Feature Overview: Autoscheduler

January 13, 2021

The Auto scheduler, introduced in Cablecast 6.6, allows operators to define a series of rules that will create and update schedule events automatically. For example, one could define a rule that plays the latest city council meeting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 2pm. The Auto scheduler is built using saved searches, therefore as the search results change, so will schedule events. In the previous example once an an operator creates a new City Council show, the Auto scheduler will automatically update future episodes.

Creating An Auto Schedule Rule

Start by navigating to the Auto Schedule page located under the Tools menu on the left side navigation and click New to create a new rule. At the top of the New rule screen enter in a Name and select Channel.

Timeslots

Timeslots define the start times and days of the week schedule events should be created for a rule. An event will be created for each time, on the day that is selected. Optionally events can be limited to what week of the month they are allowed to be created on by changing the Recurrence to Monthly and selecting the desired week numbers.

For example, the first screenshot below will create schedule events at 8am and 7pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday every week of the month. The second screenshot will create a single schedule event on the first Tuesday of the month at 6pm.

You can create as many timeslots as necessary to express the desired schedule output. For example, one timeslot could create runs at 6pm on Mondays while a second timeslot creates runs at 8pm on Fridays.

Content

The content section defines which show will be scheduled for a timeslot. There are several options depending on the desired schedule.

  • Top Search Result - Will schedule the top result from a saved search. Useful for automatically updating the schedule as new content is added to the system.
  • Single Show - Will schedule the selected show. Useful for Shows that repeat frequently on a predictable schedule.
  • New Show (Copy Existing Show Record) - Creates a new copy of an existing Show record for each new schedule event. Useful for automatically adding series programming as needed.
  • Record Event - If the Channel above is set to Record the content section will display settings for creating a record event in the Record schedule. Useful for automatically replacing a recorded file on a set schedule.

Recording

Besides creating a record event on the Record schedule as outlined above, the New Show (Copy Existing Show Record) will display a Record Run option, allowing the scheduled run to be configured as a record run.

Saving The Rule and Autopilot

Once the rule is saved the Auto Scheduler will pick up on the new rule and start creating runs as needed. The auto scheduler runs every 5 mins, so it may take a few minutes before you see new runs created. After runs are created they still must be sent to the hardware via Autopilot to actually air.

Special Note On Ordering

After a rule is saved it can be positionally arranged relative to other rules in the Auto Scheduler screen by clicking and dragging the three bars to the left of the rule's name. Rules are run from top to bottom, and it is important that rules that create shows run before rules that would re-air them. For example, you may have a rule that creates a new church service show every Sunday for airing at 8am, and another rule that plays the latest church service at 12pm and 5pm on Sunday. In order for these rules to work together as intended the rule that creates the church service must come before the rule that plays the later services.

The Autoschedule Report

In the schedule, runs inserted by an Auto Schedule rule will have a robot head placed to the left of the title. Auto Schedule runs can be deleted, moved, bumped, and changed just like other runs. Clicking the robot will navigate you to the details screen for that Auto Schedule rule. You can also click Details for a rule on the  Auto Schedule index screen.

The details screen will provide a brief summary of the rule at the top as well as a report of recent and future schedule items created by the rule. The report will highlight runs that were changed or deleted by the user. This makes it easy to ensure that your  Auto Schedule rule is behaving as expected.

From this screen a rule can also be deleted. Note that all future runs created by the rule will be deleted when deleting a rule.

Example Scenarios

Below are a few examples of how to accomplish some common tasks using the  Auto Schedule .

Give a Producer a Regular Timeslot

In this example we want to give Nick Brandt his very own timeslot on our schedule so his latest programs play every Tuesday and Thursday at 8pm.

  1. Create a Saved Search that filters by Producer Nick Brandt and orders the results by Event Date descending. Title this search "Nick Brandt's Latest"
  2. Create a new Auto Schedule Rule
    1. Enter a meaningful title and select the desired Channel.
    2. In the Timeslots section:
      1. Enter 8:00 pm in the Start time.
      2. Choose Weekly as the Recurrence option.
      3. Check only Tuesday and Thursday for the Days
    3. In the Content section:
      1. Choose Top Search Result
      2. Select the search created in step 1.
    4. Save the rule

Record and Replay A Daily Program at a Different Time

In this example we want to record the Democracy Now News Show off satellite every morning at 8am and replay it at 10am, 1pm and 7pm. To do this we will need two rules. The first rule will record the the satellite feed to the same file every morning. The second rule will schedule the Show associated with that record at the appropriate times.

  1. Create a new Show record for the Democracy Now Replays
    1. The reel should have a length of 1 hour.
    2. The format of the reel should play from your video server.
    3. For this example assume the new Show has a ShowID of 123
  2. Create a new Auto Schedule Rule to record the file.
    1. Set the Channel to Record
    2. In the Timeslots section:
      1. Set the start time to 8am.
      2. Choose Weekly as the Recurrence option.
      3. Check Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for the Days
    3. In the Content section:
      1. Choose a Source and Destination device. The destination should be the same video server your Show created in step 1 will play from.
      2. In the file name enter a value prefixed with the show id. In our example that would be 123-1-democracy now.
    4. Save the rule.
  3. Create a new Auto Schedule Rule to replay the file
    1. Enter a meaningful title and select the desired Channel.
    2. In the Timeslots section:
      1. Enter 10am, 1pm and 7pm in the Start time.
      2. Choose Weekly as the Recurrence option.
      3. Check Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for the Days
    3. In the Content section:
      1. Choose Single Show
      2. Find and select the Show created in step 1. In our example this would be ShowID 123.
    4. Save the rule

Record a new City Council Meeting on the First and Third Tuesday of the Month and Replay it Every Day

In this example we will air and record a new live city council meeting twice a month and replay the latest city council meeting every day. This will require two rules. One to create the new shows from a template show and a second rule to schedule the replays. The first rule will also record the run.

  1. Create a new Show that will act as a template.
    1. This show should use a format that will air your live council meeting.
    2. It should be as long as the meeting might run. A good idea is to schedule it really long, it can always be stopped early or trimmed.
    3. For our example we will assume this show has an ID of 500.
    4. Add it to a Project for City Council Meetings
  2. Create a new Saved Search For City Council Meetings
    1. Create a Saved Search that filters by Project and orders by Event Date that selects Shows within the City Council Project.
  3. Create a new Auto Schedule Rule to create the record runs.
    1. Enter a meaningful title and select desired Channel.
    2. In the Timeslots section:
      1. Enter 6pm in the Start time.
      2. Choose Monthly as the Recurrence option.
      3. Check Tuesday for the Days.
      4. Make sure only First and Third is selected for Weeks
    3. In the Content section:
      1. Choose New Show (Copy Existing Show Record)
      2. Find and select the Show created in step 1. In our example this would be ShowID 500.
      3. Check Record Run
      4. For Record Device choose a video server encoder.
    4. Save the rule.
  4. Create a New Auto Schedule Rule for the replays.
    1. Enter a meaningful title and select desired Channel.
    2. In the Timeslots section:
      1. Enter 6pm in the Start Time.
      2. Choose Weekly as the Recurrence option.
      3. Select all Days
    3. In the Content section:
      1. Choose Top Search Result
      2. Select the search created in step 2
    4. Save the rule
  5. After both rules are saved ensure that the rule created in step 3 for recording the runs is above the rule created in step 4 for replaying the runs. This will ensure that the live airing is always created and scheduled first so that replays don't accidentally reserve the spot for the first run.

After a meeting first encodes, its Show format will need to be adjusted to a Video Server. This is the prefect time to also adjust cue and length and update any metadata for the specific show.