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Multi Screen Video Presentation

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Brian Stetson
Multi Screen Video Presentation
on Aug 4, 2005 at 6:58:36 pm

Any suggestions on how to do a multiple screen presentation and cutting it on Avid? Does Avid have any native mode for this or will I have to do a picture in picture to view all the tracks on one screen at the same time? Plus what is the best way to show the presentation, I have never done this before and I went to the web sites that were listed previously but they do not say how it works. Any help would be appreciated thank you.


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Thomas Leong
Re: Multi Screen Video Presentation
on Aug 5, 2005 at 6:41:23 am

> Any suggestions on how to do a multiple screen presentation and cutting it on Avid?

I don't use Avid, but have played a little bit with the demo (very little bit). Being purely a VIDEO NLE, like all the others, I'd say Avid can only handle the normal video res - 720x480 NTSC or 720x586 PAL. The type of multi-screen presentations I presume you are asking about deals with resolutions well above that. Example of a quite standard 3-screen show with 20% edge-blend overlap would have a resolution of ((3 x 1024) - (2 x 20% of 1024)) = (3072 - (2 x 204)) = 2664 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically. With no edge blend, it would simply be 3072 x 768.


> Does Avid have any native mode for this or will I have to do a picture in picture to view all the tracks on one screen at the same time?

Even a PiP will not allow you to view 2664x768 or 3072x768 since Avid's "one screen" is merely or a maximum of 720x480 NTSC or 720x568 PAL.

An app like After Effects would allow you to create, edit and view 3072x768, then output as 3 split videos, each video being 1024x768. With a blended screen, you would have to take into account the blend on the left and/or right edges and adjust the output accordingly depending on whether you are outputting for the left screen, the centre screen, or the right screen area. Additionally, for a blended presentation, if your final presentation software or hardware does not internally generate the soft-edge required for the blend, you would have to create the soft-edging and include it in the output file. There will be quite a bit of trial and error to 'discover' the correct amount of soft-edging required so that the blended panorama does not exhibit dark vertical bands where the blending occurs.

> Plus what is the best way to show the presentation, I have never done this before and I went to the web sites that were listed previously but they do not say how it works.

For a computer to process and display the 3072x768 pixels in realtime synced with audio, etc., its specs would need to be in the high end of PCs. Even then, there are hardly any projectors that can project such a resolution.

To solve, the most economical and viable means was to split the overall 3072x768 display into separate PCs/files, each handling an easier resolution such as 1024x768, and with each PC outputting to a projector/display device capable of displaying 1024x768 with ease.

One of the secrets then lies in where the projectors are pointed to on the screen, and in slaving the PCs together taking instructions from a Master Control PC so that all remained in sync with each other. So if the projectors were pointed to different areas of the screen to match the splitting of the original overall 3072x768 video, then the 're-assembled' display would look like one panoramic. Usually 'alignment slides' (files) are created to allow this alignment of projectors to reflect the original overall 3072x768.

Prior to the development of software/hardware to do all the above, multiple slide projectors were used. When the demand for that died, some used multiple Betacam machines linked together with a controller (much like in a machine-based linear editing suite) and synced via time-code to present multi-screen videos. This is still do-able, and seems to be the best way to present VIDEO (as in traditional V-I-D-E-O) but one would have to factor in the cost of hiring/buying/lugging multiple Betacam decks and the controller both for production as well as presentation. I suppose if one can link 3 AVID systems together via timecode, one can edit a 3-screen hard-edge (i.e. no edge blend) video presentation, which would be the same as the Betacam way.

Thomas Leong


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Thomas Leong
Re: Multi Screen Video Presentation - addendum
on Aug 5, 2005 at 7:00:36 am

The above explanation assumes and gives as an example a multi-screen presentation which objective is to present multi-screen to look like one master panoramic screen.

Of course, one can also design and present as multi-screen per se...i.e. multiple videos each on its own screen area but seemingly linked in subject matter to each other. Such a multi-screen presentation can be edited easily on today's NLEs such as AVID as long as one keeps an eye on the timecode to keep related subjects/clips occurring together. Then present as 'one'.

In this case, the major problem is to start all videos with one 'switch' or push of the button to keep things in sync. Solutions would then depend on playback method - via video files from PC, or dumped to machines/DVD?

There are software solutions like EventPlayer from AVStumpfl, or the shareware Syncmaker Pro will start a playlist of videos in multiple PCs. Hardware solutions would be those from Alcorn McBride plus a few others which will start multiple (serial-controllable) DVD players or harddisk players.

Thomas Leong


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Mark Suszko
Re: Multi Screen Video Presentation - addendum
on Aug 6, 2005 at 7:37:36 pm

Ask this again in the Live & Stage Events forum, they have lots of experirnce in doing this on purpose-designed equipment.


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Rich Rubasch
We've overthought this one, guys
on Aug 8, 2005 at 2:06:24 am

>Will I have to do a picture in picture to view all the tracks on one screen at the same time?<

Yes. I edited a program for this same purpose. I cut the first track, then I cut a second track over it on V2. This way I could see the edits below and what they were by the clip name. I was cutting between interview clips and product clips. Mine was a 2 screen production, but it would work for three. Sometimes the interview was on the left sometimes the same shot was on both screens, and sometimes there were two different broll shots on screen. You could have more fun with the three screens...albeit more work : )

I duplicated the 2-layer sequence and applied PIP to all the V2 clips with them on the left side and a similar PIP on V1 clips and put em on the right side. This is how the client saw the finished piece.

Actually on the first few passes I did an over-under PIP, which would work pretty good with 3 layers. Took a little rendering but worked great...the client loved it and it won several awards.

They used Betacam decks on site which were all controlled by a PC and synched perfectly.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media


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