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Author Topic: How many eggs in one basket?  (Read 428 times)

Stephen Swaffer

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How many eggs in one basket?
« on: February 10, 2019, 10:09:24 pm »

We just upgraded our media computer to a 2018 Mac Mini with an i7 processor at 3.6 Ghz, 16 GB ram.  I am running 2 HD displays and a projector as the 3rd display.  Normal service I run prelude music on iTunes, media slides (and occasional video) on ProPresenter and Audio Hijack to record the service.  From past experience, we may at times run Skype to PP and sometimes have to access email to get slides.

I use a second Mac to run a lighting controller-pretty simple lighting just platform floods in 2 groups and house lights.  This Mac is also slated to run a PTZ camera or 3 to give us basic video feeds.  I might run prelude on this one instead-just to give me flexibility in how I set up to 2 audio feeds.

I think workflow would be better if I had the lighting on the mini-we typically use a midi board to trigger that-just nervous about everything playing nice.  How much is too much in one place?
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Steve Swaffer

Erik Jerde

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Re: How many eggs in one basket?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2019, 02:16:37 am »

We just upgraded our media computer to a 2018 Mac Mini with an i7 processor at 3.6 Ghz, 16 GB ram.  I am running 2 HD displays and a projector as the 3rd display.  Normal service I run prelude music on iTunes, media slides (and occasional video) on ProPresenter and Audio Hijack to record the service.  From past experience, we may at times run Skype to PP and sometimes have to access email to get slides.

I use a second Mac to run a lighting controller-pretty simple lighting just platform floods in 2 groups and house lights.  This Mac is also slated to run a PTZ camera or 3 to give us basic video feeds.  I might run prelude on this one instead-just to give me flexibility in how I set up to 2 audio feeds.

I think workflow would be better if I had the lighting on the mini-we typically use a midi board to trigger that-just nervous about everything playing nice.  How much is too much in one place?

You'll know when it starts crashing.  :)

For me it comes down to usability.  Your system may be able to adequately handle everything running on it but can it be effectively operated/managed/etc that way?  Sometimes single purpose systems are nice because it's much easier to manage interfacing with the system.

Running multiple audio sources from one computer can be obnoxious as you have to kill one before you start another.  Adding a multi-channel audio interface (or going direct to the console with USB if possible) can help alleviate this by binding each program to it's own audio channels.  Makes it easier to mix too as different source programs can result in vastly different levels.  Of course you need enough channels on your console to pull this off as well.

Another way to think about things - if you really need X number of operators (lighting, gfx, video) then you really need 3 systems.  If two people can do it effectively then you may be able to get away with two systems.  Still may need 3 monitors though.

A lot of it will come down to how complicated your services are.  I personally like prelude to run from a simple computer sitting at FOH and run by the audio person.  Gfx doesn't need any part of that business.  Audio can pretty effectively run smaart, spotify, wwb, wsm, dante dm, and some other bits and pieces pretty easily with two displays.  I've got that all running (except smaart) on an old Win7 box with a single display and it's quite happy.  Seriously thinking about adding a second display and running smaart on it too, not at all concerned about stability there.  It is however, not a mission critical system.  If it does go down service will go on as the only thing the congregation would notice is a blip in pre-service music which is cut 5min before service for a pre-service video to run anyways.

That brings me to my final thought.  Back in my IT days, critical systems all ran on dedicated hardware.  Less critical stuff got to share.
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Matthias McCready

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Re: How many eggs in one basket?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2019, 03:02:59 am »

Agree with Eric.

Additionally are you familiar with Synergy?

With this I have two mac mini's connected. One takes care of multitrack/playback (for recording and mixdown) and the other runs itunes, SMAART, WWB, and D&B R1. They can share the same mouse and keyboard.

It can be a very nice way to separate the tasks of the machines while saving space (having 3-4 keyboards at FOH is never fun!). Albeit this only helps if all of the tasks are oriented towards one individual.
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Erik Jerde

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Re: How many eggs in one basket?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2019, 09:08:55 am »

I've used Synergy in the past - 10ish years ago actually.  It worked great sharing kbd and mouse between a Mac and a PC.  That was pretty fantastic.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: How many eggs in one basket?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2019, 12:54:34 pm »

Right now we have 2 people involved-a sound guy and a media guy (me).  I'm more experienced with sound, so if something goes sideways I can help out and vice versa.  When we add the video streaming there will be a third guy.  That is partly why I am thinking getting lighting and PP on one MAC with video and prelude on the other.  Prelude will be done before video stream starts so no conflict.

One thing I haven't mastered is binding different programs to different inputs from a Mac.  Did it easily on a PC, but since I am using USB directly to a QU-32 I haven't been able to run PP and iTunes on different inputs-really the main reason I want that off the "media" Mac-I will use a Scarlett interface I have on the second one.  I like to duck the prelude to the pulpit mic and the piano so if someone isn't at the board and an announcement needs to be made or the live prelude starts there isn't a conflict-but having that input ducked during a service is a problem.  I could do scene recalls-but trying to eliminate points of failure.

That said, lighting is the one thing that might be considered mission critical-in most services we would be fine without media.

It wouldn't be the first live crash-but I'd rather the attention stay on the platform!
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Steve Swaffer

Erik Jerde

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Re: How many eggs in one basket?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2019, 02:12:42 pm »

Right now we have 2 people involved-a sound guy and a media guy (me).  I'm more experienced with sound, so if something goes sideways I can help out and vice versa.  When we add the video streaming there will be a third guy.  That is partly why I am thinking getting lighting and PP on one MAC with video and prelude on the other.  Prelude will be done before video stream starts so no conflict.

One thing I haven't mastered is binding different programs to different inputs from a Mac.  Did it easily on a PC, but since I am using USB directly to a QU-32 I haven't been able to run PP and iTunes on different inputs-really the main reason I want that off the "media" Mac-I will use a Scarlett interface I have on the second one.  I like to duck the prelude to the pulpit mic and the piano so if someone isn't at the board and an announcement needs to be made or the live prelude starts there isn't a conflict-but having that input ducked during a service is a problem.  I could do scene recalls-but trying to eliminate points of failure.

That said, lighting is the one thing that might be considered mission critical-in most services we would be fine without media.

It wouldn't be the first live crash-but I'd rather the attention stay on the platform!

Audio Hijack from Rogue Amoeba can be used to route different programs to different output devices.  I don't have a compatible version on my computer right now so I can't give any pointers - need to upgrade for OS compatibility.
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