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Thumbs up for Datapath x4


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Hi everyone,


Long time reader first time poster.


I work at a leading independent girls school in London as an AV Technician and I recently had an interesting problem to solve.


We have a grade II listed Great Hall which has a huge ceiling and large pipe organ on the stage. This makes any normal projection installation a bit of a nightmare as there is nowhere for a screen to be mounted, flown etc. For the past how ever many years the school have simply plonked a projector and tripod screen on stage for people to see.


This has been 'acceptable' for too long, and next year I'm hoping to install a Da-lite ascender screen which will rise elegantly from within the stage revealing a large projector screen.


In the interim, I was asked if I could pop a couple of plasmas onto the stage to make viewing better for those who are sat right up against the stage. This would have meant putting two large screens out every assembly and running cables messily to both- then packing away after each assembly (3 times a week).


Instead - I proposed that I install two 70" displays on either side of the organ, so that images could then be seen from the balcony as well as from the floor directly in front of the stage.


This project has been given the green light- but I've been asked to make it as impressive as possible, and so I've added some infrastructure that will allow us to future proof our plans - and it has worked very well.


Under the stage is a 10U rack containing a Kramer VP-729 scaler/switcher, a Mac mini running QLab and a Denon Pro Blu ray player.


I've now added a Kramer 8x4 HDMI switcher and a Datapath x4 (rack mount version) which is connected directly to the Mac mini.


Now, anything can be shown on any of the two 70" displays or the projector, or the three displays can show the same thing.


The datapath x4 is fantastic, I received it today and it took me about half an hour to program it using a laptop. One output is going into the VP-729, so if we just want to show the same thing on all 3 monitors, then the VP-729 is selected on the matrix. If however we want to show a PowerPoint with different images/text displayed independently on the three displays or use QLab to show one thing on the projector and something else on the two plasmas, we just switch the matrix to route outputs 2,3 and 4 of the Datapath to the three displays independently.


The reason for this infrastructure is that during assemblies, a presenter may show a PowerPoint on all three displays, then show a video via QLab - again on all three screens - but for the rest of the week the two displays are running digital signage with custom videos from QLab. The datapath and matrix allows for a 2/3 screen digital signage solution where some info can be shown on the left plasma and some on the right - making for a more dynamic presentation.


The PowerPoint integration is particularly powerful, giving a presenter the ability to show (for example) a pie chart on plasma one, then keeping that on screen - show the next years progress on another pie chart on plasma 2, and finally showing some text on the projector.


Obviously the above examples rely on all members of the audience being able to see all three displays - but there are occasions where this is certainly the case.


So - a big thumbs up from me for the Datapath - I own a TripleHead2Go digital edition and it can't manage the simplest task without getting cross and going wrong.


I would certainly say to anyone looking to output 4 screens from a Mac mini - the datapath x4 is the way to do it!



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