You always hear us tease, “Become a RCS Beta user,” which gets you early access to our latest releases. Since Zetta 5.22.1 is in Beta now, with an official release in late September, we thought we should invite Zetta Product Manager, Martin Blazek, back to outline some of these exciting new features. We covered new GPIO Command Mappings, streamlined Segue Editor, expanded Local Audio Storage settings, the Imaging fallback enhancement, the custom external audio encoder and user-friendly Metadata module improvements.
We kicked off this week’s RCS Live with the new GPIO Command Mappings. Found under Configuration | System | Command Mappings, this is where users can link triggers to Execute Commands and more. In Zetta 5.22.1, we introduced the familiar Properties window so that users can quickly click on the Execute Command and select the desired Task Type to the right. It’s not an RCS Live if we don’t remind you to work smarter, not harder, so don’t forget that you can type in your Execute Command. Typically, we recommend starting with the Zetta module or the task and that should filter your results. For example, if you’re working within the Sequencer, type “Sequencer” and then you’ll see a full list of Execute Commands like Sequencer.PlayNext. Although users could still achieve this in previous versions, the new GPIO Command Mappings Properties demonstrates RCS’ commitment to continuously improving the user experience, making everyday tasks even easier.
Moving onto the Segue Editor, we introduced more user-friendly controls and navigation. From the Logs module, click on the Segue Editor icon and notice the new Extended and Contract View behaviors. Previously, we would hide or display the sine wave and include the progress bar at the bottom of the Segue Editor. That simply took away workspace, so now, the Extended View will display the same progress bar as before, although it’s not necessary because we included those behaviors within the Segue Editor itself. Left click and drag within any of the Segue Editor’s blank space to drag the transition left or right. Obviously, if you left click within an element, then Zetta will move that specific element. If you need to zoom in or out, simply use your mouse wheel to zoom at the point of your cursor. Zoomed in too much? Notice the new navigation icons on the bottom right. There’s zoom out horizontally, zoom in and out vertically, zoom in horizontally, and then a zoom out full that will return your display to its original state.
Moving onto Configuration | Computers | Local Audio Storage, as part of Zetta’s redundancy workflow, each computer within the Zetta environment can house its own local audio and schedules in case it losses connectivity to the Zetta File Server. We introduced a more granular local audio storage configuration, completely outlined with Entire Library or Station-related audio localization scope. This way administrators understand exactly what will be stored locally. In addition, there’s an Estimated required space display on the top right of the Local Audio Storage subtab so that when you’re designing your local storage, you’ll know if there are any potential issues. Green is good, yellow acts as warning to let the user know they’re close to the available free space, and red means that this specific computer cannot save the desired settings because there is not enough room. Aside from the entire Library or station-specific audio, we can also isolate multiple stations or station groups and enable or disable additional modules like Log-scheduled assets, Hot Keys, Stacks, ETM Fill Category, Spot Block Fill Category, Rotations, Tags and Imaging. With these new settings, administrators can truly customize each computer’s independent Zetta profile.
Also included in Zetta 5.22.1, we are introducing the new Imaging Fallback enhancement. We had a lot of client requests to offer some type of fallback – be it a piece of imaging, show or any type of programming. This can be over a single station, Splits or Stations Groups and more. Essentially, if Zetta looks to play a scheduled Imaging piece of audio, but that Imaging element has nothing to play – be it Run Dates, Hour Restrictions or simply nothing assigned, previously, since there’s nothing to play, Zetta won’t play anything and skip to the next position. Now, users can create a hierarchy of audio so that if Zetta doesn’t have anything to play, it will look down the list of predetermined audio elements so that something always plays. This Imaging Fallback feature is very extensive and encompasses multiple radio workflows. You can design a hierarchy starting from the Splits level, to station, virtual station, global and station groups. Just a few examples, if you are utilizing Splits, then each Shift can have its own rotation of audio. Whereas, if you had a weekly show and for whatever reason, there’s a chance the new show may not arrive in time, simply schedule another saved show at another rotation level so that if the new show can’t play, Zetta will pivot to the next show that is allowed to play as part of the Imaging rotator. Or, just keep it simple and have some generic promos in the Global level and if there’s a more time specific promo that you want to run over a weekend, add that promo at the Station level with specific Run Dates that act as an override to the everyday Global promos.
Next, we reviewed the new custom external audio encoder. Rather than continue to introduce multiple evolving audio formats, we took the arial approach and created a new custom external audio encoder configuration. Found under Configuration | System | Audio Format, there’s a new Audio Format option for (Custom). Once selected, the custom option will display the External encoder, Command line parameters, and the Audio file extension. No matter what audio type you prefer, simple attach the audio encoder and the parameters and when you trigger an audio conversion within Zetta (Reminder that all asset types can feature their own audio type within the System-managed formats below), we will respect the unique, modern audio format of your choosing. While we’re discussing audio, there’s also a new feature within Configuration | Stations | Audio Processing: Voice Track Settings that can be either System-wide trim settings, station specific, or disabled. It’s important to point out that many of these features are client requests. We always listen to our clients to better cater Zetta to their evolving workflows. If you have a request to be included in a future RCS product, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local RCS contact.
What about new features within the Metadata module? We’ve already introduced the concept of locking Cue points, where producers can select the Cue Points tab within Audio and then right click to lock the specific trigger at a specific point within the asset. Even if the user replaces the audio, like via an Auto Load, Zetta will respect the locked time position despite continuously overwriting the asset. Now, you can do the same within the Audio Marks. Simply right click and lock Audio Marks like Trim Out, Early Segue and more.
In Zetta 5.21.2, we introduced the concept of Virtual Events. Think of a mix show that includes multiple songs within a single long form element. Programmers can select points within the element to let the user and the RDS Now Playing know that this is where the next song begins. In Zetta 5.22.1, we expanded on that workflow and when programmers drag and drop an asset’s metadata into the Virtual Event, Zetta will preview the audio so that the user knows exactly when the element starts – right down to the millisecond.
As we continue to work within the Metadata module, let’s continue onto the Participants subtab. This is where users can add multiple pieces of metadata like Vocalist, Composer, Producers and more. Previously, you would select the dropdown and add your desired Participant. In Zetta 5.22.1, we added the Zetta default behavior so that if you right click on the specific value, that becomes the Zetta default. This is the same behavior in the Multi Track Editor default save or the Audition audio dropdown. And yes, not only can you change the default with another right click, but if your default is Vocalist and the song requires a Musician value, simply use the + and add the Musician or use an existing Role and change the value via the Role dropdown.
As you can see, we’re all about the new features! And you can get your hands on these today by becoming a Beta user. Zetta 5.22.1 or GSelector 5.1, just reach out to your local RCS contact to be added to our Beta user list. While you’re at it, be featured in our #StudioSpotlight by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Or simply start working for RCS. We are hiring unique positions now here . As always, we’ll see you for another RCS Live each and every Thursday at 11am ET on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter Live and Twitch.