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Projecting graphics over live video

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andrei zakow
Projecting graphics over live video
on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:47:44 pm

Hi,

I would like to know how I could project live video with a static graphic overlayed. If it is important, I have a macbookpro with FCP 6 and other related software. Also, I have looked into the program Max/Jitter but I'm thinking that might be overkill as I don't really need to do anything too fancy.

Thank you kindly in advance for any help and suggestions.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Projecting graphics over live video
on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:39:17 am

Your video switcher may be able to do this for you, if it has keying capabilities.

We'd need to know more about your setup to help.

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



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andrei zakow
Re: Projecting graphics over live video
on Sep 5, 2009 at 2:39:36 pm

Thank you for responding and sorry for my delay.
This project is for a gallery opening and they are renting a projector but I don't know what kind yet. As for my set up, right now I just have a dvx100a and a macbookpro. The gallery however, will be able to rent or purchase any other necessary equipment that I might need.
Hope that helps.

Thank you.


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Andy Stinton
Re: Projecting graphics over live video
on Sep 5, 2009 at 9:27:47 pm

When you say graphics do you mean like titling or a lower third?

Andy Stinton
Corporate Video
Live & Stage Events
Business Practices


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Walter Soyka
Re: Projecting graphics over live video
on Sep 6, 2009 at 2:30:57 am

Hi Andrei,

Ordinarily, you'd have a video switcher with keying capability, feed the graphics to the switcher as a separate source, and let it add in the graphics for you; it'd also be possible to get a standalone video "logo inserter" that would do the same thing, downstream from your video switcher.

That said, I assume from your posts that your event is pretty straightforward and budget-constrained -- one camera, one projector, and nothing else. Please correct me if I am wrong!

So if your question is, "How can I use my Macbook Pro to add a static graphic over live video from my DVX100a?" then the answer is a product like Boinx TV (if you want a well-packaged solution) or Quartz Composer (if you want to create your own, a la Max or Jitter).

That said, there are a couple other considerations.

Redundancy is vital in live events! I always run backups for computer sources on live events. Ideally, if you do use your computer for this, you would have a second computer running the same thing and a video switcher in case your main computer crashes. If you insist on using only one Mac, you should also send video directly from the camera to another input on the projector so you are covered in case the computer crashes.

You haven't mentioned lighting and audio, and both will be important. I don't know what you're considering for audio, but you might want to rent an audio delay unit to compensate for the delay in video due to processing in order to preserve lip sync.

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



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andrei zakow
Re: Projecting graphics over live video
on Sep 9, 2009 at 3:55:46 pm

Thank you everyone for your responses, hope you all had a great weekend.

So, the gallery would like a live video feed of people at the show projected onto a screen in realtime. Additionally, there would be a white moving animation of ghost like figures superimposed over the live feed projected onto the screen.

Is this better achieved with a video mixer/switcher or with additional software from a computer? Can FCP do something like this?

The projector being used has multiple in's from composite to vga.

Hope this is more clear.

Thank you.


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Gary Renaud
Projecting a static graphic image over live video
on Dec 2, 2009 at 9:18:11 pm

We make an exhibit called Face Age for children's science centers that allow them to aged their face and see how their face will change as they will grow up and grow older. To do this we need to first capture a good face image. We are developing a new face acquisition system that involves a webcam positioned above an LCD monitor.

To capture a face image, we present the user with a live video of their face however there is no guide for indicating how close they should be to the camera before taking their face pictures which often causes reject face images. Very frustrating.
What I would like to do is place an static oval ring over the live video so that the user can use it as a centering and positioning aid. And I would like to do this using software only i.e. no external switchers if possible. We are running Windows XP Pro. I would need to have some control over the color and opacity of the oval ring.

Can you suggest any ideas to accomplish this?


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Gary Renaud
Re: Projecting a static graphic image over live video
on Dec 2, 2009 at 10:20:59 pm

Let me be a little clearer if I can. I want to display live video on a regular LCD monitor and then overlay a fixed static oval ring onto the middle of that live video as a visual positioning aid. The live video is coming from a webcam placed above the LCD monitor. Face position and size is very important to our Face Aging application.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Projecting a static graphic image over live video
on Dec 2, 2009 at 10:31:44 pm

Gary, presumably you are using some custom software to take the pictures? Can't you build this in?

If you're using something off-the-shelf, perhaps contact the developers about your specific need?

Or what about a low-tech solution -- a physical mask around the screen?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Gary Renaud
Displaying a static graphic image over live video on an LCD Monitor
on Dec 2, 2009 at 11:00:13 pm

Thank you for your reply. We are using very specific webcam software, the only one we've that works for our other requirements because what we are doing is not straight forward. We could of course contact that webcam software company as you suggest to see what they suggest. However I know we cannot place a physically permanent graphic on the monitor screen (as nice and simple as that sounds to me) since we need the monitor's full real estate to display the aged images later on. I had suggested to my programmer that we set the video at 50% opacity and place the graphic oval in behind the live video but he says we do not have that ability with this webcam software. What to do. Any other ideas??


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Walter Soyka
Re: Displaying a static graphic image over live video on an LCD Monitor
on Dec 3, 2009 at 6:36:17 pm

This is outside my realm of expertise, but your developer might be able to write a second program that lays the guide window in over top of the other running applications. The old Adobe apps on Windows used to have irregular, partially transparent splash screens when they loaded, so it's certainly possible to do.

On the simple fix side, since masking the display won't work, what about masking the camera lens itself? You could have a circular filter made for your lens size.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Bill Davis
Re: Projecting graphics over live video
on Sep 6, 2009 at 1:38:38 am

Andrai,

I think the problem here is one of terminology.

Projecting video is not difficult. A simple video projector will do that.

It's when you say " with a static graphic overlayed" that we get confused.

The term "overlay" brings to my mind the old drafting world where one sheet of onionskin paper was literally laid over a base drawing. It was "sort of" a superimposition of one image over the other, but since ink on paper is SUBTRACTIVE with regards to light reflecting off of it you can't really do that with a video signal.

When you take one video signal and superimpose it on another, the light values are ADDITIVE.

So you can't take one projector running a video, and add another projector running black on white, or white on black text and have it work like you might expect. The signals will essentially WASH OUT each other.

So I suspect what you're trying to do is COMBINE the original video signal with another one, so that both are mixed together in a single stream? As you describe it, this is called "title keying" and requires a computer or video switcher with the ability to calculate new pixels from the mathematical combination of the values of the pixels in the two video streams. (the base video and the title super)

In order to help you best, perhaps you could describe the effect you're trying to get?

Do you want large white type over and obscuring the video? Small black type in a white window on a part of the video picture? Partially transparent type that doesn't obscure the video beheath it? A box at the top or bottom with scrolling type?

As you can see, there are a lot of variables. Let us know more precisely what you wish to do and perhaps we can guide you to the right tools for doing it.



How much type? Does it need to move?





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andrei zakow
Re: Projecting graphics over live video
on Sep 9, 2009 at 4:06:40 pm

Thank you everyone for your responses, hope you all had a great weekend.

So, the gallery would like a live video feed of people at the show projected onto a screen in realtime. Additionally, there would be a white moving animation of ghost like figures superimposed over the live feed projected onto the screen.

Is this better achieved with a video mixer/switcher or with additional software from a computer? Can FCP do something like this?

The projector being used has multiple in's from composite to vga.

Hope this is more clear.

Thank you.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Projecting graphics over live video
on Sep 9, 2009 at 7:28:48 pm

Thanks for describing what you're looking for -- this helps quite a bit.

FCP will not help you, as it doesn't handle live video.

Are you familiar at all with compositing? You will need an alpha channel in your footage if you just want to add them to the scene; otherwise, you'd have to try to pull a key, rotoscope, or layer them with another blend mode.

I think either one of the options I mentioned earlier will still do the trick. Try the demo of BoinxTV -- it might be just what you need. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you could write a Quartz Composer patch to accomplish this exact effect. QC has a little bit of a learning curve, but this is a very straightforward patch.

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



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andrei zakow
Re: Projecting graphics over live video
on Sep 10, 2009 at 4:52:21 pm

Walter,

Thank you for your help. So I checked out Boinxtv but unfortunately it only seems to run on leopard and not snow leopard yet which I think is the only operating system now available. I'm using Mac OS 10.4.11.
QC as well seems to only run on Leopard.

I tried a demo of Arkaos and I got exactly what I needed but the demo version water marks every so often which I can't have. I would buy it but I'm not sure I really love it.

I also tried Max/Jitter, which is insane, and I got interesting results but I don't think I can output through VGA to the projector. It seemed that I could only output through the component/composite cables from my camera(attached via firewire to the computer) to the projector and I can't have that since I need a composite of images from the camera mixed with an animation sent out to the projector.

Are there any other options?...Software?... I could find a copy of Leopard somewhere I guess and then try Boinxtv...

If I do use software, I would ultimately like something that I can grow with because now I'm so into the possibilities of video art with this mixing process.

Thank you kindly.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Projecting graphics over live video
on Sep 10, 2009 at 4:57:25 pm

Hi Andrei,

Apple first shipped Quartz Composer in Tiger, so that might still be in play. You'd need to install the "Developer Tools" package from your Mac OS X Tiger disc. Then dig through the "Developer" folder on your hard drive to find Quartz Composer.

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



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andrei zakow
Re: Projecting graphics over live video
on Sep 10, 2009 at 7:26:32 pm

Great, thanks.

So I got QC to work and I have the live video inputting with the animation on top but now I can't figure out how to successfully get this composite to play out of the projector. Is it really just something like enabling "mirror" etc for the display...

I've been looking online to for answers to no avail.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Projecting graphics over live video
on Sep 10, 2009 at 7:55:30 pm

Yes, mirroring the display should do it -- or opening the composition full screen on the second display.

System Preferences > Displays > Show displays in menu bar

This will add a little monitor icon to your menu bar, and you can set the display resolution and toggle between mirror and extension mode from there.

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



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David Arseneault
Re: Projecting graphics over live video
on Oct 14, 2015 at 5:04:54 pm

Hello there, I have read your responses back in 2009 and I am looking to do the exact same thing with a Halloween project. I would like to have a live feed from a camera and have white ghost like graphics appear on the screen with the live view. Can you please tell me how you accomplished this.

Thank you


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