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Delivering Video for a Large LED Wall

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Craig Shields
Delivering Video for a Large LED Wall
on May 16, 2018 at 2:56:46 pm

Hi all,

I created a video in 4K that is going to be played at a convention on a large LED wall. The setup will have a large screen in the middle with two smaller screens on both sides. The client wants this video played on the larger center screen which is the LED wall.

The IT team told me that the resolution and aspect ratio is 6144x2048 px, 3:1. They told me that the wall is pixel for pixel and I would need to deliver at this resolution. I understand conforming the aspect ratio but is it normal to scale your footage like this before delivery? I was thinking that they would use some sort of hardware to scale the video. I'm asking because I have other videos to send that is supposed to play on this center screen where the assets have HD resolution. Seems like they would break apart if I put them in a comp of that size.

Appreciate the help.



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Steve Bentley
Re: Delivering Video for a Large LED Wall
on May 16, 2018 at 3:36:32 pm

The first thing is that sooooo many media players can't take content larger than HD or 4K and this spec is way above both. So while the screen may in fact be that resolution, doing the spec'd resolution might be overkill.

Second, LED's, especially rental ones on stage are still fairly low resolution (6mm pitch or so). So if you do the math that comes out to 150 feet or so long. Does that seem like a reasonable length - have you seen the screen? Because an audience is so far back they often don't have to pop for a screen with anything higher than 6mm (or even 8). But even with a "high" resolution screen at 2.5mm pitch, that's still over 50 feet long. Again does that seem right? I'm just trying to see if they are giving you correct information.

It could also be that their media player takes the spec you suggest and scales it down to fit the screen.

It could also be that from your 6k file they will cut off sections and make separate movies for individual media players or feed the whole thing into something like Green Hippo or Watchout which will cut the section up for each screen. But I'm pretty sure that even these two programs/hardware combos can't take larger single content than 4k.

Anyway that's my skeptic speaking.

As for size of content, AE can handle that size with ease. You can work with proxies to speed the work flow and you can watch the content play at 1/2 or 1/4 rez or make smaller temp movies to check the animation.

LEDs can indeed take pixel for pixel content and often have to because they are rarely a standard aspect ratio (especially convention rental configurations). In fact its often better to give a larger resolution so the matrixer can super sample the content to reduce ringing between pixels once it gets to the screens "dots". But its more common to feed a standard format (4k) into the screen and have it blown up; that content will often have large areas of black where the odd screen aspect doesn't match the 4k format (so the screen uses the upper half of the 4k frame and the rest is black)
If the screen is in fact that size and that many pixels then the information they have given you is correct and very doable in AE. Your limitation is your desktop screen size. If its going to be an ongoing thing for you it might be worth your while to invest in a multiple-head-to go from matrox or one of Radeons Fire card arrays that will let you do multiple screens (think: 6 screens horizontally) with a massive amount desktop realestate. Otherwise its hard to see the content fully AND at 100%



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Walter Soyka
Re: Delivering Video for a Large LED Wall
on May 16, 2018 at 8:25:49 pm

The vast majority of our studio's work is large-format, custom-resolution work like this. We often have to write specs like these, so I can tell you firsthand how much your production team will appreciate you following them to the letter.

If it hasn't been specified to you already, you should also confirm things like the file format, frame rate, video codec, audio codec, channel assignments, sample rate, etc.

Scaling footage is usually inevitable in situations like these, since HD and 4K acquisition so rarely relates to the actual screen dimensions, but we always try to keep the high pixel count and custom aspect ratio in mind during production, and we always deliver graphics at full res.

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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Craig Shields
Re: Delivering Video for a Large LED Wall
on May 16, 2018 at 8:52:18 pm

Thanks Steve and Walter for your help. I've learned a lot. So does this work differently for projection?



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Steve Bentley
Re: Delivering Video for a Large LED Wall
on May 16, 2018 at 9:09:13 pm

Yes and no.
Projectors are always one of the cardinal formats (HD, SD or SD widescreen, 4k or if you are really lucky 8k or 16K (imax). But how you send images to those projectors can vary greatly. Some projectors will accept a format other than what they shoot out (an HD projector will sometimes accept a 4k signal but only show a scaled down HD number of pixels). Some of the 4K projectors have a scaler built in and can scale HD input up to 4k (and do it surprisingly well). Usually the aspect ratio of the footage input must match one of the projector's output formats

If the screens are blended or overlapped or in some matrixed configuration often a larger image will be divided up by some fancy software or black box and then distributed to each projector so each projector gets it's chunk of the overall image. Whats important in this instance is not what the final number of pixels on screen will be, but what the black box can handle pixel-wise and how it distributes the image.

You can also do the latter scenario with multiple synced media players and manually divide up your large content into specific movies, one for each projector and feed each projector separately or each projectors media player separately.

More often than an LED set up, a projector array will often blow up the feed simply because no one wants to go to the trouble of making massive content (I'm with Walter, a 20k pixel wide movie is pretty normal at our shop too), or solving the tech or cost problems of sending massive content to multiple projectors in sync.
LEDs tend to have the matrixer or multiplexer as a piece of hardware that comes with the screen and accepts a standard resolution and outputs resolution specific to that screen. Projectors aren't that unique.



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Walter Soyka
Re: Delivering Video for a Large LED Wall
on May 16, 2018 at 9:43:15 pm

[Craig Shields] "So does this work differently for projection?"

Maybe, but maybe not. Don't focus on the display device. Focus on the playback system and the specific deliverable requirements you get from the media technicians.

When in doubt, ask to send them a test file that they can review and bless. This will confirm that you're delivering media the way they expect.

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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