Multiple Projector Monitors

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by airkarol, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. airkarol macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    #1
    Is it possible control multiple projectors from a single computer, putting a different image on each? It is to be used in a theatrical setting, where each projector would be projecting different pictures at different times, pointed at different places.

    Thanks
     
  2. rjphoto macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

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    Mar 7, 2005
    #2
    Maybe a desktop with multiple graphic cards...HMMM.

    Anyone?

    BTW, how many are you talkling about?
     
  3. jarinehart macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    #3
    You can use projectors just like monitors. So if your computer can run two monitors it can run two projectors, in some cases you can have two VGA's and an s-video on your video card or laptop then you could run three projectors. You can also obtain a hardware (i think Matrox makes it) that will allow you to do fake multiple monitors. Anyway, just use the projectors like a regular old monitor and you should be cool. If you want the same image on multiple projectors, many projectors have a monitor out port that you can daisy chain them together. It's kind of fun to hook a couple of projectors up as monitors and shoot them on a 20 foot screen. Makes the 30 incher look insignifigant (too bad it's resolution is still lower).
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #4
    To clarify, you can run as many external projectors as you can get independent video outputs. Each one can have a different resolution and different content. For the most part you can make any kind of content appear on external screens (fullscreen movies, etc).

    But yes, as you observed, for the most part, this is a job for a desktop / tower computer like a Mac Pro. :)
     
  5. JasonElise1983 macrumors 6502a

    JasonElise1983

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    #5
    and if you maxed out a mac pro, you could technically run 8 projectors or 7 projectors and 1 monitor so you could see what you were doing. Hope that helps.
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #6
    Sounds like a great art presentation. :) Although you better have good climate control... a Mac Pro and eight projectors, it's going to be hotter than the sun in there! :D
     
  7. airkarol thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Is there a way to make the video out through ethernet, and assign each projector an IP, so I would'nt need a Mac Pro, and instead use a MBP?
     
  8. mufflon macrumors 6502

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    Sep 15, 2006
    #8
    well I found lan ready proectors ready for deployment through the net
    a review of some but they all end of in the $3000 area - so I believe the cheapest choice would be to get yourself a mac pro and attach *insert amount of graphic cards and projectors* - networking with so many lan projectors is bound to create bottlenecks on the switch and your portable - I really can't see it as a feasible alternative.
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #9
    InFocus also has that WiFi product, but I've never seen it in action.
     
  10. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #10
    Also, the type of data that the OP wants to display will affect this.

    He mentioned pictures. But at what resolution. Small JPEGs would probably be okay with this solution. But large TIFF files would more than likely be a problem.
     
  11. rjphoto macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

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    Mar 7, 2005
    #11
    several companies make WiFi ready projectors.

    I have only seen the Panasonic in action...and it wasn't very easy to set up or use. Proprietarry software was required and the guy running it (one of the brightest guys I know when it comes to doing magic with computers all be it PCs) had trouble. He had to disable his wireless network connection and connect only to the projector. The projector could find the network but the laptop couldn't find it on the network. Even with the direct connection there were problems.

    From my observation I would think that one laptop can only connect to one projector at a time.

    If anyone has more specific information about WiFi projectors I would be interested in it, too.

    Oh, one more thing, there were no Mac Drivers.
     
  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #12
    InFocus has Mac drivers, although again I've never seen it in action. Sketchily enough, the drivers seem to come in a .bin file... which isn't exactly a good prognosticator for InFocus being in touch with all the latest in the Mac world. :rolleyes:
     
  13. bleachthru macrumors member

    bleachthru

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    Nov 13, 2003
    #13
    Hi Airkarol,
    I have done this many times in a theatrical setting. I do not know what your budget is on this project,or what your control needs are, ie. just cueing, or real time cue adjustmen. So I will offer a few solutions that have worked for me in the past.

    The cheapest. If you only have the need to run one projector at a time, I would reccomend using quicktime pro. Convert the DVI signal to componet or S-video, run it to a mixer, with a preview monitor. The mixer will act as an external display, you can drag the quicktime pro file to the preview screen and hit "cmd F" in qucktime to make the movie full screen for that display. Make sure loop is enabled if your content needs to repeat, then you can fade up the mixer from "black" and there you go. If you have a video Matrix in line, you can switch outputs, for different parts of the show. But if you need to run differnet content, different places simultaniously you need to spend a bit more money...

    Option 2: If you have the need for better control, and more outputs The cheapest program that can handle this respectivly is called Isadora, http://www.troikatronix.com/izzy-applications.html It is quite useful, you can create custom patches to suite your needs, I use this program often and quite successfully. If you only have one machine and you need multiple outputs from it, check out purchasing a Matrox triple head to go, it fools the cpu into thinking you have a super huge diaplay, but Isadora will interpret it as 3 displays each running at 1024x768. Which is what your projectors will be running at. Isadora is just under $300. This is by far the most bang for your Buck in terms of theatrical video production. It can be set up to recieve a MIDI input, so cues can be synced with the audio playback program SFX, quite succesfully, as well as syncing other machines running Isadora. The biggest limitation Isadora has, is it runs in the form of percentages, so true timecode is not an option, so depending on the scale of your production this might be an issue.

    Option 3. A more expesive option would be to use Datatons "Watchout" program. http://www.dataton.com/watchout this is an ideal program to use, as it is infinilty expandable and offers a ton of options. basically you have one master cpu networked to other slave cpus. The main cpu has the interface controls for cueing the show, and a timeline effects, edgeblending for multiple projectors etc, and is really easy to use. each projector has its own slave cpu, which recieves content via ethernet from the master depending on what contend is needed for said projector. Watchout is inifitly expandable, where as Isadora will slow down the more outputs you add to the processor, as watchout has a processor/video card for each projector, so this is not a problem. I belive the starter system with 3 network nodes is around $6K last time I had to purchase some. you supply your own cpus, I reccomend a windows based cheapo box with decent graphics and ok HD for the slaves, and the most powerful mac you can afford as the master ( yes it is dual platform)

    Other Options:
    After watchout, there is a huge price gap, you have now entered the realm of rock and roll tours and broadway. With media servers and all their glory, there are many on the market. My personal favorite is the Hippotizer http://www.green-hippo.com/ this is hands down the most powerful media server availble, it renders everything in realtime with 8layers per output, each machine has 2 outputs, an unlimited amount can be synced togetther, they can be controlled and cued via a DMX lighting consol, the grandMA works especially well with a hippo. If you can afford these, they are the best option hands down, they even do pixel mapping. The fact that everything is done in real time with no lag is what makes the $20-40,000 price tag depending on the model worth it. Each machine is custom built and absolutly amazing, I use the Hippotizer whenever I am on a show that has the budget to buy/ rent them.

    I hope this helps, feel free to contact me with any questions..Also remember that if there is a black out in your show, video black will be seen on stage, you will need to rig up some dowsers, if you can afford them city theatrical makes some cool dmx controlled dowsers, if not there are plenty of homemade solutions I would be happy to share. GOOD LUCK!
     
  14. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #14
    Stationary pictures? Moving pictures?
    How tightly do they have to be synchronized?
    Is there synchronization with audio, or an external timebase?
     
  15. rjphoto macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    #15
    WE had major problems with an Infocus just last week. I wasn't on site and was trying to talk very non technical people through the settings on a MacBook over the phone.

    Ended up calling some one who had borrowed one of my antique Sony projectors and having her take it to them. It worked like a charm.
     
  16. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #16
    Wireless or just plug-in? I've had relatively good experience with them using cables....
     
  17. rjphoto macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

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    Mar 7, 2005
    #17
    Plug-in.

    I have, too. Most of the problems I have had has been with PCs. However, if I am on site I almost always have a PowerBook handy and usually have my own Sony projector handy, too.

    I know lots of folks have Infocus machines and don't have any problems out of them, but I've had lots of calls to "Help" get a meeting started and it would end up being an Infocus projector they were trying to use when I arrived. Just off the top of my head I can't remember not swapping them out for another projector.
     
  18. airkarol thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 12, 2005
    #18
    Thanks for that response, we own all of the projectors. Is it possible to rent the Matrox Triple Head? It's a bit expensive to use for only a week. Isadora seems nice, and the demo should work if the computer never turns off. Then I wouldn't need to save :D. 6k is extremely expensive, even though that seems like a great program. That exceeds the budget. Hippotizer also seems amazing, and I'm guessing that's something that can be rented? Do you happen to know the price of buying and renting dowsers? DMX controlled would be great, and it seems like they would be needed. The show being performed is "Working." The show is being controlled on a Strand console, so anything that can be controlled via DMX is great, that way it can be put into cues on the console. The projectors we have are infocus, 3 would be fine, 4 would be great. What were your homemade solutions?

    Thanks,
    David
     

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