How to use the Digital Signage (Plasma) Portal App

Plasma Basics

Plasma Explained

Basics

Plasma is a portal application designed to simplify posting content to Engineering IT managed digital signs. The application can be found on the My.Engr Portal here, or by appending /plasma/admin/ to a department portal URL.

Plasma tool showing slide show controls, slide queues, and submittal form.

Show Controls

  • Select Show - The Plasma app only displays one slide show at a time. Use this drop-down menu to select the slide show to view.
  • Slide Order - This field selects the slide order option for the selected show.
    • Sequential - This options plays through the slide show in the seqence shown in the Current Slide Set queue.
    • Random - This option plays through the slide show randomly shuffling the slide order.
  • New slide alert email - This field allows an email address to be set to recieve alerts when new slides are uploaded. This allows Plasma managers to know when there are new slides awaiting approval.

Slide Queues

  • Current Override Slide Set - This queue includes currently playing override slides. If slides appear in this queue, no slides from the current slide queue or current scheduled slide queue will be played.
  • Current Scheduled Slide Set - This queue includes currently playing slides with a schedule. These slides will only play at the number(s) of minutes after the hour displayed in their Seq field.
  • Current Slide Set - This queue includes all currently playing slides that are not set as override slides or have set schedules.
  • New Slides - This queue shows all slides that have been uploaded, but not yet approved.
  • Approved Slides - This queue shows slides that have been approved, but have not yet reached their start date
  • Expired Slides - This queue show slides that have been approved, but have passed their end date. Expired slides are only kept for 30 days from the date of expiration

Plasma slide and metadata.

Slide Metadata:

  • Submitted by - This field displays the netID of the slider uploader.
  • Date Start/Date End - These fields show the slide display start and end date-times. These should be formatted MM/DD/YYYY, MM/DD/YYYY hh:mm:ss (24hr clock), or MM/DD/YYYY hh:mm:ss XM (12hr clock).
  • Dur (s) - This is the duration for which the slide will display in seconds. This field does not accept mm:ss notation. Ex. one minute and thiry seconds must be written as 90 and not 1:30.
  • Seq - This field allows slide sequences to be reordered. Default is 0. Slides will play in ascending, numeric order when the slide order is set to Sequential.
  • Sched - This field allows slides to be scheduled to play at X number of minutes after the hour. Ex. enter "15" into the Sched field to play that slide at 15 minutes after every hour. This field also takes multiple values seperated by commas. Ex. enter "15,30,45" into the Sched field to play that slide at 15, 30, and 45 minutes after every hour.
  • Override - This field determines if a slide is an override slide. Default is "No". If a slide is set to override, only slides marked as override will be displayed between those slides start and end dates.
  • Aspect Ratio - This field determines the displayed aspect ratio of the slides. This is effected by the aspect ratio of the content display area on the digital sign. Most content area aspect ratios are 16:9.
    • Stretch - This option stretches the image to fit the aspect ratio of the content area.
    • Cover - This option enlarges the image till it covers the entire content area, cropping edges as needed. (Short dimension scaling)
    • Contain - This option enlarges the image till it is as large as the content area can contain without cropping. Letter/pillar boxes will be visible. (Long dimension scaling)

Submitting Slides

Plasma submittal form with comments text area, upload file-picker, and URL input box.

Input Fields:

  • Comments about your slide - use this this text area to make notes to other Plasma managers or to communicate with departmental slide approvers.
  • Upload a new slide - use this file-picker to upload JPEG/JPG or PNG content to the Plamsa application
  • Add a url slide - use this text field to add a url of web content or YouTube video

To submit your slide or URL you will need to click the respective Upload or Add URL Slide buttons.

Once submitted, new slide content is moved to the New Slides queue

Approving New Slides

Plasma new slide queue showing a slide and metadata.

Once a slide is in the New Slides queue the slide metadata can be edited. This allows the slide parameters to be changed before it goes live. Once the proper metadata has been set, click approve and the slide will move to the corresponding queue.

Editing Metadata

After a slide has been approved and moved out of the new slide queue, its metadata can still be changed. To edit a slide's metadata, make any updates to the metadata to the slide and click that slide's Update button. Note: Only one slide may be edited at a time. If multiple slides are edited, only the slide where the Update button was clicked will be updated.

Deleting a Slide

A slide may be deleted by clicking its Delete button. Once a slide is deleted, it cannot be recovered

Uploading YouTube Videos

The Add a url slide field allows web content to be included in Plamsa slide shows. Utilizing Google APIs on the backend of the Plasma Application allows play and timing control of YouTube videos.

  1. Find the YouTube Share URL.
    YouTube video page.
    YouTube sharing pane.

    1. Click Share below the video pane
    2. Optional - In the sharing pane, check the Start at box and enter a time in minutes and seconds for the video to start.
    3. In the sharing pane, copy the share URL
  2. Enter the URL into the Add a url slide text field and click Add URL Slide
  3. Adjust the metadata and approve the video. Note: Only the URL will be shown on the Plasma portal page. Content will be properly displayed on the slides.
    • For YouTube videos, the Dur (s) is still used and the duration must be set for the length of video to be played.
    • Ex. To play a 1:30 video all the way through, the duration must be set to 90.
    • Advanced Ex. To play 30 seconds from the middle of a YouTube video, add the start time to the URL from the YouTube share pane (i.e. Start at: 1:45) and add the desired duration in the Plasma app (i.e. 30). This will play from 1:45 to 2:15 in the selected video.

Get Help

Questions about this topic? Don't see what you're looking for?

Email engrit-help [at] illinois [dot] edu, call the Help Desk at 217-333-1313, or contact your primary IT support professional.