Myriad Playout uses a powerful logic engine to determine when to dynamically add content if the hour is Underrunning, and which items should be dropped if Overrunning, so it may be helpful to understand the way that Myriad determines which items should be dropped, and which should be faded.
There are a large number of settings that allow you very fine grained control over the AutoFade system, and the information provided here should only be used as a guide. If you have altered the settings in your Station Settings window then your system may well behave differently.
This is provided for information only, and the actual process is more complex internally so this information is only a top level summary of the actual system. As Myriad Playout evolves this information may also be out of date, so please review the Version History for each update carefully.
When Myriad Playout is running in AutoFade mode, then each time Log Playback starts playing a new item, or if the Log itself is edited, then Myriad recalculates the remainder of hour and dynamically changes which items need to be altered to hit the end of the current hour, or the next Absolute Time log item, whichever is first.
If the hour is underrunning (i.e. there is not enough content to reach the next time position) then Myriad follows these steps until it has enough content:
- Restore any previously 'dropped' items that were scheduled into the Log.
- Restore any previously 'dropped' items that had been dynamically added due to an earlier underrun (these are shown it the log in an italic font)
- If the "Automatically add songs from the settings for the current hour in the Schedule Clock Assignment Grid" setting in Station Settings, is turned on then Myriad uses the Category Goals in the Clock to choose extra songs to add to the hour as "AutoFilled" items. These are shown in th Log using an italic font.
If the hour is overrunning (i.e. has too MUCH content) - then Myriad uses a combination of dropping and fading to reduce that overrun to zero.
This area has a high number of options in Station Settings, so you should review how you are currently configured before reading this section. These settings allow you total control over which content can be considered for dropping and/or autofading, so are critical to getting the best out of the system.
You have significant control over which items Myriad can consider:
Firstly, Myriad Playout can only consider specific 'item types' that you have enabled in Station Settings. By default, only Songs are allowed to be considered, but you can also enable Basic Media Items to be considered. For the rest of this document wherever you see "Songs" or "Items", this term is used as generic term and can be considered to mean either Songs or Basic Media Items.
Secondly, each Log item position can be pre-set to prevent it being dropped, or auto-faded, or both, in compatible schedulers i.e. AutoTrack Pro, Myriad Schedule, or using a 3rd party scheduler. For example, you might mark a specific song position to be not-droppable because it's part of a feature, or an essential category. Of course, if you prevent almost all items in the hour being dropped, then Myriad may struggle to then run to time as it has limited options to adjust.
Thirdly, a user can manually set a Log item position in the Log View to prevent it being dropped and/or auto-faded. This can be useful if a presenter is pre-recording a show and wants to ensure a certain song will definitely not be dropped for timing purposes.
Finally, if a user has recorded a voice link in between two items, then the first item is marked to prevent it being dropped, and also prevented from being auto-faded, and the second item is marked to prevent it being dropped, but it can still be considered for fading early. This is so the Voice-Link will sound exactly the same as when it was recorded. As above, if you record a voice link between every song, then none can be dropped, leaving Myriad very little options to run to time.
Based on the rules above, Myriad Playout builds a list of songs that are able to be dropped, and also a second list of items that can auto-faded early.
Note: Myriad always honours the 4 rules above so will never add songs to the list if they are marked as not allowed to be Auto-faded.
There are 3 options for the Station Setting that determines which songs can be added to the auto-fadable list:
- "Do not allow any items to be faded during normal operation" - Myriad does not build the second list.
- "Only allow items with 'Fade' or 'Slow Fade' Endings to be faded early" - Myriad will only add Songs/Basic Media Items to the list that have a Fade/Slow Fade ending.
- "Allow any item to be faded regardless of it's Ending Type") Myriad will build the list using all Songs/Basic Media Items regardless of the ending type.
An increasing number of stations choose to completely disable all fading (first option), so that Myriad will drop as many items as possible to get close to the correct time, but then allow the final song to overrun the time slightly.
For example, if you are using News Bulletins downloaded from a provider, then you may decide that you are happy to run 'close' to time, and allow songs to play their entirety, rather than fading early prior to the News segment.
Alternatively you might be using a realtime satellite delivered news provider such as Sky News Radio, so you HAVE to run precisely to time, in which case you would want to allow Myriad to fade some items early to remove those last few seconds that are left over after dropping to bring the overrun to precisely zero.
Having built the list of songs that are available to be considered to drop based on the rules above, Myriad then carries out up to three passes:
- Drop any dynamically added "auto-filled" songs that were previously added due to underrunning.
- Review the list of droppable songs that are NOT able to be faded (to prevent dropping items that might be better off faded instead)
- Finally, if still significantly overrunning, continue dropping remaining songs , even if they were also available for fading.
Important note: Because of the way that Myriad tries to preserve items that might later be useful for fading, it may appear that Myriad is "skipping" over some choices of items when dropping items, but actually it's just trying to preserve the most suitable items for any later fading that is needed.
Myriad Playout v5.23R2 and earlier always drop songs starting from the end of the current hour and working backwards, removing from the end of the longest "Run" of songs each time, and then repeating until the overrun has been reduced as much as possible. This can be thought of as the "Last-Longest-Run" system.
A "Run" is defined as one or more songs in a row, with no Links or other active Log Items in between.
As an example, consider an hour that contains 3 Runs of songs:
- Song A
- Song B
- Song C
- Song D
- Song E
- Song F
In this scenario, the longest Run working from the end of the section is the Run containing Songs C,D and E, so E is dropped.
If the hour is still overrunning, then at this point, the first 2 Runs are now the same duration (A+B and C+D) whilst the final only has a single song (F). So Myriad will remove the final song from the "last longest" Run, so removes Song D from the "last-longest-run".
Our log now looks like this:
- Song A
- Song B
- Song C
- Song F
The longest Run now is A+B so Song B will be dropped next.
In Myriad v5.23R2 and earlier, Myriad will try to never drop a song following a Sweeper, and will work hard to avoid dropping a song that immediately follows a Link to prevent the Log being left with a Link followed directly by a Link. In extreme cases where the hour is significantly overrunning, then you may be left with Link-Link. See the end of this document for information on changes coming soon to improve this behaviour.
After dropping has completed, if Myriad still has an overrun left then the following Station Settings are checked.
If the Do not allow any items to be faded during normal operation option has been selected:
- If either of the options to "Fade the very last item, regardless of it's Ending Type..." are turned on, the the entire overrun is faded from the end of the very last item in the hour as appropriate.
- If the "Fade the very last item.." options are turned off, then no more fading is carried out, and the process is complete.
Alternatively, if "Only allow items with 'Fade' or 'Slow Fade' Endings to be faded early" or "Allow any item to be faded regardless of it's Ending Type" is selected, then Myriad will walk the list of items that can be autofaded (as created earlier) trimming a small amount off of each item to spread out the impact across multiple items.
For example, if there are 10 songs with fade endings, and Myriad has an overrun of 30 seconds, then only 3 seconds needs to be faded off of each song.
This completes the process used by Myriad Playout to determine which Songs/Basic Media Items should be dropped and/or autofaded.
Changes in Myriad Playout v5.24.1 and higher
The release of Myriad Playout v5.24.1 added in several new options to further improve the AutoFade system:
- Instead of using the "Last-Longest-Run" system as detailed in the dropping order above, you can specify that Myriad should work from the very end of the hour and work backwards in linear order, dropping each song in turn until the Overrun has been reduced to a minimum. (See RED box in screenshot below)
This is similar to the system used by older systems where a playout system would just "hard branch" at a specified time, arbitrarily skipping over all content regardless of importance. However, unlike this older hard-branching method, Myriad intelligently examines the end of the hour to ensure that any critical content such as Adverts, or Feature Songs are preserved, and then drops the non-critical items instead.
This has an advantage over the Last-Longest-Run method as it means that songs earlier in the hour will always be played, and instead you know that only the songs at the end of the hour will be sacrificed if needed.
Note: There are 2 options for this mode:
- In the first, Myriad Playout can still drop items earlier in the hour if their duration is less than the remaining Overrun. For example, if there is 3 minutes left after dropping songs from the end of the hour, and there is a 2:55 song earlier in the hour, then this song will be dropped to get Myriad closer to the target end of hour. You can prevent this by marking the items as Not-Droppable using your scheduling system (Myriad Schedule/AutoTrack Pro/3rd party).
- In the second mode, Myriad Playout will drop from the end of the hour working backwards until dropping the "last" song would result in an underrun at which point it stops, even if there is a shorter song earlier in the hour that could have further reduced the Overrun.
- A new option that enables Myriad to also drop Links, if all the songs after it have been dropped. This removes the possibility of ending up with 2 or more links playing back to back because all the songs have been dropped. See GREEN box in screenshot below