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video wall dimensions

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John Czerwinskivideo wall dimensions
by on Nov 15, 2010 at 4:30:00 pm

I am creating content for a video wall.

The specs and equipment:

10 Orion 46" monitors model 46SNLV in a horizontal configuration.
5 monitors across 2 down
max. resolution 1366x768 @60 hz
3 voLANte transmitters and 3 voLANte receivers

For now we are using a PC(s) to play the content unless someone here has a better solution.
VoLANte software called conductor assigns which monitors get what video

The content:

The middle 6 monitors will be play the main video.
the left two monitors will play different content.
The right two monitors will play different content.
we are using P2 720p footage.

the questions I have:
What kind of player should I use? quicktime, VLC, something else?

What dimensions do I use to to create videos for the six screens and for the two screens?

I'll be working in After Effects to create the content.

Thanks,

John


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Walter SoykaRe: video wall dimensions
by on Nov 15, 2010 at 5:46:24 pm

[John Czerwinski] "What kind of player should I use? quicktime, VLC, something else?"

You have 3 channels of voLANte video, with a theoretical resolution of 5760x1080. You have 5x2 channels' worth of 768p displays, giving you a theoretical resolution of 6830x1536 (not accounting for negative space, bezels, etc.). How are you relating these two pixel spaces, and how are you distributing the 3 voLANte outputs over 10 monitor inputs?

Engineering aside, playback is a pretty complicated question. Maybe you only have one piece of media looping, or maybe you have multiple pieces that must be scheduled? What degree of live show control do you need? If you don't need any, I'd think about networked & synched BrightSigns instead of PCs. If you need a lot of show control, neither QT nor VLC would really be appropriate for maintaining sync across multiple displays.


[John Czerwinski] "What dimensions do I use to to create videos for the six screens and for the two screens?"

This really depends on your playback and distribution solution.

I tend to work in large comps that cover all my displays (and any negative space in between monitors, or for bezels, etc.) and output cropped content for each display from that master comp. I can always re-scale if necessary from there.


If you really need project-specific engineering and design advice, I think that you may be well-served by hiring someone to consult with you -- there are a lot of "it depends" answers for the questions you're asking.

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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John CzerwinskiRe: video wall dimensions
by on Nov 15, 2010 at 6:36:13 pm

thanks Walter for the information.

After I wrote this post, we were concerned about syncing all these videos together. we are going to try a test of just having one file for all ten monitors. Build all three videos in one comp in AE. the left 2 monitors one video, middle 6 monitors one video, and the 2 right monitors one video. Then just use 1 voLANte transmitter/receiver for everything.

That being said, I still need to figure what comp size I need to work in?

The content will be playing in a lobby for about 12 hours a day. We may change the content once in a while, but for now this is the content schedule. With this information, do you think QT or VLC can handle playing a video file for 12 hours a day? If you think a BrightSign product would be more stable and easy to use which product would you recommend?

Thanks again for your help.

John



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Walter SoykaRe: video wall dimensions
by on Nov 15, 2010 at 7:38:52 pm

[John Czerwinski] "After I wrote this post, we were concerned about syncing all these videos together. we are going to try a test of just having one file for all ten monitors. Build all three videos in one comp in AE. the left 2 monitors one video, middle 6 monitors one video, and the 2 right monitors one video. Then just use 1 voLANte transmitter/receiver for everything. That being said, I still need to figure what comp size I need to work in"

Personally, I would still try to produce this piece at full resolution -- [5x2] * [1280x720] or 6400x1440 (assuming no gaps between the screens) to give you the most flexibility for delivery in case that single voLANte goes back to 3 or more channels for increased resolution on the video wall.

You should also mentally separate the physical 5x2 layout of the screens (which has an aspect ratio of 40:9, or 4.444) from the delivery layout (16:9, or 1.778). Designing at [5x2] * [1280x720], but outputting at [4x3] * [480x270] (with 2 blank spaces) within a single 1920x1080 frame will use your output space more efficiently and save you some display resolution. Of course the output render won't resemble the physical layout of the screen, so you'd need to render separate passes from the master comp for pre-visualization and delivery.

[John Czerwinski] "If you think a BrightSign product would be more stable and easy to use which product would you recommend?"

I'd consider one of the networked BrightSign players. They can be used singly, or synced together to feed your wall with more resolution.

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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John CzerwinskiRe: video wall dimensions
by on Nov 15, 2010 at 9:55:39 pm

You should also mentally separate the physical 5x2 layout of the screens (which has an aspect ratio of 40:9, or 4.444) from the delivery layout (16:9, or 1.778). Designing at [5x2] * [1280x720], but outputting at [4x3] * [480x270] (with 2 blank spaces) within a single 1920x1080 frame will use your output space more efficiently and save you some display resolution.


I'm sorry Walter, you lost me. Are you saying create a 6400x1440 comp, for design. (I created 10 boxes using guides with a size of 1280x720 each.) Create my piece. Then bring that comp into another comp at a size of 1920x1080. Squeeze the first comp to fit within the 1920x1080 comp? Also, what do you mean about the 2 blank spaces?

Of course the output render won't resemble the physical layout of the screen, so you'd need to render separate passes from the master comp for pre-visualization and delivery.


not sure what you are saying here either?

Thank you for taking the time to help me out.

John



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Walter SoykaRe: video wall dimensions
by on Nov 16, 2010 at 3:24:58 am

John, I'm doing your homework for you!

[John Czerwinski] "Are you saying create a 6400x1440 comp, for design. (I created 10 boxes using guides with a size of 1280x720 each.) Create my piece. Then bring that comp into another comp at a size of 1920x1080. Squeeze the first comp to fit within the 1920x1080 comp? Also, what do you mean about the 2 blank spaces?"

You're starting out right.

Your 6400x1440 design comp (I call this a master comp) will have the monitors arranged in a 5x2 grid like this:

1-2-3-4-5
6-7-8-9-10

This is perfect for design work, because it lets you treat the entire space as a single canvas.

Now, your render comp will be 1920x1080. If you just scale your 6400x1440 comp down, you'll squeeze it down to 1920x432 (each tile will be 384x216), and you're not using the 16:9 frame efficiently -- it'll be packed horizontally, but with a lot of vertical space free. This means each tile in the image will be lower-res than it needs to be.

Instead, you could cut up your master comp when you position it in your render comp into a 4x3 grid like this:

1-2-3-4
5-6-7-8
9-10-11-12

Now, your active area will be 1920x810 (each tile will be 480x270). By rearranging the grid, the resolution of each tile will be improved by 25%. Monitor 1 from above goes into the slot for monitor 1, monitor 2 goes to 2, etc. Two spaces in the 4x3 grid will be empty. Monitor 5 is still monitor 5, but it's shifted down to the next row for transmission only -- the physical monitors will retain their 5x2 positioning. This is what I was referring to by mentally separating the physical layout from the delivery layout.

You won't be able to preview your work in this render comp, because as explained above, the arrangement of the monitors has been shifted. For pre-visualization, you can simply scale your 6400x1440 comp down as you suggested. This reconfiguration is for output only, to use more pixels in your single HD output channel and reduce the amount of scaling necessary to fill the wall.

By separating your master design comp from your render comps, you could always output at full-resolution if more playback channels became available, or if the addition of other content required reconfiguring your content for 5x2 positioning.

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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John CzerwinskiRe: video wall dimensions
by on Nov 16, 2010 at 6:33:10 pm

Thank you Walter for doing my homework for me. I believe I follow up until the point of:

Instead, you could cut up your master comp when you position it in your render comp into a 4x3 grid like this:

1-2-3-4
5-6-7-8
9-10-11-12


I guess I have not separated physical layout from the delivery output.

In the mean time I'll try the setting you provided and let you know how works out. I'm doing a test on Wednesday.

Thank you for your time and patients,

John


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Walter SoykaRe: video wall dimensions
by on Nov 17, 2010 at 3:47:03 pm

[John Czerwinski] "I guess I have not separated physical layout from the delivery output."

Here's another way to think about it -- if this stops making sense, let me know where.

You are working in one single 6400x1440 master comp, which represents a video wall of 5x2 monitors.

Using that one master comp, you can create 10 new 1280x720 monitor comps for each of the 10 monitors that will make up the wall. Drop the master comp into each one of these monitor comps, and reposition the master comp within each monitor comp so it shows the contents of one of the 10 monitors.

You are currently delivering one single 1920x1080 delivery comp. If you arrange the 10 monitor comps in that 1920x1080 frame just as they are on the actual video wall -- a 5x2 grid of virtual monitors, two rows of five, it will look just like the video wall, but it's not an efficient use of the 1920x1080 frame. Each of the monitor comps will end up smaller than it needs to be inside of the delivery comp, forcing the Orion monitors to scale them up (and soften the imagery) more.

If you arrange the 10 monitor comps within your 1920x1080 delivery comp within a 4x3 grid of virtual monitors -- three rows of four -- it will no longer look exactly like the physical configuration video wall, but the frame will still hold all 10 monitor comps. You will be using the 1920x1080 frame more efficiently -- each monitor comp will be larger within the delivery comp than it could have been in the 5x2 arrangement -- so the Orion monitors won't have to scale the source up quite as much.

You'd have to configure the scalers on the Orion monitors to use this 4x3 configuration, even though they will be physically arranged in a 5x2 configuration.

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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John CzerwinskiRe: video wall dimensions
by on Nov 18, 2010 at 5:09:34 pm

Walter,

Thank you very much for all the help. The 6400x1440 master comp inside the 1920x1080 aspect ratio worked great. I still need to try set up the 4:3 configuration you are talking about. The test we did yesterday was a good start. We used H.264 and played it through VLC for testing. Have you any better luck with any other codec? Also I'm concerned about how much I have to scale up the 720P footage that I'm using in the master comp. The next test I would like to try is the Bright Star product your were talking about or the DVR vaLANte sells. Thanks again for doing my homework.

John



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