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Videowall Software

Derek Tallent

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We have a project coming up that we need a bit of help for - I've trawled through the archives and whilst there's a few suggestions I've gleaned from this trawl, nothing seems to be what our client really wants to achieve.


A customer of ours wants to run an 8 x 2 video wall on an exhibition stand. The reason for this is that the stand designers came up with the concept and the visuals of the stand looked good - so they wen with the idea. The only problem is they don't, as usual, have the budget to do it properly.


The screens will be 32" NEC LCD screens with the tile matrix function. This will enable the creation of the 8 x 2 wall quite easily.


The problem comes with the content to be shown on the screens. The client has lots of images of product etc, and the odd video, that they want to show.


This isn't a problem in itself - there are loads of presentation software programs about, but they want to be able to have certain images appearing on certain screens, or a video playing on 4 of the screens with stills on the other 4, for example.


Does anyone know of a simple-to-use, inexpensive bit of software that we can use to do this ?


Needs to be PC-based.


Many thanks

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They need an operator who is capable of providing a multichannel playback system. They cannot operate it themselves - its way too complex.

if they have budget then something such as vista spyder with mutiple computer / dvd sources would be the best option - this would give them full resolution output across the screens. Alternativly they could use Watchout or Hippotizer solutions but none of these options are cheap.


If they have no budget then a seriously beefy computer running screen monkey or a VJ app such as Resolume 3 or Modul8 could be used. They would have to accept very low resolution per screen (512 pixels across each display would be the absolute max). They will need an experianced user of this kind of setup to prep their media for playback and to be onsite during the event to operate.


When is the event? I'd be happy to quote to provide and run a system for them. I'm currently out of the country, programming and operating Vista Spyder in Dubai but will be back in the first week of April. I have a lot of experiance of this kind of playback situation both using the top of the range industry standard tools and doing it on the cheap.


contact me via PM here if you want to discuss this option.

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Does anyone know of a simple-to-use, inexpensive bit of software that we can use to do this.


Short answer is NO, find more budget or use the same image on each screen, Tom has put it quite well above

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Thanks for the replies guys.


Sadly, I don't control the budget - if it were up to me we'd have an onsite technician for the duration of the exhibition (which is in Dusseldorf, by the way), but it's not - so we won't.


Actually I got the number of monitors wrong - it's a 4 x 2 not 8 x 2, so what we'll probably end up doing is set the screens to be two lots of 2 x 2 and have a PC for each 2 x 2 and run a presentation on each.


It'll probably look crap, but if you pay peanuts.....

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It wouldn't be my first choice, and I know it's not PC based, but with careful design you might be able to embed the videos into keynote, and size them so they only take the relevant pixel space of the screen that they are to be shown on. Keynote will also allow you to generate pixel specific sized presentations, so you may be able to generate one that will be closer to the native size of the LCD's. Motion paths will also allow you to move objects to certain locations along defined paths, so could enable content to grow and shrink to the right areas of the screen.


I've never done this with keynote, but believe it would be worth a try. As Tom says the resolution won't be too great either.

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I'd strongly suggest that you don't bother to try and provide a really cheap option - if they cannot find the budget to pay someone to be there then it is likely going to be a disaster anyway. Yes you could do it with keynote / powerpoint or whatever. You could also make a blueray disk with PIPs correctly positioned for each screen.


But who is going to set the screens up? who will plug them in in the correct order? who will setup the tile matrix? the client?? ** laughs out loud **!


Come on most clients can't plug a laptop into a screen and get an image out in the correct aspect ratio. Let alone build a video wall, setup the screens and inputs correctly and play content into the system so that the correct bits end up on the correct screen.


If you talk to the client then you'll likely find out they have quite specific demands such as being able to play product X video at the drop of a hat to show to a visitor, if you provide a crap solution which cannot meet these demands the client will not be happy. They need an AV tech! its not an optional extra for this job. If they have budget for "designers" for their stand who produce decent looking CAD visualizations then they can afford an AV tech, your just not selling it to them properly!

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Tom, thanks for your reply.


Installing and set up is not a problem for us - it's something we do everyday of the week.


And yes, we know full well about customers not being able to hook up a laptop to a single plasma screen.


It's the creative element that is the problem as its not something we usually get involved with.


The problem is that we're not dealing with the client directly, but working through an agency so of course all the information we get is third hand.


I have suggested we go and see the client, but hey, they're in Denver, the agency is in Florida and the show is in Dusseldorf.


Happy Days!

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yeah unfortunately often people view the technical setup as separate to the content / creative element. In the case of multiscreen the boundary between the two is very blurry, spanning content is needed to make the most of the wow factor but getting it produced in a suitable format for the playback system is somewhat of an artform in itself. Add in the complexity of nonstandard aspect ratio and the (presumed) need for some realtime control to allow instant recall of certain content or the addition of newly produced material on site and you end up with a level of complexity which is quite a serious undertaking for someone without past experience of such things.


When is the show? I could maybe provide some training for you to show you how you can use Resolume to create a fairly simple and reliable multiscreen video server. You'd not want to have the client touch it but presuming you have competent setup technicians on site one of them could certainly get their head round the operation quite quickly.

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