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Getting Video From Mac to Projector

Discussion in 'Multimedia, Projection, and Show Control' started by DavidDaMonkey, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. DavidDaMonkey

    DavidDaMonkey Active Member

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    I know this is probably a total green question, but we are doing a show where we need to play a video as part of the performance. The current option is to hook a DVD player up to the projector (which is on the DS edge of the stage) and have someone backstage with LOS using the DVD player's remote. I mentioned to our production manager that with an upgrade I could play the cues from my macbook, and he was interested. Other than the pro video license, what hardware would I need? I can run the interface via USB, firewire, or Mini DVI. The signal then needs to run about 50 feet to the projector.

    I know this partially depends on the inputs available on the projector, but it is a very high end projector that we are renting from the local Opera house, so I'm not too worried about that.
     
  2. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    The easiest way is to use an analog signal like VGA. Digital signals don't take well to traveling long distances.

    I'd probably stick with the DVD player, but located backstage, and a video switcher and monitor back there.

    The real attractive solution is Renewed Vision's ProVideoPlayer, but it's a $700 program. Really spiffy, but still $700, aimed at the church production market.

    Alternatively, I believe (and I've been meaning to test this lately but never have) VLC under Linux can do exactly what you want, for free. I've never tried to see what it does under MacOS; I guess I could do a quick try.

    Is this at TA? If you guys are in rehearsal tonight, I'd be happy to swing by.
     
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Options below are listed in order from lowest to highest quality. I'd go with the most expensive, but also best quality, option 3a.

    1,2.) If you want to send the projector Composite or S-Video, use the Apple Mini-DVI to Video Adapter, MSRP $19. A fifty foot composite (yellow RCA) cable is $22 here, or 50' S-Video cable, $25 here + here.

    3, 3a.) If you want to send VGA, use the Apple Mini-DVI to VGA adapter, MSRP $19. A 50' VGA cable, is $30 here. Delete the 50' VGA cable and add a [VGA to component adapter](active device) and 50' RGB snake.

    4.) If you want to send DVI, use the Apple Mini-DVI to DVI adapter, MSRP $19. A 32.5' DVI cable is $60 here (32' seems to be the max limit.)
     
  4. DavidDaMonkey

    DavidDaMonkey Active Member

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    Nah, this is at Scott Theater. The show I'm doing for TA is actually going to be at Nolan high school. Its their musical. I haven't seen the space yet, but I've been told by multiple people that its a "challenge."

    I'd prefer to do it with Qlab, so that I can trigger it as part of my show file, but VLC might be an option. I have it for Mac, but I can't tell how to get it to do that. Let me know if you find out.
     
  5. DavidDaMonkey

    DavidDaMonkey Active Member

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    Wow, excellent post. I will pass all these suggeetions on to the PM and see what we can do. Thanks!
     
  6. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Ah, okay. Actually one of the youth from church is in that one.

    Nolan is quite an, ahem, "interesting" space. The venue is about on par with a junior high auditorium. They have some audio there; I think it was a Mackie 1604, maybe a Mixwizard at most, and a few wireless. Some Sennheiser EW100, some others; quite a mishmash if I recall right. Lighting, there's an assortment of fixtures, but not a whole lot. There aren't any moving linesets; they're all dead-hung. I don't remember what they have for loudspeakers and processing and amplifiers. Yippee-hurrah. I don't think the room was too terrible to RF; that's a good thing.

    I'm drifting way off the video topic here .. I'll see if I can get some old pictures of the space during the day. It was probably four or five years ago now I helped get a show up there. I'd love to help you guys know what you're getting into on the production side. :) We can PM or email on that one to keep the forum chatter down.

    Back to video, VLC under Linux can play a particular chapter of a DVD, and it can build a playlist of files and such to run. In a production application, it all depends on having an X11 graphics server dedicated to your "program" output, so it can direct the video content fullscreen to that X instance, so that means an "extended desktop" in the traditional sense doesn't work. I don't have any dual-screen Macs to try it out on .. I've got it working under Linux at the church, though.

    If Qlab works, go with it, especially if you've got it. VGA is realistically your most practical signal .. NTSC is usually fine, but the scaling circuits in most projectors are cheap these days, so it's best to talk to it at its native resolution and frame rate and all. That said, I run NTSC at the church and it's fine (not perfect, but fine enough for now).

    If you end up going to the Apple Store, go ahead and get the NTSC adapter for your computer; some day you'll need it.
     
  7. DavidDaMonkey

    DavidDaMonkey Active Member

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    Are there any issues with running VGA cable over a 50' distance?
     
  8. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Not really. It's got to be decent cable .. usually the thicker the cable, the better it is. Cable that's at least 3/8 inch diameter is probably fair enough, bigger even better.
     
  9. DavidDaMonkey

    DavidDaMonkey Active Member

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    Anyone had experience with this?
     
  10. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Never tried it, but you know that wireless is fragile. We have trouble enough with FM audio signals that are 50K wide and modulated by a 20K signal; baseband video is 6 megs wide.

    I wouldn't even bet a confidence monitor on it. :)
     
  11. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I had something like that, i could never get it to work right once you got very far away. Do you have a local AV house, they can probably rent or loan you some VGA cable. I got some you can borrow if you want to swing by houston and pick it up :). I think there is an altex electronics out your way, i'd check them out Home Page they have really good prices on vga.
     

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