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How to get live video from an onstage device to projectors

Discussion in 'Multimedia, Projection, and Show Control' started by josephstaffa, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. josephstaffa

    josephstaffa New Member

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    Hi Guys!

    So I got this request from my creative team asking if it would be possible to have a video feed coming out of device onstage to be projected on screens SL & SR. I've been working on it and have had a decent amount of success but I figured I'd ask the Hive Mind and see if anybody else has done this/or even wants to do it themselves...Or you know, has a better way to do it because my current method is still not exactly reliable.

    Basically the premise is that I have an actor onstage who pulls out a device (i.e. iPhone, iPad, something with a camera) out of her purse and starts recording a live video that's streaming to something like facebook or youtube.

    Things to note for my scenario:

    - It doesn't HAVE to be wireless...That being said, the idea of an actor running around onstage with a wired laptop sounds like a terrible idea to me.
    - As I said it can be any device, in this case more influenced by supply and demand. Device would probably be an iPad Mini we have running iOS 10.1.1
    - Ideally this feed goes into Qlab to be projected.

    Okay! details done. So this is what I have come up with so far.

    The way I have gotten this to work is by running a software called AirServer on my Sound/Video Machine and using the built in Airplay features to cast what's on the iPad screen to my computer. This is being done over a dedicated network (Linksys EA3500) with nothing else on it. So basically I cast it, open up the camera, and bam live video. The latency is about 50-80 milliseconds which is more than acceptable. What else is nice is that Qlab sees AirServer directly as a Camera Input so there's no need to run through something like Syphon.

    Now for the issues...

    Once the airplay connection is open it's great! However, if you put the iPad to sleep naturally the connection closes after about 30sec (still running tests to find a concrete time) and then you have to re-cast to the server and refresh the camera cue in Qlab (I rigged a hotkey cue list to do this). Worth noting that when the connection drops AirServer keeps displaying the last frame receieved. Now in theory the iPad could just stay on which is how it's set up right now and the connection is stable. I could rig something inside her purse to keep the power button from getting hit but this is a bad idea for many obvious reasons.

    Essentially what I need is a way to keep the airplay connection open while the device is asleep which is most likely impossible or beyond my technical savvy....Or a better way to do it entirely. The only other benefit of using airplay is the flexibility of using almost any apple device.

    Anyways, that's my crazy plan for now! Any and all advice welcome...

    Thanks,

    Joe
     
  2. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    I would leave it on and five finger swipe to a picture of a black screen and put it in a case so the buttons can't be easily pressed.

    You could try to have a dummy iPad or phone in the back connected to the server as well and see if when one phone drops the other picks it back up and visa versa the other way around but that is only in theory.
     
  3. chausman

    chausman Chase Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Does it have to be live? It would be significantly easier to record the stream once then play it back.
     
  4. malex

    malex Member

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    Mobiola and Airbeam are both iOS apps that are wireless IP cameras that talk to Syphon. Super easy to use.
    Syphon is a MacOS app that is a video conduit for lots of video content apps. It shows up as a camera source in MacOS. http://syphon.v002.info/
    Add a camera cue in QLab with Syphon as your source, get your IP camera app on the same network and you're done.
    You could be up and running in a really short time.
    Only downside is latency. You can not avoid it. Best you can do it use the best wireless router you can afford, get all other devices off of it, and make sure your router is on an unoccupied WiFi channel. Getting the router as close to the iOS device as you can will help, too.
     
    MadADDer and Jay Ashworth like this.
  5. josephstaffa

    josephstaffa New Member

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    I will certainly look into those. Airserver has been great when it works but has crashed halfway through scene for probably about half of our performances. Luckily the scene really doesn't and it's not super distracting when it goes. I had played with a few syphon options earlier in the process but something about my network configuration was wrong resulting in an absurd amount of latency and an awful frame rate. That was over hardwire too.
     
  6. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    I think most iPads do 5GHz; if you can use that, you'll have a much clearer channel.

    Make sure QLab has the box to itself, too. I always reboot before a show, with "reopen" unchecked.
     
  7. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    This seems to be less the case than it used to be...
    Last stats I heard was that 95% of WiFi traffic on the university network was on 5GHz...
    So maybe dropping back to 2G4 is better...
     
  8. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    Nah. 2G4 has 13 channels (really 3, cause they overlap).

    5G has like 100, and none of them overlap.

    N or AC, probably worth the time.
     
  9. josephstaffa

    josephstaffa New Member

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    It's streaming at the highest possible quality and actually got choppy on 2.4GHz. 5GHz has been stable with the latency I mentioned at the top. I've been watching and recording the console logs on the mac and I think I may have found an entry that is linked to it's crashing but unfortunately at this point it's a wait and see when I have more data game. I'd love to send the information off but unfortunately AirServer's tech support folks have been less then helpful and I haven't gotten a reply to my last couple emails.
     
  10. MadADDer

    MadADDer Member

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    I used an iPhone 6 with TCPSyphon Server, which cost about 5 bucks. A camera cue (and the right patching) in Qlab and bingo.

    TruDat. I programmed my router (a Ubiquiti PicoStationM2) to give the iPhone highest priority, set both the router and the phone to a single channel and mounted the router in a light grid only 17 feet above the playing area. The lowest latency I could get was about 250ms.
     

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