Helix DNA Producer Command Line Application Quick Start Guide

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Contents

Helix DNA Producer Command Line Application
Quick Start Guide


Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 What You Need Before Starting
2.1 Downloading the Command Line Application
2.2 Running the Command Line Application
2.3 Configuring the Command Path
3 Encoding with Helix DNA Producer
3.0.1 Converting an existing file to RealMedia Format
3.0.2 Converting an existing file to Ogg Vorbis Format
3.0.3 Broadcasting Live with Helix Producer
3.0.4 Saving Your Settings to a Job File

1 Introduction

This document contains information on how to use the Helix DNA Producer Command Line Application.

Helix DNA Producer Command Line is an application program that encodes media files into RealAudio and RealVideo (collectively called RealMedia). Helix DNA Producer can generate the same high-quality RealMedia files possible with Helix Producer Plus, which we sell on RealNetworks, although it does not have all the features of the commercial version, and it provides a command-line interface only.

You can use Helix DNA Producer free of charge to encode RealMedia for personal use. You can also use Helix DNA Producer SDK to provide encoding services in your software project, although you may need to license this technology.

If you want to compile the Helix DNA Producer command line application from source code, see the Helix DNA Producer Quick Start Guide.

If you are having problems using the Helix DNA Producer command line application, see the Troubleshooting of the Helix DNA Producer ReadMe for helpful troubleshooting tips.

2 What You Need Before Starting

2.1 Downloading the Command Line Application

The command line application is available as source or in compiled form. You can download either the command line application in compiled form through the downloads page.

2.2 Running the Command Line Application

Helix DNA Producer command line application is distributed as a compressed archive. This archive can be downloaded or compiled as explained in the previous two sections. There is no installer to run and all the files it needs are self-contained in one directory. To decompress and run the command line application:

  1. Download the appropriate archive for your platform (".zip" for Windows, ".tgz" for Linux, or ".sit" for Mac) and decompress it to the desired directory.
  2. Open a command prompt
  3. Change directory into the application directory
  4. Type 'producer' to see a listing of help on the screen. Type 'producer -m' to see a complete help file in HTML format.

Refer to the Troubleshooting Tips section below if you experience any problems.

Encoding to Ogg Vorbis Format

Before running a producer encode for the Ogg Vorbis format, you must download and install the Ogg and Vorbis libraries from http://www.xiph.org. You can find compiled copies or source for these DLLs in the Ogg Vorbis SDK at http://www.vorbis.com/download.psp. The following DLLs are required:

  • ogg.dll, vorbis.dll, vorbisenc.dll

In order for the producer to find these DLLs, they will need to be located the command line application directory or somewhere else in your command path.

Mac OS X Note: that the producer engine, including all codecs and audience definitions, are now bundled inside the "HelixProducerEngine.bundle" file. To access files inside the bundle, control-click on the icon, and select the "Show Package Contents..." command from the contextual menu. The HelixProducerEngine.bundle file is located in the same directory as the producer application.

2.3 Configuring the Command Path

It is helpful to configure system path or add a symbolic link to easily run the command line application from any directory. To set up the system path, do the following:

  1. Unpack Helix DNA Producer command line application to your hard drive and note the location.
  2. Add that location to your system path as follows:
    • Windows NT, 2k and XP
      • Open the System Control Panel
      • Go to the Advanced Tab
      • Click on the "Environment Variables..." button
      • Click on the "Path" entry in the "system variables" list and click the "Edit..." button
      • Add the string "/producer" to the end of the "Variable value" edit field
        • Note: Replace "" above with the correct path. For example, "C:\Program Files\Producer")
      • Close all dialogs. The next time you open a DOS command prompt, the new settings will take effect. Test by typing 'producer' in a DOS prompt. You should see Helix Producer's help printed to the screen (if you don't, seek assistance)
    • Windows ME or 98
      • Open autoexec.bat on the system drive where Windows is installed to (usually c:\autoexec.bat). If the file does not exist, create it.
      • Add the following text to that file:
        • set PATH=%PATH%;/producer
      • Note: Replace "" above with the correct path. For example, "C:\Program Files\Producer")
      • The next time you reboot your system, the new settings will take effect. Test by typing 'producer' in a DOS prompt. You should see Helix Producer's help printed to the screen (if you don't, seek assistance or a better OS;)
    • Linux
      • Open a command prompt and change directory to /usr/local/bin
      • Create a symbolic link to Helix DNA Producer command line application as follows:
        • ln -s producer /producer
      • Note: Replace "" above with the correct path. For example, "/usr/local/producer")
      • Test by typing 'producer' at the command prompt. You should see Helix Producer's help printed to the screen (if you don't, seek assistance)
    • Mac OS X
      • Open a command prompt and change directory to /usr/local/bin
      • Create a symbolic link to Helix DNA Producer command line application as follows:
        • ln -s producer /producer
      • Note: Replace "" above with the location where the producer archive was unpacked. For example, "/usr/local/producer")
      • Test by typing 'producer' at the command prompt. You should see Helix Producer's help printed to the screen (if you don't, seek assistance)

3 Encoding with Helix DNA Producer

This section describes how to perform various actions with Helix DNA Producer command line application. Each topic is independent and can be covered in any order.

For general information, type 'producer' with no arguments or 'producer -m' for complete help

3.0.1 Converting an existing file to RealMedia Format

To start with, you'll need an input source file to encode from. Valid input source files are defined in the Helix Producer command line application Read Me. Once you have an input file, you can proceed to the following steps.

  1. Open a command prompt
  2. Change directory to the location of the input file (or specify absolute paths if you wish)
  3. Run the application by typing the following command:
producer -i INPUTFILE -ad AUDIENCENAME -o OUTPUTFILE

where:

    • INPUTFILE is the name of the input file that is to be converted to RealMedia
    • AUDIENCENAME is the name of an audience (use 'producer -pa' to print available audiences)
    • OUTPUTFILE is the name of the resulting RealMedia file

For example:

producer -i C:\MyMovie.avi -ad "700k VBR Download" -o C:\MyMovie.rm

You can omit the -o option and its value. When doing so, the output file is given the same name as the input file with the .rm file extension replacing the original.

Other command line options:

You can add other command line options as follows:

  • -dt - Disables two-pass encoding. Two-pass encoding is a technique where the file is analyzed before encoding to produce the best possible output. Using two-pass encoding doubles encode time but results in a much better output.
  • -ad (Audience) - This defines the audience used to encode with. Audiences can be listed with the command "producer -pa". Audiences are specified by name and can be abbreviated. For example, to specify the "256 kbps DSL or Cable" audinece, you can type "-ad 256k". To specify more than one audience for SureStream output, separate each audience name by a comma. For example, "-ad 28k,56k,128k" would result in the 28 kbps, 56 kbps and 128 kbps audiences being used.
  • -t, -a, -c are used to add Title, Author and Copyright information to the clip respectively

A more complete command line usage might look like:

producer -i MyFile.avi -t "My Movie" -c "Copyright 2003"

* Notice the quotes around values with spaces.

Output File name collision avoidance

If the output file requested already exists, it is renamed and appended with "_archNNN" where NNN is the next available increment. The most recently encoded file is always given the name that was requested so that the output filename can be predicted reliably.

3.0.2 Converting an existing file to Ogg Vorbis Format

This section explains how to perform encoding to Ogg Vorbis audio format. Before you start, you'll need the following:

Before running a producer encode for the Ogg Vorbis format, you must download and install the Ogg and Vorbis libraries (ogg.dll, vorbis.dll and vorbisenc.dll) from http://www.xiph.org. You can find compiled copies or source for these DLLs in the Ogg Vorbis SDK at http://www.vorbis.com/download.psp. In order for the producer to find these DLLs, they will need to be located the command line application directory or somewhere else in your command path.

Helix DNA Producer supports the encoding with the Vorbis audio codec into the Ogg file format. When encoding Ogg Vorbis files, the output must be audio only. This is accomplished either by using audio-only input or using the disable video option in Helix DNA Producer. In the example below, we assume audio only input.

To begin, select a valid input source files are defined in the Helix Producer command line application Read Me. Once you have an input file, you can proceed to the following steps.

  1. Open a command prompt
  2. Change directory to the location of the input file (or specify absolute paths if you wish)
  3. Run the application by typing the following command:
producer -i INPUTFILE -ad AUDIENCENAME -o OUTPUTFILE

where:

    • INPUTFILE is the name of the input file that is to be converted to RealMedia
    • AUDIENCENAME is the name of an audience (use 'producer -pa' to print available audiences)
    • OUTPUTFILE is the name of the resulting Ogg file. In order for Producer to know the file type, the file extension must end in .ogg.

For example:

producer -i C:\song1.wav -ad "Vorbis 64k" -o C:\song1.ogg

Other command line options:

You can add other command line options as follows:

  • -ad (Audience) - This defines the audience used to encode with. Audiences can be listed with the command "producer -pa". Audiences are specified by name and can be abbreviated. For example, to specify the "256 kbps DSL or Cable" audinece, you can type "-ad 256k". To specify more than one audience for SureStream output, separate each audience name by a comma. For example, "-ad 28k,56k,128k" would result in the 28 kbps, 56 kbps and 128 kbps audiences being used.
  • -dv - Disables video from input. Useful if you wish to encode only audio from an audio/video file..
  • -t, -a, -c are used to add Title, Author and Copyright information to the clip respectively

3.0.3 Broadcasting Live with Helix Producer

Helix Producer command line application allows input to be captured from a device and broadcasted live to a Helix Server.

Before starting, information about the systems audio and video capture devices must be collected as well as server broadcast settings. The following describes these two steps:

Collecting video and audio capture information

Identify the video capture card and audio card device IDs by typing the following command:

producer -pd

This prints out device information for your system. For example:

Helix(TM) Producer Plus 9.0.1 from RealNetworks(R). Build number: 9.0.1.250

VIDEO

Device 00: Osprey 210

AUDIO

Device 00: Crystal WDM Audio

Note the device number for the audio and video capture devices you wish to read input from. The device numbers above are used as the argument to the video capture (-vc) and audio capture (-ac) command line options respectively.

Collecting information about Helix Server

Before starting you should collect information about the Helix Server that you intend to broadcast to. To broadcast to a Helix Server, you'll need the following information from the Helix Server system administrator:

  • IP Address or server name
  • HTTP Port
  • Username and password for account-based push broadcasting

The information above is combined into the following syntax and passed in the server push (-sp) broadcast option:

-sp username:password@servername:port/filename

For example, if the server "server.mycompany.com" was using port 80 for HTTP and had a user "encoder" with a password "letmein", the following syntax would by used:

-sp encoder:letmein@server.myserver.com/concert.rm

Putting it all together

To start the broadcast, type the following producer command using information collected above:

producer -ac 0 -vc 0 -sp encoder:letmein@server.myserver.com/concert.rm

Helix Producer will begin to broadcast and report the duration it has been running for on the status line as well as the audio level. The application can be stopped by typing the Control-c keys together.

Note that here we are allowing producer to apply the default audiences which are 16k, 28k, 56k and 256 kbps.

Archiving the Broadcast

The live session can be archived at the same time it is broadcasted. To do this simply include an output file option as follows:

producer -ac 0 -vc 0 -sp encoder:letmein@server.myserver.com/concert.rm -o c:\concert.rm

This file can then be uploaded to the Helix Server after the broadcast is completed.

You can add other command line options as follows:

  • -cs (Capture Size) - Sets the video frame size for the broadcast. The value of this option is the width and height of the video separated by an "x". For example, "-cs 320x240" defines a capture size of 320 width by 240 height.
  • -d (Duration) - the duration that the broadcast will be run for. The value is a colon separated time value in h:m:s format (hour and minute can be omitted if desired).
  • -ad (Audience) - This defines the audience used to encode with. Audiences can be listed with the command "producer -pa". Audiences are specified by name and can be abbreviated. For example, to specify the "256 kbps DSL or Cable" audinece, you can type "-ad 256k". To specify more than one audience for SureStream output, separate each audience name by a comma. For example, "-ad 28k,56k,128k" would result in the 28 kbps, 56 kbps and 128 kbps audiences being used.
  • -t (Title), -a (Author), -c (Copyright) are used to add Title, Author and Copyright information to the clip respectively

3.0.4 Saving Your Settings to a Job File

To save the settings used on the command line to a job file, just execute the command line with the -cj option included. This action creates a job file containing all the settings supplied as arguments to the command line. The resulting job file can then be edited and re-executed using the -j option on the command line.

To save command line settings to a job file, type the desired command line with the -cj option as follows:

producer -ac 0 -vc 0 -sp encoder:letmein@server.myserver.com/concert.rm -o c:\concert.rm -cj c:\mybroadcast.rpjf

A job file is created from the settings above and the producer exists immediately. You can then edit the job file with a text editor if desired or just run it with the following command line syntax:

producer -j c:\mybroadcast.rpjf