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Multiple plasma video playback

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Gene Jones
Multiple plasma video playback
on Jul 15, 2007 at 12:36:23 am

Hello,
I am at a loss as how to achieve this. I need to play back on 6 plasma one video. The video will at times show a landscape over all six plasmas, and at times show an interview on just one while the others are black. At times it will alternate one interviewee on plasma 1, that will then switch to a new one on plasma 2, and so on. At times the three plasmas on the right will show one sequence of b-roll, while the three on the right show another. I think you get the jist. The length will be less than 10 minutes and it needs to loop. Has anybody done this, and if so, what kind of hardware did you use?

Gene


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ThomasLeong
Re: Multiple plasma video playback
on Jul 15, 2007 at 5:21:59 am

Done with hardware only this would be pretty expensive since there are 6 displays (screens/outputs/whateverucallit).

IMO, cheaper, though still involving some few $thousand, would be software-based such as AvStumpfl's Wings Platinum, or Dataton's Watchout, both Windows-based products. I believe Macs also have one called ProVideoPlayer from Renewed Vision (google for 'ProPresenter' a sister product). Or you can rent/sub-contract out the project.

All of these operate based on a Master PC controlling multiple Slaves via TCP/IP.

Thomas Leong
http://www.multidisplays.freeforums.org



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mmfarms
Re: Multiple plasma video playback
on Jul 16, 2007 at 2:44:05 pm

We've been using AVStumpfl's Wings for several years running a 9 monitor wall. Playback is on 512mg flash cards... it's been working very well.



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The Matt Hall
Re: Multiple plasma video playback
on Jul 19, 2007 at 1:40:12 pm

I'm also looking at doing something similar. Right now, we are planning on using synched dvd players, like we have done before, because they would be cheaper than a watchout set up. How does the cost of wings compare to watchout? I assume you still need one pc per display?

thanks

Also Gene - I did a piece for the cow magazine a few issues ago that describes how to set up a multiscreen project in after effects. That may be helpful.


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mmfarms
Re: Multiple plasma video playback
on Jul 19, 2007 at 2:12:23 pm

Actually, the system we have installed runs on flash cards, one AVStumpfl flash card drive/monitor. Then there's a master card reader that runs the audio & syncs everything together through cat5. The Wings program is very versatile and allows for just about all configurations of the monitors, from an individual video in each screen to 2x2's to the full 9 monitors.


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The Matt Hall
Re: Multiple plasma video playback
on Jul 19, 2007 at 2:17:45 pm

This is sounding very interesting. Just to make sure I understand - can I can run 9 synched sources going to 9 screens off of flashcards being controlled by Wings? How many PCs are needed to make this happen? Thanks so much for the info.


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ThomasLeong
Re: Multiple plasma video playback
on Jul 19, 2007 at 3:12:30 pm

Yes, you can run 9 sources synced to 9 outputs and run these off flash cards. But to dispel any confusion, I'd like to clear the air.

What mmfarms has is the playback installation. At a good gues, the Master unit is an SC Master that plays MP3 audio files, starts and controls multiple shows, etc...all preloaded onto a compact flash card. It is linked to SC Video Players (single unit or dual unit) via RS-232 in CAT5 form. The sync between all the SC Video Players come from Wings Platinum itself, which timeline and other instructions for the sync, is transferred to the compact flash of the SC Master unit. Hope that is clear. mmfarms only has the playback system, not the programming system. Call this a Delivery System, ideally suitable for permanent installs since there are no moving parts like spinning hard disks, etc. Lasts more than a lifetime.

The programming system of Wings is much like Dataton's Watchout, in a nutshell, Master/Programming PC controlling multiple Slaves/Displays via TCP/IP.

However, unlike Watchout, amongst other things, the Wings Master can also be a Slave/Display unit, effectively, one licence/one PC less for a basic setup. With a dual monitor setup, you can designate Mon 2 to be one of the fullscreen displays of your show whilst the timeline remains on Mon 1. This works during programming, previews, and actual playback at site.

Watchout also does not need the Programming PC present at site for playback. It does it via its 'Cluster' feature wherein the first Display PC controls the rest of the Display PCs during playback. However, during programming and previews, the Programming PC must be present.

Additionally, for Wings, after programming (approval of show, etc), if you do not use the SC Master/SC Video Players combo to playback, but want to use the PCs instead, you could via Wings' multihead mode feature, designate and use the dual output of today's graphics cards to output to 2 plasmas/beamers per PC, i.e. 2 discrete videos per PC. This effectively almost halves the number of licences and PCs required, eg. 4 PCs and 4 licences fitted with dual head gfx cards can output to 8 plasmas. For 9, you would use 5 PCs/licences, and the 10th output can be used to see your timeline whilst the show plays. Saves quite a bit of $$. The danger here is that dual output puts a bit of a processing strain on both the gfx card and the PC, so playing multiple tracks/layers is a bit dicey. However, todays' PCs can process 2 tracks/layers safely and without any worries, especially if you use RAID 0 for your Data....which is what I have done a number of times given my limited resources (read $$$).

Hope the above is not too confusing.
Thomas Leong
http://multidisplays.freeforums.org



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The Matt Hall
Re: Multiple plasma video playback
on Jul 19, 2007 at 3:22:15 pm

Hi Thomas-

Thanks for the great information. Sounds like I could do the programming of the show on my pc at home, then off load to it the SC master which controls 5 dual flashcard players. Do you know if you can set up an automatic start-up, i.e just power it on and the whole show starts its loop?

Also. do you have any idea what the SC master and flashcard players cost? I'm wondering if they are cheaper than getting pcs.


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ThomasLeong
Re: Multiple plasma video playback
on Jul 19, 2007 at 4:05:08 pm

Sounds like I could do the programming of the show on my pc at home, then off load to it the SC master which controls 5 dual flashcard players. Do you know if you can set up an automatic start-up, i.e just power it on and the whole show starts its loop?

Also. do you have any idea what the SC master and flashcard players cost? I'm wondering if they are cheaper than getting pcs.

Hi Matt,

Yes, you could do the programming on your pc at home, and you can do that with the Demo version of Wings 3 (Multidisplay version). Call it offline work, during which you get a reasonably quality display/preview of your show in a pop-up window. (BTW, the same goes for Dataton's Watchout). To offload, I think you need the licenced dongle in order to 'talk' to the compact flash card. Alternatively, you could take your show and data on a portable hd to someone near you who owns Wings, and hire him and his licences to offload.

Auto startup and loop-play is built into SC Master and the SC Video Player units. It is as simple as power up, and power down at end of day. That's all.

Price varies between dealers and countries 'cos of shipping, duties, and cost of living differences, etc. so I dare not even venture a guess. Sorry. Suggest you contact your local distributor for a quote. The list of distributors, etc can be obtained from stumpfl.com.

IMO, if it is one-off job, and a permanent install at that, then the hardware way is the way to go. But if you think or intend to do more than one show, and the current project is not a permanent install, then you can, eventually, earn more by going the PC way since you can re-use/program other shows. Be aware that quality-wise, the SC Master-SC Video way can only playback MPEG-2 videos whereas the PC way can output XGA and higher if the plasma/beamer has such resolution as native.

Thomas



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The Matt Hall
Re: Multiple plasma video playback
on Jul 19, 2007 at 4:13:37 pm

Great. Sound like a terrific solution. This is going to be installed in museums for a few months at a time, so ease of use and reliability is critical. I've used Watchout quite a bit, and I love it, but it's just too expensive for this project. I wrote to the Wings dealer here in the US and hopefully they'll get back to me soon. Thanks again for all your help.

Matt


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mmfarms
Re: Multiple plasma video playback
on Jul 19, 2007 at 4:27:58 pm

Try Franklin Moore - franklin@avstumpflusa.com.

Tell him Clare said hi.


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nicholasrivero
Re: Multiple plasma video playback
on Oct 31, 2007 at 3:29:30 pm

Hey there,
I have been doing just this for some tradeshows that our company has been doing lately.
We have 5 Panasonic 42" Plasmas each with a MacMini strapped to the back of them running Renewed Visions ProVideo player. They are networked together via an airport extreme and sit across a 20'x30' floor space.
Each display plays 45 sec informational pieces for aprox 3 mins and then all displays play a video of some sort that is in sync across all 5 displays simultaneously.
We bought our MacMinis off of the shelf about a month ago. They are just the Core2 2.0 ghz/1 gig ram. They were $800/mac and the software was $500/copy.
We encoded all of our content using Compressor's "HD-DVD" settings, basically. It is a 1280x720 frame at 10.3 mbps. It plays great and looks fine because we are go ing DVI into the displays.
Hope this helps!


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