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anothername

Going Big

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Hey all,

 

I'm starting a project that is going to be projected very large (onto a building) the resolution for the project is 5000 by 3000.

 

I was wondering if anyone out there has tackled a similar project and might have any good tips, either for workflow or just for working for such large final output.

 

For example I would guess that I should compose for the frame keeping in mind that people wont be able to take in the whole frame at once. Also since a building isn't an ideal projection surface I'm going to make sure that I make things a bit more contrasty and saturated than normal.

 

If anyone out there has some experience, or good ideas for this type of project, I'd like to hear em.

 

Thanks.

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Always bear in mind "THINK BIG"

That means: avoid tiny details -Go for simple but very effective and BOLD visuals.

Get inspiration from the Projections and LEDs from concerts from Madonna etc. worth it.

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I'm starting a project that is going to be projected very large (onto a building) the resolution for the project is 5000 by 3000.

 

Hey anothername - what's the frame rate of this project, and the duration of the piece? That's a big slab of data you're going to have to pump out, do you have that part of the equation sorted?

 

Before that, is the huge resolution really necessary with a projected image, which are soft anyway, and the viewing distance being so far away? It reminds me of the problem people have producing massive posters, they start by working out 14x48 feet at 300dpi when you can infact get away with 50dpi.

 

If you really are working at that resolution and scale, then think in terms of simple, easy to understand movements, no fast pans or zooms and bright colours and contrast. From bitter experience - keep render times in mind at all times!

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From bitter experience - keep render times in mind at all times!

 

Yeah, rendering animations for a 70ft wide-screen on an iMac is not a pleasant experience...not that I ever did such a ridiculous thing ;)

Edited by toerag

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Hold on, hold on.

 

Where did that 5000x3000 figure come from?

What is playing back the animation at that size? A RAID array?

 

I ask this, because the playback medium, not the size of the screen, determines the image size in pixels.

DVD?

Blu-Ray?

Hard drive?

Multiple drives, multiple projectors?

 

Only a hard drive (or film, duh) can play back sizes bigger than 1920x1080. And if it's an NTSC DVD, the projection size is irrelevant -- the animation must be 720x480.

 

So. What is the playback medium?

Edited by SteveR

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The final projection will use multiple projectors which are controlled by a software system (played from a Hard Drive) to split up the image between projectors so it will in fact be able to get the full use of that resolution. I'm going to try working at half the resolution and see if there is much of a visible difference when the image is projected.

 

Frame rate is 29.97 (this was given to me, not my choice). I have to do one continuos "self contained" animation of about a minute and a half that is "full screen". Then there are a number of other animations some full screen some at different sizes and aspect ratios (to be projected on only part of the building) none of the animations exceeds a minute most are between 10 secs and 30 secs. So I'm hoping this will be fairly manageable.

 

What I am going to try and do to avoid a huge render hit at the end is a lot of pre-rendering of various elements of the animations and then comp those elements once they are approved.

 

Thanks for the good tips and please keep them coming.

Edited by anothername

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We are doing this type of work a handful of times a year.

Both for leds and projections.

 

The main bottleneck is the mediaplayers (the unit(s) that is actually do the

playback of the files).

 

For example, the GreenHippo have a maximum file resolution of

1920x1200 pixels. Any bigger than that you need to chop the contentfile

into bits of that.

 

For projectionwork you typically need to include a 25 percent

overlap as well for the digitizer(s) to be able to do a seemless

overlap between the projectors.

 

Just finished the now running CEBIT fair in Istanbul, Turkey

with a 8228x288 pixels big led. (Some 140 meters wide)

At our disposal for that led we had one Hippo that we ran with

two outputs. Each output running 2 HD files.

(additional leds ran from a second Hippo)

 

The material was cut in five "strips", three placed at output one

and two on output two. They were then reconnected by the digitizer

to the led.

 

The "pipeline" for this example you can see at the pict attached.

 

We are doing the bulk of the work for this kind of shows at the location

because of the many factors being so uncertain.

 

Cheers

Lennart

 

CEBIT_08_CONTENT_V3_OW.jpg

CEBITFLOW_V3.jpg

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(Thanks for the info, Lennart.) :)

 

Design-wise, consider the size of the screen on the viewer's retina, based on the combination of image size and viewing distance. If the viewer is far away, then the image will appear small, and small-video aesthetics apply: simplicity. However, if the viewer is close and has to turn his head to see the image (think IMAX), then you can have more detail, sweeping vistas and so on.

 

Try this: go to the site, stand where an audience member would stand and hold up something at arm's length that matches the size of the projection from your vantage point. An index card? A manila envelope? Then you can take that back to the studio and get and idea of the retinal size as you work on the piece.

 

Another consideration is what the audience will be doing at the event. Will they be watching intently, or do you have to catch their attention? Will there be audio to help you?

Edited by SteveR

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Try this: go to the site, stand where an audience member would stand and hold up something at arm's length that matches the size of the projection from your vantage point. An index card? A manila envelope? Then you can take that back to the studio and get and idea of the retinal size as you work on the piece.

 

Great idea. I love simple techniques like that.

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Great info.

 

Lennart big thanks for sharing all that. Would love to see some pics of the piece up and running if you have.

 

The system being used is called watch out. I don't really have that much to do with the actual projection side of it, but when I was first given that resolution my first question was can it really playback/make full use of that resolution. I was told that it could. As far as it was explained to me if I supplied files at that resolution that would allow for the blend between projectors, and that the software takes care of splitting up the image between projectors managing the fades and overlap etc. Apparently there is one PC which manages a bunch of networked PCs and each projector has a seperate PC attached to it, so this sounds feasible. Or does that sound wonky to you?

 

Steve those are good questions to keep in mind. I definitely want to make sure my design approach takes the environmental factors into account. There will be sound which will help a lot, and in theory people will be watching intently, but given that it's for a large outdoor crowd I think I need to factor in a certain amount of distraction. Depending on where people are standing the screen will seem from smallish movie screen all the way up to a bit smaller than Imax (I guess I should go see films in both formats and really pay attention to how movement and composition is handled in each). I haven't done much work that was intended for anything larger than a TV so definitely the design implications of working on a larger "canvas" are something I want to make sure I've put some thought into.

 

One of the reasons I shot this out to the forum is because I am not in the city where this will be projected (and obviously it is fairly cumbersome so set up and test) so I will have to do a bunch of work before it can actually get tested on site. I'm hoping by putting in some thought in at the beginning and getting some good advice I can avoid too much insanity towards the end of the project (well you can always hope).

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The WatchOut system will be a good choice.

Different mediaplayers have their pros and cons.

WatchOut is great restiching/keystoning the material.

 

It sort of internally render the parts into the playback result.

 

Try to have a good contact with the WO operators

regarding fileformats, esp if an alpha is involved.

 

 

Cheers

Lennart

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I Had a bit of experience outputting stuff for Watchout to playout on a set of Plasma screens - we were having trouble with some flickering and stuttering - I don't think it was happy dealing with compressed quicktimes so we ended up outputting all the movies as WMV files which it seemed to be more happy with. If that helps at all...

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