Release 5.5 - Layout Edit Mode

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Release 5.5 - Layout Edit Mode

Post by varghesesa »


In BI5 v5.5+, we introduced the Screen Layout Edit functionality also known as Dynamic Group Layout in Help. The 5.5.0 - September 13, 2021 release notes in Help also provides a good overview. The motivation for this change was to associate camera groups to layouts. Why?

With all the different endpoints, console, TV, mobile phones, tablets users kept asking for ways to tweak layouts so they looked good on different endpoints. With the new Screen Layout, it becomes much easier to associate groups to layouts.

Say you have a group of cameras. Because of your monitor it looks good under one layout. Call it group1_console.
On the iPad, maybe the layout is not so great. Create an iPad layout for the same set of cameras. Call it group1_iPad.

Maybe reduce the number of cameras on the iPad. Call it group2_iPad. A lot more flexibility.

This functionality should allow users tighter control of their camera views and camera positioning in order to maximize their endpoint view.

Release 5.5 screen edit button.png
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This article piggy-backs off of the Screen Layout and Frames section of the Help file.

Short Video Tutorials
Gotchas: Known problems / fixes based on past tickets

Gotcha 1: Where did all my right click display functionality in Cameras (Mosaic view) window go?

It's still available. You now first have to go into Edit layout mode.

Release 5.5 screen context menu.png
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Gotcha 2: My floating windows have disappeared

Not a problem. The functionality was just moved to the Edit layout mode.
To recreate your floating frames select Edit layout mode -> Right click to bring up context window.
You can float a camera or the group.

Release 5.5 screen desktop frame.png
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Gotcha 3: My layouts are messy with 5.5

In below example, one camera came in with a 4:3 aspect ratio. The second camera has as 16:9 aspect ratio.

Release 5.5 screen anamorphic.png
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How do you know?
Camera settings -> Video tab.
BI will tell you the resolution of the camera feed.

Release 5.5_video resolution.png
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856 x 480 is approximately 16 x 9. 856/480 = 1.78333. 16/9 = 1.7777

If all the cameras are the same aspect ratio, BI has an easy time mapping cameras evenly.

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However, if cameras do NOT have the same aspect ratio, the dynamic group layout functionality that came out in 5.5 honors the cameras aspect ratio. This can lead to messy default layouts.

release-5.5_heterogeneous aspect.png
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Before, BI was focused on optimizing the console layout which may result in challenging layouts on different screens like big TVs or small phone screens. This is the biggest trade-off between 5.5 and earlier releases. However, BI will be coming out with templates/grids to deliver ease of use. You will soon have the ease of use with templates AND the flexibility of dynamic group layouts.

In the interim, one fix is to force all cameras in a group to the same aspect ratio.

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Choose the most common aspect amongst all the camera, e.g. 16:9.

release-5.5_aspect_all cameras.png
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Gotcha 4: Disabled cameras are now visible in UI3.

When upgrading to V5.5, the new layout editor defaults to turning on Disabled cameras.

The fix:
Go to Group settings. Choose the appropriate selection.

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Group settings are available in UI3 if you want to override settings set on the console. Right click on a camera window -> Group settings.
  • No preference: Use same settings from the console.
  • Force OFF
  • Force ON
Release 5.5_disabled cameras.png
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Gotcha 5: Camera titles

Similar to Disabled camera, camera titles can be set at the Console. Option to override is also possible in the UI3 interface.
See Gotcha 4.

Gotcha 6: Frame Aspect Ratio

Problem: With the 5.5 Edit Layout functionality, the apps are now DYNAMIC, meaning it will change depending on the size of the display. The software is now trying to maximize the space available on the endpoint (i.e, TV, iPad, Tablet etc) instead of displaying the console view.

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However, some users may just prefer to see the SAME view on all their endpoints.

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Select a suitable aspect ratio for your camera group, e.g. 16:9. Aspect ratio is usually set to Auto. By selecting an aspect ratio, all remote endpoints need to adhere to that aspect ratio. Also select Force height/aspect on console. This instructs the console to also adhere to the selection. Now you can see exactly how the cameras will be seen on your remote endpoints. As per help, you can leave this feature selected if you want to guarantee the same layout in the console.

release-5.5_force height.png
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By selecting a frame aspect ratio (above), the endpoints displaying this group are forced to use the same aspect ratio and thus deliver the same view.

release5.5_ios fix.PNG
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Notice how forcing the phone (iOS device) to use the console's aspect ratio results in less screen layout being used.
That is a trade-off today. Sure it will be improved with future releases.

Gotcha 7: UI3 - Reduce Margins between cameras

A bit limited from just UI3. Gotcha 6 may be the better solution.
You could right click -> Group settings from the mosaic live view.
Turn Fit to Viewport off and adjust Width x Height until you achieve a suitable layout.

release-5.5_fit to viewport.png
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Gotcha 8: UI3 - Group layout blows up my CPU

UI3 settings -> Video Player -> Dynamic Group Layout

Release 5.5_cpu high.png
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While most users will keep Dynamic Group Layout active (default), you may observe CPU blows up on the server when doing so. The issue here is when using dynamic layout, the group stream resolution can be a lot higher than before. The higher resolution takes more CPU time to encode.

There are several ways to limit the CPU usage of these dynamic group streams:

1. Choose a lower resolution streaming profile in UI3. Gear icon (bottom right). See UI3 article -> Live view section -> Gotcha 1 for details on the gear icon.

2. Local Console > Edit group layout > right click any camera > Frame Height (not camera height). Set it to something the CPU can handle, e.g. 720p or 1080p. It must be done for each group.

3. Local Console > Group settings > Default max FPS. Set to a lower value to reduce the CPU cost of encoding the stream.

Detailed Cause of Elevated CPU

Prior to BI 5.5, the default size for group frames was around 1-2 megapixels. It could be overridden in Local Console > Group settings, but most people didn't even know that existed. Anyway, UI3 could not exceed that resolution even when requesting an 8 MP (4K) stream. This kept CPU usage relatively low at the cost of reduced image quality.

In BI 5.5, the default configuration uses dynamic group layout, which has a much higher limit (7680 pixels in either dimension - enough for true "8K" video). UI3 actually imposes a further limit of 3000 pixels in either dimension -- perhaps a bit on the high end for today's typical hardware -- but I didn't want that limit to get into anyone's way.

Pro tips

Pro Tip 1: Stop using hidden cameras
Hidden cameras are messy. You forget you have them often times.
The original reason for hidden cameras was to provide ability to NOT show cameras on remote devices.
With the new Layout editor, groups are associated to layouts.
So, now you can create groups/layouts for every endpoint.
For example, you can have a console and mobile app group.
Each group would have it's unique set of cameras. Thus, you no longer need to worry about hiding cameras!

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