transitions from music to satellite or vice versa, and for a special group of real-time events that must be executed with precision. Macros can be in rotations on jock schedules, Jock F/X, and Quick F/X too. Essentially a macro is a "mini-log" that can have up to 20 events, allowing a complex series of events to be run by ATLAS with only one cut index number being required on the ATLAS log or in the RTS. In general, anything that can be run on a regular log may be a part of a macro and a macro can be used any number of times. Cut index number 0400 through 0449 are reserved for use a macro cut.

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Limitations on MACRO sequences

Macros are extremely flexible and powerful. However, inventive users may be able to create macro sequences that are "impossible" for the system to handle. We do not imply or guarantee that any conceivable macro will work simply because it is entered to the macro sequence. If it doesn't work, then try something else. Every digital control system has limitations.

Live Copy Text

Live copy is a very powerful tool for those stations utilizing the live mode of ATLAS. With this feature you can create your own commercial copy and assign it to a cut number or you may add the copy to an existing digital audio cut for added flexibility. You may want to time the reading of your copy and enter this information into the time field so that when the copy reaches the top play panel, the timer will start a countdown that can be used by the jock for pacing. This feature may also be used in the production of text for weather reports, news, sports, or anywhere text can be used as an aid to enhance the presentation.

Creating Live Copy

To create copy, you must be in Production. Once you are in Production use the following steps to create your copy:

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NOTE: You must (enter) through all fields whether changes are made for the header to be accepted.

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Deleting Copy

The time may arise when you feel it is necessary to delete copy from your cut numbers. To accomplish this, go to Production and perform the following actions: (pic)

Creating Live Tags

To create tags, you must be in the Production screen. Once you are there, use the following steps to create tags:

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Deleting Live Tags

When the need to delete a tag arises, go into Production and accomplish the following actions: