Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

vince's picture

We have a retail store that wants to display some digital signage on an LCD at the front of the store.

Half of the screen will be a scrolling RSS feed that will point to the store's website. They will be able to use their own CMS to update content whenever they want. The RSS feed should refresh itself to get the new content every few hours.

The other half of the screen is going to be a powerpoint movie that is updated once per month. We plan on exporting the Powerpoint .ppt as a .mov and we want it to loop with quicktime. The file will be placed in the same folder as the .qtz with a specific filename.

If anyone has the time and skills to put this composition together for us, please contact me with your rates. vince at cliqk.com

Thanks! -Vince

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cybero's picture
Re: Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

An interesting sounding project.

Something I'd like to do for a few current and potential clients.

Just a few observations.

Apologies aforehand if you already knew this.

Powerpoint [or Keynote] exported as a .mov can easily be achieved, looping it would simply be a matter of setting the preferences in QuickTimePro to Loop, automatically start, no controller interface, and I'd guess a set size of movie, half the height or width of the screen you're projecting upon.

Will it actually export a movie and run the embedded quartz composition though from Powerpoint, like you can export from Keynote?

Unless you actually package the whole thing within a .qtz file, you'll be running two files concurrently.

You could have top half of screen for the RSS and the bottom half for the powerpoint presentation movie export.

I'd have thought it would probably be easier in the long run to create the installation en toute, and not as two seperate files.

Of course if the RSS/CMS setup is meant to include HTML markup content at some point rather than merely an RSS feed of say, special offers and so forth, then running a self contained quartz composer based presentation would not be as feasible.

If only Quartz Composer supported more than HTML in article comments within the RSS patch, then we could have access, or reason to have access, to more than the core classes of JavaScript we can currently exploit in and upon QC.

Seeing as how you'll obviously need a Mac to run the .qtz, which sadly is currently unsupported upon the Windows OS, then you might also consider exploiting embedding the .qtz, to size as required, within a Keynote presentation.

Please see attached Keynote file for a simple example - still requires an RSS component. Do search the packages contents. The Keynote file will take more inserted .qtz files to your hearts content :-).

Will all quartz compositions render faithfully in such a fashion ? - that, my friend is simply a suck it and see and tell everyone else what the results were situation. Bleeding edge technology - don't you just love it.

Other than building the presentation within Powerpoint or Keynote (for the purposes of having the advantages of those compositing tools) and then embedding the .qtz - possibly exported as a .mov with the .qtz animations or RSS held within that .mov wrapper, you could just rework the entire item as a .qtz installation / presentation from start to finish and skip relying upon either Keynote or Powerpoint.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe that Powerpoint has especially strong support for Quartz Composer at all.

That alone could put a spanner in the works of your project.

Powerpoint does support QuickTime - in some parts and not in others.

iLife does support the use of QuickTime & .qtz natively.

& you can import existing Powerpoint assets into that iLife application too.

PreviewAttachmentSize
qcandkeynote.key_.zip831.13 KB

gtoledo3's picture
Re: Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

There is no upside to hosting anything inside of Keynote, or utilizing that funky .mov wrapper around a .qtz deal. Both are really limited in their support for plugins as well as any kind interactivity.

I think you aren't understanding what he is saying. The powerpoint is incidental. It is just that the mov file is something that the customer would be putting together inside of power point. They want a custom QC setup that will play movies, and integrate some text from an RSS feed. It's not calling for Powerpoint to be compatible with QC ;o)

"Unless you actually package the whole thing within a .qtz file, you'll be running two files concurrently. You could have top half of screen for the RSS and the bottom half for the powerpoint presentation movie export."

There are about a million ways that you can present text and movie imagery together inside of a qtz, besides the "tickertape" feed/visual at top approach :o)

cybero's picture
Re: Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

Actually, I do think I understand what Vince is saying, but thanks for your response.

True - Powerpoint is incidental in so far as it is only used to compose what clikq will eventually export as a .mov to be presented in one half of their LCD screen.

Then again, I was more inclined to immediately suggest running the exported movie within a full screen QC file with the presumably Quartz Composer RSS patch in one half and the Powerpoint created movie export running in the other.

As for where on the screen their text could go, couldn't say I care to disagree with your statement, QC is very flexible in that regard, however, I was merely sticking initially with the design requirements stated.

Perhaps Vince could clear that up :-)

gtoledo3's picture
Re: Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

No biggie, it just seemed like you were thinking that Powerpoint had to work with QC for some reason, or that Keynote had to be involved, just because Powerpoint was being used by the customer to mock up a movie and it's a similar technology.

cybero wrote:
"Other than building the presentation within Powerpoint or Keynote (for the purposes of having the advantages of those compositing tools) and then embedding the .qtz - possibly exported as a .mov with the .qtz animations or RSS held within that .mov wrapper, you could just rework the entire item as a .qtz installation / presentation from start to finish and skip relying upon either Keynote or Powerpoint.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe that Powerpoint has especially strong support for Quartz Composer at all."

You suggest "reworking" so it doesn't rely on Keynote (which he didn't even suggest to begin with) or Powerpoint (which it doesn't other than that the customer is going to be whipping up the mov files using that). That's why I thought you didn't understand what was going on with the idea, or just misread the original post.

I wouldn't typically respond on a forum/public on something like this, but I just find that using QC with the fake mov wrapper, and using qtz's in Keynote are two things to be avoided unless absolutely needed for some reason. It wasn't asked for, so it just struck me as somewhat masochistic to go down that route :o) Trying to be helpful, NOT busting balls.

The biggest hurdle for anyone attempting this one is going to be understanding the glitches in the RSS patch, how to mediate them, and how to keep things from going into a slow grinding halt and eventually crapping out the computer it's running on.

Adams's picture
Re: Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

Now that you can get custom signs even digital ones i'm surprised more stores haven't updated their own.

usefuldesign.au's picture
Re: Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

One reason somebody, sometime, someplace may want to do signage as Keynote with a .qtz (wrapped in .mov of course) RSS ticker and there own content and display the whole thing in Keynote app is because a lot of people have issues exporting .mov files from Keynote.

I used to help on Apples Keynote forum while I was learning it's ins and outs and also I get keynoteusergroup newsletters and movie export is probably the biggest flaw and source of griping in Keynote's arsenal. Sound syncing to image is the most frequent bug-bear. Leaving the content creation in Keynotes means the client can make bigger changes without calling the QC expert in to recompose the final comp if the want to change more than the placed .mov. In Keynote they can still resize everything etc etc.

I know this user was talking about exporting a PPT .mov and all that. Just thought I'd mention. Those keynote issues.

mrose's picture
Re: Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

I'd like to do a very similar thing with Keynote and an RSS feed. I don't need the movie, but I'd like an RSS feed to show in a slide. From what I can tell this is pretty much impossible due to security concerns. Has anyone been able to export an RSS feed to a QT movie that is then imported into Keynote?

o.busch's picture
Re: Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

Look no further than:

http://www.happjo.com

Take care, Oli

gtoledo3's picture
Re: Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

I still think the funny thing about this one is making a movie in powerpoint and using QC to play it back.

This comment of mine you're replying to is a year+ old and I definitely now see way more reason for robust support of QC in Keynote. I think this is a big "public face" of QC, and the problem is that Keynote needs to support the inherent flexibility of QC. That way companies can easily make presentations and displays that leverage tech that is specific to their industry.

cybero's picture
Re: Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

Have you already used this?

I just went to their site, but the Preview version is now out of date , run on 10.6.4.

Looks interesting stuff though.

o.busch's picture
Re: Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

Better. My company made it - so yes, I used it before :)

Indeed, the preview version is expired. Somehow this slipped beyond our recognition. Thanks for pointing this out. I informed the person in charge to update the version on the website. If you wanna give the app a try, please use the demo of the basic (release) version: http://www.happjo.com/file/download/Happjo.dmg

usefuldesign.au's picture
Re: Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

gtoledo3 wrote:
I still think the funny thing about this one is making a movie in powerpoint and using QC to play it back.

Yes, insert weird metaphor about junk food in a five star restaurant here.

Quote:
This comment of mine you're replying to is a year+ old and I definitely now see way more reason for robust support of QC in Keynote. I think this is a big "public face" of QC, and the problem is that Keynote needs to support the inherent flexibility of QC. That way companies can easily make presentations and displays that leverage tech that is specific to their industry.

One neat thing would be that where Keynote is totally lacking in the scripting/authoring department (which PPT actually has covered with visual basic), full QC support would go a long way to plug that gap just for starters.

(I still think Keynote needs its own methods for logic based slide/content changes)

Then there's the fact that Keynote effects/actions/transitions are way superior to PPT yet there's no obvious way to build on the shipped product beyond 'use your custom bullet image' type of thing. If Apple could integrate QC into KN with protocol templates for actions and transitions, wow, that would give us cottage industry QC types a huge potential market and just get QC out there so much more than it is.

Win dot 4: for KN, QC, QC artists/developers and industries that use Keynote.

(sjobs might not like it so much because he always gets to break the new KN transitions and actions and get punters in a lather speculating on whether a movie of motion graphics rendered in a 3D app is going to be a new Keynote effect)

I've written on other threads how much I went into pitching this to Keynote team, I think. Maybe it's time for another pitch ;-) I saw all those Real Estate window displays coming years ago and foresee everybody with a POS/business/professional practice wanting to display something on some kind of screen in the near future — if it looks glossy enough. Keynote could be aiming for that rather than resting on it's laurels of tool that's superior to death by powerpoint (which I read is getting a Major overhall with input from a leading Keynote theme house)

cybero's picture
Re: Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

Cheers for the download link & the irony of my prior question is far from lost on me :-).

Shall take a look a little later on.

raj's picture
Re: Digital Signage Project with Quartz - RSS + MOV

Not a designer, but plenty of LED Sign Neon Sign experience. Inquiries welcome. Sounds like an interesting project.

I did some work once on a project to connect a programmable sign so that it would take input messages via text message.

The hardest part turned out to be creating a profanity filter that could:

a) Keep up with all the different ways that abusers would try to get profanity on the sign. ( misspellings, phonetic spelling, etc)

b) Not block normal words that might have profanity in them, like "matsushita".