PhotoEntry will continue to be fully supported during the Coronavirus crisis. At the moment there are a lot of demands on my time, but I will try to give you some ideas that may be useful during the difficult period. I will also outline some enhancements that I will get done as soon as time allows.
Version 34.0 of PhotoEntry has now been released. This provides Viewings that replace Judge Previews, allowing notes from multiple judges and all of your users (configurable). Scores and voting will also be added in a subsequent release.
Last updated: 19 May 2020 @07:30
These enhancements have been released to help with running Competitions remotely:
- Judge Preview notes maximum length has been increased from 250 to 600 characters.
- Judge Previews now have a setting for the Notes. Enabled is as before, and this has been set for all existing Previews. Readonly can be used after a judge has make notes. It is then safe to send the Preview link to other members as they will be able to see but not modify the notes. Disabled removes notes altogether. Note that if you send a Preview link out to members there is no way to stop the Images being saved locally, and if a member forwards or posts the preview link the images will be available to anyone who has that link.
- The grey border around Judge Preview images is now selectable from 4 colours. This allows you to choose the best background for the current image.
- Clicking on a Judge Preview image will now zoom the image. Zoomed Images will fit within the browser window, maintaining the aspect ratio. An Image will only ever be down-scaled; if the browser window is larger than the Image it will show with the selected background colour. Clicking anywhere on a zoomed Image screen reverts to the normal screen.
- There is an additional option on the Judge Preview to display the User's name. This may be useful for distributing a preview that has been judged to your own users. Just don't set it when sending to an external judge!
Enhancements Under Consideration
A number of clubs have sent me ideas about public judging. Needless to say no two were even remotely the same, and some contained several options. I'm trying to find a flexible way of satisfying as many of these as possible.
These are being considered, probably in this order. They are not finalised and I will give them more detailed consideration as I get to them. They require a substantial change to the Preview mechanism. I will probably leave the existing Previews as they are, and introduce a new more comprehensive feature called a Viewing.
- Create a single Viewing from a Competition. That creates the image files, and allows addition of one or more external judges (with or without Notes). Judges would also be able to enter scores. You could then elect to import the judge's scores and comments into the permanent record.
- A Viewing could be opened for internal users (without or without having been opened to a judge). Optionally User's could be allowed to enter scores or votes. There would be some mechanism to view these results and export them as a csv.
- An additional option on the Entry Report generator would include the judge's comments (and it would be sensible to enable thumbnails as well).
Other Considerations and Tips
Some clubs are sending the Judge Preview to the judge, and then having the actual judging take place using, for example, Zoom videoconferencing. The judge brings up the Preview, shares his/her screen, and talks through the judging similar to normal. The Competition Secretary enters the scores into PhotoEntry as they are announced (and the judge could also enter them into the notes field). And of course the normal Entry Report emails can be generated at the end.
This seems to have been very successful. You would need to decide how to handle held-back images - a number of ways are possible.
Please let me know if you have success or otherwise doing this, and the videoconferencing software that you used. I'll share those here.
Information received from clubs (not tested by PhotoEntry):
- A variation of this has been tested but not yet used for a real competition. The judge gets the preview in advance. The Competition Secretary runs Di Centra or FFP as normal but over a videoconference on Teams with the judge providing commentary. The judge still has the high resolution images to look at to counter video degradation on the videoconference.
- We are using GoTo Meeting web conferencing. Members add their images to PE in the usual way and we run DiCentra by sharing a host screen. To all intents and purposes it works like a normal Meeting, except Members log on via GoTo Meeting to view images (DPI only of course). Logmein, who own the software are offering a 3 month free Covid-10 Emergency Workers Kit to any organisation that is non-profit, and/or has charitable status (e qualify as part of a larger Village Club). It's worth a look. Its only about £13 a month in any case, billable monthly, if particular clubs do not qualify.
Some clubs are interested in having members vote for or give scores for entries, rather than having a dedicated judge. If you are interested in this please have a think about how you would want it to work and get in touch.
I'm collating responses at the moment and when I get a chance I will see if there is any commonality between what various clubs have suggested. Please keep the suggestions coming in, and forgive me if I don't respond individually.
Publishing Judge Preview Links (updated following enhancements)
The Judge Preview feature is designed to give acecss to one judge per preview. The judge gets to see anonymous correct resolution (potentially after resizing) images, stripped of identifying metadata. He/she can also makes notes.
You can subsequently send the preview link to your club members so they can view the images and comments themselves, BUT before doing so please ensure you can accept the following caveats:
- The preview contains full-sized images, not thumbnails. There is no way to stop those images being copied merely by saving them from a browser.
- Your members could forward the preview links, allowing others access.
- Ensure you set the Preview Notes status to Readonly before sending out to members. Or if you forget, do it immediately (no need to reissue the Preview).
- The preview has an expiry date (set when you create it), and will automatically be deleted after that date.
- There is a new option to display the User's name along with the title.
As mentioned above, we are looking at an enhancement that could include judge notes in the Entry Reports that are emailed. These would never contain full sized images however, only thumbnails if you enable them.
Sharing Access to Entries for External Competition Selection, etc
This is useful in normal circumstances, although especially so at the moment. If you wish some members of your club to view complete sets of images, but you don't need them to have full administrative access, try the following:
- Create a "dummy" Competition to hold the Entries you wish them to view. It's probably best (but not essential) to keep it within the same Competition Group. Set the Competition to be inactive, and its state to Open. It will not be visible to anyone without administrative rights to that Competition.
- On the Actions tab, click Import Entries From Other Competitions. You will now be able to select the Competitions that you want Entries to be imported from, optionally filtering by score. Importing is a fast operation as it doesn't make further copies of the Image files themselves.
- If uou have warnings about Users having a certain number of Entries in a Class, it is because the import resulted in more Entries than would be normally allowed. Either ignore them, or on the Number tab set the Max Entries values appropriately and the warnings will disappear.
- On the General tab near the bottom, select who you would like to delegate access to and an optional expiry date. You may select up to 2 non-administrators.
- When those people go into the Competition Group, they will see that Competition with a running-man icon beside indicating they are able to "run" the Competition. That will allow them to do limited administration, without changing the underlying parameters. They can even delete Entries if they wish to trim down the list.
- Two people could share such a Competition, or you could create separate ones for different people.
- At any stage you can safely delete the dummy Competition without affecting the original Entries.