View Full Version : Making super wide-screen content - any tips?
13th February 2006, 09:14 AM
Here's an idea: cropping the middle third of some high-def footage, splitting into 3 segments (left, middle, right) and projecting it from synchronized PCs.
A venue I know near where I live has a setup with 3x side-by-side screens and projectors, each projector can take a separate feed.
I was thinking of putting a fisheye lens on my HD cam (already tested), shooting some footage, then cropping the resulting 1920x1080 footage to 1920x480. After doing all the editing in Vegas, adding titles, etc. I would copy the footage twice, and render out 3 different versions with different cropping (left, center, right) - so I'd get 3x 640x480 files.
I could then play it out of Resolume or Pilgrim on 3 PCs, sync'ed via MIDI. I was thinking of creating identical decks/projects on the 3 PCs, except that each one would have a different cut of the clips.
Has anyone done something similar? Any tips on editing footage in a non-standard resolution (1920x480)?
13th February 2006, 10:02 AM
I'd avoid the fisheye unless you specificly want the lens distortion (it will look really odd when it is split out to 3 screens)- put electrical tape on the flipout LCD to enable you to frame better.
to make your slices (you use vegas right??)
make a new composition @ 1920x480 - do the edit so that everything looks right. - render the project as a lossless avi @ 1920x480.
import the rendered file into a new comp @ 640x480
duplicate the track 3 times and then use the event pan/crop tool to set the correct POV for each track.
render each track as a seperate avi @ 640x480
if you use after effects its basicly the same although you can skip the first render stage by using nested comps.
test out the pc's reliability before you go to the club! - resolume is very bad at consitant triggering which means you will get some delay between the screens (we have used VJamm for this kind of setup sucesfully in the past - this is one of the things that russell has spent a lot of time working on so that such setups are possible. - you could actually do it from a single PC using VJamm)
14th February 2006, 01:26 AM
Hey Tom, thanks for the tips!
I've done a couple of experiments - here's an issue: Basically the footage is coming in as 1080i (interlaced), I want to turn it into 480p. I've disabled anything to do with interlacing in Vegas, and am using the Mike Crash Smart Deinterlace filter. However, i can't quite seem to get it correctly calibrated.
Any better way of deinterlacing 1080i prior to cropping down to 480 lines? I've considered going the "Bob + Weave" approach with a higher framerate, but that would mean going through AVISynth for the initial pass.
Also - I am considering using 3 hard-disk based players for the playback stage. Since they all use the same remote, perhaps stacking three of them and pressing "play" on one remote might be enough. Any other thoughts re: synchronizing 3 standalone players?
14th February 2006, 09:50 AM
yeah bob and weave is the way to go although some of the doom9 people have been making motion compensation DI plugins for avisynth http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=82264 should in theory be better if you have the time to fiddle with the settings...
as to playback it very much depends on the screen layout - if the screens are really close to each other then you need frame acurate sync which you won't get from hardware players started from the same remote (pioneer dvd-v3000's could be used with rs232 and genlock) if there is a bit of a gap between the screens then you won't notice a small (1 frame) sync error - still hardware players are not going to be good enough with IR remotes.
1 fast computer with 2 dualhead graphics cards and VJamm Pro is the easy way to do it. or try midi syncing multiple machines - 3x resolume licences is as expensive as VJamm though and you need 2 more computers and it won't be as reliable...
for info on synced hardware players see http://www.djdesign.com/
14th February 2006, 02:01 PM
Thanks again for the useful info!
I have made some tests using bob+weave. It looks very good - the doubled framerate makes the footage look hyperreal. My concern is that I crop 600 lines already to go from 1080 to 480, then the bob operation cuts that down to 240 lines resolution (though double the framerate).
So I am debating getting an anamorphic lens for the camera, which would compress everything horizontally (make it all tall & skinny) then the bob & weave operation would restore the correct aspect ratio (1/2 number of lines) and double the framerate.
Any thoughts? Also - any thoughts on the cheapest way to build a syncable hardware player, perhaps based on cheap PCs?
14th February 2006, 02:34 PM
i would bob/weave the HDV into 50FPS and then crop from that - it will probably look fine - an optical anamorpic lens might help but afaik they are all designed to squeeze 16:9 onto 4:3 sensors - dunno quite what would happen if you put one on a HDV camera.
the cheapest way i know to do multiple synced screens is with a single fairly decent PC and VJamm Pro - you can get a 4 output SLI machine with SATA raid0 for less than ?500 these days + ?300 for VJamm and the total cost is only ?800 - which is less than 3x cheap computers and much less than 3x pioneer syncable dvd players. it also works "out of the box" so to speak and enables you to span a single clip accross multiple screns without having to slice and preprocess it.
i belive there is some max patch for syncing minimacs via ethernet but again thats more expensive and less flexable than the single VJamm machine method.
14th February 2006, 06:22 PM
In AE make a new comp. Set comp to 2160x486 (or your local format)
make big 3 screen comp. Then sub it out to 4x3 to cook out seperate channels.
14th February 2006, 11:23 PM
Looks like single machine with multiple outputs is probably the cleanest and cheapest solution. VJamm looks interesting as well. Any tips on specific configuration, and experiences? What's the maximum resolution you've achieved?
Will almost certainly be getting the anamorphic lens for testing. The bob+weave footage at 60fps looks tremendous, but people will be quite close to the screens, so making the most of the vertical resolution will be a big plus.
14th February 2006, 11:49 PM
Personally, I'm not that thrilled by just spreading an image over three screens.
You could just use one bright projector, and get the same effect. In fact, I'm helping someone do a show that way. Why hassle with three projectors and all the matching/syncing involved when you really just want a thin strip.
I'm more interested in complex layouts across three screens.
Use one master computer, or a midi-controller and work your compositions.
Each slave computer then is configured based on its position.
So you trigger "composition 1" and computers a, b, and c do three different things to create the positioning. In your case, perhaps three pilgrim compositions, each made to form a master design. In this way, you're not tied down by premade content. You have the same clips on all three machines, or live feeds into them.
What strikes me as more interesting than that is taking the multiprojector concept and breaking the 3rd dimension by getting to place screens at different angles or in ways that would be impossible for a single projector. I just did a show with Dreamer John from Portland, and he is the master of training multiple projectors on a single weather ballon to create complex patterns that wrap the sphere shape. Really nice stuff, and something I'd like to explore with multiscreen output.
15th February 2006, 12:02 AM
bright 1080i projectors are very very expensive!
by using a single computer to span screens you can create some nice movements of clips between screens and go far beyond the standard 4:3 tv look visuals.
non flat surface projection is also interesting but its a different kettle of fish to s u p e r w i d e s c r e e n - projector spanning creates a very cinematic look where as ballon projection is much more like abstact lighting.
anyway this is going OT - i very much like the combination of both spanning AND abstract projection on weird stuff. (whishes for 15 video projectors and a load of stange objects to point them at :))
15th February 2006, 05:53 AM
Okay, that did wander far afield.
Actually, the sphere thing wasn't all abstract. We used multiple feeds with masks and wipes that fit the shape of the mask (two different video guys coming together = shitloads of gear) Then, I would do compositioning on my computer as well. The result was little windows moving about on the sphere, or figures dancing around it, etc. But agreed, much different then the epic feel of uberwidescreen.
I guess my take on it was that if you're going to have three projectors and three computers, you can go beyond just spanning into lots of other effects as well. Or compositioning across the entire canvas, realtime.
15th February 2006, 06:52 AM
Hey, all useful stuff! I'm also keen to explore non-traditional screen techniques, however, for now the venue has three very bright projectors side-by-side. The place is actually split into three "bays" with floor to ceiling screens in each bay. So using a single projector that would span that would be very tricky.
In the process of discussing this with the venue manager, they've now realized that if you add some capture cards to the mix, you're basically starting to come up with a replacement for an expensive video switcher.
The missing piece of the puzzle is software to let this multi-head, multi-capture beast act like a mixer/switcher.
I was thinking of working something up in vvvv or maybe Pilgrim.
Any suggestions in terms of building this thing? What kind of graphics cards, hardware spec? Any software out there that would work well? I'm thinking of something that would allow managing the screens creatively, switching from super wide to 3 screens, morphing content from one screen to another, etc.
15th February 2006, 07:37 PM
The new release of Modul8 will do all of that for you. I think, on the new G5 towers, that is will handle 6 outputs.
breaking the 3rd dimension by getting to place screens at different angles
I did this with a 3 channel rig. Original 3D content was shot with virtual cameras to mimic the real world screen config of a semi hexagon. Standing in the sweet spot gave a very immersive effect. And then there's circlevision.
23rd February 2006, 06:13 AM
Well, I've tried the anamorphic lens to try to get back some resolution around the deinterlacing stage. Not that useful - a lot of chromatic aberration...
16th March 2006, 01:47 AM
we use for 2 yeras now a matrox parhelia, with 3 outputs, eyesweb as a player and a second computer as a remote control for eyesweb via osc protocol. (including alpha blending and freeframe effects)And we play uncompressed video 1920 x480 with eyesweb!!!! no problem...
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