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How do I synch 3-data/video beams?

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Juan delGado
How do I synch 3-data/video beams?
on Apr 1, 2009 at 5:11:17 pm


Hi, I am currently working on a video project in Bogota (Colombia) in which the narrative is split in three screens. My intention is to show it using three video beams/projectors, each one plugged into a DVD player or alternatively to a laptop, although I am not sure if this is the best way to play them simultaneously as I am concerned how the sequences will synchronize.

Any suggestions will be welcomed. Many thanks,

Juan


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Walter Soyka
Re: How do I synch 3-data/video beams?
on Apr 1, 2009 at 7:38:31 pm

Hi Juan,

For laptops, you'll need a network and multi-display software to synchronize the machines. For PCs, check out Watchout from Dataton or Wings from AVStumpfl. For Macs, you could look into Pro Video Player from Renewed Vision.

For DVD players, you'd need a synchronizer by Dave Jones Design or Technovision — there's more detail on this in a thread listed just a couple down from this one:

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/158/855477


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



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Andy Stokes
Re: How do I synch 3-data/video beams?
on Apr 7, 2009 at 2:20:38 am

Hi Juan,

I highly recommend Pro video player. It works great on Mac mini's and is so much more cost effective than Watchout, wings etc which are overkill for what you are trying to achieve.

Another option would be a laptop with Matrox's TripleHead2go. You will need to create your video as one large movie file and play back using Modul8 VJ software or similar. Depending on the size/length of your clip and speed of you machine this might require some testing. I have used it fine on my MacBook Pro w/ 4Gb RAM.

Another option would be multiple machines and Qlab with the video option. All of the above run on Mac.

Good luck.

Andy



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Thomas Leong
Re: How do I synch 3-data/video beams?
on Apr 8, 2009 at 5:11:23 pm

Hi Andy,

I've got a question or two re your comment:
"Another option would be a laptop with Matrox's TripleHead2go...and play back using Modul8 VJ software or similar. Depending on the size/length of your clip and speed of you machine this might require some testing. I have used it fine on my MacBook Pro w/ 4Gb RAM."

Q1: What was the resolution of your file for playback? (H x W)
Q2: What codec did you use for the file - QT Animation, MPEG-2 or ??
Q3: Was your MacBook Pro a duo-core Intel machine, or ??? (Pardon, but I'm not familiar with Mac specs)

Enquiring minds would like to know 'cos TripleHead2Go is a very cost-effective solution for basic 3-discrete screen shows,but I've always had my own questions on the playback viability of a high res file without the need for a hefty machine with RAID, etc.

Thanks in advance,
Thomas Leong



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Nicholas Gould
Re: How do I synch 3-data/video beams?
on Apr 8, 2009 at 9:15:57 pm

You should check out VDMX. It's the software I use to do exactly what you're talking about using the triplehead.

http://www.vidvox.com

Check out the forums and you'll find threads that explain how to do what you want to do.......


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Andy Stokes
Re: How do I synch 3-data/video beams?
on Apr 13, 2009 at 12:51:13 am

Hi Thomas,

To answer your questions :

1) 3840x1024
2) PhotoJPEG compressor
3) MacBookPro Core2Duo 2.33 / 4GB Ram

It's worth noting though that the clips I was using in this particular setup were very graphical (i.e: Not video) and of short durations (under 20 seconds). Obviously an almost 4k video clip of a long duration would be huge and not practical. Having said that there's no reason why for longer clips you could split them into 1280x1024 chunks and arrange them on the stage. When I have time i'll do a test of this as i'm curious myself.

As I think I mentioned, this was only an "alternate option". My first option would definately be Pro Video player on multiple MacMini's.

I'd also second Nicholas on VDMX as i've heard great reviews of it, though have yet to use myself.

Cheers,
Andy



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Juan delGado
Re: How do I synch 3-data/video beams?
on Apr 12, 2009 at 3:08:25 pm


Dear Andy

Many thanks for your suggestions - my project is currently saved as 3 large movies in QT which weight 25 GB each as I am planning to show them as 2 meters width each - I am worried that compression loss and would like to ask you which compressor should work better.

Best wishes,

Juan


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Andy Stokes
Re: How do I synch 3-data/video beams?
on Apr 13, 2009 at 12:29:59 am

Hi Juan,

I'd suggest either PhotoJPEG or h.264.

PhotoJPEG will result in a slightly larger file. H.264 would result in a smaller file, although will require CPU power to playback (This might be an issue if you do play all from one machine)

UPDATE : In my first post I mentioned joining them into one large file and playing from Modul8. It would appear that anything of a long duration would result in a very large file indeed, so actually would advise against it. You could still do the same with the 3 seperate clips simply placed next to each other on the Modul8 stage.

Good luck.



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Walter Soyka
Re: How do I synch 3-data/video beams?
on Apr 14, 2009 at 12:42:17 am

Hi Juan,

This is a tough question to answer without knowing which software you chose, what computers it will run on, and what kind of video it is.

In general, though, I avoid codecs like h264 or WMV9 with high decode complexity on synched systems; I'd rather use a simpler codec like Photo-JPEG or MPEG2 at a higher data rate to reduce the playback burden on the system.



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



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Thomas Leong
Re: How do I synch 3-data/video beams?
on Apr 14, 2009 at 5:30:21 am

Here is my two dollars' worth -

If doing this is a business, and a potential screw up can have serious consequences not only to you but also to your client, I would advise you to use 'distributed computing' to spread the workload amongst computers via a simple ethernet.

If you're on pc & Windows, look at Dataton's Watchout or AvStumpfl's Wings Platinum. These are tried and proven products worldwide, using a Master PC controlling Slave PCs. Since you already have 3 QT files, Watchout will play those files without converting further and with no problems, other things being equal (i.e. pc oomph! and Quicktime version compatibility).

If you are on Mac, then look at renewedvision as the others have mentioned.

When your show is successful and well received, there is likely to be repeat business so the investment is worthwhile. Penny-pinching is not the way to go before a live audience as you do not even want to hiccup or cough once you push the button to start the show.

Thomas Leong



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Walter Soyka
Re: How do I synch 3-data/video beams?
on Apr 14, 2009 at 10:59:16 am

Thomas, I couldn't agree more on the importance of doing this the right way and using an application explicitly designed for multi-display. To add to your point, we always run a complete second system as backup, with a switching router to allow us to take the backup system immediately to screens, just in case anything goes wrong with the primary system.

Juan, there's likely no need to purchase any of these systems outright; you should be able to rent them from a local staging company.



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



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Simon Stutts
Re: How do I synch 3-data/video beams?
on Apr 9, 2009 at 3:50:32 am

I'm going to follow up Andy and Walter and recommend Pro Video Player. We recently used it on a nationwide tour to allow us to project digital set backdrops onto three screens situated directly behind the stage. Worked great. Using now to control 4 screens in sync. Runs well off of cheap, reliable mac minis. You may have a very slight pause when switching between the different sync'd clips, but other than that, you cant beat it for the price, IMO.

-stutts-


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Ken Geary
Re: How do I synch 3-data/video beams?
on Apr 28, 2009 at 12:22:37 pm

Nobody has considered using HD Blu ray. With 1920 x 1080 area to work with you can fit several wide and 4x3 videos of SD on one screen (composited in After Effects or editing system of choice)
Once edit is done, you will need a video processor (or DA and 3 video processors) to take the blue ray output and crop out all but what potion of image you need per screen.
The upside is when you edit you see all your material, for example a widescreen portion top of image and 2 side screen videos underneath, side-by-side.



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