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old-skool multimedia

Discussion in 'Multimedia, Projection, and Show Control' started by mnfreelancer, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    I'm bored at work and thinking back to my middle school days when I got my start in entertainment technology. Sometime in 1999, when I was in the 7th grade, a touring group came through the theatre with a presentation titled "The Big Picture Show". It was an old-school multimedia presentation promoting anti-drug and anti-peer pressure ideas. It involved at least three fast-fold screens, at least 6 carousel slide projectors, dissolve/sync unit, a 16mm film projector and a Tascam 4-track open reel tape deck. I came in early that morning to help the group set up. I remember helping align the double-stacked slide projectors and assisting with the sync of the entire show. The presentation lasted about 45 minutes and involved at least 4 tray changes and two reel changes. I don't know why this came to mind today but thinking back I kind of wish this type of system was still used (it probably still is but digital projection has caused this style of show to fade away). Does anyone else have interesting stories about extreme multi-media syncing/hectic tray changes/design of a show like this?
     
  2. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    I remember hearing some horror stories, especially about those trays dumping like 30min before a show. I also remember, though not fondly, aligning the three gun projectors. I also remember people saying "2000 lumens, who's going to need it that bright?"

    However, PANI projectors are still hard to beat, well except for convenience. I still prefer film to video, but since nobody cares about quality projection in cinema. . . I can't stand seeing scratches in a print opening weekend.
     
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    AVL was the leading company, and their Eagle and Eagle II computers used CP/M programming language, and a program called ProCall. The Genesis followed, using the newfangled DOS. The leading dissolve unit was the Dove, Dove D, and Dove X, X2. Each would dissolve and control three projectors, Kodak E-IIIs, which were mounted in a Chief stacker. Good luck finding a matching set of 24 Navitar 1.4 K.C. (keystone correction) Lenses.

    Want text? Use Letraset rub-off transfer letters on white illustration board, shoot it with Kodak Kodalith film, develop the film in your hotel room's bathroom, and mount the slides, 80 per tray.

    The last day of the meeting would be the "candids" module. While the sound track plays a song with "We're the best!" over and over (Often a popular song with the lyrics altered), shots of the attendees would be inserted into the module, alternating with text and graphics emphasizing the words: "Excellence, Achieve, Dominate the Market," etc.

    Pity the poor presenter who would show up with his slides in a single "clunk tray." Many producers wouldn't allow their production to have such "low tech" production values.
     
  4. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    Ah yes Navitar Biaxial correction lenses, even way back then they about 2.4K Each

    I remember a Show called something like New York Experience, a full 360 rear projection setup must have had 120 EIII all with the biaxials

    Sharyn
     
  5. wadeace

    wadeace Member

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    we just had an updated version of such a show come on that had a smiler concept. however the system was updated replacing the slides with dvd and digital projectors. (although this show was about friends, for an elementary school audience. I'm told however that the company has other shows for different age groups.)
    what amazed me most about the setup, was that the system didn't use any sync mechanism on the dvd players. apparently Panasonic makes dvd players that use the same ir code, so they just get the play massage at the same time.
     
  6. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    I've done that before to sync DVD players and VCR's. We had a "turnkey" dubbing system at the tv station I used to work at that had one random deck as playback and the rest as record ... with identical VCR's use one remote and they all start recording...handy and cheap (free) way to sync.
     
  7. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    We had a presentation about alcohol/drunk driving come to our school that was kind of like this. Three collapsable rear-projections screens (18x18) and three projectors. The dvd menu was like this: Left, Middle, Right. So just pick the one that it's connected to. They were all the same type/brand of DVD player, but I didn't see them starting the DVD.
     
  8. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    Ir or some of the industrial ones use a wired remote
    DVD is quite stable not like tape
    Sharyn
     
  9. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    BAck in the mid 90's I worked on a corporate presentation room where they had multiple automated shows with everything from the doors to lighting to the AV to a 20' diameter turntable that the people sat on being controlled. I remember one show where when you hit start, the entry doors would close, one front projection screen would drop and the first part of the presentation would be displayed via a CRT projector, then that screen would retract, the turntable would turn and another screen would drop for a second video segment. Then that screen would would retract and the turntable would turn to a podium for a live presentation. Then the turntable would rotate again for a rear screen multimedia presentation that involved five slide projection stacks (left, center, right and two overlapping left/center and right/center, each stack with three Ektagraphic III-E projectors and Dove X2 dissolves) and three (left, center, right) CRT video projectors on a rear screen. At the end of that the lights would come up, the exit door would open and the lights would literally flash in sequence to guide people out.

    The sources for the projectors included multiple VHS and 3/4" U-Matic decks and several Mac and PC computers, I believe that laser disc was added toward the end of my time. Audio followed the video, there were multiple speakers so the audio always came from the screen in use, one of the first Yamaha consoles that allowed recall. Control was via an AMX system with a touch panel and wireless remote, along with controlling the presentation systems it also provided some interaction with some of the computers and applications. Along with the show described there were several others and they changed or were revised on a regular basis. There were several people in multiple locations involved in creating the content and writing the control code but being local I was the lucky one who got to make all the systems work and nail down all the timing for any new presentations or changes to existing ones. The AMX code got so large that it was impossible to store the uncompiled code in the processor, since multiple people had to access the code they added a dedicated PC connected to the AMX controller just for programming it.

    I also got involved in another little fun one for the 1996 Olympics here. They had a map covering two wall of the Visitor Center and where each venue was located they had a video monitor that would display video clips for the events being held at that venue. The sources for the video were about 25 laser disc players, one per display. However, there were only two different laser discs, each one had the clips for multiple venues, and none of the clips had been edited to be the same length. So we had to independently control each player via serial control from a Crestron control system to play a loop of the correct frames on the disc. The control system also automatically started the presentation at the same time every night.
     
  10. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    This reminds me of an off-topic (hey wasn't this my topic?) but still cool presentation at a museum I saw once. Minneapolis was at one time the flour milling capital of the world, because of the falls of the Mississippi River. One of the two large mills in the milling district was the Washburn Crosby Mill, aka Gold Medal Flour. The mill exploded and was rebuilt and I believe it exploded again and abandoned. Some 75 years later somebody turned it into a museum, the Mill City Museum. Anyway there is an automated multimedia show centered around a VERY large freight elevator with a four-level audience riser inside of it. It goes from floor to floor of the old mill building where displays using original mill equipment modified to move on-cue, along with video presentations and directional sound. I have no idea what kind if system ties it all together but it was very well done and even included a smoke machine when the part about the fire/explosion comes around. If anyone's in Minneapolis you should check it out, especially since it's right next door to the recently built Guthrie Performing Arts Center...
     

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