ClipMail Frequently Asked Questions

When controlling ClipMail remotely without a Control Panel, what do I need?

You can remotely control ClipMail from a PC running Windows 95/98/2000/NT, a Macintosh, or a Unix workstation. Whichever workstation you use, you must have a network connection that allows the Telestream-supplied Network Controller software application to control the ClipMail system. All features of the user interface are similar to those on the touch screen control panel, with the exception of video/audio viewing. Queuing content for sending/receiving parcels and mailbox management can all be done remotely using the Network Controller application.

Can I send files to accompany media over the network?

ClipMail's Network Controller application (Windows/Macintosh) supports file attachments. When using this standalone application to control ClipMail, you can go to the "Add Clips to Send" screen and add file attachments of any type to the clip you're currently sending. When the clip (inside a parcel) is later received by another ClipMail, a Network Controller application communicating with it can download the file attachments to their local Windows or Macintosh file system. This feature is only present in the Network Controller application-the touch screen Control Panel does not allow you to attach files or work with them, although it does recognize that they're there (attachments have a different icon and cannot be "played"). This feature works great for sending graphics, animations, scripts and other project related files.

Top of Page

Can I send video and audio to PCs or Macintosh computers using ClipMail?

ClipMail can generate industry standard MPEG1 and MPEG2 files playable on many non-ClipMail devices. Since ClipMail Pro and ClipMail ProView also support standard internet protocols such as FTP, you can simply send MPEG1 & 2 files to a PC or Macintosh just as you would send media to another ClipMail. You can also pull media files from a defined remote FTP server. When you're sending media from a ClipMail to another ClipMail, a Telestream protocol called "MTP" (Media Transfer Protocol) is employed. MTP is a Telestream extension of FTP that does pre-transfer checking to ensure the receiver is online, has enough storage capacity to receive the media, and is capable of decoding the media being transferred. This happens automatically as soon as an address record is entered for a destination ClipMail. If you're sending to a PC/Mac/Unix system, ClipMail knows that it's not another ClipMail and will send media using standard FTP protocol. You will need to set up the ClipMail with the name and password of the FTP servers you're sending to or pulling from.

Can I log on to ClipMail as an FTP server?

No. While ClipMail does just about everything an FTP server does and much more, you cannot log on with an ordinary FTP Client as if it were actually a server. To move files to it, you use the control panel or Network Controller software application running on a remote PC or Mac, to direct ClipMail to send media to another ClipMail, ClipExpress, or FTP server or pull media from an FTP server. The Network Controller software application can be used to send files from the local Mac/PC file system to the ClipMail being controlled for forwarding out to other ClipMail/ClipExpress systems or FTP Servers. So, while you can't directly pull files from a ClipMail, you can cause it to send media to you or use the Network Controller software to remotely save the media to your local Mac/PC file system.

Top of Page

I have successfully sent a clip to our server via our ClipMail Pro. Now, how do I get the file back into ClipMail Pro?

Use the "Remote" mailbox. 1. Make sure to add the desired FTP server to the ClipMail address book. If you leave the default directory blank, the root directory of the FTP server is used. 2. In the Setup menu, go to the Network tab. Push the "Remote Server..." button to bring up a remote server setup screen. This screen allows you to choose any of the servers programmed in the address book via a pulldown selection list. 3. Now go to the Check Mail menu and choose the "Remote Box" tab. You will be asked if you want to load the Remote Box. The system will scan the FTP server's directory tree for Telestream parcels. 4. Once you select a parcel, use the "Get" button to have the parcel imported to the system and show up in the "In Box".

How is timecode handled? What lines are set to pass VITC or other vertical information? Is this selectable?

ClipMail Pro's Distribution, Contribution and Master quality recording selections (4:2:2) currently record and pass timecode. ClipMail ProView can also play and forward clips with such recorded information. We carry all lines from 11 on up. Information passed during VBI will be carried in the picture from input to output. ClipMail Pro will allow encoding of 4:2:2 information at any selected quality or resolution level, and since 4:2:2 levels will allow vertical interval information to pass with video-closed captioning can be included. This will not be as efficient during compression since more color information and VBI are encoded, so the data rate will be higher (when VBI is compressed, its quality and readability will be reduced). You can now "force" 4:2:2 information in the MPEG2 lower quality bitrate selections. A word of caution, doing so does compromise the video at those levels. Note: MPEG1 does not support the 4:2:2 profile, so no MPEG1 quality selection can carry VBI. Longitudinal time code is supported through the RS422 port. When implemented, the receiving ClipMail will record the video and audio and pass timecode via the RS422 connector to the VTR for jam synching the time code. In essence, ClipMail will be making a clone of the time code information. The "load with timecode" feature (mark in / mark out) works with a single clip at a time and won't support batch loading of multiple clips at this time.

Do I need to buy the Control Panel to use most ClipMail features?

Almost all features can be run from the supplied Network Controller application (Windows or Macintosh), but you'll find the touch screen-equipped control panel allows you to do some things easier (like the ability to touch-select or view video right on the built-in display). The Control Panel also has some extra user-oriented features such as the ability to plug in stereo headphones for private listening, a VGA monitor connector for an extra display, and a connector for a PS/2 standard QWERTY keyboard for easy touch-typing. The Network Controller application allows you to save addresses and media on the local Windows or Macintosh hard drive.

How far from the chassis can I cable the optional Control Panel?

Using high-quality Category 5 cabling, you can locate the Control Panel up to 70 meters (229 feet) away from the ClipMail chassis.

Can I send text messages along with media parcels?

Yes, every mail parcel has a text field that you can use like a cover page on a fax to add comments or instructions. When destination ClipMails receive media parcels, they'll see your comments along with the clips contained in the parcel. You can even send just cover page information without any clips as a "Parcel".

Is video annotation/on-screen collaboration available? (Real-time or non-real time)

The architecture of ClipMail may allow this feature at a future date, although currently the product does not support it. Let us know if this is an important feature for your site; your feedback will help us evaluate the need. Q. How long does it take to send video? A. Transmission from one ClipMail system to another depends on a number of factors, most of which you can directly control. Major factors affecting time to transmit include: quality of video being sent (MPEG1, MPEG2 approval, consumer, broadcast, contribution, or master/ studio), and the type of network service (ISDN, T1, OC3, etc.) being used for connection. You choose what quality level you want in the ClipMail Pro graphical interface and you choose what type of network to use based on how much you're budgeting for network speed. Ultimately, you make a business decision based on how much you wish to spend versus how fast you want the media to arrive. The following table provides time guidelines (times are approximate based on optimum network availability-since lines can be slower due to non-ClipMail data traffic, actual times may be greater).

How does ClipMail work with firewalls?

ClipMail tunnels all of it's communications using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and a compatible set of extensions called MTP (Media Transfer Protocol). In order to use ClipMail with a firewall, the firewall must be configured to allow incoming and outgoing FTP traffic for a single specific IP address (the ClipMail chassis). Since FTP is an Internet standard, most firewall systems provide controls for enabling FTP to selected IP addresses, thus configuring the firewall to allow ClipMail access. Note: when configuring a complete system (two or more ClipMails), you must take into account the firewalls on both the sending system and the receiving system(s). In addition to passing FTP, the connection must support RPC commands. ClipMail has configuration settings that allow you specify and work with an FTP proxy server at both the local network and destination network (receiving ClipMail or FTP server). ClipMail also has a configuration setting that allows it to work with PASV mode.

Top of Page

Can media clips and parcels be password protected so only authorized users can view them?

Although not currently present in the software, such features are possible within the system architecture and could be made into a future enhancement. Let us know if this would be an important feature for your site.

Can I lock to an outside Sync reference signal for playback?

Yes, if you wish, you can connect ClipMail Pro and ClipMail ProView to a house reference signal (black burst or other) for synchronized program output. ClipExpress locks either to the input sourced protected so only authorized users can view them? A. Ale or the internal generator if there is no video input.

When ClipMail outputs or "prints" to a VTR, can the VTR be controlled from the ClipMail (control panel or browser)?

Yes, hardware and software support for this are built in.

Does ClipMail's file system warn you when overwriting existing file names?

ClipMail does not "overwrite" files. Remember that "Clips" and "Parcels" containing clips are the containers for your media. ClipMail internally tracks how these items correlate to physical files in the file system so you don't have to. You can name/rename clips and parcels using existing names without fear of overwriting anything, although you generally wouldn't want to (it would be hard for you to discriminate between two clips if they had the same name).

How do I install and configure a ClipMail?

Setting up any ClipMail is as simple as entering a unique IP address number (and subnet mask and gateway IP address) and plugging in a cable to your LAN. You can also configure the system using DHCP for dynamic IP assignment by your DHCP server (note: when using DHCP you'll need to configure it to assign specific IP addresses so other ClipMail systems will know where to find it). A graphical user interface (GUI) makes setup and personalization as easy as using a copier or microwave oven. The graphical user interface operates the same regardless of whether you're controlling the ClipMail from its optional control panel or from a Telestream supplied stand-alone Network Controller application (Windows or Macintosh). The ClipExpress can be set up with its IR Remote Controller, without the use of a laptop/desktop for the Network Controller application.

Can I lock to an outside Sync reference signal for playback?

Yes, if you wish, you can connect ClipMail Pro and ClipMail ProView to a house reference signal (black burst or other) for synchronized program output. ClipExpress locks either to the input source or the internal generator if there is no video input.

Is there a limitation on how many addresses I can send media to?

Yes. Internally, we limit addresses to 50, however this is an arbitrary limit that could be set higher if ClipMail users need to send to more users. Let us know if you would find it useful to send to more than 50 destinations at a time.

Top of Page

What happens if a destination ClipMail or ClipExpress is offline or powered down?

When you prepare to send a ClipMail parcel, the initiator tests for the presence of the destination device(s). If one isn't available, you'll be told as you enter the address ("system not responding..."). With the version 2.0 software you are able to schedule transmission of media for a future time slot. That allows you to plan ahead to have all parties online at the same time when transmission begins. Schedule Send lets you take advantage of better rates and better throughput times.

How are Media clips kept in the internal ClipMail file server system? Can you create "projects" to keep material organized?

All media, whether video and audio or video only/audio only, are kept on the system as files. As a ClipMail user, you work with "Clips" that are the discrete named media files and "Parcels" which are ready-to-send packages containing one or more clips under a given parcel name. Within the internal file system, parcels actually reside as record entries in a database that tracks all parcels. If you wish, you can group media clips into Parcels that represent projects you are working on. Parcels are stored in an In Box (mail received from another ClipMail), Out Box (mail you've sent) or Saved Box, allowing you to group media as you wish. Files from a Windows PC or Macintosh computer can also be included with a media parcel (using the Telestream supplied Network Controller software application). ClipMail Pro and ClipMail ProView both have an external SCSI connector, allowing you to expand storage using any Telestream approved SCSI drive (LVD ultra SCSI). System controls allow you to erase clips and parcels from all mailboxes and/or delete clips that aren't being used in any Parcels.

What compression method does ClipMail use?

ClipMail systems use the MPEG1 international standard (ISO/IEC 11172 and the MPEG2 international standard (ISO/IEC 13818).

What is the "compression ratio"?

MPEG compression is variable depending on program content so there is no fixed ratio that applies. It takes advantage of image parts that stay static between video frames to achieve dynamic compression ratios that vary from very little up to 300:1. Typically, compression ranges between 8:1 and 30:1. Keep in mind that the compression ratio represents the normal bit rate of 270 Mbps (bit rate for CCIR 601) compared to the actual bit rate after compression. With that said, the compression ratio at MPEG2 approval quality is about 50:1 and at master quality it's about 5:1 (270Mbs/50Mbs).

What does "MPEG" mean?

MPEG refers to the "Moving Picture Experts Group", working under the joint direction of the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electro-Technical Commission (IEC). This group works on standards for the coding of video, moving pictures, and associated audio.

Top of Page

What video and audio quality will I achieve?

You'll get whatever quality you select when the media is loaded into the ClipMail Pro system, from low-to-high bit-rate MPEG1 and MPEG2 approval-quality, consumer-quality (i.e., similar to VHS), digital broadcast quality, all the way to digital master/full production quality. Note: only ClipMail Pro systems** can load and encode media, although both ClipMail Pro and ClipMail ProView can view, forward and print to tape any quality of encoded media. Technically, the video is MPEG1 128 Kbps to 5 Mbps, SIF or QSIF; MPEG2 Main Level (ML) at Main Profile (MP) 4:2:0 (1-15 Mbps), and MPEG2 ML at 4:2:2 (1-50 Mbps), Constant Bit Rate or Variable Bit Rate (system default). Audio is MPEG layer 1 and 2 (support for Layer 3 and AC3 Dolby may be added at a future date), 64 kbps to 384 kbps, or Linear Pulse-Code-Modulation (PCM), 16 bit uncompressed.

When we encode MPEG2 clips and choose Telestream's MPEG2 format, do we have a choice between compressed or uncompressed audio?


Does that mean that the "standard" (compatible) MPEG1&2 formats only use compressed audio?


Is the standard MPEG2 format one file that contains both audio and video, similar to the MPEG1 format of system file (.mpg)?

The standard (we say "compatible") MPEG1 files are MPEG1 system streams. The compatible MPEG2 files are MPEG2 Program streams. Both may be video only, audio only or video and audio. These are selected from the Make New Clip screen where you select the type and quality of the clip, etc. The audio will be stereo layer 2 audio.

As I understand it, MPEG1 compressed files are: Audio only (file extension .abs), Video only (file extension.vbs), System file -- containing both Video and Audio (file extension .mpg), and Still Picture(file extension .msp). How does this compare to Telestream's MPEG1 and MPEG2 formats as well as the standard or compatible MPEG1 and MPEG2 formats?

All files created by the Telestream will have the extension of .mpg. This includes MPEG1 and MPEG2 in Telestream or compatible formats. At this point, all files are created as MPEG2 Program streams or MPEG1 System streams regardless if they are video only, audio only or both. Most players (decoders) have no problem with this as they just play back what is present.

Will ClipMail Pro input (digitize) or output an OMF compatible file (for use with an AVID system)?

ClipMail Pro and ClipExpress can be controlled by an Avid edit system in a "slave mode," taking baseband video and audio from the Avid and encoding it into MPEG1 or MPEG2. In order to produce Avid compatible files, ClipMail Pro or ClipExpress can submit media to a Telestream FlipFactory for transcoding into an Avid compatible format.

Top of Page

Is ClipMail a proprietary system?

No, ClipMail has an open system architecture. Almost every standard employed throughout ClipMail meets industry guidelines for inter-operability with other non-Telestream equipment. ClipMail follows technical standards from SMPTE, ITU, and EBU for video and audio, MPEG compression for transmission/compression, Internet protocol for data layering and transmission over networks, and differential SCSI for internal and external media storage. External control is possible via standard web browser (must be java-enabled), including Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

What sort of material is ClipMail good at sending?

Any video and/or audio, from low-to-high MPEG1 to MPEG2 approval quality to full digital master quality can be sent or received by ClipMail Pro. Types of media sent with ClipMail include: news segments, rushes, archival clips, commercials, promos, post production work, corporate training media, and animations. Attachments can include scripts, story boards, animations and other related file types. Filling the gap between sending media by delivery service or uplinking by satellite, ClipMail systems are the perfect answer for almost all media delivery needs.

Regarding MPEG audio coding, what are "Layers 1, 2 and 3"?

MPEG standards describe the compression of audio signals using high performance perceptual coding schemes. MPEG specifies a family of three audio coding schemes called Layer -1, -2, and -3. Each scheme has increasing encoder complexity and performance (sound quality per bitrate) from Layer 1 through 3. Each of the three codecs are compatible in a hierarchical way; a Layer-n decoder is able to decode bitstream data encoded in its layer and in all layers below it. For example, a Layer-2 decoder will understand layers 2 and 1, although a Layer-1 decoder will only accept Layer-1. Layer -2 as used in ClipMail Pro and ClipMail ProView is commonly used for high quality industrial applications (for example satellite DSS and CD audio).

What is ClipMail's audio input level?

Audio is calibrated to +4 input with 20dB of headroom.

Can ClipMail systems be used for audio alone?

Yes. You can send and receive video and audio, video-only, and audio-only clips. To ClipMail the files are all MPEG files containing the appropriate encoding for each media type. Anywhere you need CD-quality stereo audio transported, you can use a ClipMail system. Note: ClipMail ProView cannot load and encode audio, although like ClipMail Pro it can play, forward and print audio to tape. ClipMail supports stereo audio, but does not currently support multiple channel (4-6 channels) audio as defined in the MPEG2 specifications. You can send uncompressed audio with the choice of 2 or 4 channels, which is not MPEG compatible, using ClipMail.

Which network interfaces can I connect to?

Every ClipMail system** has standard built-in support for 10Base-T and 100Base-TX. Because of the 10/100Base-T port, you can adapt to almost any network interface in existence when used with the proper routers/gateways over your 10/100Base-T LAN.

**SPECIAL NOTE: References to ClipMail systems, originally meaning the ClipMail Pro with some feature distinctions regarding the ClipMail ProView systems, may also apply to ClipExpress. Telestream's new ClipExpress has the same basic capabilities as the ClipMail Pro, but with a more limited set of inputs & outputs and a more limited encoding/decoding range. The ClipExpress has RCA composite inputs & outputs and component outputs; encodes up to 8 Mbps and decodes up to 18 Mbps; and has an internal storage drive of 10.2 GB, with an option for a second 10.2 GB drive. There is no SCSI port for external storage extension on the ClipExpress. Where VTR control and Custom MPEG profiles are standard on the ClipMail Pro, they are options on the ClipExpress. Please see the product specification sheets for further technical distinctions.

What is the Telestream Website Username and Password to access the latest version of CM software and the Client Application?

UN: ts_cst
PW: flipmedia

What is the latest ClipMail software version?


Can I get my out of warranty appliance repaired and what is the cost?

We continue to offer repair on all models however there is no guarantee we can repair TFPA Pro I appliances due to age and the resulting limited parts availability. There is a minimum $750.00 evaluation/repair fee. However, the overall cost may be more depending on diagnosis. It is important to note that the minimum fee applies even if the appliance is not repairable. ClipMail Pro II and III are subject to the same minimum fee. However, we do warranty the repair. A minimum $500.00 evaluation/repair fee applies to ClipExpress appliances with a serial number of 1350 and higher. The same fee applies to all ClipExpress appliances with a serial number of 1349 and below. However, we are not able to guarantee the repair due to age and the resulting limited parts availability.

Can I still purchase an Extended Warranty for my ClipMail appliance?

We no longer offer Extended Warranties for any of the ClipMail appliances.

Top of Page