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theater work - multi-screen

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José Cordovil
theater work - multi-screen
on Jan 29, 2010 at 4:20:53 pm

Hello Forum,

I'm currently working as video operator / director in a theater play that involves a lot of video throughout. Basically we have three video projectors connected to a Edirol V-8 mixer that is used to mix input from 3 dvd players and 3 cameras. Most of the time, I want the same image to be on the 3 projectors. When I want different images on each projector, I use The Preview output as a sort of independent out, and when I need to do three images on three different projectors I have to change cables around. I did use a video matrix in the beginning but it turned out that it was worsening the issue of video-delay from the cameras (in part due to HD-SD conversion etc.) that was already a problem.

My question is this: if I wanted to substitute the dvd players for a computer (with independent multiple video outs) what software should I use? Something that worked like a lighting mixer "cue" style system would be great.

Also, is it possible that using all the outputs from the V-8 is adding significant delay to the video signal? I seem to notice a difference from when using 3 outputs and only 2, but it might just be in my mind.

Cheers,

José C.


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Walter Soyka
Re: theater work - multi-screen
on Jan 31, 2010 at 12:01:40 pm

[José Cordovil] "Basically we have three video projectors connected to a Edirol V-8 mixer that is used to mix input from 3 dvd players and 3 cameras. Most of the time, I want the same image to be on the 3 projectors. When I want different images on each projector, I use The Preview output as a sort of independent out, and when I need to do three images on three different projectors I have to change cables around. I did use a video matrix in the beginning but it turned out that it was worsening the issue of video-delay from the cameras (in part due to HD-SD conversion etc.) that was already a problem."

This could be tricky if your budget dictates a V8. Ordinarily, I'd suggest a bigger switcher that supports multiple destinations. You could use multiple ScreenPRO II's with a controller, an Encore, or a Spyder.

[José Cordovil] "I did use a video matrix in the beginning but it turned out that it was worsening the issue of video-delay from the cameras (in part due to HD-SD conversion etc.) that was already a problem."

Is the video delay a problem because you're losing sync with the sound reinforcement, or because it lags the live action so much? An audio delay will solve your first problem, but you're probably going to have to accept a frame or two of delay.

[José Cordovil] "My question is this: if I wanted to substitute the dvd players for a computer (with independent multiple video outs) what software should I use? Something that worked like a lighting mixer "cue" style system would be great."

To replace 3 channels of DVD playback, you're probably going to need multiple computers. With Macs, you're looking at Renewed Vision's Pro Video Player or DT Video Lab's Playback Pro with Simple Sync. You might be able to run both configurations off a single, high-spec Mac with a TripleHead2Go, but I'd recommend extensive testing.

With PCs, you'll need something like Dataton's Watchout or AVStumpfl's Wings. These use timeline metaphors, but in a locked-down theatre show, that shouldn't present a problem. You can bring live video into Watchout, so you could actually use your V8 to submix cameras, and then use Watchout to cue from videos back to IMAG in your timeline.

That would give you three fully independent output channels, but you'd have to pre-program everything.

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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José Cordovil
Re: theater work - multi-screen
on Feb 14, 2010 at 2:29:06 pm

Hello!

Sorry I took so long to respond. Your post was very helpful.

[Walter Soyka] "This could be tricky if your budget dictates a V8. Ordinarily, I'd suggest a bigger switcher that supports multiple destinations. You could use multiple ScreenPRO II's with a controller, an Encore, or a Spyder. "

I did try another, more expensive Edirol video mixer, but it did not allow me the ease of use or versatility of the V-8 in terms of mixing, key effects, etc. I think it was targeted very specifically for conference set-ups and not so useful for theater work. I'm looking into the solutions you advised, though I am guessing they are way beyond the budget of the theater company. Also, how do you control the Spyder? Through PC+software? No Mac support? :)

[Walter Soyka] "Is the video delay a problem because you're losing sync with the sound reinforcement, or because it lags the live action so much? An audio delay will solve your first problem, but you're probably going to have to accept a frame or two of delay. "

The video projections are behind the actors, so it is mildly noticeable. There is no audio (the actors don't have microphones). I have narrowed it down to the cameras HD-SD conversion, length of cables, and the V-8 and video projectors processing times all added up.

[Walter Soyka] "To replace 3 channels of DVD playback, you're probably going to need multiple computers. With Macs, you're looking at Renewed Vision's Pro Video Player or DT Video Lab's Playback Pro with Simple Sync. You might be able to run both configurations off a single, high-spec Mac with a TripleHead2Go, but I'd recommend extensive testing. "

I'm a Mac user, so I'll look into this.

Cheers,
José Cordovil



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Walter Soyka
Re: theater work - multi-screen
on Feb 16, 2010 at 5:18:53 pm

[José Cordovil] "I am guessing they are way beyond the budget of the theater company. Also, how do you control the Spyder? Through PC+software? No Mac support? :)"

They are quite expensive. You can control Spyder through either a dedicated control console, or PC software.

It looks like Edirol's V-440HD can be used in multi-screen setups as a controller for multiple V-44SW units; I haven't used this setup, but it might be worth looking into.

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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Kyle Rupert
Re: theater work - multi-screen
on May 5, 2011 at 2:29:39 pm

Good morning,

I saw that you had been so helpful with this issue and wondered if you had any suggestions for my current problem. I have been tasked with setting up a system for a theatrical production in which a live feed from a camera will be used along with prerecorded video played back from a computer. Right now I plan to run both the camera feed and the playback through an Edirol v-4 switcher. The director is hoping to be able to project the video using three projectors. At times during the performance he wants the same video played on all three projectors and at others he would like to have only one projector in use. Is the set-up possible with the Edirol V-4?

Any other suggestions you had would be greatly appreciated.


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