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Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer

COW Forums : Live & Stage Events

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Nils HooverAlternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 16, 2011 at 4:54:13 pm

I am looking for a program similar to Wings Platnum or Proshow Producer. I would prefer something with an interface closer to Wings in the sense that it is designed for professionals and not just an easy wizard sort of software.

I am trying to run a preshow for a theater. I have researched many options, and software like this I think would be my best option.

My needs are (maybe?) simple:
- Timeline interface

- Live video/audio and slide images playback

- looping on the timeline - not clip looping, but timeline looping. Once the sequence finishes it starts over

- image sequence support - not essential, but it would be lovely if I could organize images in a group, paste that group multiple places on a timeline.


Wingspro pretty much does all of this, but the price is a little steep considering this is all I would like to do (especially the first 3).

Additionally, where do you buy the software? I may just go for wings platinum if I can't find any thing else good, but I am having a hard time finding a place to buy the wings platinum software in USD.

Any suggestions to this would be welcome, thanks.


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Thomas LeongRe: Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 17, 2011 at 1:41:10 am

Hello Nils,

As you probably would know, Wings has various version one of which should suit your needs and if networking with other display computers is not required - Starter, Advanced, Pro, etc. The Pro version can do 2 screens max and cannot network with other display computers to increase this number. The demo version can be switched over to each version to test out one's requirements (via ? > About Wings > Wings Platinum Licence). These versions are far cheaper than the Multi-display version. Stumpfl's website should have the contact numbers for the US distributor. If you still have a problem, let me know and I'll put you in touch with the Singapore Asia-Pacific distributor.

Off-hand, I can't recall similar alternatives at a better price. Maybe someone else can.

Thomas Leong



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Nils HooverRe: Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 17, 2011 at 1:58:53 am

Yeah, thanks, I should have been more clear. I looked at the other versions, and I the cheapest option would meet my needs just fine, but it is still around $400 when I wouldn't be using any of the advanced options really. I have looked at Queuing programs, some of which are cheaper (or free) but the fact that they aren't really timeline based makes them a little more awkward to use for a linear, non interactive show, like mine.


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Thomas LeongRe: Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 19, 2011 at 1:27:50 pm

Hello Nils,

Apologies, been away to China for a week working outdoors, and heavy drink sessions after followed by early mornings :)

Question to your stated requirements:
1. Why do you need a timeline-based software?
2. Are your files a mixture of still pix/graphics and video? Could this mix be finished in a video editing program, output to a single video file, then looped by a non-timeline-based software?

Thomas



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Nils HooverRe: Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 19, 2011 at 4:11:14 pm

I work at a (relatively small) 5 screen independent theater. We show old short films and ads in-between them. A timeline based system just works best for working with video, images and music (music goes with the ads).
I am just trying to decrease the complexity and time it takes to replace an advertisement or a short film, so that I can keep the short films fresh, and so when new advertisers come on, it is easy to update the ads (and we have at least one ad which changes weekly).

Really the main reason I don't want to render it out has to do with the time it takes to render. Rendering out an HD 30 minute file, which has video files using all types of formats (I grab the shorts from the web), the rendering just ends up taking a lot of time.

The one nice thing about the ProShow Producer is if I have to render, I can make an EXE which doesn't render out the images (plays them as a slideshow), but only the videos, so that cuts the render time way down.


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Thomas LeongRe: Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 19, 2011 at 4:58:19 pm

Now that we know the 'why', perhaps digital signage type software may be a suitable alternative to your needs. One freeware (with limitations) that I know of is 'Digital Recall' - http://www.digitalrecall.com.au/Digital/default.asp - which is capable of looping, add/delete files you do not require, then update the player.

If I can think of other, I'll let you know.

Thomas



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Nils HooverRe: Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 19, 2011 at 6:30:22 pm

First of all thank you for all of your help, I appreciate the time you have put into responding to this.

This is definitely a route I researched some, but in the end for my needs would be more costly as I would need to setup a computer with every projector, and maybe a little bit more time consuming to be as flexible as I would like it to be (in that I have create the media in one place, and then bring it into another to organize).

Let me go back a little bit.
Here is my plan right now:

One computer/server -> VGA Splitter/Distributed amplifier w/audio -> 5 individual Projectors.

The shorts/ads are on a loop, ad projectors get turned on between shows, off when the movie starts.

Have basically 2 ad sections but many shorts, so show goes something like this: short_1 - ad_1 - short_2 - ad_2 - short_3 - ad_1 - short_4 - ad_2 - etc.

My bosses want music during the ads, and want different music so it doesn't get annoying, so although the images are the same on each ad sequence, the music has to be different mostly through out the entire loop.

On top of that there is at least one ad that gets changed weekly, which is a large reason I don't want to use NLE software, having one huge file to render out each week becomes a bit of a chore.

Any way, I am beginning to realize that there may not be any perfect solution for me, especially when cost is an issue, but I am sure I can get something to work for me fine.


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Thomas LeongRe: Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 20, 2011 at 6:40:23 am

I can understand your concerns re budget limits. Perhaps you should present a new budget plan to your financial backers.

best of luck,
Thomas



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Walter SoykaRe: Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 21, 2011 at 3:16:57 pm

[Nils Hoover] "I work at a (relatively small) 5 screen independent theater. We show old short films and ads in-between them. A timeline based system just works best for working with video, images and music (music goes with the ads)."

You might still be able to do what you need here with a cue-based system. Which systems have you looked at?

Thomas's digital signage system suggestion is well worth consideration, too.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Nils HooverRe: Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 21, 2011 at 5:40:56 pm

I have actually tried out several queuing systems, and I often run into problems around the slideshows w/ music and/or video, but I will give them another look. I have tried SCS 10, A weird program called Screen Monkey, looked at tutorials of Q-Lab (haven't tried it, don't have a mac, but it could still be an option), A free program called Multiplay, and probably some others. Do you have any suggestions of ones which have good video/image support?


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Thomas LeongRe: Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 22, 2011 at 5:28:29 am

If your main problem is mixing stills/video with music, have a look at Muvee - http://www.muvee.com/en/products/reveal which costs less than US$80. This may free you from limiting yourself to timeline-based applications.

Thomas



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Thomas LeongRe: Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 22, 2011 at 6:23:13 am

Here's a (free) idea. Use Wings Platinum 4 Basic, the free version of Wings to create/sync your stills + video + music AND send to the distribution amp for the 5 projectors/5 screens.

Although Wings Basic will only allow 1 Track each of Video, Picture and Audio, you can still fade out/fade in between timeline objects on the same track using the ramp band, or between picture track and video track. This way, you can make changes weekly as you wish.

For fullscreen Presentation, use a dual-head graphics card PC -
1. The Primary monitor will contain your Wings timeline;
2. Drag the Preview Screen Window to the second monitor, and double-click to make it 'fill' the monitor - depends on your screen format ration, etc.
2. F5 to present in fullscreen on that second monitor.
3. Connect that monitor's output or the second output from the graphics card to your distribution amp to feed the 5 projectors.

And it's all for free. Register the Basic version with AvStumpfl in order to use more than 15 times.

Thomas

Edit: Forget it. I forgot the fact that the Basic version does not allow Timeline Marker tracks for you to loop the timeline. For this you will need the Starter (paid) version.

However, you can still use the free Basic version to create a video file (with music) for use in other non-timeline based applications.


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Stewart BourkeRe: Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 27, 2011 at 6:17:27 pm

Nils,

Have you had a look at blufftitler? It has realtime playback, support for audio and video, and you can drive show content from an external XML file. Don't let its price tag or first-looks put you off - it is a great piece of software.

I use it with 2 x matrox triple-heads.


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Nils HooverRe: Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 28, 2011 at 2:44:27 am

Thanks, I will check that out. I may end up using a cheapo easy Non Linear Editing program called Loilo Scope 2, it is actually has a pretty neat interface, and would work really well while keeping functionality for people who don't really know how to edit. Any way, the timeline loops and goes fullscreen, so I think I can just use that and do everything I wanted to do!

Thanks every one for all their help.


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Nils HooverRe: Alternatives to Wings Platnum/Proshow Producer
by on Dec 28, 2011 at 2:48:44 am

I am just replying to my self because I don't know how to edit the original post. I think I found a solution, I am going to use a NLE software after all, something called Loilo Scope 2. Has looping, works well with images and lots of video formats, enters full screen, and I can even render things out when I need to. Not really designed for live presentations but it seems like it will work well for it. I will update this if there are any problems with it.


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