FORUMS: list search recent posts

Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card

COW Forums : Live & Stage Events

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Scott Bush
Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 5, 2009 at 2:52:36 am

Please advise if this is the wrong place to ask this or if a better forum may yield more results but...

In March we have our annual client presentation where we show all of the work for the year, globally (TV commercials). Of course this year we need to cut huge financial corners yet put on a better show ;)

Anyway we have traditionally used a Stradis MPEG-2 decoder card with a Windows PC playing out to a rear projector (one of a few, they are all about 4 or 5 years old, do not have model numbers handy). The vast majority of the material is archived in MPEG2 at 12Mbit/sec 4:2:0, SD. The issue is PAL/NTSC. The cards we have are required to be set before you begin playback, and it is not something that will be possible during the show. In the past we had enough money to simply have the PAL material converted to NTSC for the show at a post facility. This year we do not have the money to have it done or the resources to do it in-house.

What I'm looking for is a new MPEG decoder that can switch NTSC/PAL on the fly, preferably with as little visible "cue" as possible. That, of course, can be worked around, but does such a card exist? I only need to do SD, although Would we perhaps be better off using a media PC thus skirting the entire issue?

Thanks,
Scott


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 5, 2009 at 8:44:10 pm

Hi Scott,

If your projectors will accept a VGA input, you could play back from a standard modern PC or Mac with an MPEG2 software codec installed and dodge the format issue entirely.

I always recommend a live backup for computer-based playback, so that just in case your playback system crashes while it's live, you've got a second source to switch to.



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



Return to posts index

Dale Doebert
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 6, 2009 at 2:59:51 pm

Maybe a product like a Grass Valley Turbo. You could load the files on the box and let them it convert for you.

Much easier playback and user functions then a PC.

Not entirely sure what it would do to PAL but I'm sure it could convert it.

Dale Doebert
dale@tiltmedia.com
Video and Event Producer
Tilt Media Inc.


Return to posts index


Scott Bush
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 6, 2009 at 3:48:51 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. Dale, problem with your solution is that we don't want to convert. We need the quality to stay PERFECT (very picky client - with a very good eye!). When we've had the PAL stuff done in the past, we have had to order DigiBeta masters first, then make the NTSC MPEGs from that. So converting MPEG-2 to anything except uncompressed or lossless (not practical for obvious reasons) would be unacceptable.

I need to be able to play they without converting - is there such a card that can switch standards seamlessly? Or would a computer be my best bet? If I use a computer, though, I guess I'd need a second monitor to control it? They do NOT want to see someone operating windows - they want a clean screen with commercials only. Any distractions like glitches or someone working a mouse would not be ok.

I'm waiting for a call back from Stradis to see if they have something.

Thank again for all suggestions.

Scott



Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 6, 2009 at 5:58:40 pm

The Turbo is a great suggestion -- it's a PC-based DDR that uses MPEG2 internally anyway. It has a separate interface for the operator. You might want to check in with a local staging company, as they would be able to give you guidance on the multi-format issue.

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



Return to posts index

Scott Bush
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 6, 2009 at 6:31:49 pm

I admit I didn't do a ton of research but from what I see that Grass Valley box costs near $10,000. Is that accurate? If so, that is way over budget. We're looking for something in the $2000 or less range. Honestly we'd go straight from a PC via VGA first.

I know this is quite a request - believe me I know first hand :) Thanks for all the input!

Scott



Return to posts index


Walter Soyka
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 7, 2009 at 9:07:13 pm

Hi Scott,

The Turbo does list at $10k, but if this is an event (rather than something ongoing), you can rent one well within your budget from a staging company for the occasion.

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



Return to posts index

Scott Bush
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 8, 2009 at 7:47:47 pm

Walter, thanks,

I will look into that, but I know they'd rather have something we can use in the future. Besides that, it looks like non-video-pros will be operating this stuff, so the more simple I can keep it the better (I will be busy editing and not able to help with the actual show - only prep).

Still worth looking at, though. Thanks.

Scott



Return to posts index

Thomas Leong
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 8, 2009 at 10:09:39 am

Here's my 2 cents -

A clean XP PC loaded with AvStumpfl Wings Platinum, fitted with a mid-range dual head graphics card, and connect one output to a monitor and the other to your projector. Set the graphics card outputs to span the monitors rather than clone mode. Load up Wings, and drag its Timeline to the monitor output, and the Preview Window to the Projector output. Double-click on the Preview Window and it becomes full-screen (no windows, no borders except for black depending on the screen format of your MPEG-2 videos, etc). All your videos will now play full-screen on that output while your controller Timeline (for pause, stop, play controls) are on the monitor output. The MPEG-2 codec used is from Mainconcept.

You can download the demo version at avstumpfl.com. In fact try the Basic Version, which is free-ware (needs registration for continued usage, but still free). The Basic version allows one video track and that might suffice. If not, read the Help Files for comparison with the other versions, and perhaps buy the USB dongle key for one of the next 2 versions up...AFAIK, they are below your budget. Only the Multi-screen version is above your budget...and you do not need that.

Thomas Leong



Return to posts index


Scott Bush
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 8, 2009 at 7:45:37 pm

Many thanks, Thomas - I will look into that.

Scott



Return to posts index

Scott Bush
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 10, 2009 at 8:35:46 pm

Thanks everyone for your patience :)

So the more I look into this the more it looks like going straight out from the computer (rather than an mpeg card) will be my best bet.

is there anything similar to what Thomas recommended (AvStumpfl Wings Platinum) on the mac side? we may end up just going with VLC, but something with some nicer options would be nice. Or perhaps other ooptins for windows? The person who will be running the show is "more comfortable with macs" but isn't against using windows... so if there is something on the mac end that may fit the bill better.

Thanks,
scott



Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 10, 2009 at 8:58:19 pm

Check out Renewed Visions Pro Video Player on the Mac -- just what you are looking for.

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



Return to posts index


cowcowcowcowcow
Thomas Leong
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 11, 2009 at 3:28:33 pm

Ah Mac...yes, Renewed Vision would be your best bet.

BUT...I'm not sure if Renewed Vison would allow the Master to also be the playback presenter. You may need two licences there instead of one as in Wings Platinum, i.e. Master AND SLAVE licences are necessary...implying also two Macs with the Slave being a Mac Mini as a minimum. Best to check.

In the case of the PC-based Wings, you only need one, since the Master can also be used as Slave in a playback situation. Also, a possibly useful feature of Wings for novice operators is that the 'programmer' (you??) can use the Control Panel feature (one page will do - available with one of the paid versions) to program triggers into on-screen buttons, i.e. the novice operator does not see the Timeline and other confusing things. He sees only a Control Panel with buttons to 'Play Video X', 'Stop Video X', Play Video Y', 'Stop Video Y', Pause, etc.

For Mac-based freeware, check out Multiscreener from zachpoff.com plus a few more links from there, eg. Isadora, Max/MSP Jitter. But I think these others are paid-ware.

If you do decide to go with a Windows software, just ensure that it is XP (Home or Pro makes no difference to your presentation), and that it is clean, i.e. little other applications (esp. 3rd party games), and most importantly, NO internet access for that machine. Only then can you be assured of a 101% stable machine for presentation purposes.

Thomas Leong




Return to posts index

Scott Bush
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 11, 2009 at 3:39:57 pm

Thomas thanks, that's a wealth of info - I'm going to look into that.

Just some more points:

I will likely not be the "programmer" either - I'm really an editor and gfx person, I've just been roped into this because my knowledge overlaps a bit, and our head IT guy left a few months ago. Basically what that means is that the programmer, while not a novice, will likely be intermediate at best - a timeline may be more than what we need. The software we used in the past was called "easyplay" and it came with our hardware cards. Something simple (playlist based) like that would be ideal. Everything is already edited, it's just a big list of MPEG files that need to be put in a specific order. This order, of course, will likely change over and over until the very last minute, so flexibility is key. Something where the order can simply be dragged up and down in a playlist is what I'd like to have.

Thanks for the Windows pointers as well - if we do go windows, we do exactly what you said (although it does have to be networked, if not on the internet).

Thanks again
Scott



Return to posts index

Thomas Leong
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 12, 2009 at 1:55:56 pm

Scott,

I reckon Walter has answered your question - Renewed Vision with one licence, dual-head gfx card, and its playlist feature are all there...within your budget.

cheers,
Thomas



Return to posts index


Scott Bush
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 12, 2009 at 3:28:40 pm

OK so I tried PVP...

And unfortunately, the quality is not up to snuff, and it has some issues playing some of my MPEG-2 files. Particularly, de-interlacing does not appear to work very well with PAL sources, and other applications I tried (VLC, Multiscreener) have much better playback quality. But some of the files simply won't play at all. Mutiscreener, however, does not have a playlist feature (from what I can tell) and VLC doesn't really have support - although that may not be an issue. Honestly a lot of these apps look like overkill - I'm going to do some extensive testing with VLC to see if it is stable enough to handle this - any thoughts?



Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 14, 2009 at 12:37:19 am

There's another virtual VTR program for the Mac called PlaybackPRO. There's a demo available that you can test with to see if it resolves your quality issues.


The author works in live events, so he understands very clearly what's required in show. The program supports playlists.

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



Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: Need Advice on MPEG-2 Decoder Card
on Feb 11, 2009 at 3:45:29 pm

Hi Scott & Thomas,

PVP does allow playback from a single Mac with dual-display support -- dual computers & licenses are not necessary.

The interface is really simple, too -- you can build or playlist, or you can simply the click the clip you want when you want to play it.

A demo version is available from renewedvision.com if you want to play around with it.



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



Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]