Digital Signage for Graduate Ceremonies

Over 3.5 million students are expected to graduate high school this summer; millions more will graduate from college. Our Creative Team knows that you are busy getting ready for these ceremonies (and summer vacation!), so they designed several new templates that inform students, staff, and visitors of the important date.

It can be added to your display in less than a minute. Watch the video below to see how, and then take a look at the templates below and add one to your presentation.

Live Stream Your Church Service to Digital Signage

Not everyone can be in the main sanctuary during a church service; there are nursing mothers, support staff, and more who are not able to attend the service but are still on the premises of the church. Ten years ago, these people were out of luck–they’d have to catch an audio recording later in the week.

Today, however, the right digital signage provider can help you stream a service all over the property. Churches use digital signage to live broadcast:

  • The praise and worship music in the Sunday school rooms so children can sing along, and feel involved in the service.
  • In Nursery rooms, so parents can attend church even when their baby or toddler is crying
  • In the lobby so ushers know the right moment to enter the sanctuary or latecomers can make sure they don’t enter during a prayer.

Many churches will use the same live stream they show on their digital display to push out to the rest of the world–so in addition to having members watching on your church property, you can broaden your churches reach by showing your service globally.

If you are just getting started or aren’t quite sure how digital signage works, check out this postwhich explains how to get your church’s digital signage up and running. If you are ready to live stream to your digital signage, then follow the steps below.

Live Stream Your Event to Your Display

There’s plenty of free ways to live stream your next big event–from conference keynotes and graduations to high school and college sporting events; YouTube and Facebook are the most obvious choices. But how do you get it from video camera lens to live broadcast in a way that’s both stable and professional? We’ll walk you through the steps below.

Don’t forget: you can use this technique to live stream to any display on your campus using the method in this post. Imagine the engagement you’ll get being able to show a sporting event live to students as they eat in the cafeteria, or show product launches to customers walking in your store. The possibilities are endless.

Audience Needs

Before you run out and buy equipment, make sure and ask yourself what your audience expects. Different events have different expectations; a sporting event, for example, would need to include a scoreboard, and a live stream of your campus quad might consist of the weather. Whatever you are live streaming, at the very least, make sure you have met the following three requirements for a successful live stream broadcast:

  1. Stable connection. It’s not advisable to rely on a mobile data connection. In most situations, wi-fi can work, but for the most stable connection, a LAN is recommended.
  2. Clear picture. Using a device that captures anything less than 720p is not recommended.
  3. Clear sound. Don’t rely on the built-in microphone; almost every camera–from iPhones to amateur devices have the option to add an external microphone.

Equipment

Setting up a live stream can cost next to nothing to several thousand dollars. It all depends on your needs and expectations. Below are a few options for every budget.

Mobile Device – on the lowest end of the spectrum, your phone or tablet would work “technically” work; there are even built-in apps that make streaming even easier. It’s a good entryway to learn the basics of live streaming, but not advisable long-term. At the bare minimum, we would suggest you get a tripod and microphone for your device. For most devices, you can also purchase additional lenses, which make the picture a little sharper–especially when you need to zoom.

Non-Action Devices – If you are capturing presentations, graduations, or other events that don’t require you to move the camera around or follow the action (like you would in a sporting event), there are many entry-level devices that are perfect for these kinds of events. The Zoom Q2n ($149) and Mevo ($399) are two examples. Both of these devices are ready to go out of the box–they have built-in mics that record crisps sound and have wi-fi.

Sporting Events – Sporting events require a little more skill and better equipment than your average event; the wrong camera will make the image jerky as you follow plays. The Canon VIXIA HF R80 is a good entry level camera; it has wi-fi built-in and 57x optical zoom. Having a good optical zoom is especially crucial for sporting events where you’ll want to keep your viewers close to the action. If you want the very best, one of the most popular cameras used for live streaming sporting events is the Panasonic AG-DVX200, which can stream in 4K; keep in mind, however, that for this kind of production you’ll need a lot more skill and accessories.

Software

Some events are perfectly fine being streamed with no production. Others, such as sporting events, your audience will want a bit more. This is where software such as Wirecast and vMix can help. If you aren’t a beginner, a popular free and open source solution is OBS Studio. In addition to adding a sports scoreboard to your video feed, you can use software to show replays, recaps, and highlights during timeouts.

If you aren’t quite ready to broadcast your own live stream, check out our post on the best already available live streams for your digital signage. You can also look at this free resource to learn what else you can do with live streams.

Go Green with Digital Signage

April is Earth month, so it’s a good time to ask: Is your school or building making an effort to be environmentally friendly? Is it part of the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design certification (LEED)? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then we have templates and features built into Rise Vision that you should know about.

Display Control

We’ve probably all met a person similar to the one below (i.e. the guy who blow dries his bald head, and seems to think there is an infinite amount of energy in the world).

There’s a lot of displays similar to this image–displays that stay on after hours when absolutely no one sees them. It’s not only wasting electricity, it’s wasting money. Even if you have a large budget, showing your employer that you can save them money is never a bad thing.

Display Control, which is included with Rise Player Professional, can automatically turn your Display On or Off according to the Schedule it is assigned to. This allows you to conserve electrical usage and extend the life of your hardware. It also avoids having someone calling you in the middle of the night to ask why a display is illuminating a building that is closed. To see just how to use it, visit this page; feel free to contact us if you run into any difficulty.

Saving on your electric bill is good–but there’s also a number of tax credits for businesses that are willing to be energy efficient. If your interested in learning more about tax credits for going green, visit this page.

Digital Signage that Makes Libraries Lead

Public libraries in America aren’t as old as you may think. The first free public library supported by taxes was the New Hampshire Town Library, which was founded in 1833. The second, in Boston, came nearly two dozen years later in 1852. While libraries have been around for thousands of years, they were largely for upper class and academia. Many early libraries would close their doors early to ensure the working class would not have access when they got off work.

Public libraries saw their biggest boom at the turn of the century with Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie had grown up in poverty to become one of the richest men in the world; he often would share how important books were in his youth. In his later years, the influence of books never left him and he donated more than 60 million dollars to libraries  (adjusted for inflation, that’s over 1 billion dollars). Between 1883 and 1929, over 2,500 Carnegie libraries were built–many still stand today.

To be considered for a Carnegie grant, there were six main guidelines:

  • demonstrate the need for a public library;
  • provide the building site;
  • pay staff and maintain the library;
  • draw from public funds to run the library—not use only private donations;
  • annually provide ten percent of the cost of the library’s construction to support its operation; and,
  • provide free service to all.

It’s the “free service to all” part that changed the landscape of libraries; suddenly, books and free education was available to anyone. Libraries have provided opportunity to millions of people around the world, and this week we get to celebrate them.

Every year (this year it’s April 8-14), libraries and schools across the nation celebrate National Library Week. This year the theme is Libraries Lead.

What can you do to celebrate? April 10th is National Library Workers Day; if you haven’t told school or local library staff how much you appreciate them, today is the day! In addition to telling them thanks, you can nominate them for an award. Finally, you can also use #nlwd18 on any social posts. April 11th is National Bookmobile Day. On this day, use #bookmobileday2018 to celebrate the thousands of libraries on wheels. Finally, April 12 is Take Action for Libraries Day; use #fundlibraries for any social posts.

Your Digital Signage Display: Commercial or Consumer?

When people talk about digital signage displays, they’re really talking about TVs. Many people assume that when they’re ready to create digital signage, they can just walk into Costco or Best Buy and pick out the cheapest TV that they see. They’re not entirely wrong. But consider this: let’s say your boss tells you that you need to pick out a work phone, so you can reply to email on the go; so you go to Target and you pick the cheapest phone you can find–it’s a flip phone; as it turns out, the phone does let you check email, but it does so in the most bare-bones way that it really doesn’t suit your purpose–unless you happen to be the person who enjoys replying to emails with a numeric keypad. That’s kind of what it’s like to just pick up the cheapest TV you can find for digital signage.

So how do you pick the right display? This short guide will help you.

But They Look the Same!

A lot of people don’t know that there are actually two types of TVs on the market: commercial and consumer. If you saw them side-by-side, you might not even notice a difference. The commercial display would be more expensive, but on the surface, that might be the only noticeable difference.

If they look the same, then what is the difference?

It really comes down to the wear and tear. Consumer displays are built for home use where they aren’t left on all day. Commercial displays are built to be left on for long periods of time, the picture is typically brighter, and they will often come with a warranty more friendly to the how you are using it. While any display can be used 24/7, commercial grade TVs are built for it–that means they have a cooling system in place to help increase the lifespan. You can get a very thin frame (i.e. the black border case that goes around your TV) on both consumer and commercial displays, but you are more likely to see it on consumer TVs than commercial ones. Commercial grade displays also have multiple inputs you do not normally see on consumer displays (such as VGA). Finally, if portrait mode is important to you, then remember that while this is usually a standard feature on commercial displays, you aren’t likely to see it on consumer ones.

You also aren’t likely to see a commercial display in your brick and mortar; if your heart is set on buying a commercial display, then the best place to look is online retailers like Newegg or Amazon, or directly from the manufacturer.

What’s Best for Me?

At the end of the day, the best display for you is really based on your budget and needs. It’s not uncommon to see 40 inch HDTVs on sale for under $200. For that price, you obviously aren’t going to get the most high-end features, but that doesn’t mean the TV is a lemon. Will it work for digital signage? Absolutely! Will it work well? That’s a different story. It will likely have 1080p picture, so that’s good; but if you are using the TV in a brightly lit hallway, then that beautifully sharp picture will be very hard to see. And if you are just using a few images that rotate periodically, then you might start experiencing screen burn-in–when this happens, part of the image burns into the screen.

What Should You Look For?

Regardless of if you decide to get a consumer or commercial grade display, there are things that should go into your buying decision:

  • Inputs: If you are buying a TV for your house, then chances are everything you use on the display will be through an HDMI input. That’s not always the case with digital signage. Make sure the display has inputs that support the media player you are using.
  • Orientation: Rise Vision supports both landscape and portrait presentation mode–but your display needs to as well. If you plan on using the display in portrait mode, then make sure the display can be mounted in that orientation.
  • Buttons: If you will have your display in a public place, then you’ll want to make sure you get a display that does not have buttons that can be easily accessed (or that can be disabled). This is something you’ll find more on commercial displays than consumer displays.
  • Brightness: If you look closely at the specs of your display (this isn’t usually a feature advertised), you’ll see something that says “cd/m2”. What is it? It’s the candela per square metre. Huh?! In more simple terms: it’s the amount of brightness. Lower-end displays will usually be in the 250 to 300 range. That’s not a good range if you are putting your display in a brightly lit area. It’s not even a great range for a darker area. If your digital signage is in a very bright area (or outdoors), then 1000 and above is what you want to look for. If the area has a little less light, than 400 and above is a good range.
  • Resolution: For digital signage, 1080p resolution will fit the needs of most people. If the leap from 1080p to 4k is within your budget, then it’s definitely something to consider. Your display will be something you keep for several years, so don’t just think of your needs now–think about your needs in the future.
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