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Author Topic: New Video Design  (Read 7464 times)

Steve Tye

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New Video Design
« on: November 03, 2009, 02:17:04 am »

Hiya

We are doing a refurbishment of our video / projection infrastructure and would love some advice.

Our current setup uses two projectors each with a laptop (and operator) since, during the message, we display sermon notes in a number of different languages. During worship, we only use the one projector. We use "Presenter" for display of song lyrics and MS PowerPoint during the sermons.

We are building a new facility and I am looking to try and fit in the best solution which makes use of both screens during worship (or displaying DVDs etc) with an identical image but can then split to two different screens for the message. This would be VGA only (1024x768) - we have no need for higher resolutions / hdmi etc.

Secondly, during worship, we want to have a video line to the stage for on-stage LCD screens with words for singers.

Thirdly, (and perhaps a separate question), we want a fixed video camera to be able to have its signal split to 3 other rooms in the building (only via svideo or RCA). There is no need for the video signal to be integrated into the main house projector screens (we aren't that big).

Here is a mudmap of what I think i need:
index.php/fa/450/0/

Questions:
1. Can this be achieved with a single PC with either 2 dual video cards or a single 4-head video card (I have noted a Matrox QID-E128LPA or something similar).

2. I have seen an add-on for MS PowerPoint which allows more than 2 monitors (Power Show) does anyone have any experience with this? Would it be better to use a different product for this purpose?

3. I am not all that impressed with the "Presenter" software. I have seen some posts on this board recommending EasyWorship and and playing with a trial. Would this software utilize the 4 different video outputs? (left and right projectors, singer LCD screens and operator screen). Are there any other suggestions on this?

4. Would a simple splitter be sufficient for the signal to the singer LCD screens (presuming the length is acceptable).

5. For the re-broadcasting of the video camera signal to other rooms - is there any other specialized equipment needed here?

I am not sure if any other equipment is needed. Originally I thought I would need a matrix switcher or something similar but now I am not sure.

Finally - and maybe I should have mentioned / thought of this earlier.... we also need the option of an additional single VGA feed coming from the stage for use by speakers that want full control of the projectors (which would have to be in clone mode).

Any help is appreciated - sorry for the long question.

Steve
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George Linkenhoker

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Re: New Video Design
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2009, 11:13:42 am »

Hi Steve,

It sounds like you have a lot going on with your projection. Overall, I recommend that if this all sounds a bit over your head, it might be best to take the general plan to a consultant and have them set you up with some good options. Sometimes spending more money now is actually fiscally smarter than trying to buy something and finding out it is the wrong thing when you are stuck with it.  Anyways, I will go on in case I can make some sense of this for you.

I think that you are on the right track with the matrix option. With a matrix, you would feed all of your inputs and outputs into the matrix switcher. So, for example, inputs one and two for your computer feeds from the control booth area, input three from the stage, and input four from the DVD player (which would need to be upconverted before going in on a simple matrix) then output one is the left projector, output two is the right projector, output three is the choir monitors. Then you simply push the button for an input then the button for the output(s) you want it on and hit enter/take to make it go. On a simple matrix switcher this would not necessarily be seamless/smooth but would work, the lower end models do not offer fade times or allow for multiple routing changes at once, you would only be able to do say input one to whatever output(s) and make that change.  Higher end switchers would allow you to setup changes on both screens at once, say input one to screen one and input two to screen two, then execute both changes on a take command.  There are also higher end models that will take in various formats of either data or video and do the conversion internally.

Analog Way has some cool new switchers coming out like the SmartVu, Pulse, and the Opus which would give you some added power over a simple push button matrix, www.analogway.com In Matrix mode, those switchers use the preview output as a second output, might have to find a different way to do choir monitors like feeding it the same send as one screen.  There are also plenty of other options out there as well, those came to mind as I just had a demo of some of them the other day.

On software, I know our church uses LiveWorship though I have only had limited interaction with it. I know they demoed it against MediaShout and LiveWorship was their favorite but that has been a few years. I am not sure it can do more than one output screen.  

The LCDs should be fine with a distribution amplifier on them, using whichever cabling setup you decide to output to the projectors.  If RGBHV you can always adapt that to a VGA on the LCDs if they have VGA in, or just run VGA if everything will take it.  You would have to find a converter box if you are doing component or composite in.

S-video or composite distribution amplifiers should be fine for you camera feed, check the manufacturer's specs to make sure that you do not exceed the maximum cable length.  Usually a couple hundred feet is safe.


Hope that helps,

-George L.



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Arnold B. Krueger

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Re: New Video Design
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2009, 09:18:18 am »

Steve Tye wrote on Tue, 03 November 2009 07:17

Hiya

Questions:
1. Can this be achieved with a single PC with either 2 dual video cards or a single 4-head video card (I have noted a Matrox QID-E128LPA or something similar).



Depending on the software, yes. Doing 2 or more concurrent displays on one PC is not the rocket science it used to be. Running two dual video cards is now a farily common motherboard option, and even running an onboard dual video facility and a separate plug-in dual card is supported. On-board video used to be slow and limited, but some newer boards (NVidia and AMD) will support 1920 x 1200 HD motion video on one side of the onboard video, and 1024x768 or larger video on the other.

Quote:


4. Would a simple splitter be sufficient for the signal to the singer LCD screens (presuming the length is acceptable).



Probably. Simple splitters with up to 4 outputs are now pretty inexpensive.

The problem you're likely to deal with isn't the splitter per se, its the cable lengths. The cable lengths can easily run over 100 feet, and that can take some special mouth holding. Your options are cable extenders that convert RGB to CAT-5e or CAT-6, or low loss cables of various kinds. We use RGBHV low-loss RG-6 for our longest runs in the sanctuary, which is a decidedly old school (but effective) approach.

More expensive splitters have gain controls that you can use to overcome some cable losses. We use one for the in-room video runs which are over 100' each.

You get what you pay for but if your lines are short and have low enough loss, a simple active splitter or DA can suffice. Note that as another post clarified after I initially wrote this post, this would be a powered splitter, or more properly a distribution amp or DA. Video is an impedance-matched system. Passive splitters for VGA are rare and will at the very least cause a dramatic loss of brightness and contrast.

Quote:


5. For the re-broadcasting of the video camera signal to other rooms - is there any other specialized equipment needed here?



Depends on the format and quality levels you are going for. We have an analog feed to 3 locations via 100s of feet of RG-6 as RF - Channel 3. An inexpensive consumer-grade converter  converts the output of our video mixer and sound system back into RF. We have inexpensive RF-to-VGA converers at the other ends, each driving a 24" LCD computer monitor or XGA video projector.

This all implies what some might find to be dire quality issues, but frankly there have been no complaints, even in the room with the big screen and video projector.

Quote:


I am not sure if any other equipment is needed. Originally I thought I would need a matrix switcher or something similar but now I am not sure.



If there is only one source for each display, then no switching is needed. We got into the video switching game because we let the pastor run his own Powerpoint for the sermon. We got deeper into switching because we sometimes run live video through the main video system and we fade our remote locations between live video and presentation video sources.

Quote:


Finally - and maybe I should have mentioned / thought of this earlier.... we also need the option of an additional single VGA feed coming from the stage for use by speakers that want full control of the projectors (which would have to be in clone mode).



See above - that's what got us into the video switching game. Once you start switching  high rez video you either have to use the switching in the projectors which can be really awkward but some people do, or you get something like a scaler. We're using an old black interval swtich, and a true 2-input scaler looks really attractive!
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Brad Weber

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Re: New Video Design
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2009, 09:45:27 am »

Just a detail but a "splitter" usually implies a passive device with through loss while a distribution amplifier or DA implies a splitter with at least offset gain for the split losses.  Whether a DA provides anything more than that, such as additional gain, cable EQ, etc., depends on the specific device.

RF or cable distribution often uses splitters but baseband video distribution typically uses distribution amps.  Wanted to make the differentiation as I have seen people use RF splitters to try to derive multiple baseband video outputs and that does not work well.
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Brad Weber
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George Linkenhoker

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Re: New Video Design
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2009, 04:40:10 pm »

+1 for Brad.  I was a bit vague as I did not specifically say reasons for a DA over a "splitter".  

-George
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Steve Tye

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Re: New Video Design
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2009, 07:55:36 pm »

Thanks everyone for their feedback.

RGB signal length from the control box to the projectors or monitor LCD screens will need to be up to about 110 feet, so presumably we will need amplification for this length?

What are people's thoughts on using 2 x dual head video cards vs 1 x quad head video card? The first option appears far less expensive. Any recommendations on models etc?

Any suggestions on good quality VGA switchers with 4 inputs and 4 outputs?

Cheers
Steve
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Arnold B. Krueger

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Re: New Video Design
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2009, 08:20:41 am »

Steve Tye wrote on Thu, 05 November 2009 00:55

Thanks everyone for their feedback.

RGB signal length from the control box to the projectors or monitor LCD screens will need to be up to about 110 feet, so presumably we will need amplification for this length?



I've got a 150 foot run of low-loss video cable that has worked well with just the added gain provided by a switch on an inexpensive video splitter DA.

I made up my 150 foot runs out of a 100 foot M/F piece in the middle and 25 foot extensions on each end. When the connector at the stage end got damaged once, I just changed out the 25 foot piece on that end and didn't have to mess with the 100 foot piece under the floor.

My longer run is connected to video projectors and therefore totally hidden and unlikely to be damaged in normal use.

Quote:


What are people's thoughts on using 2 x dual head video cards vs 1 x quad head video card? The first option appears far less expensive. Any recommendations on models etc?



I've gotten by with relatively inexpensive generic video cards with both ATI and NVidia chipsets on them. I've never tried any 4-up cards because I've been able to get what I needed with a combination of onboard video and 2-up cards.

Presentation graphics and ordinary live video create pretty modest loads compared to high performance games.


Quote:


Any suggestions on good quality VGA switchers with 4 inputs and 4 outputs?



Please clarify as to whether the 4 outputs are switched independtly, or whether they are clones of each other or some mix of clones and independents. But no matter, I don't like the Black Interval switcher I use and wouldn't reoommend it.
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Steve Tye

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Re: New Video Design
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2009, 06:11:52 pm »

Thanks Arnold. Will have an experiment with the existing computers to see how they go with 2 video cards.

Below are the all of the switching configurations that I can think of - which would presumably define the equipment needed. The main monitor for the control PC would obviously be directly connected, and would not go through the switcher.

index.php/fa/453/0/

Cheers
Steve
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Brad Weber

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Re: New Video Design
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2009, 10:28:15 am »

Oops, things get much messier when you throw in the DVD player as you are now dealing with multiple signal formats and sources other than the computer.  The desire to potentially not always have the two projectors and Singer Monitor Screen always getting the same source also adds to the complexity as you then have to treat each display as an independent destination.  At the same time, you show a scenarios where you indicate three distinct sources from the computer, so the computer can not be addressed as a single output.  Thus you ideally need a 5x4 matrix and some scaling.

One option would be to insert a scaler on the DVD output and set the scaler output, as well as all computer sources, to run at the native resolution of the projectors.  Then insert a matrix VGA or RGBHV switcher between those sources and the displays.  The downside to this is that all displays would be receiving the same resolution regardless of their native resolution, that may or may not be a problem.

You could also use this,  http://www.extron.com/product/product.aspx?id=ism824&sub type=140&s=4, with the appropriate output cards that could independently scale each output to match the display resolution.

You could also deal with the DVD as a separate input to the projectors and Singer Monitor Screen as shown in your first sketch but you would then need to switch the display inputs.  That is possible but unless you use something like an AMX or Crestron control system that can coordinate the input and source switching and directly access the display inputs, switching between "DVD" and any of the "Worship" or "Sermon" scenarios could be awkward.  For example, you might have to step through all the inputs on the projectors or monitor and you might see some of that on screen.
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Brad Weber
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Arnold B. Krueger

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Re: New Video Design
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2009, 06:44:26 am »

Steve Tye wrote on Thu, 05 November 2009 23:11

Thanks Arnold. Will have an experiment with the existing computers to see how they go with 2 video cards.

Below are the all of the switching configurations that I can think of - which would presumably define the equipment needed. The main monitor for the control PC would obviously be directly connected, and would not go through the switcher.



Whew! You've got a lot ins and outs and combinations you want to hit.

The first thing I see is that your setup is RGB-dominant, with just a DVD player doing NTSC video. Our setup is more of a mixture with a DVD player and 2 cameras. Ee do most of the switching and distribution of main room video in RGBHV, and use an inexpensive scaler to bring our NTSC devices into the RGBHV world. Our NTSC devices are on a separate inexpensive NTSC mixer. We loop the input to the main screen into the NTSC mixer via another inexpensive scaler as we drive our other rooms with NTSC.

We've pretty well eliminated using the DVD player by converting all videos into MPG files offline before the service. This has many advanages. From the standpoint of the video operator, they are just a few more steps in the program that drives her part of the service. She loves it. I do this with Adobe Premiere Elements and that only cost us about 75 bucks.

But we've still got the 2 cameras. We run them into the analog NTSC mixer and use a cheap scaler to input them to the RGBHV switch.

Your RGB switching is pretty complex - basically a matrix. As I mentioned, we use a 4-in, 1-out RGBHV switcher and we are not happy with it. Centering and projectors taking their sweet time to re-synch after a RGBHV switchover is an ongoing problem for us. Ventering wouldn't be so much of a problem if all of our RGB sources had their own centering adjustements, but we have some older equipment that lacks the feature.  

I'm under the impression that a scaler with RGBHV inputs and outputs would eliminante all of these problems, but at a far higher price than we are able to pay right now.

One approach I'm considering is to move our RGBHV world into a HDMI world, using  HDMI splitters and switches with HDMI line extenders and simple adaptor plugs to convert the HDMI into DVI for the 2 projectors in the main room.

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Re: New Video Design
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2009, 06:44:26 am »


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