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remote TV interview monitor (follow up)

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John Delaney
remote TV interview monitor (follow up)
on Feb 28, 2011 at 6:33:56 pm

As a follow up to this thread http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/54/859662, can anyone offer some tips as to how to use a regular teleprompter for this purpose? Basically, we need to know how to feed a composite video signal (from DirecTV) into a laptop and back out the laptop's VGA port to the teleprompter's VGA port. We also need to know how to get that image reversed so the interviewee sees it properly (the teleprompter software usually does that, but we'll need some other method since a video signal can't go through the prompter software).

We were planning to get an EyeDirect 16x9 (http://www.vfgadgets.com/EyeDirect-16x9_p_133.html), but it just uses mirrors to reflect an image of the camera operator back to the interviewee ... we need something that can display a video source to the interviewee directly in front of the camera lens.


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Mark Suszko
Re: remote TV interview monitor (follow up)
on Feb 28, 2011 at 7:54:50 pm

Well, our regular prompters are still CRT based and already take a composite video input, plus have the coil-reversal switch built-in, so it's not a problem for us.

On the giant prompter we built, we gave it a dedicated scan converter to feed the Plasma via VGA, and this is what you'll have to do as well. Depending on the features you need, this can be as low as 99 dollars, or as much as six grand or so. Or anything in between. I find that with scan converters they are all about the same under a grand, and get significantly better and more distinct from each other in quality and features in the $2k and up range. You tend to get what you pay for in scan converters. Your application won't erquire quite so expensive a unit as long as it has composite and VGA.

I'll tell you that the Big Kahuna uses a Hall Research SCVGA-2B scan converter which is around $300 but lots of people buy that, paint their own logo on it, and mark it up for resale for a few hundred more. To handle composite as well as VGA, in both directions, I would probably suggest you get a Scan-Do by Communications Specialties. We've been very happy with ours.


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John Delaney
Re: remote TV interview monitor (follow up)
on Mar 1, 2011 at 5:14:40 pm

Thanks very much, Mark. Any ideas about how to flip the image?

Since the more basic "Scan-Do Select" is discontinued and the only ones Communications Specialties seems to offer anymore are $4000 (SD) and $6000 (HD) at the B&H link below, we'd like to first try the $250 device below since we only need a preview image, rather than to convert VGA for broadcast.

Scan-Do
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&Ntt=scan+do&A=endecaSear...

Smart-AVI
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=WishList.jsp&A=details&Q=...


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Mark Suszko
Re: remote TV interview monitor (follow up)
on Mar 1, 2011 at 6:27:29 pm

Turn the screen upside-down. Or get a scan converter that has mirror reversing. LEft-right image reversal of faces isn't as important, of course text is.

Another tool I have available is a live single-channel DVE by my switcher, so I can always do the flips with that if necessary, but the scan converter will do it better.


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Mark Suszko
Re: remote TV interview monitor (follow up)
on Mar 1, 2011 at 8:33:43 pm

In the two links you posted, neither one says outright that they can flip the image. Maybe they can, you'd have to go to their web site or call them to fnd out. The Hall Research model I mentioned does that flipping, it was specifically why I got that unit for the Big Kahuna's prompter because while the plasma screen for our unit is essentially a TV, it came with only a VGA input out of several other possible options. I got the unit used as surplus so I was stuck with whatever inputs it had, and it only had that one installed. Some LCD and plasma screens may offer the flip ability built-in to their own hardware. Check the manual.

Before the Hall Research scan converter showed up, my stopgap for putting up powerpoints on the prompter screen was to rebuild them reversed prior to use, using photoshop actions. Worked fine, but made it hard to do changes to slides on the fly.


One of the things that made CRT based prompters useful was that reversing images was as easy as changing the positive and negative wires on the yoke of ther picture tube. Any repair shop can safely do that for you as a custom repair pretty fast, and even install a switch to toggle between the two modes. Alas, there is no yoke to re-wire on a LCD or palsma display. The re-arrangement of the image feed has to be done thru dedicated on-board processing hardware and software, thus addign cost to the panel, or you have to make that flip at a stage before it gets tot he display panel. Ergo, the scan converter.


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John Delaney
Re: remote TV interview monitor (follow up)
on Mar 1, 2011 at 9:25:57 pm

Mark, so much for taking the time to offer thoughtful and thorough advice ... it is greatly appreciated.

The only reason I didn't just go for the Hall Research model you mentioned is it's not available from our "approved vendor", but I think we're gonna have to jump through some hoops and buy it anyway.

Thanks again!


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Mark Suszko
Re: remote TV interview monitor (follow up)
on Mar 1, 2011 at 10:25:14 pm

Don't get me started about approved vendors and the procurement process, the stories I could tell if allowed would be epic...

Your approved vendor will probably end up buying the Hall, and mark it up a few bucks.

I first got turned on to the Hall Research model by fellow COW members in another forum. I swear, every time I found a source for what I wanted, the box looked precisely like Hall's box, just with a different paint job and logo on it

I see Markertek sells them with the Hall Research name on them. B&H might too.

Be sure now that the connectors and everything are what you need, and for prompter use, the mirroring vertical and horizonal options are the deal-breaker. If you find another maker that matches the Hall, let us know back here so we have some competitive sources for future reference.


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