Playlists are at the core of Campcaster. Once your playlist is complete, you can schedule playout for the date and time you choose. You can also include playlists inside other playlists (like several commercial breaks, each with their own playlist, inside a one-hour show).
The Playlists sub-menu on the Navigation Menu displays the first option 'New empty playlist' if any previously edited playlist has been closed, indicating that it is now ready for broadcast. In Campcaster, playlists can be saved as a work-in-progress, without necessarily being closed first. If a playlist has been left open, the Playlists sub-menu shows 'Edit Playlist' as the first option instead. In either case, there is the option to 'Import Playlist' on this sub-menu too.
New empty playlist
Clicking the 'New empty playlist' entry on the Playlists sub-menu opens the 'Playlist metadata' page, with fields for the input of information which will help you and your colleagues find this playlist later.
- The Language drop-down menu enables you to choose the language in which you want to create playlist metadata. The default language is English
- The Title field where you should enter the name of the newly created playlist, for easier identification in the ScratchPad and the Media Library
- The Creator field where you can enter personal identification details, so that your work can be recognized and found easily in Media Library searches
- Length of the playlist is automatically detected and cannot be altered. For a new empty playlist, this field will be blank
- The Description field should contain information about the playlist content that will be useful to you and your colleagues later. The playlist creation date and time will be filled in for you automatically
- The Reset button resets any fields where text has been entered to the last saved content, if any
- The Cancel button exits the 'Playlist metadata' page, and sends you to the 'Playlist editor' page
- The Submit button saves the newly created playlist in the Campcaster Storage server
You will see a new playlist's name appear in the ScratchPad in bold text, with a padlock icon to indicate that it is still being edited:
Locked playlists cannot be scheduled for playout until they are closed, at which point the padlock icon will vanish. Playlists can be edited by left-clicking on them in the ScratchPad or Media Library, and selecting 'Edit' from the pop-up context menu. Any subsequent changes to the fields in the Playlist Metadata page will pop up a warning dialog, asking you to confirm that you wish to modify the information:
After creating a new empty playlist, the Playlist Editor page will appear. Since there are no items in the new playlist yet, you will see the words 'Empty Playlist' in the Playlist editor table.
Adding items to a playlist
You can add items (files, playlists or streams) from the ScratchPad or Media Library to the currently open playlist by left-clicking on them, and selecting 'Add to playlist' from the pop-up context menu. New files are added to the end of the open playlist, but you can re-arrange the playout order later. If a playlist has not been started yet, the context menu will offer the option 'Use to create playlist' instead.
In the top right corner of the Playlist Editor page, the name of the playlist and its duration are displayed. The duration shown will increase automatically, depending on the length of the items you add. Below the name of the playlist and its duration, several columns are shown:
- The first column on the left contains checkboxes for selecting individual items by row. Clicking the checkbox in the header of the table selects all items
- The Title column displays the names of the files, playlists or streams
- The Clip length column lists the playout time of each item. The duration of live streams is shown as zero
- The Original column shows the item length before any cue points were set
- The Artist column lists the names of artists in the case of a file, or the name of the creator if it's a playlist
- The Type column uses icons to indicate the type of item you are looking at. Files are marked with a green musical note, playlists with an orange note, and streams with a blue transmission wave
- The Move column enables you to change item order in the playlist, by clicking the up or down arrows
A left-click on a file or stream in the playlist pops up a context menu, which enables you to:
- Listen to the item (download for preview in your computer's media player)
- Set clip length (sets 'cue in' and 'cue out' points for the item)
- Remove the item from the playlist
At the bottom of the table, two buttons enable you to perform actions for simple playlist editing:
- Remove selected enables you to remove items from the playlist, based on the selection made with the checkboxes in the first column of the table. Removed files are not deleted from the Campcaster Storage server, so you can find them again with the search and browse tools in the Media Library
- Clear Playlist enables you to remove all items from the playlist. This button does not remove the playlist itself, only the items within it. A pop-up window will ask you if you are sure about this action
Below the table you can see six further buttons for managing the current playlist:
- Save Playlist enables you to save any changes to the open playlist since it was last saved. All actions (items moved up or down, items added or removed, cue points changed) will be visible in the playlist the next time you edit it
- Revert to Saved gives you the opportunity to return to the last saved state of the playlist, in case you have made a mistake during editing
- Delete Playlist removes the playlist from the Campcaster Storage server, but not the items listed inside the playlist. Before removing the playlist, a pop-up window will ask if you are sure
- Re-arrange playlist opens a new window, where you can drag and drop playlist items. Once you're done, click the Save playlist button, or click the Cancel button to return to the playlist editor
- Close Playlist will close the current playlist and exit the Playlist Editor. If you have made any changes to the current playlist, a pop-up window will appear, asking if you want to save your changes before closing
- Description opens the Playlist metadata page, enabling you to edit the Language, Title, Creator and Description fields
Many radio stations in emerging democracies do not have Internet connectivity. For this reason, Campcaster has been designed to support the import and export of both playlists and media in .tar archive files, which can be copied to CDs or USB memory sticks. The export functionality can be useful for making copies of playlists for broadcast playout in other software, or for providing program track listings.
To export a playlist, left-click on it in either the Scratchpad or the Media Library, then select 'Export Playlist' from the pop-up context menu. A window will then appear that asks you for the type and file format of export you require:
- Type: choose All components to export both the playlist and media files (for playout on another computer) or Playlist only for generating track listings
- File format: choose SMIL format for use on other Campcaster installations, or choose M3U for broad compatibility with other playout software
For exchanging complete programs with other radio stations that use Campcaster, select Type
: All components
and File Format
The Import Playlist option on the Playlists sub-menu enables you to import a previously saved playlist into the Campcaster Storage server. This feature supports playlists in both M3U and SMIL formats.