Frequently Asked Questions

See also the Frequently Asked SDK Questions for answers to developer questions.

Using Mediasite 4.0? The MediaLandscape Converter requires a small configuration change. Please enable Mediasite 3.x compatibility mode.

Supported Mediasite customers, please refer to Sonic Foundry's Knowledge base for further updates on using MediaLandscape products with your Mediasite system.

Contents

Problems

MediaLandscape Player

Why does the Player get stuck at the "Loading..." screen?

A: Some file is not readable by the webserver.

Make sure the permissions are set correctly for your uploaded files.

A: Some file is missing.

Make sure you uploaded all of the files output by the Converter. Missing files like the config.xml or the skin folder will cause the Player to wait a long time.

Why is my video too small/too large in the Player?

A: Your config.xml may have the wrong video size.

Open config.xml in a text editor and search for 'vidClipWidth' and 'vidClipHeight'. Make sure the pixel sizes of these fields are accurate. These values were sometimes wrong using MediaLandscape Converter v1.2.1.32 and earlier.

A: Your Media/video.xml may have the wrong video size.

Open config.xml in a text editor and search for 'width' and 'height'. Make sure the pixel sizes of these fields are accurate. There are no known cases of these values being wrong.

Why does my video look blocky?

A: You may be using the wrong template for your video.

The video is always scaled to fit inside the template. If you are using 240x180 video (the current default), use a template configured for this size (including the default template). If you are using 320x240 video, use a template designed for that size (currently called the "large video" templates).

There's a large performance penalty in Flash to resize the video on the fly, so using a template optimized for that video size is important. If you can't get a perfect match for your video size, then you'll get better quality by using a template optimized for video smaller than yours.

Why is my presentation missing pieces?

A: Make sure your webserver can send SVG files.

Parts of player skin are implemented in SVG, a powerful yet easy graphics language. Unfortunately, some versions of Microsoft's IIS web server don't know what to do with SVG files. Apache web servers should not have this problem.

To fix IIS, add a MIME-type entry to your server config for extension svg of text/xml. You can set this in the IIS Settings, which are in the Administrative Settings area.

A: Make sure your files are readable.

It's easy to mistakenly set a file's permissions to be readable only by you, for example when emailing files or copying them across network servers. Check the permissions on the files on your webserver to ensure that Apache or IIS can access the files.

MediaLandscape Converter

Why can't I open my Mediasite presentation?

A: Make sure you have Exported it from Mediasite.

Here's how to export a presentation from Mediasite. Note: this is not the same as Publish-to-Go.

This will let you save the presentation on your computer. It will usually be in a directory named with the Presentation ID plus ".MP".

If your folder has a "Launch Presentation.html" file or a "PresentationDetails.html" file, then that's a Publish-to-Go presentation, not an Export presentation, and it lacks some critical information. In that case, go back into Mediasite and use the Export feature to make a new folder for your presentation.

A: Click the "Select Source Folder" button and choose your exported presentation.

When you click "Select Source Folder", a file dialog appears. Find the folder that you exported (usually ending with ".MP"). Click that folder and click "OK".

Unsure if you've found the right folder? It should contain a WMV file, an XML file (usually called MediasitePresentation.xml), some JPG files and maybe a ".MPE" subfolder.

A: Make sure the exported presentation has the right file names.

This is a known problem for Converter v1.2.0 and earlier.

Prior to version 1.2.1, the MediaLandscape Converter looked for particular filenames to open. Sonic Foundry's Feature Pack 3.1 changed the way Mediasite named the files (for the better, we think), and that confused older versions of the Converter.

Then try "Select Source Folder" in the Converter again.

How do I see more templates than just the Default in the pulldown?

A: Re-open your presentation and the list will fix itself.

The pulldown menu that lists all of the available templates gets populated the first time you load a presentation. Converters v1.2.0 and v1.2.1 have a bug that the list of templates is not always populated the first time, leaving only the "Default" template on the list.

A workaround is to try opening the same presentation again. The list will then be populated with the full selection of templates.

How do fix a stalled convert?

A: Use the Task Manager to halt the convert process, and delete the last video.

Once in a while, the converter gets hung up starting to convert a WMV video to SWF video. This is caused by a bug in a the video conversion library. To get back underway, follow these steps:

  1. Note the failing SWF, if any
    • Browse to the output folder
    • Look in the Media sub-folder
    • Make a mental note the last video*.swf (e.g. video8.swf)
      • It's usually smaller than the others because it hasn't finished
    • Alternatively, look at the last line of the convert.log file
  2. Cancel the current video conversion
    • Open the Windows Task Manager (by right-clicking on the taskbar)
    • Select the Processes tab
    • Click the Name column to sort by name
    • Find one called "FlixClotho.exe"
    • Click the End Process button
      • You will get an ominous warning message, but it's harmless
    • Wait for your convert to finish
  3. Delete the problem SWF
    • Find the failing SWF you noted above
    • Delete it
  4. Re-convert
    • In the Converter, click Convert again
    • Select the same output folder as before
    • Click the Continue button when the "Already Exists" dialog appears

How do I fix the "zero Duration" problem?

A: Edit the MediasitePresentation.xml file.

Mediasite Feature Packs 3 and 3.1 have a bug that set the video duration to zero by mistake, so the MediaLandscape Converter couldn't figure out how much video there was to convert.

Open MediasitePresentation.xml in a text editor and find the line that looks like

 <Duration/>

Change this line to:

 <Duration>123456</Duration>

replacing "123456" with the number of milliseconds in your presentation. For example, a one hour presentation is 60 minutes times 60 seconds times 1000 = 3,600,000 milliseconds (but omit the commas in the XML file). To find your presentation duration, you can open the WMV file in Windows Media Player.

We believe this bug will be fixed in the next Mediasite release.

How do I update my existing presentation to the latest Player?

A: Reconvert the presentation.

This will update only the files that are changed. The already-converted video will be left alone, saving lots of time. If you really wish the video to be re-converted, simply delete the original Media/video*.swf files and reconvert as above.

Why do I keep getting Audio Only presentations?

A: Select something other than the Default template.

Note: this problem is fixed in Converter v1.2.1.

In v1.2.0, we were mistakenly sorting the templates alphabetically, and the default template was being chosen poorly. The workaround is to avoid using the "Default" template in v1.2.0. Note that "Default" and "Default English" are different. The former was buggy in v1.2.0 and the latter has always been fine.

Why can't I convert Mediasite FP3.1 content?

A: That problem is fixed in Converter v1.2.1

Sonic Foundry changed some file names in the Feature Pack 3.1 update. We've made the converter smarter about identifying the Mediasite assets.

How do I get more detailed diagnostics from the Converter?

A: Use the troubleshooting version.

That program the same as the regular converter, but it also prints diagnostic information in another window.

A: Turn on verbose mode.

This will launch the Converter plus a diagnostic window. That window will contain some routine messages and possibly some warning messages.

Why do the command line tools say "Result: Failed -- Communication failure"?

A: Make sure the Converter is running.

The command-line tools are simple interfaces to the Converter. They direct the Converter to initiate a conversion, and don't know how to do that conversion themselves. Therefore, the Converter needs to be running before the command it issued. The Converter is usually started from Start Menu->Programs->MediaLandscape->Mediasite Content Converter->Converter.

Note: The command line tools are not distributed as part of the MediaLandscape Converter, but are a separate product for expert users. Please contact us for more information.

Why does my audio-only presentation report bit rate and sample rate as "NaN"?

A: This is caused a bug in the Converter through v1.2.2.

Possible solutions are:

  1. Upgrade to a newer Converter when available
  2. Edit your MediasitePresentation.xml file by hand to change "AudioCodecProfile" to "AudioProfile" in two places.

How do I stop the "Missing input file" messages?

A: Turn on 3.x compatibility mode in Mediasite.

As of Mediasite 4.0, Sonic Foundry changed the export XML format and the MediaLandscape Converter does not yet work with that new format. To continue to use the Converter, you must enable the 3.x compatibility more in the Mediasite System Manager. Please follow these instructions provided to us by Sonic Foundry:

  1. Bring up the internal options list by pressing Ctrl-Shift while selection Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Select the tab labeled "Internal".
  3. Scroll to the end of the list of options and you will see an option labeled WriteFp2DataFiles which will be set to False.
  4. Double click on the value "False" in the "Value" column and type in "True".
  5. Click the OK button to apply the change.

The re-export your presentation and convert it again. If you specify the same output folder, you can continue the conversion from where it failed instead of starting over.

Enhancements

MediaLandscape Player

How do I add a Table of Contents to my presentation?

A: Specify a TOC file in your config.xml.

Add a line like this to config.xml:

 <TOCPath>toc.xml</TOCPath>

Then create a toc.xml file in the same folder as config.xml:

 <tableOfContents>
   <item start="0" title="Introduction"/>
   <item start="25.420" title="Topic one"/>
   <item start="68.960" title="Topic two">
     <item start="139.146" title="Sub-topic"/>
   </item>
 </tableOfContents>

See docs/toc.xsd for a formal specification of the toc.xml format.


How do I add subtitles to my video?

A: Specify a Captions file in your config.xml.

Add a line like this to config.xml:

 <CaptionPath>captions.xml</CaptionPath>

Then create a captions.xml file in the same folder as config.xml:

 <captions>
   <content>
     <m t="2.0"/>
     Hi.  I'm Preston Austin, founder and chief architect
     
     <m t="6.0"/>
     of Clotho Advanced Media.  We're the creators of the
     
     <m t="8.0" />
     MediaLandscape Software that you can use to convert
     
     <m t="11.0" />
     the output from your Mediasite instrument into a Flash format.
   </content>
 </captions>

See docs/captions.txt and docs/captions.xsd for a formal specification of the toc.xml format.

How do I change the timing of my slides?

A: Edit the CaptureSession.xml file.

The CaptureSession.xml is a manifest of all of the slides in your presentation. Each slide is presented in three formats: Normal, Thumbnail and Fullsize. All three share a time. A slide persists until the next slide replaces it.

In general, your viewers will get the best experience if the slides are at least two seconds apart, but closer spacing is allowed.

How do I add annotations to my presentation?

A: Use the SVG annotations feature.

Note: This is for experts only!

Annotations are text and graphics that float over your presentation and change when the slides change. This is like the pens NFL announcers use to draw on the TV screen.

Add lines like the following to your config.xml:

 <showAnnotations>true</showAnnotations>
 <annotationPath>Media/</annotationPath>

Then add SVG files to that directory. The SVG files should have the same names as the Normal slides, except a ".svg" extension instead of ".jpg". You don't have to have an SVG file for every slides -- if one is omitted, there will be no annotations shown for that slide.

SVG is an XML-based graphics format. Programs like Adobe Illustrator can output SVG. The MediaLandscape Player supports only a subset of SVG. See the docs/SVG_supported.txt file for a list of the current features implemented. Also note that the Flash Player has performance limitations that make it hard at parsing SVG documents. To get the best performance from you SVG, use tools/svg_optimize.pl to transform the document into one that is slightly larger, but easier to digest.

The SVG document is anchored at (0,0) at the upper left of your presentation. To make text or art appear precisely over the video or slides, you need to know the coordinates of the video and slide panes. Therefore, your annotations will be specific to a particular presentation template.

Here's an example for the default template:

 <svg width="800" height="550">
   <style type="text/css"><![CDATA[
     text {
       fill: yellow;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
     }
   ]]></style>
   <g transform="translate(15,95)">
     <text x="15" y="12">Draw on the video...</text>
     <ellipse cx="120" cy="90" rx="60" ry="80" stroke="red" fill="none" />
     <text x="2" y="90" style="fill:red;text-decoration:underline">Presenter</text>
   </g>
 </svg>

This annotation draws a red oval around the presenter's face in the video. It adds a "Draw on the video..." caption in yellow above the oval and a "Presenter" caption in red under the video. It uses group tag (<g>) with a transform directive to change the coordinate system to be independent of where the video is located in the template. That is, the translate(15,95) command changes the (0,0) point to be the upper left corner of the video pane instead of the upper left corner of the whole presentation.

How do I trim the end off my video?

A: Change Media/video.xml.

Browse to your converted presentation and open the file called Media/video.xml in a text editor (like Notepad). This file describes the start and end frames of each segment of video that comprises the whole presentation. Go to the end of this file and change the out and/or the end frame number for the last video segment. Be sure to also change the duration at the top of the file by the same amount (but not the duration of the individual clip. If the duration and out/end should ever disagree, the start and end times override the duration.

For example consider this video.xml (abbreviated slightly):

  <xmeml version="1">
    <sequence id="seq">
      <rate>
        <ntsc>false</ntsc>
        <timebase>15</timebase>
      </rate>
      <duration>8983</duration>
      <media>
        <video>
          ...
          <track>
            <clipitem id="vid0">
              ...
            </clipitem>
            <clipitem id="vid1">
              <duration>4483</duration>
              <start>4501</start>
              <end>8983</end>
              <in>17</in>
              <out>4499</out>
              <file>
                <pathurl>video1.swf</pathurl>
              </file>
            </clipitem>
          </track>
        </video>
      </media>
    </sequence>
  </xmeml>

This composite video is 8983 frames, or 8983/15 = 598.8 seconds long because the timebase is 15. To shorten it by five seconds, subtract 75 frames from the total duration and from the out and end times of video1.swf. So, the resulting XML would be:

  <xmeml version="1">
    <sequence id="seq">
      <rate>
        <ntsc>false</ntsc>
        <timebase>15</timebase>
      </rate>
      <duration>8908</duration>
      <media>
        <video>
          ...
          <track>
            <clipitem id="vid0">
              ...
            </clipitem>
            <clipitem id="vid1">
              <duration>4483</duration>
              <start>4501</start>
              <end>8908</end>
              <in>17</in>
              <out>4424</out>
              <file>
                <pathurl>video1.swf</pathurl>
              </file>
            </clipitem>
          </track>
        </video>
      </media>
    </sequence>
  </xmeml>

Note: if you re-convert your presentation, these changes will be overwritten!

See XMEML Documentation for more details.

A: Use the editor in Mediasite and re-convert.

As of Feature Pack 3.1, Mediasite offers the ability to trim video. You can use this tool, then re-export and re-convert the presentation.

How do I replace the video with a newer version?

A: Re-run the Converter.

If you replace the source video with a new version, you can re-run the converter. Do so like this:

A: Insert your own SWF files manually.

Note: if you re-convert your presentation, these changes will be overwritten!

If you have just one SWF:

If you have multiple SWFs that should be played end-to-end: (This is a more challenging operation and is intended for experts only!)

How do I change the look of the Player?

A: Create a new template and edit.

The MediaLandscape Player is designed to be highly customizable. With a small bit of work, you can change the appearance of the Player to suit your needs.

Please watch our look-and-feel presentation and visit our template guide for step-by-step instructions.