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Multi Monitor Video Sync

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Joe Forza
Multi Monitor Video Sync
on Feb 27, 2014 at 1:57:46 pm

Hi all,

I'm new to the Cow and I've got a question that someone I work with just dropped on me.

Here it is, verbatim:

"We want to shoot a video of a car driving ā€“ something where it comes in one side of a frame and goes out the other ā€“ and we want to show it at an event on multiple tv screens set up in a row. We want it to look like the car is driving across the multiple screens. Do you have any idea how to accomplish this? Is it multiple videos playing on each tv somehow coordinated, or is it just one video clip playing on all the monitors, but they are somehow tethered together so that each screen shows a different part of the frame? Iā€™m assuming the latter, but have no idea how to make that happen ā€“ do you?"

(Of course this is a last minute request, and we don't have anything that is remotely capable of doing anything like what is being requested.)

So my question is, where do I start? Any and every reply is appreciated.

Thanks,
-joe


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Matt Geiser
Re: Multi Monitor Video Sync
on Feb 28, 2014 at 12:55:33 pm

Initial thought is a flatscreen with video walling capability. How big does this setup need to be?


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Joe Forzano
Re: Multi Monitor Video Sync
on Feb 28, 2014 at 1:46:25 pm

The initial request email didn't contain that information, and subsequent requests haven't shed any more light or provided more information.

I'm going to assume at least 4-6 screens.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Multi Monitor Video Sync
on Feb 28, 2014 at 2:11:59 pm

How this is being shot and how close the viewers get to the screens may also be relevant. If it's being shot with multiple cameras, then synced playback will preserve resolution. If it's being shot with a single HD camera, then it will be pretty low-res when stretched over 4-6 screens, but a video wall system would work marvelously (keeping in mind the aspect ratio must be considered during the shoot).

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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Joe Forzano
Re: Multi Monitor Video Sync
on Feb 28, 2014 at 2:15:01 pm

Details are sketchy at best. This came my was via another department. I'm trying to get more info.

My initial thought was a single video stretched over multiple screens.

When I get more info, I'll share more details.

Thanks for the input.


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Thomas Leong
Re: Multi Monitor Video Sync
on Mar 1, 2014 at 5:20:21 am

"My initial thought was a single video stretched over multiple screens."

The car will then look like one of those "Hollywood stretched limos for hire".

Others potentials are -
1. Wide-angled shot of car in motion. But this will mean small and low res when zoomed in to fit the 5-6 monitors.

2. Green screen the car in motion. Have wide-angle background that can cover the 5-6 monitors without looking unusual to composite over.



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Michael Samarin
Re: Multi Monitor Video Sync
on Mar 2, 2014 at 9:47:28 am

"2. Green screen the car in motion. Have wide-angle background that can cover the 5-6 monitors without looking unusual to composite over."

I agree with Thomas, that's probably the best solution. If the final video composition is split into multiple parts, as a maker of KeyShowX, of course I would like to recommend it to sync multiple playback machines/monitors if setup is on Mac http://www.keywebx.com

Best
Michael


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Thomas Leong
Re: Multi Monitor Video Sync
on Mar 2, 2014 at 2:55:03 pm

One cheap content production I know of is to use Photoshop and After Effects.

1. 2 media files: one for the background, one for the car. Works best when car is intended to 'move' from left to right or right to left. Moving towards the audience would also be possible depending on the quality/resolution of the car's picture.

2. In Photoshop, blur the background with streaks 'moving' in the opposite direction of the car.

3. Likewise, apply clockwise or anti-clockwise radial blur to the car's wheels as if it were moving forward.

4. Create a comp in After Effects that is x number of monitors' resolution width + an estimate for the bezel width (the car should not immediately appear on the next monitor owing to the bezel width; it should appear to travel behind the width of 2 monitors' bezel before it reappears on the next monitor. Might take a bit of short render tests to get the number of pixels to allow for the width of the bezel).

5. Composite both images in After Effects, and keyframe the car to 'move' across the comp, probably from out-of-frame on one side to out-of-frame on the other.

6. Render the comp into as many video files as there are monitors, taking into account the bezel width determined from the tests.

Playback & Sync -
One reasonably priced option is multiple units of Brightsign HD220 (the lowest unit with ethernet connection for syncing via a router). Authoring is with their free Bright Author (video tutorial is available at their site or on you-tube). uses SD cards on each unit.

Other options may require a pc present, but at an exhibition, you may not want to do that. The Brightsign units can be mounted to the rear of each monitor, connected to each other and to a cheap router via CAT-5.



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Joe Forzano
Re: Multi Monitor Video Sync
on Mar 3, 2014 at 1:48:48 pm

Thanks Thomas and Michael.

I still haven't received any feedback on the number of monitors, but I think it would be feasible to go with the photoshop / AE solution.

I appreciate the feedback. If get any more information, I'll update this thread.

Again, thank you all.


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