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Non standard resolutions and playback

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Neil Stratton
Non standard resolutions and playback
on Sep 24, 2010 at 2:59:36 pm

Hi all-this one has got me stumped.I cannot tell you how much time I have spent on this problem, so have come here to the font of knowledge to seek help.
I am working on a project created in AE which is being pushed through a Barco Encore to 3 projectors edge blended to a resolution of 5220 x 1920 pixels.
This is a huge resolution so I opted to work at half this size.No problems there, though it is difficult working at such extended resolutions.
My problem however has come when I want to render it to a format I can play it from.Normally I would use Dataton Watchout to deliver this media so it can be pre split across say 3 pcs.But this is not an option on this one.So I need to play it from one pc.If I render to my preferred QT Animation codec the file is so large that my machine struggles to play it-8+gig.
Anyone have any suggestions how I can keep such a large resolution yet retain crisp detail? Any suggestions for a different mode of playback beyond Quick Time? Any ideas much appreciated.
As a footnote one of the problems seems to be the high bitrate but in AE I cannot access control of bitrate in my export settings when using QT Animation.
Thanks all
Neil Stratton


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Non standard resolutions and playback
on Sep 24, 2010 at 3:31:18 pm

[Neil Stratton] "I am working on a project created in AE which is being pushed through a Barco Encore to 3 projectors edge blended to a resolution of 5220 x 1920 pixels.
This is a huge resolution so I opted to work at half this size."


Does this mean your AE comps are 2610x960? Oooohhh, that is a VERY bad idea. A very bad idea indeed. Especially when you write, "Anyone have any suggestions how I can keep such a large resolution yet retain crisp detail?"

If you really DID work at 2610x960, you've thrown away half your resolution from the get-go.


Walter Soyka is the resident expert on AE work for multiscreen, and I hope he joins this thread: the gent knows his stuff.

But I CAN tell you that QT's Animation codec won't play back smoothly... however, I would still render in the Animation codec. AE just doesn't do a proper job of compression. I would then use a different compression application to compress it to a lower-bitrate codec... or codecs. That's the beauty of batch processing in a dedicated compression application.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Neil Stratton
Re: Non standard resolutions and playback
on Sep 24, 2010 at 3:43:50 pm

Hi Dave-thanks for your reply.I apologise for I have so many numbers in my head I misrepresented myself.
I am actually working at 2610x540 which is half of 5220 x 1080,which is my available resolution.
I am glad you said it will not play back smoothly like this.Any pointers for a suitable compression application I could experimanet with?
Many thanks
Neil Stratton



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Walter Soyka
Re: Non standard resolutions and playback
on Sep 24, 2010 at 3:49:52 pm

[Neil Stratton] "Any pointers for a suitable compression application I could experimanet with?"

I like Telestream Episode Pro, Apple Compressor, and Grass Valley ProCoder (depending on your platform).

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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Walter Soyka
Re: Non standard resolutions and playback
on Sep 24, 2010 at 3:48:43 pm

[Neil Stratton] "I am working on a project created in AE which is being pushed through a Barco Encore to 3 projectors edge blended to a resolution of 5220 x 1920 pixels... This is a huge resolution so I opted to work at half this size....

Normally I would use Dataton Watchout to deliver this media so it can be pre split across say 3 pcs.But this is not an option on this one. So I need to play it from one pc....

As a footnote one of the problems seems to be the high bitrate but in AE I cannot access control of bitrate in my export settings when using QT Animation."


The animation codec is built for intermediate use, not for playback. You'll have to compress to something a little more playback-friendly like WMV, MPEG-2, or h264. Since you're working in a non-standard resolution, not all compression apps or playback apps may support it, and testing will be necessary. You could alternately conform it to a standard video resolution and use any compression you like.

Like you said, WATCHOUT is an ideal solution for this. Playing back from a single PC complicates this, because (to the best of my knowledge) each Encore input is limited to 1920 px. This gives you a few options:

You could throw away more resolution and compress at 1920x706 (square pixels) within a 1920x1080 frame. You could spare a couple pixels and compress your video anamorphically, squeezing your 2660x960 frame into 1920x1080 frame, and use the Encore to stretch it back out. You could use one of the Matrox GXMs to get two 1920x1080 outputs to the Encore -- this would save what resolution you have left. All of these will require scaling, and will eat Encore inputs.

If you need to feed the DVI Encore background channels, you are back to WATCHOUT or DDR sync rolls.

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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Neil Stratton
Re: Non standard resolutions and playback
on Sep 24, 2010 at 3:57:12 pm

Hi Walter-many thanks for your comprehensive reply.Its a tricky one as I dont have access to the Encore to assess its scaling quality.But I think I will follow your suggestion to render to 1920 x 1080 and scale up.I only hope it will still look good.all my experiences with Watchout have been fantastic.Now to see how I get on with Encore.
Once done I shall report back with my findings.
Many thanks
Neil Stratton



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Walter Soyka
Re: Non standard resolutions and playback
on Sep 24, 2010 at 4:00:48 pm

[Neil Stratton] "Its a tricky one as I dont have access to the Encore to assess its scaling quality."

The DVI scaling is decent. The VGA scaling is not as clean. Stay digital if you can.

Depending on your content, the physical size of your screen, and the viewing distance of the audience, the lower resolution may or may not be a big deal.

Good luck!

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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Neil Stratton
Re: Non standard resolutions and playback
on Oct 5, 2010 at 11:01:41 am

Hi Walter and Dave-I thought I would just let you know what my solution was in the end.I decided to make it easy on my self and took a couple of my Watchout machines with me which allowed me to play back 2 pre split video files of 1310x 540 each and align them in Watchout.I chose this route to give me peace of mind as I am comfortable using Watchout to deliver large videos.Then we upscaled in Encore and the results were great.I was very impressed with the Encore scaling.
Thanks again for your help and suggestions.
Neil Stratton



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Walter Soyka
Re: Non standard resolutions and playback
on Oct 5, 2010 at 12:42:10 pm

Thanks for sharing your final solution, Neil!

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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Dave LaRonde
Re: Non standard resolutions and playback
on Oct 5, 2010 at 3:01:17 pm

Let me add my thanks as well for writing back. Not enough people do that.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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