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how to create a 4 screen filmprojection

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Sebastiaan Lamberts
how to create a 4 screen filmprojection
on Jul 3, 2008 at 1:54:08 am

VIDEO INSTALLATION

I have a technical question. For my graduation for the School of Fine Arts I have come up with a idea to build a surround videowall. (here



is the link to a short presentation of the idea...its a rough draw of the final state)) 4 screens that are set up in a square, projected with beamers from the outside so the audience can stay in the box and is surrounded by 4 walls of film. BUT...the problem is:

- How do i edit this project. I want to have the option that all the walls contain filmimages, every wall its own image but also all the walls together one image. Like you are surrounded by e.g. a landscape. In Premiere I can set up 4 different compositions but this is not quite accurate. Or make one wide composition and cut it up in 4 pieces. I also want to have the film move from one sreen to another. Does anyone has had some experience with this?

- Also the 4 screens have to be synchronized somewhat. By using 4 dvd-players and 4 people who push the play button at the same time it's possible. But maybe there are some other options?

I hope my description is clear enough! :D

Grtz,
Sebastiaan


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Thomas Leong
Re: how to create a 4 screen filmprojection
on Jul 3, 2008 at 6:15:01 am

Have a look at -

Windows solutions -
1. Dataton Watchout at http://www.dataton.com (commercial)
2. AvStumpfl Wings Platinum at http://www.avstumpfl.com (commercial)
3. Syncmaker Pro at http://www.syncmaker.com (shareware)
4. http://www.vvvv.org (free for non-commercial use)

Mac solutions -
1. Provideo Presenter at http://www.renewedvision.com (commercial)
2. Multiscreener at http://www.zachpoff.com (freeware)

Cross-platform -
1. Max/MSP/Jitter at http://www.cycling74.com/products/mmjoverview (commercial)

Most of the above operate based on a Master PC/Mac controlling Slave/Display PCs/Macs via a timeline or playlist. So if you intend to have 4 beamers, that would need 4 Slaves/Display PC/Macs controlled by one Master. That makes 5 nodes. Each node needs a licence and a computer with a reasonable mid- to upper-end 3rd party graphics card (ATI or Nvidia).

You produce your source on Adobe's After Effects, output 4 videos as pre-splits from AE, bring the 4 results into the Master, assign from within the Master the 4 results to whichever Slave/Display is attached to the respective beamer, attach beamer to graphics card output of the Slave/Display, and play your Master timeline/playlist. The Master will instruct the Slaves/Displays to play accordingly and remain in sync.

The commercial solutions are frame accurate. The shareware and freeware stuff may be out by a frame or two, here and there.

Thomas Leong





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Sebastiaan Lamberts
Re: how to create a 4 screen filmprojection
on Jul 3, 2008 at 9:48:32 am

Ok thanks!! I will check it out.

For the editing part I still got some questions left. As im just startin to learn my way around After Effects CS3.

What do you mean by pre-splits?

I want e.g. to have text float around the four screens, from one to another, but with one background image that covers all the 4 screens.


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Thomas Leong
Re: how to create a 4 screen filmprojection
on Jul 3, 2008 at 10:52:33 am

Pre-split means splitting the output of your AE Master composition into the 4 screen sections accordingly by cropping the composition in your Output Module.

Example -
In AE, your comp may be 4096 wide x 768 high (4 screens of 1024x768). With a comp of this size, you can span and/or move your media elements across the 4 sections (text, video, stills), and create a background that covers all 4096x768, etc.

When satisfied and ready to output, you would Composition > Make Movie. Then in the Output Module Settings dialog popup, you enable CROP and specify your LEFT and RIGHT pixels for each screen, one output a time (yea, render 4 times out or setup the Render Cue to render out 4 crops...think this possible, try a small section first). This is pre-splitting.

You will have other problems/decisions to make depending on the solution you choose and what type of media files play best with that chosen solution (Watchout or Wings Platinum or ???, etc). For example, Watchout accepts Quicktime MOV files quite well, but Wings Platinum is not so agreeable with Quicktime files. Generally, MPEG-2 is the least painless as long as your per screen resolution is agreeable with MPEG-2 requirements (i.e. perfectly divisible by 16, and width no greater than 1920 pixels per screen area).

Additionally, After Effects is a beast to sync to audio so it is advisable to do short sync segments in AE, but the overall audio and final sync points for the presentation, which could be 5 - 10mins, to be synced using the chosen solution.

Multi-screen presentations are very challenging. IMO, you have to be a Master of some things and a Jack-of-all-trades from script to screen if you are doing it alone.

best of luck!
Thomas Leong




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Sebastiaan Lamberts
Re: how to create a 4 screen filmprojection
on Jul 3, 2008 at 3:19:28 pm

Thanks a lot!
Greatly appreciated...i'll go and figure it out!

Sebastiaan Lamberts



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Paul Hawkridge
Re: how to create a 4 screen filmprojection
on Jul 10, 2008 at 10:49:51 am

Hi sebastian,

I recently completed a similar project for my final university piece, it was a 3 screen entertainment piece but revolves around the same concept and details different options and how I acheived the multi screen sync. I used AVStumpFL's wings by the way.

If you would like me to send you my dissertation for the project I would be happy to, it may of use to you at some stage. It details everything I did from planning and shooting upwards.

Thomas who posted above actually helped me a lot with my project and I would advise listening to him. Multidisplays is a very confusing arena to enter at first, I knew nothing about it when i started.

Paul



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Nicholas Rivero
Re: how to create a 4 screen filmprojection
on Jul 13, 2008 at 4:56:09 am

You can also check out Renewed Vision's ProVideo Player. While it might not have as many features such as DMX control or timecode support, it is very easy to setup and configure. The software has Master and Slave/Node versions. You tell one to be the master and then the rest follow that master. You have one computer per display device, IE projector, plasma, monitor, etc, and then connect all the machines via ethernet cable. The Master computer connects to each one allowing you to either build a self contained-automated show or a remotely-user controllable show. You either split up your content as you mentioned before hand and load each custom created piece to that computer or you can load one large piece of content and let this software break it up for you. You can load still images and videos, both in the same playlist. Check it out and a free demo of it at http://www.renewedvision.com

//nick


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Frank Peeters
Re: how to create a 4 screen filmprojection
on Jul 14, 2008 at 4:45:28 pm

Hi Paul,

Is there a way I could obtain that dissertation?

Greets,
Frank



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Sebastiaan Lamberts
Re: how to create a 4 screen filmprojection
on Jul 14, 2008 at 5:19:45 pm

Paul,

Yes, I would like to see your dissertation! Might be helpful indeed..do you have it online?

greetz,
Sebastiaan



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Paul Hawkridge
Re: how to create a 4 screen filmprojection
on Jul 15, 2008 at 9:24:01 am

Hi guys,

If you'd both like to give me your email addresses I'll send you a PDF of the dissertation.

Frank, what is it that you do/want it for? Just out of curiosity really.

Paul



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Sebastiaan Lamberts
Re: how to create a 4 screen filmprojection
on Jul 15, 2008 at 12:27:17 pm

Hi Paul,
Thanks...my address is SebastiaanLamberts@gmail.com

Looking forward to!!

Sebastiaan



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Jerry Thompson
Re: how to create a 4 screen filmprojection
on Feb 18, 2009 at 1:56:59 pm

Wow. This is exactly what I'm looking for. I am currently creating a similar project for a final assessment at the University of Wales, Newport. The multi-screen projection program is exactly what I've been looking for. I just have one more question that you guys might be able to help me on. I'm adding an interactive element to my 5 projector installation. We will be using 2 sensors that will trigger 2 separate endings, the users choose. Is there anyway the multi-screen projection software can wire into Max/Msp. Any useful hints or ideas on how this can be coded?

Thanks alot, this post has already been of great help.

Jerry Thompson



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Thomas Leong
Re: how to create a 4 screen filmprojection
on Feb 19, 2009 at 7:25:46 am

Two sensors triggering a different ending each, raises the following questions-

1. How is each sensor triggered? - via audience movement, or passing a laser barrier, or push buttons, or ??? To be able to trigger 2 different endings, it would seem that your show would have to branch to one of two different files or timelines. But more importantly, each trigger must send a different signal, else Max/Msp would not know which to trigger. Generally, I would think that hard industrial buttons are easier and more decisive for this - audience to push the button they want - to ensure the correct signal is being sent. This is the only 'interactive' part I presume.

2. Depends on Max/Msp being able to accept triggers - usually via RS232 into the PC runnng Max/Msp. Other acceptable ways of triggering are using DMX and Midi but I would think that RS232 is the most common especially since most PC motherboards have an RS232 built in. Most, but not all.

I'm not familiar with Max/Msp, but with my AvStumpfl Wings, I would 'Pause' my Timeline at the appropriate moment in the show with a prompt to the audience to select a button, then wait for a 'Play' signal via RS232. Then program one button to send an RS232 signal that would 'Play Timeline 1 from Marker 1', and the other button to send an RS232 signal that would 'Play Timeline 1 from Marker 2', in order to trigger the required ending.

As a safety feature, I would have the non-activated button disabled for the X amount of minutes + a safe 10 seconds when the other is activated (or both buttons de-activated to be ultra safe) in case children start pushing this and that whilst one ending is playing.

Another safety feature to think about is to activate the buttons for selection only at the appropriate moment. I mean one would not want anyone to push a button and have the show stop its play mid-way and jump to the selected ending at an inappropriate time!

Thomas Leong



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