Organizing Mediashows with Menus, Sub Shows and Child Shows

You are probably familiar with the two key elements of Pi Presents shows and tracks. Tracks are things that are played or displayed; media tracks such as videos, images, and audio tracks. A show tell Pi Presents how to play the tracks and, in its medialist, maintains a list of the tracks to play or select using a menu.

A show can be played  so why not  include it in the medialist just like a media track. I have called these sub-shows. Doing this has benefits, some greater than others.

  • You can split a mediashow into segments. I found this useful for organising a large slideshow as described here . In addition to the organisational benefits each sub-show can have its own show text.
  • You can include a menu as an item of a menu to produce a hierachical menu
  • You can include a mediashow or liveshow as the item of menu.
  • You could include a menu in a mediashow, perhaps not very useful.

To do any of these things use the editor as described below. The example uses a mediashow as a sub-show of a mediashow, other combinations are essentially the same.

  • Create the main mediashow. It needs a show-reference so it can be named as a start-show. Create its medialist.
  • Create a mediashow which will become the sub-show and give it a show-reference of, for example, mysubshow
  • In the medialist for the main show create a new Show track using the menu track>new>show. Edit this track and use the drop down menu in the show field to select mysubshow

Child shows are basically the same as sub-shows, the only difference is that a child-show can be triggered from every track of a mediashow whereas sub-shows cannot. The editor provides a bit of a short cut to creating child-shows. In a mediashow you just set ‘has-child’ to ‘yes’ and in the medialist create a new child-show. This creates a show entry in the medialist with the track-reference of pp-child-show.

The manual gives the impression that this child-show should be menu. This is because a menu is the most useful application of a child-show. Actually, a child-show could be any type of show or a media track. To create the latter in the editor add a media track to the medialist and give it the ‘track-ref’ of pp-child-show.


17 Responses to Organizing Mediashows with Menus, Sub Shows and Child Shows

  1. vanillagrl says:

    Can you please help me figure out how to get a track to hold while another loads a web page? Or how to add something to a web track to display until the web page loads? I saw in the manual where there is a 15 second gap and pipresents doesn’t handshake well with the ubzl. please help, I am new to this.

    • KenT says:

      Hi Donna
      Version 1.3 (gapless) will display an image or pause a video at its end until the web browser is ready. There is no handshake so the time delay is set in line 242 of

      self.wait_count= 50 # 10 seconds at 200mS steps

      Loading of the browser is much faster on Pi 2.

      To fill the gap while the browser is loading on Version 1.2 you can display a background picture and text in the web track.

      If you are using browsers a lot then in might be better to look at browser based digital signage or gkreidi’s minimal kiosk browser (kweb) which I believe displays videos in a browser

  2. Is it possible to overlay text/logo over video?

    • KenT says:

      No I am afraid not. The problem is with omxplayer which does not use x windows but writes to the display directly.You could limit videos to a small window on the screen and write text outside the window.

  3. sander815 says:

    does anyone have more videos demonstrating PiPresents?
    I want to show these to a museum, they are considering touchpanels a 3000 euro / piece for the same stuff PiPresents can do

  4. Glen says:

    I have had some issues with the Pi crashing while playing consecutive videos in XBMC (which also uses Omx Player). That’s why I’m a bit apprehensive about crashes.
    If I understand you correctly, with sub-mediashows, I would, in the event of a restart, be able to go to the main medialist and select to start in one of the subshows rather than having to skip through every slide and video from the beginning. Is this correct? If so, the subshows would be set up to either start or end with a video segment. This would minimize disruption to the flow of the slideshow. This combined with the ability to fast forward the videos might well be work for

    • KenT says:

      Yes, you understand correctly. I have had a couple of videos crash randomly with Pi Presents, usually after many hours of continuous play. I would be interested to know if the same videos crash on XBMC and Pi Presents.

      • Glen says:

        On the topic of videos, I cannot add MPG-2 videos to the medialists. The editor says
        it does not recognize the extension “.mpg” (I tried changing it to .mpeg but still no joy). I purchased the MPG-2 codec license from the Pi Store. The .videos play fine in XBMC on the PI.

        • KenT says:

          Looks like I have got the incorrect extension for this type of video in line 4. You can add your own.
          Alternatively just use the menu track>new>video. Using this you can add any track type you like.

          It would be a help if you can tell me all the extensions of video files that omxplayer can play. I can then add them to

          • Glen says:

            I can’t find a file called I have File Manager set to show hidden files. Using the menu track> as you suggested gave the same message about “unknown extension”. For the moment I have started converting my videos to .mkv. I don’t think it will affect video quality very much. After quite bit of searching I was unable to find a list of supported video formats for omxplayer. I gather omxplayer should support any formats that have hardware support and there is a codec supplied when the OS is installed. Mpeg-2 (.mpg and .VOB) and VC-1 (.wmv) are the only major formats I’m aware of that don’t have codecs installed. Thes licenses for these two codecs must be purchased from the Pi Store. My mpeg-2 codec is “enabled”
            On another topic, is it possible to blank out the message “loading” between tracks and just have the black.screen? If not, it would be a nice option to have. My wife finds the message irritating. These is an option “disable screen blanking” but there is no explanation about this feature. I have tried running shows with and without “sceen blanking” enabled and it doesn’t seem to do anything.

            • KenT says:

              Whoops sorry, I was thinking of the wrong version of the software. It’s in in [pipresents-next] The track>new video should have worked, I will check it out.

              I will add.mpg, .mpeg, .wmv and.vob to list in [pipresents-next]

              You an edit resources.cfg to get rid of or change the admin messages. Read the manual Section 5.10 as to how to do it. Disable screen blanking stops the screensaver kicking in if there is no input, you may not have noticed it if you are using the keybaord to advance.

              • Glen says:

                Editing resources.cfg did the trick, thanks! I’m going to try creating subshows linked to a menu next. I’m still a bit fuzzy on this part but it should become clearer as I work my way through it. Thanks again for the information.

              • Glen says:

                In the mediashow settings I set progress to “manual”. There was a black screen with a 1 to 2 second delay between tracks (depending on image format and compression settings). When I set progress back to “auto” and the duraton to 0 seconds, the delay/black screen was eliminated. Perhaps it would be best to just have the one method to set a manual slideshow. (i.e. eliminate the auto/manual switch and advise users to set the duration to 0 seconds for a manually controlled slideshow).
                I now have Pipresents working as I want it for slides/images. As far as videos I have converted my mpeg-2 files to .mkv and I can live without the fast forwarding until future updates.
                Thanks for the great work you have done in creating PiPresents.

  5. Glen says:

    Can the software work like a manually controlled Powerpoint presentation? What I want to do is play a series of slides manually (non-animated so JPEGs will work) with a few videos that will play at specific points in the slide presentation. I don’t want the slides to change automatically.
    I want to control the changing of slides with a Powerpoint-type presenter (i.e. mouse clicks) I have tried XBMC but it automatically enters slideshow mode after it plays the first video so slides start to change automatically at set intervals unless you manually pause them.. I also have
    tried Libre Office Impress but it’s bloated and too slow on the pi – also the videos would not play (black screen)

    • KenT says:

      As I expect you have found,just set progress to manual in the mediashow. You can copy resources.cfg and edit it to change or make blank the messages you see between slides.

      I think you found much the same as I did, it is not easy to find multimedia manual slideshow presentation software, Windows and Linux alike.


      • Glen says:

        Thanks for the reply. A couple more questions:(1) If a manual presentation “crashes” do you have to start at the beginning track or can you go to a menu and select an individual track (slide or video) to resume the presentation in the same spot? (2) Is there any way to fast forward or reverse in a video? I didn’t see such a feature in the user guide. Omx Player, I understand, does support fast forward/rewind
        While the program sounds very good, the above features would be essential in order to recover from a crash in the middle of a long slide presentation. We present all day (7 to 8 hr) educational programs using mixed slides and videos. Cycling back through over 100 slides or replaying videos (or not being able to fast forward through the video to the point where it crashed) would not be an option in front of a room full of students.



        • KenT says:

          1. Pi Presents seems pretty reliable. dpguest has had it running with videos and slides 24 hours a day. If it does crash the likelihood is that the whole of the Pi will freeze so a restart will be necessary.

          To answer your question, you have to go to the beginning and skip through, you can skip videos as well as images. I cannot think of an easy way to make it do what you want. I would divide a large presentation into sub-mediashows and then use the main medialist as a menu in addition to it being a mediashow, time the sub-shows for comfort breaks when you can go back to the menu and select the next sub-show – obviously reduces the recovery time.

          2. A couple of people have asked for fast forward etc. for omxplayer, I will add it to the todo list as a priority task.

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