File Location Table

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File Location Table

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Navigation:  Pandoras Box > User Interface - Master > Tabs Overview > Inspector > File Inspector >

File Location Table

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The file location table can be found at the bottom from various Inspectors, e.g. the File Inspector or the one from another resources in the Project tab.

The purpose of the table is file management. It gives an overview of the location and status of a file and provides buttons to copy it or attach another file for example.

file-location-table

Background Knowledge: How Pandoras Box Handles Files

To understand the table, it is mandatory to know how Pandoras Box accesses and spreads files.

As a first step, a file needs to be imported to the Project. This is usually done by selecting a file in the Assets tab and dragging it into the Project tab. The project simply saves a link to the file location on the hard drive. In case you work in a network with other remote Clients and Multi-User Places and they are part of your project, imported content is automatically spread to them too, which creates a hard copy of the file on the respective system(s). In Pandoras Box, however, only the link for each system is saved and listed in the file location table. For more information about importing files, please see the chapter Media Files.
A system can only access a file, if it is available on its own hard drive under the saved path. It accesses a file as soon as this file is either played as a container at the current time in the timeline or programmed as an active value in the Master software. The Master and Sub Managers will show the file in their Preview whilst Clients render it in the (full screen) window.

If you like to see files only locally, and spread them later for example, you can deactivate the automatic Spread function in the tab Configuration > Resources (Global). However, if you do so, make sure that all files are available on the local system. This might require a manual spread in case you import content from a remote system. This is especially important, if you want to transfer show files to other systems later on for backup scenarios or other purposes or if you like to bundle the project. For a long time the recommended workflow in Pandoras Box was to import files exclusively from the local hard disc system of the Master system. You do not need to follow this recommendation if you understand manual spreading and the file location table.

Background Knowledge: File Paths and Live Inputs

As said above, "spreading" content creates a hard copy of the file on the respective system(s). Whilst the file name itself stays the same on all system, the file path could be modified. This happens automatically by Pandoras Box, and normally you do not have to worry about it. However, sometimes it is necessary to understand why different file paths are listed in the file location table. And in case you need to access the file on the remote system directly, e.g. in order to delete it, you obviously need to know, where to look for it.

No matter whether you import files from a Master or Client system, the source location will be used as a reference for remote file management. In most cases, the source and target location match, but there are exceptions. This table shows the general rules:

Source Path

Target Path

C:\coolux\content

C:\coolux\content

C:\different folder

C:\different folder

On systems where C:\coolux\content is a partition:
C:\coolux\content\_Pandoras_Box_Data\remote_content\different folder

X:\folder on external drive

C:\folder on external drive

On systems where C:\coolux\content is a partition:
C:\coolux\content\_Pandoras_Box_Data\remote_content\folder on external drive

C:\project path after saving\assets
listed as "[assets]" in file location table, see Project Assets

C:\coolux\content\projects\project path after saving\assets

Live Inputs, i.e. video or audio input cards or devices or StreamiX feeds, are also listed with a directory, however this "code" is unique and different for each system and device. The chapter Input and Output Cards explains all available cards for Pandoras Box hardware. If you like to use a graphical or audio input, please drag it to the Project tab in the same way as you would do it with "normal" content. Bare in mind, that each Client will list its own live inputs and that live inputs are not shared by Pandoras Box over the network. In other words, if only your Client but not the local system offer a video card, you will not be able to preview the source on the local system, but if you assign it to a layer on the Client, it will display it. If your local system does have a video card connected to the same video signal, you can attach it to the Client's live input. The attaching feature is explained further down.

File Location Table

As depicted above, the table has the following columns. Each row lists a system (Clients or Multi-User Place) the file was spread to.

Devices

Computer name of the system loading the file

Directory + Name

File path and the file name from the file that is loaded on the system

Status

Informs about status of the file access. In case there is a problem with the file, e.g. it is inconsistent, the file and all folders in the Project tab that contain this file are marked with a red exclamation mark.

aborted:

PB tried to copy the file to the specified path but failed. Check the hard drive and try to reload the file or to remove and spread it again, respectively to import it to the project again. Another reason could be, that the spread was canceled manually, e.g. in the Task Manager, or because the network connection was lost.

completed:

Everything is ok, PB copied the file to the specified path and the system can access and play it.

inconsistent:

The system cannot read the file under the specified path, or it does not exist at all. The fastest solution could be to reload the file, or to remove and spread it again, respectively to import it to the project again.
If that did not work, check whether the file exists on the system or why it was not possible to copy it.
If the file does exist, check whether the system can open the file with an external software. The following reasons could cause an inconsistency:
- file resolution too high => check whether the license supports the file resolution
- unsupported file format => in case you are using external codecs, check that they are installed on all systems

0-100%

That is the progress of the file transfer as the file is being spread and is also listed in the Task Manager.

Media Duration

Playback duration of the file

Buttons in the File Location Table

Most buttons below the table refer to the selected entry, simply click on the system and it is highlighted in blue.

Remove

This button removes the selected entry from the table. Bare in mind, that Pandoras Box never deletes files on the hard drive. Hence, "removing" only removes the link to the file from the project. If a system is not listed in the table, it cannot play back the file in case it is used, i.e. a Manager cannot show the file in its Preview and a Client cannot show it in its (full screen) render window.

Attach

This button generates a new entry for a system. In other words you can say that a system should load another file, e.g one in a lower resolution. This powerful feature is explained below in more detail. A dialog opens where you can select the new system and according file path. Note that the file type must match, i.e. only an image can be attached to another image but not to a Live Input for example. A system should only be listed once in the table; remove the unwanted entry if necessary.

Copy

Click this button if you like to spread the file to a different location than the one chosen by Pandoras Box (see above table with source and target location). A dialog opens where you can select the remote system and your file path. The file is then copied there and the new location is automatically attached.

Spread

This spreads the file to all PB systems that are part of the project and available in the network if they do not have the file yet or if they have a different version. Note that you can use the "Spare from Spread" function which simply does not spread a file to a system. You can either say (in the Site Inspector), that a specific Client should never receive any files. Or you can exclude a system from receiving files from a specific folder created in the Project tab, which is set up in the Folder Inspector.

Reload

This button simply reloads the selected file again. In some cases the spread or save process was not finished when PB tried to access the file for the first time. A reload then helps and marks the file as consistent. In other cases, the file was overwritten with new information and needs to be reloaded manually.

Please note, that the changes made in the File location table do NOT apply in a multi-inspector. If you have more than one file selected these changes only apply to one file at time.

Attaching Files

The attach function is a very powerful tool in Pandoras Box. In a nutshell, it achieves that different files are loaded in different systems even though the Master is programmed with only one file. This is helpful for various programming tasks as seen in the following three examples.

Example 1: Live Inputs

A Manager and a Client are both equipped with an HDMI card for example and the signal that runs to the Client is split and is also connected to the Master. After dragging the Client's Live Input from the Assets tab to the Project tab, you can select it to see the file location table in the File Inspector. Live Inputs cannot be spread, so there is only one entry for the Client. If you click the "Attach" button you can select the local system and the according Live Input. Now, there are two entries in the table. If you now play the Live Input, you will see the Master's signal in the Preview and the Client's signal in the Client's render window. Of course, you can also do this with more systems but bear in mind that you can only attach a Live Input to another Live Input.

Example 2: Different file version, e.g. lower resolution

A Manager runs on a smaller laptop and a Server client on current Server hardware. The content for the show consists of videos in 4K resolution. Whilst the Server can play these files, the Manager cannot, maybe because it is not equipped with proper hardware (graphics card, hard drive or CPU). If you now program the content with an activated Preview, the Manager will not be able to perform well as it reaches its hardware limitations. For that case, Pandoras Box offers the feature to show only thumbnails in the Preview instead of the full content. This thumbnail however is in a very small resolution and does not play. If you have the videos in a smaller resolution, you can copy them onto the Manager hard drive and attach them. Remember to remove the entry that points to the 4K content.
If your content is not video content but many image sequences, bare in mind, that it might not be enough to lower the resolution as image sequences play only well on SSD drives!

Example 3: Multi-Softedge with many Clients

A Manager is connected to many Clients, e.g. Players with a single output. All Players project on a large screen, meaning that each Player is responsible for a small cutout or slice of an image with a huge resolution. As the total resolution can not be played back on one Player, either due to the license or due to the playback performance, each Player has individual content. Now, you could program with all Players being individual Sites in the Device Tree. However, the longer or more complex the show is, or the more changes are done, it is just a question of time until the operator makes and error and forgets to make an opacity fade for one Client or to move content. It is much easier, faster and secure to combine all Players to a Virtual Site and program fades and containers only once. This normally has the disadvantage that the content is the same on all Clients, as you program only one container with one media file. But this disadvantage can be compensated if you attach the according content "slice" per each system.

You could even program a Playlist with attached files!

Attaching files using the Widget Designer

The above examples show that attaching files, can be easier, can save time and can be less error-prone. However, attaching files with many Clients and file version, can also be quite time consuming as it is much manual work. For larger shows or for scenarios were you expect that the content will change many times, it is definitely a good idea to think about using the Widget Designer for attaching and removing entries from the file location table. With smart pre-programming including the use of Folder and File IDs in Pandoras Box and Variables in Widget Designer, attaching files can be done in a millisecond. For more information, please see the Widget Designer chapters Scripting Language to learn more about the general scripting workflow, Variables, Custom Script Button and the command list with the commands to attach and detach.