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Multi-Screen playback from computer, camera, dvd player for stage

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James Richards
Multi-Screen playback from computer, camera, dvd player for stage
on Dec 26, 2008 at 6:24:29 pm

Hello all,

I'm working on a theatre production that would like to have 3 to 5 monitors and a projector playing back during the performance from a variety of sources (digital media files, DVD player, and a live camera on stage). Ideally each source would be able to play on any number of the monitors / projector at any time. I also need audio to sync from the digital files and the camera on stage. They want the media to interact with the live performance.

I figured I'd have to have all the sources running into some type of switcher that would route the signals out to the monitors / projector. I'd also want to preview the feeds from the DVD player and the 'on-stage' video camera in the booth, which I believe could be done out of the source devices or out of the switcher, but I don't know which would be easier.

I am a producer on this project with a basic knowledge of audio - visual gear, however this set up is beyond my experience level. I don't know which "switcher" (if that is the equipment I need) has these capabilities. I've been reading around in this forum and thought that some of these VJ softwares might be a cheaper alternative. I'm working on the producing side of this production to see if and how this set up would be possible.

I know this is one of the best forums on the net and I had hopped I'd be able to get some pointers from this community.


James R
Film, Theater production

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Thomas Leong
Re: Multi-Screen playback from computer, camera, dvd player for stage
on Dec 30, 2008 at 7:50:43 pm


Tough job. What you probably require is a Matrix Switcher which can route any input to any output. Probably a 6x6 or 8x8 will be more than sufficient.

Check out Kramer's VP-66ETH offering at With the variety of sources that you have (each with its different cabling requirements), probably a RGBHV-type unit would be the most versatile, with BNC-terminated snake cable to match. And you would also need something like a Kramer VP-100A Computer-RGBHV converter for the computer source.

Extron also has its offerings. Excellent reliable stuff, with price to match.

For preview, before switching to the output, you should be able to use one or more of the unused/excess outputs connected to your monitor(s), before you switch to the required output. Alternatively, use additional 2-in,1-out push-button switcher(s) that will allow you to preview/cue before switching to the matrix unit.

Best advice is to hire a professional rental outfit who will provide all the necessary equipment, cabling, AND personnel to install, test, and operate it all for you leaving you free to do what you do best - producing and solving other problems that are sure to pop up.

best fo luck,
Thomas Leong

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Walter Soyka
Re: Multi-Screen playback from computer, camera, dvd player for stage
on Dec 30, 2008 at 9:06:45 pm

I'd look into renting a switcher like a Barco Encore or a Vista Spyder. Not cheap, but purpose-built for switching to multiple destinations as you are looking to do.

If that's too expensive, check out a matrix switcher as Thomas has suggested -- but you will be doing cuts only.

How do you intend to play back the digital media files?

Walter Soyka, Principal
Keen Live, Inc.
Presentation, Motion Graphics & Widescreen Design
RenderBreak: A Blog on Innovation in Production

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