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What's Important in a Multi-screen System

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Bruce Wheaton
What's Important in a Multi-screen System
on Oct 2, 2009 at 2:47:43 am

Great forum. Not sure how I missed it before...

Anyway, I wanted to see if I can get some advice on what is important in a system. We have a multi-screen playback system coming out, (we've spoken to some of you about it, I see) and we've decided to start selling by getting creative producers aware and interested of the product - specifically a small demo we're doing here in Marin, CA later this month.

Being more from a technical side, I'm quite happy describing the technical advantages, but I feel a bit less confident picking out what actually matters to the creative designer when selecting a solution. I think most people on here are creative and technical and can probably change hats quite easily.

I'm happy for any advice, but some specific candidates are:
Automatic playback - scale, rate convert and fill 'screen' with each video type,
Wide range of codecs,
Projection mapping style screen setups (overlaps, screen division),
automated file distribution between decks,
hardware based (single purpose, closed off linux machines),

Some of the stuff we do are a big deal compared to VTRs or DDRs, but probably not to you - maybe to less technical people?
Internal dissolves,
Networked multi-control built-in,

Probably the main feature we have that I haven't seen elsewhere is a 'Track' system, where you play a clip onto a Track, and then it will play in sync on various decks in various sizes, positions as needed - sort of like a 'bus' in audio. That means that programming becomes less necessary - it's mainly just playing a file. Sort of like the old days, when you shot a video projector into a hole in your slides.

So what should I focus on?

Thanks,

Bruce





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Walter Soyka
Re: What's Important in a Multi-screen System
on Oct 2, 2009 at 4:19:19 pm

Bruce,

I think we exchanged emails on this last year -- this feature set sounds incredible and I can't wait to see this product in action.

I want to know how my playback system fits in my workflow from three perspectives: pre-show content design, on-site engineering, and on-site operation. When I'm suggesting a system, I am usually weighing tradeoffs against the specific needs of the show and making compromises, so different shows get different playback systems.

While some of your competitors may be capable of multi-screen, it sounds like your system is actually designed holistically for multi-screen. No one feature alone is a knockout, but taken together it sounds quite unique.

I'd love to chat with you about this in further detail -- if you've still got my contact info, please feel free to reach out any time.



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



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Bruce Wheaton
Re: What's Important in a Multi-screen System
on Oct 5, 2009 at 6:49:16 pm

Hi Walter, thanks. So - pre-show content design, on-site engineering, and on-site operation?

Well, engineering is easy enough to show, as is on-site operation.

Content design will have to be an abstract discussion, I'd think. What are you looking for in that area? I'm not sure we specifically address that, so I'd guess we need to talk more about how a 'standard' After-Effects workflow can be used to create content for our system?

Bruce

Regards,

Bruce Wheaton
http://www.synchromeshDDR.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: What's Important in a Multi-screen System
on Oct 12, 2009 at 2:19:56 am

The only real consideration for my After Effects workflow would be what kind of file delivery was necessary. You mentioned that your system supports a wide variety of codecs, but does it keep them native, or does it transcode to a particular file type? I always prefer to deliver to a format that will play natively.

Also from your original feature list, I think the internal dissolves are huge. That means I can use your system as wallpaper/background channels without dedicating an M/E or bank of M/Es in my switcher to A/B dual sets of decks.

I'm curious about the track feature -- how do you see that being used?

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



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Bruce Wheaton
Re: What's Important in a Multi-screen System
on Oct 13, 2009 at 7:33:32 pm

We stay native as much as we can - on the DDR, that's a wide range of codecs and bitrates. For the lower spec Turbine, we're going to do an automatic reconversion to the best format, probably a tweaked H.264 movie. But the main thing is that we're going for a one-step process, the reading from disk, transcoding and distribution will happen at the same time (even to all units) as opposed to sequentially.

The idea of Tracks is that you play a clip on 'Track A', for instance, instead of on a deck/s, and then any deck that has Track A active will play the file, each with it's own scaling and conversions. That can include playing the clip onto 'Virtual Screens' which might span multiple outputs or be just chunks of another output. It means that you can do some mild configuration up front, then almost no programming.

BTW, if anyone is in the Bay Area, and would like to attend the demo - Oct 22nd and 23rd, please drop me a note. We're talking to producers and media creators at this particular demo.

Bruce

Regards,

Bruce Wheaton
http://www.synchromeshDDR.com


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