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Equipment advice for a multi-display live event

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Dan Kim
Equipment advice for a multi-display live event
on Jul 10, 2014 at 12:18:27 am

I'm a relative newbie at live events. I am helping to plan one later this summer.
We will have 4 projectors. We are hoping to use the VGA interface because it is the common interface between them.

For about half of the time, each projector will be showing content in different languages, and there will be a computer running Windows 7 as a source for each projector.

For the other half of the time, we need all the projectors to show the same source.

Another important factor is that we are not looking to spend a lot of money ($500 or less if possible).

I've looked into some live production switchers, and they are out of our price range by a large margin. We do understand that these things are expensive for a reason, but I was hoping there might be another way.

From personal research, it seems like a 4x4 VGA matrix switcher technically has the basic functions we need: 4 inputs and 4 outputs. It is a StarTech model found here: http://www.amazon.com/4X4-Matrix-Selector-Switch-Audio/dp/B001GOUY3C/ref=cm...

My only concern is the speed at which the inputs/outputs are switched. Because it's a live event, the closer to instant the better. I bought a cheap, non-powered, manual VGA switcher for testing. Every time the source is switched, there is a 2-3 second pause while the screen kind of glitches before settling on the correct input. I haven't been able to figure out if there is a setting on the projector that can help alleviate this problem or if it's just a part of how the manual switch works.

I have attached a crude diagram of what we're trying to do.



Any input is appreciated. Thanks.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Equipment advice for a multi-display live event
on Jul 10, 2014 at 11:34:33 am

Unfortunately I think you will either have to up your budget or lower your expectations. Consider renting a switcher for the event instead of purchasing one to stretch your budget.

Also, 20 meters is a very long run for VGA. You'd need to install amplifiers along the way or use 5-wire.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Dan Kim
Re: Equipment advice for a multi-display live event
on Jul 10, 2014 at 3:32:29 pm

Thank you. I will look into renting a switcher.
Is there a model that you recommend? It is necessary that it have 4 inputs and 4 outputs at least.
Yes, the 4x4 matrix has a built in amplifier. If not, we have another 1x4 splitter amplifier if necessary.


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Vince Becquiot
Re: Equipment advice for a multi-display live event
on Jul 12, 2014 at 2:48:46 am

Never heard of the Startech switcher (the price is very low for a reliable product in a live event setting).

You will get a glitch with most standalone matrix switchers, unless you involve a scaler and some processing (Barco Encore for example).

To minimize those glitches, make sure all computers are identical, and at the same resolution and refresh rate.

I would also recommend renting. You could look at an Extron matrix switcher, that should be pretty affordable on the rental side.

Vince Becquiot

Indigo Live | Kaptis Media

San Francisco Bay Area


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Michael Samarin
Re: Equipment advice for a multi-display live event
on Jul 24, 2014 at 8:12:58 am

Hi Dan,

Are you planning to show actual live camera streams on any of these displays during the show? If the answer is no, and you are always going to use some kind of pre-generated sources (slides, videos, images), consider exploring just a software solution (without hardware switchers) which I make for many years, it's called KeyShowX:

http://keywebx.com

It is Mac OS X based, so instead of Windows PCs, you have to use Macs running either Apple Keynote or MS PowerPoint. From controlling application, you will be able to control all source Macs in sync or individually. It is done over the network.

Depending on when is your show, you might be able to use also Windows version (with PowerPoint) which is going to be out somewhere in August.

This solutions is used quite a lot in various TV shows and movies, whenever there is a multi-screen scenes, or during the concerts.

Best
Michael

Best,
Michael

Software for multi-screen shows and presentations
http://www.keywebx.com


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