Category: news


a video installation story with Managana

outubro 14th, 2015 — 9:44am

Managana, the free software for digital publishing developed by the Ciclope Atelier, is the engine behind the Visit Minas Gerais video installation presented at the Brazil’s area of Expo Milan 2015. Its usage allowed the content to be available on several platforms besides the exhibition itself.

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But how did Managana made it possible? In order to learn some more about the possibilities of this digital tool set, available for free download at this site, we decided to show up a step-by-step walkthrough of this experience, from the content design, moving to the creation of mobile apps and ending up at the video installation itself.


DESIGNING THE CONTENT

One of the first choices made was related to the content itself. It should be made from several videos showing the state of Minas Gerais, in Brazil. Since most of the visitors doesn’t know about the state location, we decided to include many maps and transitions focusing on Brazil and the state geography (this part of the content was produced using the Google Earth Pro tool from an usage agreement with Google). There were many points of interest: waters, natural resources, gastronomy, industry, mining, agribusiness, creative economy…

With the script finished, we moved on to the video production from our own archives, third party ones and new productions. All this content were split into a large number or small videos (about 210 ones, 40 minutes in total). We now needed to organize these files into an interactive production. That’s when the first Managana tool became handy: the editor.

editor4 editor3 editor2 editor1

The editor is a WYSIWYG visual tool the allowed us not only organize the videos in the way we wanted, but also manage the user interactions and automatic navigation. While the user interaction idea is usual, perhaps the automatic navigation one is not as well known. Visit Minas Gerais is mainly a public space installation. It stands without user interaction for long periods. During this time it must keep changing content in some way to keep it attractive. One example of an automatic navigation script would be about the Minas Gerais map shown at the picture above. It is the main menu for 10 different contents: the Royal Road, the spring water spas, mining, industry, agribusiness, gastronomy, the savannah, the Jequitinhonha Valley, Belo Horizonte city and tourism. If no one is interacting with the system, the installation enters on each of these contents, at the order shown above, randomly displays two to five videos of the theme, then returns to the map, moving to the next theme. This kind of setting is possible through the usage of the Progress Code, a kind of simplified programming language we developed for Managana.

If you’d like to learn more about the Managana editor, a great way to start is by checking out the Getting started with Managana: creating for web and mobile devices guide. This guide and Managana itself can be downloaded from http://www.managana.org/downloads/


MAKING THE CONTENT AVAILABLE

Content ready, now what?

The first thing to do was to make all content available online on a website and on apps for Android and iOS systems. The process is simple for the web: while you’re designing, the browser version is becoming ready as well (you can check it out here). The current Managana version uses the Flash Player plugin to display content, even if it also provides a HTML5 version, it is not quite suitable for displaying o content full of videos on mobile devices – we’re working on it for the next versions ;-). If you’d like to learn more about the current HTML5 Managana player, check out the Getting started with Managana: creating for HTML5 guide.

In order to solve this issue we decided to create mobile apps for Android and iOS systems. How to do that? Simple: we have the AppWizard, a tool capable of convert a Managana-generated content into apps without many technical issues. The Getting started with Managana: creating for web and mobile devices covers this app creation tool.

appwizard1 appwizard2

After that is was quite simple to produce a qrcode image capable of redirecting mobile devices for app download. This qrcode was printed and placed on several spots of the installation site. This enabled people to take the installation content with them.

Making such a content available raises an important issue: how to improve the app usage on mobile connections? The simplest action to take is encoding the video to a format more suitable to Internet. We chose the well-known FLV format (onvp6) with a bitrate of 600kbps. Even with this encoding the app final size was “gigantic”, about 280MB. To solve this issue we created the app as a simple navigator that access the videos from a web server (one of the choices available from the AppWizard tool). The app was, then, small and people were able to see the content from video streaming.

Now it’s time to talk about a Managana feature not usual to such kind of software: if the user wants (and the developer allows), he/she can download all the server content for offline access. And with a bonus: every time the online content is updated, the Managana app warns the user about it and allows the download of the updates only.

Now that we’re finished with the mobile part of Visit Minas Gerais, let’s move to the installation itself!


VIDEO INSTALLATION STRUCTURE

The installation was set with two videowalls made of 3×3 46” screens, two touchscreen monitors and two Android tablets. Two identical sets of a wall+touchscreen+tablet. Ons of the sets was used to display only the waters and the natural resources part, and the other one for the rest of the content.

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The videowalls and the touchscreens got their video signals from Windows computers. At these computers, the Showtime Managana tool (Windows, OSX) was used to handle the public exhibition. It offers many options for public presentations, like:

  • screen size and multiple monitors/projectors set;
  • adding/removal of visual elements;
  • content setup;
  • remote control;
  • Microsoft Kinect interaction setting;
  • webcam setting;
  • keyboard actions;
  • TCP communications;
  • timed actions;
  • interaction with Leap Motion device;
  • video mapping.

For the Visit Minas Gerais installation, the videowall computer was connected to the touchscreen one through a network with fixed IP addresses. The Showtime configuration was something like this:

showtime1 showtime2 showtime3 showtime4 showtime5

The content shown at the touchscreens is almost the same one from the videowalls, but is has buttons for user navigation. The result we wanted was an automatic navigation handled by the videowall with the extra navigation provided by the touchscreen. Difficult? Not at all: we used the TCP connection configurations of the Showtime tool to connect the software running on both computers. After setting this up, we could use the MESSAGE->startPCodeSend and the MESSAGE->endPCodeSend Progress Code commands to remotely run code on different Showtime instances.

One last added feature was the usage of remote controls. They are mobile apps created using the AppWizard tool. These remote controls need a web connection to work and we didn’t have it on the installation. The solution was using the Managana “launcher” package that is, in fact, a version of the portable XAMPP server with Managana pre-installed on it.

The remote control gave the installation staff a great tool for handling the exhibition since it could be used to pause/play the display and jump instantly to any part of the content. Besides, we used an interesting feature: while designing any content on Managana, we can provide extra information about it that is hidden from the display.

This text is, however, displayed on the connected remote control when the related content is shown. This allowed us to provide extra information to the installation staff so the can answer questions from visitors. The usage of the remote control and all other Showtime features are covered at the Getting started with Managana: it’s showtime! guide.


CONCLUSION

The Visit Minas Gerais installation was a very interesting content to create. This text brings some information about how it could be done by using the Managana tool set, but there are many other applications for the software. If you are interested on it, check out the download page where yo can find the software itself and the “getting started” guides.

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Managana 1.6.0 comes with HTML5 player

agosto 11th, 2013 — 12:58pm

Managana 1.6.0 is ready. Besides general bug fixes this version comes with a great improvement: the new HTML5 player!

Until now Managana required viewers to have Adobe Flash Player installed on their computers/devices to check content. To bring their creations to most mobile devices, mobile apps created from the Appwizard were the only choice.

The Appwizard is still there with its advanced features, but now there is another choice. If Adobe Flash Player is not found, Managana tries to use the HTML5 canvas for rendering. This means you create once and have your content deployed to even more devices with no extra work.

To learn more about the HTML5 player, check ou the new Getting started with Managana: creating for HTML5 document available at the downloads section. As usual, all software packages and source code is available from there too:

http://www.managana.org/downloads/

Do you want to see the new HTML5 player in action? What about checking out Managana’s own presentation on it?

http://www.managana.org/editor/?render=5&community=managanaintroen

Some important bug fixes:

  • the display options provided by the “Community > Links” option from the editor were fixed;
  • monitor-only users for remote control on public presentations support were broken in some circumstances – fixed.

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Managana 1.5.0 arrives with great improvements!

abril 15th, 2013 — 1:01pm

We are happy to announce the Managana version 1.5.0. This is a huge update with lots of new features and possibilities for content creators. Here are some highlights of the new version:

Player

  • improved user interface for high density screens
  • new notes and bookmarks feature
  • new search functionality
  • zoom controls for the web-based player
  • content manager for easy access to all available communities and also for content download for offline access
  • new HTML box overlay to show interactive, cross-platform html-based widgets
  • support for the new Leap Motion Controller interaction device
  • customizable transitions for various navigation types, like sequences on X, Y and Z axis
  • swipe gestures support on touch screens for navigation on X and Y axis
  • print support on desktop systems (press the “p” key)

Editor

  • new tools for bulk actions: creating navigation sequences and setting stream guides
  • new file manager to improve media uploading
  • improved system configuration
  • new language manager to create multi-language Managana installations

Showtime

  • improved access to local and remote content (you can now use both at the same time)
  • better keyboard interaction, allowing the locking of the configuration key on installations where users gain access to the keyboard
  • swipe and zoom gestures support on touch screens presentations
  • support for the new Leap Motion Controller interaction device

AppWizard

  • complete interface redesign
  • Windows and OSX (Mac) applications (player and remote) can now be created – based on Adobe AIR
  • Windows stand-alone applications can be created for easy distribution: no other software installation is required and the app can run even from flash drives or DVDs
  • the new AppWizard is not compatible with previous versions projects – if you intend to update previous apps you created on it, remember to save your certificate files and use them on the new wizard tool

New tool: PDF2DIS!

PDF2DIS is a new tool of the Managana family. It can load a PDF file and convert it to a fully functional DIS community that can be used on AppWizard to create applications or can be imported using the editor for furter work, like adding improved interactivity.

New document: advanced tips!

The Getting started with Managana series had been revised for the new 1.5.0 version and come with a new document. The advanced tips document explains some of the cool features of Managana for brave content creators.

Get it now!

You can get the new 1.5.0 version at our downloads section or at Sourceforge. Managana is free software licensed under the LGPL version 3. This means you are free to use it in any forms you want, including its source code.

Known bugs for the 1.5.0 version

1504 #01 REMOTE CONTROL CONNECTION
The remote control seems to be unable to connect to a player running on a web browser if both are connected to the same network. This problem happens on some Windows/anti-virus combinations. A workaroud is to connect the remote control on another network, like a 3G one. This problem only happens if the player is running on a web browser – app-based players, like the Showtime, are not affected.

1504 #02 GOOGLE PLAY APP UPLOAD
The Google Play appstore may erroneously identify AppWizard applications as not correclty signed if you are using the new developer console. This is a bug found on the release version of the Adobe AIR SDK 3.7. To solve this problem, use the latest beta version of Adobe AIR found on http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/air.html

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Managana 1.4.0 is out!

janeiro 7th, 2013 — 11:12am

The new Managana 1.4.0 is ready! This update comes to improve text and external feed handling, along with some news at the Showtime application. As usual, you can find the new version downloads at www.managana.org/downloads/

General updates

Improvements on text handling: now the paragraph text accept a new input mode: HTML code. You can use it to add plain html code that takes advantage of the new CSS support. At the community properties you can set a default stylesheet with your style declarations. The HTML support is limited and you should avoid the usage of the <div> tag (<span> with class attribute works fine) and <img> one (may not be rendered well, specially on mobile devices).

The editor, web player and the showtime application can now handle custom fonts. These fonts mus be saved in swf format – check the FontAsset project of the source code to learn how to create Managana-compatible fonts. The mobile applications still can’t use the new custo fonts feature and are limted by the Managana default ones. You can build your own mobile apps from the source if you want to add your own fonts.

The external feed support was also improved and now we have an all-new WordPress plugin that can be used to turn the famous blog system into a powerfull feed provider for Managana. Check the plugin at the downloads page. At the instance properties window you can now set the CSS class for the external text feed content to take advantage of the new stylesheet support.

Showtime

The showtime configuration window was redesigned to improve usage. Also, two new items were add to the configuration:

  • Action schedule: now you can set timed actions to run at your showtime installation. You can provide any progress code you want and set the month, day, hour and minute to run it.
  • Video mapping: you can now map the managana showtime video output to one or several extra projectors. You can even make image crops (as many as you want) and adjust their output to fit irregular projection areas.

App Wizard

The remote control applications you create from the appwizard can now connect to your Managana content even if the device is not connected to the same wifi network as the presentation. This feature uses the Adobe Cirrus beta service and you will need to request a free developer key from its website. Just look for the “configuration > reader” menu at the managana editor for more details. (previously this fetaure was only availabe whe the remote control apps were created from the source code)

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Managana 1.3.0 is here! Check out the new exciting features!

outubro 7th, 2012 — 11:56pm

The Managana version 1.3.0 is out. Besides the common bug fixes, it comes with some cool new features for digital content creators! You can find the new version downloads at www.managana.org/downloads/

general
Enhanced progress code now allows the usage of variables and conditions to make the content even more interactive. Variable values can even be saved locally or at the cloud for data persistence.

mobile applications
The new GPS support allow the creation of geolocation-sensitive content for mobile devices without the need of technical knowledge.

showtime application
Stereoscopic 3D display for 3D-ready TV sets or projectors. Enhanced webcam and Microsoft Kinect support. The TCP connection can now be done as a server or as a client (or even both). Several instances of Managana Showtime can now talk to each other creating much more interactive public presentations.

remote control
Complete interface redesign made the remote control app much easier to use.

These are just general headlines of the new Managana features. Keep checking our website and social network profiles for detailed information about the 1.3.0 version. Also, check out these two small videos we made with a simple Managana presentation:

 

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Managana Workshop – Belo Horizonte, Brazil – Oct 20 to Dec 08

agosto 25th, 2012 — 2:12am

We are offering a Managana Workshop on Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, in Belo Horizonte. For more information, visite the portuguese website – http://www.managana.art.br/publicacao-digital-na-era-do-tablets-oficina-pratica-de-0109-a-1011/.

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