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Joined: 3/26/07
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bullet Topic: Multi-screen video on stage
    Posted: 3/26/07 at 1:44pm
Just thought I'd share what I put together for my community theatre's production of Evita:
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Joined: 5/04/06
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bullet Posted: 3/26/07 at 6:25pm
well, you lost me but it sounds cool!
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Mr. Lowell

Joined: 1/30/07
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bullet Posted: 3/27/07 at 3:19pm
Hi Ben,
yes, this is really cool. 
During various plays and concerts I have shown stills with PowerPoint, or projected live cameras on large screens, but never something this organized and co-ordinated. 
If I read your description correctly, your system can you transition seamlessly between various formats, like still photos; moving graphics; pre-recorded video from computers or DVDs; and live cameras showing action on stage.  Right? 
One issue I've had with my video projector, is that it needs to be manually switched from VIDEO input to COMPUTER input.  So if I have one image originating from a laptop and one coming from a DVD or camcorder, then I always get this big hairy glitch as we switch over the projector. 
To overcome this, I purchased a consumer grade converter box called a "Grandtec PC to TV Video Component".   Yes, while it does combine the sources on the screen, the image quality coming from the computer is somewhat degraded, so it's hard to read fine print, (and a black border appears around the edges of the image).   And if I run this computer video source through my old video switcher console, then I get sync problems. 
A few questions for you: 
During the run of your show did you ever encounter wireless signal interuptions?   Or other computer crashes?  Or projector gremlins?  
And did your crew on stage have an emergency back-up for this?  Like some contingency for operating the onstage units independently and/or manually?
You mentioned hiding the projectors in set pieces, so I assume they were front screen projectors, right?  I have tried rear projection when the screen needed to be center stage and there was nowhere to mount a projector.  But this required a lot of depth upstage, (and I had to set up barricades so actors would cross through the beam!)  Do you have opinions either way on front vs. rear screen?
And was your lighting designer able keep the spill and bounce light off your screens?
And one more thing, if your director had someone shoot an archival videotape of the play, then how did the camera operator deal with the white balance conflicts between the video screens and the hotter stage lighting?
Thanks for your time, Dana
Mr. Lowell,
Lighting/Set Designer & Tech Director,
for the Linda Sloan Theatre,
in the Davison Center for the Arts,
at Greensboro Day School
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Joined: 8/21/06
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bullet Posted: 3/27/07 at 10:43pm
Excellent work, Ben!  Being a .NET developer myself, I'm impressed.
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