The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Direct Feed from Camcorder to Projector

Discussion in 'Multimedia, Projection, and Show Control' started by balex, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. balex

    balex Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey folks. I've been trying to find a low-cost, easily implemented solution to a problem that I've been having, but there's precious little that I can find on the topic.

    I am looking to project video to room sizes varying from 100 to 400 people. The projection will be to a screen on stage and the video needs to be a live feed of the action currently happening on stage. That is, I'd like a video camera to be capturing the action of a stage show and piping it directly and live to a projector .

    The cameras that I have available all have firewire output and are MiniDV cams. I do not have a projector as of yet, though I'm looking for recommendations on that as well.

    My questions are as follows:

    1.) Is it possible to send a live feed directly from a MiniDV, firewire output camera to a projector? I've seen some conversion boxes, and even a cable from Sony that looks like it will convert firewire to standard composite video, but this not being my area, I'm not sure of it all... I'd like to eliminate the need for anything like a computer in between the camera and projector.

    2.) What inputs - given the above - should I realistically be looking for on a projector?

    3.) What projectors - and specifically what low-cost projectors - might be able to do the job for me? How many ANSI lumens should I be looking for given the audience size. Lighting is controlled for and it can be relatively dark in the room while the projection is on.

    The quality overall need not be "stellar." I don't need any high def options or anything. So long as the general action is captured, projected and is generally visible I'm happy.

    I'm open to any and all information and suggestions. I've been trying to solve this for a while now but all the local electronics stores are clueless, and I'm not willing to make a $500 purchase on only a "hunch" that it might work.

    Thanks!
     
  2. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

    Messages:
    296
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    New York City
    For the First Question, your DV cam should have a jack that says something like "A/v out." It looks like a mini TRS jack but it is a little bit longer than the standard style TRS jack. You then have a breakout cable that has 3 RCA plugs, white and red (for audio) and yellow (for Video.) You only need to use the yellow. I'm not sure about cables for a lengthy run or what projector you need, but someone else should be around soon to answer those questions.
     
  3. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    5,790
    Likes Received:
    1,095
    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Location:
    Portland, Or.
     
  4. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,911
    Likes Received:
    157
    You have a number of options on the interface from the camcorder to the projector and a couple of things to watch out for:

    As mentioned above there is typically a cable with a yellow red and white rca connection, the yellow is video, and you can run coax (rg6 is best) from the camera to the projector. I recommend rg6 since it has a better signal carrying ability over longer distances. You would then connect the cable to the video (probably yellow rca) on the projector

    You could also typically use s video (there is probably a mini din s video connector on the camcorder, and you would then connect an svideo cable (keep it under 100 feet) to the projector again using the s video input.

    Firewire cables typically are short but there are work arounds BUT the biggest problem those of us who have tried this route find is that the 4 pin firewire connector/1394 is extremely delicate and tyically will fail. If you did to go this way you would need to get a fire wire digital to analog converter, and depending on if you want to run the long cable with fire wire you would need to get special cables that are expensive... I don't recommend this way

    Camcorders work pretty well in this situation, I personally find the now out dated tvc340 sony digital 8 works quite well because it has a 25x optical zoom. to use these camcorders in varying light levels you pretty much need to have them manned but it does work surprisingly well. Just don't put a tape in the camcorder and you will be fine.

    some canon camcorders have a situation where on the analog out from the camcorder it will display all the operational information in the output UNLESS you use the remote to turn it off, and every time the camcorder is turned back on you need to reset this which makes for a pain.

    The biggest factor in projector output level needed is screen size and quality and ambient light. Rear screen projection tends to be a bit brighter. I have uses up to a 12x12 projector screen rear with a Sharp 1700 LUMEN projector in a low ambient light room. Works pretty well, you are definitely on the margins with these.

    You will notice that a computer image will be much brighter in the display than a video feed, this is to the the interleaving (half of the image at a time) in video EVEN Though the projector will typically convert it for display to progressive, so if you are testing what will work make sure you are feeding video and not the logo of the projector of a computer screen.

    Dlp projectors tend now to be brighter, but have a bit of a delay in the image, but in most cases this is not a problem.

    Keep in mind that inorder to be effective the portion of the image being displayed needs to be larger than the percieved size of the actual image... what I mean here is that close up shots are what is needed, if you just attempt to project the entire stage on a screen that is smaller than the stage, the effect is some what wasted as what the audience sees from the stage appears larger than the image on the screen.

    Sharyn
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  5. balex

    balex Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Excellent! So far so good! All the info is starting to add up and I'm feeling more confident about being able to do this.

    TupeloTechieKid: You're absolutely right. I hadn't noticed it for a long time, as I haven't had any cause to use it (usually just firewire (iLink, technically I guess) out to the computer for editing purposes) but there is indeed an A/V out. It doesn't look at all like a mini TRS but I suspect that may be a result of it being a Sony, and Sony liking to do *everything* proprietary (if you do know the name of the connection, please do share!). I'm guessing that I have the A/V cables around somewhere, as it says that it came with them (now that I'm digging as a result of your info) and it break out from whatever the Sony A/V Out connection is to the three RCA plugs.

    Van: Thanks for the welcome! The screen size may be slightly variable, but we're not talking about a 25' screen or anything so large (as much as I would love that)! I'm guessing that in most cases (the show travels) it won't be much more than 70" x 70". For a screen that size I'm guessing that, even considering the variable throw distances from manufacturer to manufacturer, we won't be talking about much more than 10' to 12' throw distance at max. Stage real estate is definitely at a premium in most cases, so we may even decrease overall size in the event that we need the room.

    Projection would be front projection.

    Yeah, I'd *love* an extra $20 - $30k for a nice setup. ;) But, I have seen this done with consumer models in the lower ranges - not saying that it even *begins* to compare - but unfortunately, that's where I'm stuck right now. ;) More in the "portable presentation projector" range.

    SharynF: Sounds like firewire is off the table and out of the picture now that a.) we discovered that I'm not actually limited to that and b.) your warnings about failure are enough to scare anyone away from it! ;)

    I'll likely work with what you suggested - A/V Out -> RCA -> RG6 for the long haul, then into the projector.

    Encouraging to hear that the old Sony works well. I'm really looking to use a camera that will give me moderate quality but also remain easily replaceable in the event that it breaks - the rigors of the road are many. If I can procure low to mid range consumer cams, then I can easily replace them on the go. I'm working with a DCR-HC28 right now. Again, the image doesn't have to be enormously impressive, just so long as it's visible. ;)

    I hear what you're saying about close-up images. That's what I'm intending to use it for. The camera will be focused on a small portion of the overall stage area, and sometimes zoomed in even more dramatically.

    As to projectors - I've had this vague idea that what I'd be looking for is a 1700 to 2200 lumen unit. You're mention of 1700 again encourages me, but you're also talking rear projection, so I'd want to err on the side of 2000+ I'm guessing.

    I'm intrigued about a computer image being brighter than a video feed. Would I benefit from plopping my laptop in between the camera and projector? And if so, what software would I be looking to use to pass it through?

    The info so far is fantastic and I can't thank you all enough for offering up your pearls of wisdom. Here's hoping you can continue to guide this video newbie down the right (and economical) path.
     
  6. ishboo

    ishboo Active Member

    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Centerville, Ohio
    If you need to send the signal a long distance try getting an A/V out cord (you could get one on ebay for a few bucks) almost every camcorder has an out for those, and then get an RF Modulator which takes the AV signal and turns it into an RF (coaxial signal). Coaxial Cable is really cheap and can go long distances then just put another RF Modulator on the other end (an old vcr can also double as an RF Modulator. We did a setup like this for our talent show so the performers in the greenroom could see what was going on and it worked out great.
     
  7. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

    Messages:
    782
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Arlington, TX
    I'm something of a vidiot as well as everything else, so here's my two cents:

    The common term for what you're doing is "IMAG", a shortening of "image magnification"; at least that's the church production term for it.

    You don't want to use Firewire or anything digital, because there is terrible frame delay in conversion. If you're shooting anything with fast movement, the delay is horrible. Half second sometimes.

    You do want to use good coax (RG-59, RG-6, RG-11 even better) for composite video. If you can get component or RGBHV out of the camera, that's even better, but less likely.

    Stay away from S-Video (Y/C), even though it's a better signal, because the crappy cables and connectors introduce more loss than you would have with a plain old composite signal down good coax.

    You want at minimum a 2K projector, though realistically you want 3K or more. I have a pair of 2Ks at church that are bright enough, but just barely, and we're reasonably dark. If you have to compete with stage light or ambient light, you need more lumens.

    If you're not going to have this camera shot on screen the entire time, you want a video switcher, to transition between sources (or in this case, a source and black).

    You'll also need to do some research on lenses. My experience is that you want about one magnification factor per three feet of shot distance, so for a 75-foot-long shot you want a 25X (pronounced "twenty-five-by") zoom lens. There are two common 2/3-inch lens mounts, B3 Ikegami and B4 Sony. There's also half-inch B4. B3 Mount has the coupling ring on the lens box; B4 Mount has the coupling ring on the camera head.

    You also want a decent fluid head and tripod. That alone should set you back your budget. Bogen/Manfrotto make some good somewhat-affordable ones. Hand controls too, you'll want hand controls (manual focus, servo zoom usually), and EVF: these collectively, with the camera plate, make a "studio kit" for an ENG camera.

    Is the purpose of IMAG so that people far away in the audience can see the live action, or is it more for short-term effect? If it's the former, I'd think that you really want at least two cameras and a switcher. A one-camera shoot is the hardest thing to do, because your one shot has to be a good shot all the time, and the ways of getting from Important Shot A to Important Shot B are usually not all that good or easy.
     
  8. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

    Messages:
    4,017
    Likes Received:
    562
    Occupation:
    Acoustical, audio and audiovisual consultant
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    The projector brightness required will be based on the amount of ambient light hitting the screen, the size of the image and the desired result. The ambient light you may be able to control but that may also depend upon the room. The screen size will be dependent upon the viewing area and the type of media. For the same audience area you can typically get away with a smaller image for video than you can for most computer images but an image height (not diagonal) of 1/8 to 1/6 the distance to the furthest viewer might be typical. Note that the image size is dependent upon the distance to the viewers and not the number of viewers. The desired result is something only you can really define. I have seen many presentations with images that were less than ideal but were perfectly acceptable for the application. However, some people may have higher expectations. One thing to note is that projector brightness is not dependent on the throw distance (the distance from the projector to the screen) however it can be affected by the lens and using anything other than the standard lens may result in a lower brightness output.

    The lens and functionalities such as lens shift, digital keystone correction, etc. may also be a consideration. Projectors with optional lenses, lens shift and a good range of keystone correction may cost a bit more but allow for much greater flexibility in projector placement.

    You may also want to consider a multiple lamp projector. Some projectors use two or four lamps and these can be set to all be used at once for a brighter output or one at a time for redundancy. Being able to get a brighter image when necessary and having what is in effect an automatic lamp changeover if a lamp fails during an event can be very useful. If you do get single lamp projector then I would suggest carrying a spare lamp at all times.
     
  9. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    4,281
    Likes Received:
    715
    Occupation:
    Projectionist
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Is $500 your total budget? You may want to look at used projectors to get something brighter, but stay away from eBay unless it's someone who gives a guarantee of it working.

    I have found that live output from consumer miniDV camcorders is highly variable. First thing you need to do is experiment with the output directly to your TV on video input (using the yellow output on your camera that has been suggested). I have found that some camcorders will only output while recording, others won't do anything with a tape in them. You need to find out if your camcorder will go to sleep on you (as a power saving function).

    I agree that if you have someone manning the camera, you should invest in a decent tripod.

    You said that you will have control over the light that is competing with the projection, but remember that you need to keep your subject decently lit (and the camera will see your subject differently than the audience).

    Is your screen going to be directly behind the presenter or off to the side? If it is off to the side, keep your camera center, if it is behind your presenter, then the camera should be off to the side a little way (aesthetics).

    Pretty sure all consumer projectors will have a composite input, so you shouldn't have to worry there. You can buy 100' RCA cables from Monster Cables. If you can get an inexpensive scaler/switcher (as suggested) it will make your presentation look better (your input will be the same, but your output will likely be a 15 pin "VGA" cable). This will especially be good if you want to switch between the Imag and a presentation (PowerPoint or video).
     
  10. balex

    balex Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    No, that's not the entire budget, but I do want to keep it cheap, cheap, cheap! After continued work and research, I'm looking at a few (new) projectors in the 2500 to 3000 lumen range, leaning towards DLP (because 1.) i'll be projecting video and 2.) contrast is pretty important to me), and seem to be looking at mostly 1024x768 standard resolution. Seem to be finding - with some work - reputable companies (one a recommendation from a local a/v house) that are offering some deals in the $800 to $1000 range. Have to keep in mind that this needs to be very portable as well.

    Was able to do that this evening and found that it looks great, but lighting may be an issue. Considering purchasing a small on-camera light for extra fill during the live segments - may even consider some good LED lights not designed for the purpose. Have read that color can be severely altered as a result of LED in video, but that it leans towards greens which, frankly, would fit well with what I'm doing... ;) Save me apply a gel/filter. ;)

    It's all me. ;) It will be tripod mounted though, stationary, with the stage section that it's covering taped off for my on-stage reference.

    Unfortunately, due to the nature of the shifting venues, the screen positioning will change. I'm aiming to keep in upstage or left/up left (depends upon stage type). Camera will almost without fail be down right.


    Was strongly considering this, until I found this little PowerPoint add-in: PFCPro

    It allows live video from a video-in source. My only concern is delay, but I'll be testing that over the next week (as I mix ordering/delivering equipment with constant travel, shifting location, shows and very little time... ) ;)

    This would allow me to present and switch to live feed where need be with only one remote, as well as give me a brighter image from the projector as the source will be the computer rather than the camera itself.

    I originally didn't want to introduce a computer into the middle of it all, but it's become more and more appealing over time - assuming that it all works.

    The good news is that I'm finally feeling that a direct feed from my camera directly to a projector is not a problem at all - so in the worst case, I can always fall back to the direct connection and/or a combination of a switch for both computer and camera operation.
     
  11. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    4,281
    Likes Received:
    715
    Occupation:
    Projectionist
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Probably will do OK here. Investigate replacement lamps along with the projector itself - how easy to obtain, how pricey, quality, etc.

    On camera lights will have distance limitations. So depending on how far your camera is from the presenter, this will probably not work. Of course since you are front projecting and the screen will likely be near the presenter, you need the most control of your light possible.

    Let us know how this works. I have my doubts for use with live camera feed, but it does sound interesting. I would still recommend a switcher. If it is an active switcher, it will add the same qualities that a computer will do and will be better than most laptops. It also will give you better transitions (though if it only has one video card, the live image will freeze while switching to the second image). Check out this switcher which is essentially a knock-off of the Barco/Folsom Presentation Pro which is a favorite among many AV companies.
     
  12. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

    Messages:
    782
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Arlington, TX
    Frame delay running through a computer is going to be hell, and you're going to have to have a beefy computer to even keep up. Live video is big, lots of pixels coming very fast.

    Expect a 10-20 frame delay.

    How is a camera feed through a computer any brighter than a direct camera feed?

    FSR makes good stuff, here in the USA even.

    I presume you're going the camcorder route rather than the television camera route. It's a shame they don't make studio kits for the cheap camcorders. A studio kit will make your life much much easier.

    What I would do is look for a good deal on a low-end TV camera, like Panasonic's F250. They're usually available in the sub-250 range on Ebay, sometimes with all or part of a studio kit even. Presuming a 12X lens (most common) with no extender will do. Goodness, the lenses on my cameras (and they're only Fuji 12Xs) are larger than most camcorders these days.

    Is the camera going to have a locked-down shot, or will it be moving?
     
  13. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

    Messages:
    4,017
    Likes Received:
    562
    Occupation:
    Acoustical, audio and audiovisual consultant
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    I had the very same question.


    Balex, some of the stated desires seem to conflict. For example, you say you want a DLP projector because it is video then later in the same post say you are thinking of running it all through a computer and also note that you are not worried about the lighting being accurate or color rendition. Or that you note that contrast is important in the projector selection but then do not seem to be addressing the image contrast, which is what actually matters, and seem to be assuming that you can control any ambient light on the screen and have not even discussed the screen type or surface material, all of which relate to the perceived image quality and the audience area you are serving.

    If you are taking the composite video output of a consumer digital camera, running into an unknown PC capture card, processing that in a $130 PowerPoint add-on and the running that out of the PC to a very inexpensive projector intended more for presentations to a small audience, that may provide an image that you may find acceptable (it also may not) but I frankly don't think I'd worry too much about the specific projection technology used.

    You also seem to be thinking front projection when rear projection would be much more common for this type of application and for many good reasons. Think about how between the screen, projector, camera lighting and room lighting you are going to avoid interfering with the audience's viewing the image or keep from casting shadows on the screen. The mention of a 70" x70" screen also shows some possible misunderstanding as that is not a video format and with the 1024x768 projector noted you'd actually have a 52.7" high by 70" wide image. A 70"x70" screen, or a square format screen in general, would not usually be a good choice when you are projecting standard computer and/or video images. And since you noted you will be switching between video and computer images, that 53" x 70" image size is probably good if your furthest viewer is maybe 25' to 35' away, but that might not work for an audience of 400.

    A couple of corrections. Rear screen projection is not brighter, with the same screen gain front and rear projection would provide the same brightness. However, rear projection is less sensitive to ambient light and thus can result in a higher image contrast for the same brightness. DLP does not tend to be brighter, X ANSI lumens is X ANSI lumens regardless of how it is generated, but again, the higher contrast may make it appear brighter. I think the important thing to get from this is that perceived image brightness involves several factors other than the projector brightness and those other factors need to be considered. For example, keeping the same white level but making the blacks blacker actually makes an image look brighter by increasing the contrast ratio even though the peak brightness did not change.

    It might really help if you better defined the application. Rather than focusing on the equipment, what are you trying to do and what are your goals? There may be big differences between something that simply puts an image on the screen and what you really need to do or the impression you are wanting to give. This might also help resolve some of the differing indications of your priorities and goals.
     
  14. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,911
    Likes Received:
    157
    Brad made a couple of technical corrections to my comments.

    My point was based on PERCEPTION not a measurement. In the lower end of possible projectors, the higher contrast, better performance in ambient light is a factor, despite metrics.
    PC based images tend to look brighter based on a couple of factors in my experience.

    One is PC images do not have to meet broadcast standards for levels of white and black so again constrast can be higher. . So if you test a setup with your standard pc splash screen it will tend to look to the viewer as being brighter.

    How well the projector converts the interlaced image to progressive can also be a factor, as well as the scaling. while a pc image typically can be projected at the native resolution of the projector.

    Last but not least is on the lower end consumer level projectors, the stated values tend to be all over the place, and what one manufacturer calls 2000 lumens vs another can be confusing.

    Sharyn
     
  15. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

    Messages:
    782
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Arlington, TX
    So low-end projector specs are like amplifier and loudspeaker power ratings .. that makes sense. Much as 2K ANSI lumens is exactly what it is, so 200 watts RMS of pink noise into an 8 ohm load is exactly what it is (sort of).

    But 100 IREs is 100 IREs, and 7.5 IREs is 7.5 IREs, no matter where it's coming from. Though you're right, computers do the 0 IRE thing, I think.

    There's something to scaling the image using an ourboard box, since the scaling circuits in most low-end projectors are pretty crap. I need to do that at the church sometime.

    The screen is too small and the wrong shape. I'd be thinking about a 9x12 at smallest, not knowing much about the space or show.

    We need more information about how whatever-it-ends-up-being will be used. What's the artistic goal? What light levels does it (the screen) have to overcome? What low-light conditions does it (the camera) have to endure? You can rear-project? And so on...

    Welcome, by the way, to the world of broadcast! (though you've arrived here rather unintentionally) :)
     
  16. balex

    balex Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Okay, okay... I'm getting schooled here. ;)

    It's amazing that what seems like such a simple, straight forward thing to a non-video professional is in fact an extraordinarily detailed process filled with extremely complex decisions!

    Let's just get down to the nitty gritty regarding specifically what I'm doing, with the hopes that by hearing my needs and needs alone (absent what I *think* may work, because clearly I'm mistaken...) ;) you will all be able to make some recommendations.

    (quick note: I was able to test live video as fed through my laptop today. you were all right, the lag is too much to make it feasible - very kung-fu movie-like in terms of actual spoken word as matched up with the visual action of speaking... I will not be going through my laptop, so it's officially a two source (vid cam and laptop) project, between which I'll need to switch)

    Precisely. Here's the scoop.

    I'm a solo entertainer working in the resort, corporate and college markets. I present a stage show that is sometimes on beautiful stages with as much control over lighting as one could want, complete with a full tech crew to run everything, all the way to banquet halls with temporary staging and minimal control over lighting (though I can usually bring most of the "house" down while maintaining a hot section on the "stage")

    I'm looking to incorporate two things into the show.

    1.) Projections of very basic slides (powerpoint) with textual content, still
    images, minor animations and some short video clips, and

    2.) Live video to act as image magnification for certain sections of the show
    so that the audience can get a more "close-up" view of some of the
    action and props. The close-ups will be of my body, and will be limited
    roughly to the waist up.

    Camera will be stationary, and for the IMAG sections I will be stepping into the predefined stage area marked off as covered by the camera for just such a purpose.

    Screens will vary in style, and in many cases they exist on-site. However, I do have a lycra/spandex screen (from www.djscreen.com - gain 1.5 ) that I can always have available. I can stretch this up to 96" x 96" (physical limitations of the stand I'm using)

    Front projection *or* rear projection is a possibility with this screen, and rear projection is sometimes possible with on-site screens as well. I'm not *always* limited to front projection.

    I need to rely upon running everything myself, which means that a video switch needs to be either a.) run by remote or b.) easily positioned on-stage for me to access during the show and manually make a change.

    I will be controlling the powerpoint by concealed remote.

    As audiences get larger, I typically have much more control over lighting - the larger audiences are typically found in the theaters. I currently have a regular weekly show at a roughly 350 seat theater and we have full control over all lighting. That said, when theaters get larger than this, there are often projection systems already setup so I need not worry so much about providing my own equipment

    In contrast to that venue, I have another weekly show at a more "corporate" style venue for roughly 100 to 150 people, and while the lighting is basic in-ceiling room lighting (not flourescent) I do have the ability to turn off a great deal of the "house" and retain or switch off lighting that is closer to the stage. It can get pretty dark. That said, I will need to be visible during each projection, so we will always have some stage light - but given variable screen positioning, the screen can sometimes be located in the dark, away from the stage light, other times not.

    Whether it be in a small college auditorium, a hotel banquet room or a small theater, it's these two types of shows and those within their range that I typically would have to provide my own equipment for projection.

    I'm concerned about contrast and the visibility of smaller detail for one routine only, wherein a fairly thin black string needs to be seen against the pale complexion of the skin on my stomach. All other applications need not be so particular - video in all other applications need not be stellar, so long as it enhances watching it live on-stage, and the powerpoint slides won't contain anything that needs to be super sharp - though I wouldn't mind if the video clips looked good... No fine detail like intricate spreadsheets will be projected, though.

    Those are roughly the conditions, roughly the need, and it *all* has to fit within a reasonable budget AND most importantly, be portable enough to not take up much room in my vehicle. I travel solo - no crew, no big vehicle, and constantly.

    I'm thinking that what I need, without going into specifics (which I'm hoping you can help me with) is:

    -A screen (got it - either in house, or the DJ Screen)
    -A Projector (need it)
    -A Camera (got it - a Sony Handycam DCR-HC28 mounted on tripod)
    -A Laptop (got it)
    -A Switch (need it)
    -A Scaler? (not sure if I need it! you tell me)

    As you can see, this doesn't need to be MegaChurch or MegaRockTour quality . I need to project live video and powerpoint in these somewhat variable conditions, and I need to switch between them. The switch doesn't even need to be super refined or advanced.

    I'm looking at sub-$1000 projectors at this point, and while I'm willing to shell out a bit for a switch/scaler if I need it, I don't have an extra $600 to $1500+ for the pro video ones I've been finding.

    Is it possible to present passable projections to these types of groups to augment a solo show without breaking the bank or making it too complex?

    On another note, though I haven't yet solved my problems, let me thank you ALL for the feedback that you've given thus far! I've learned more about these technologies (though not nearly enough) in the past couple days than I ever thought I'd learn. It's interesting and, despite the hurdles, continues to intrigue me. Though I'll never possess as detailed a knowledge of this field as the lot of you, I do hope that by circling around the fringes here I'll at least become a knowledgeable consumer - I owe you all a great big thanks. :)
     
  17. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,401
    Likes Received:
    2,785
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    balex, your show isn't called Puppetry of the ...? Nevermind, probably not.:) You are to be commended for wanting to do this to the best of your abilities and budget. By planning to make your act self-sufficient, you've taken a huge step in guaranteeing success, as well as relieving the presenter of the responsibility of having to source and probably rent over-priced A/V equipment, that's possibly not suitable anyway. We've all had an act show up at five minutes to doors and start demanding things. Ninety-five percent of the time the short answer is "no", and the presentation suffers. Four percent of the time the requests are honored, but the presentation still suffers.

    My largest concern is the lack of a camera operator and/or video director, but you seem to have accounted for that. Is there going to be any audio coming off the computer with the Powerpoint or video clips? Do you have your own wireless lav or headset mic?

    Keep asking questions and we'll keep answering them. That's the way CB rolls.
     
  18. balex

    balex Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    No, but I can do some pretty interesting things with my... - well, as you say, "nevermind"... ;)

    You have no idea how nice it is to hear this. I'm always seeking to improve the show, and while the tech guys that I find myself working with during my travels always amaze me with what they are able to accomplish (and how the heck can sound and light techs get SO MUCH RIGHT with SO LITTLE INSTRUCTION - EVERY time? It's astonishing.), it's often the case that, as you say, sometimes equipment isn't available, rentals are not usually cost effective and, frankly, I enjoy knowing that there's a baseline of excellence in the show below which it never dips, and I can only accomplish that if I arrive as prepared as I can be and have maximum control over (even my variable) conditions.

    Indeed. And in truth, of all the worries that I have, I'm not at all worried about the need for a camera operator. I truly don't think that it's necessary for my application. I have considered - for that one routine that I mentioned - utilizing a spectator to operate the camera to zoom in and follow the action (it's only a basic consumer camera, afterall). I can still do that, and it would add a fun interactive feature to that piece (and some fun unpredictability), but in truth a stationary setup, with a covered spot into which I step on stage, is going to be more than adequate.

    Audio is all set. I arrive with a nice little self-built box that includes two wireless receivers, a wireless handheld mic, a body pack with the option between a standard lav and a Countryman E6, a wireless two-way LCD queing system for my iPod (small and invisible - it's nice), all run into a small Behringer 12 channel mixer. I literally show up with one box that I open up, run one extension cord into for power and one cable out for output (house choice - 1/4" or XLR) and I'm good to go with full control of sound myself. Minimal fuss for the house. Maximum control for me. Audio for the show is a breeze because I'm prepared.

    In the event that house sound is not available - does happen with some venues, unfortunately - I also travel with a small, rugged amp and speakers with enough power for several hundred people in most rooms or outdoors.

    When I move to powerpoint projections I'll be converting most of the audio over to be computer-based, but I don't foresee any problems with it. I'll be running the audio from the computer into my mixer so as to maintain the one output from my system.

    Ideally, I'm looking to get projections running as smoothly as my audio. I've put a lot of work into it and it's been well worth it.
     
  19. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

    Messages:
    4,017
    Likes Received:
    562
    Occupation:
    Acoustical, audio and audiovisual consultant
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    You have some definite challenges. The one that seems most obvious is lighting. You apparently need to light yourself and specific props for direct viewing as well as for the camera and at the same time you want to keep light off the projection screen. It sounds like many of your venues do not have that kind of light control. In addition, you may not like the result from the camera with some of the lighting it appears you encounter. While providing key, back and side lighting may not be feasible, I would really try to see how some of the lighting you typically encounter looks as glare on the top of the head and shadows at the eyes and under the chin, as well as a very two dimensional appearance, that commonly result from basic overhead lighting may be an undesired result. Probably the best way to address this would be to carry some minimal lighting of your own, but it sounds like that is not realistic practically or budegtarily.

    If you are presenting simple stills and animations and can control the size of the text used, then you may be able to address a larger audience. However, if your stand is limited to 96"x96" and the screen is stretched within that, then the image area will be smaller, maybe 6'-7' wide, thus a 54" to 63" high image. I would say that would generally be sufficient for maybe a 35' to 50' deep audience area, but with your comment about wanting them to see a black string against your skin, a realistic maximum viewer distance may be more like half that. In fact that black string reference, with it being such a small size and so linear, really concerns me in regards to getting an image that gives the result you may want, it may even be unrealistic unless you can control the camera to zoom in for that one bit and then back out later.

    With a 72"x54" to 84"x63" image and some control of the light levels on the screen, a 2,000 to 3,000 lumen projector may be fine. However, you noted sometimes using other, I'm assuming potentially larger, screens and as discussed above, you may need a much larger image for some audiences. In those cases you may need either more control over the lighting on the screen and/or a higher output projector. FWIW, for several reasons I sort of doubt a screen that can be used as front or rear projection has a gain of 1.5 and I did not actually see any mention of gain in the information on the web site referenced.

    If the latency from video through your laptop is unacceptable, then you may have to switch between the computer and camera sources. You could do this with the projector itself but you will likely get a significant transition between the two as the projector switches, resyncs and rescales. An external switcher/scaler or seamless switcher could provide a much nicer transition but anything worth considering would seem to be outside your budget.

    Many people find that if projected images, especially I-mag, is not done well it can actually detract from the presentation rather than adding to it. Unfortunately, you seem to be in the position of being able to make what you want happen but due to some of the limitations you are having to address, likely with a result that may be less than desirable or even unacceptable. With the applications, variety of environments and budget noted I would not be at all comfortable suggesting that you will get an acceptable result. However, since 'acceptable' is entirely subjective, I would also not go so far as to say that you would not get an acceptable result. This may simply be a case of doing what you can within your limitations and seeing if you find the results acceptable.
     
  20. balex

    balex Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm willing to look a bit odd - sickly even - in those venues that provide only overhead lighting. Not ideal, certainly, but I'm willing to put up with it.

    But stranger things have happened. I can't carry a whole elaborate light kit, certainly, but a few well-placed cans on some basic tripods light stands might be feasible.

    I would never want to find myself in a position of having to do this, but I did once see one unfortunate performer get stuck in a small multi-purpose room at a university for a show and, with projections and without any stage lighting, he very creatively got the organizers to procure two bright overhead projectors (the kind so commonly used in schools to project transparencies), positioned them down left and down right and turned them on to be used as a bright wash. He then proceeded to perform a show that included projections via a small, portable business projector and frankly, all went surprisingly well!

    Thankfully I've never had it that bad, but it was good to see such innovative tackling of the obstacles. So, I feel confident that, even though the situations may not always be ideal, it can be pulled off.

    I can indeed zoom in quite close for this bit. If all is taped off pre-show (so I know where the action will be taking place and what the camera is to capture) this shouldn't present a problem.

    Encouraging to hear, and for larger audiences/screens I suppose that I'm just going to have to experiment and see how it all works out! As I say though, typically as the audiences get larger, the tech available on-site improves as well, and this can be everything from screens to projectors to lighting control.


    I'm skeptical as well. I didn't see the info on the website so I contacted the manufacturer. That's where I got the number. But just like you, I have my doubts regarding the number.


    That's what I feared.

    A nice member of this forum sent me a link to an affordable digital scan converter that looks like it might do the job, so who knows... There might be options.

    Agreed. I think that at this point, I just need to gather as much good advice as I can and then jump in and see what happens!
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice