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The AV Solutions Approach to HD Projection
AV Solutions has been a big fan of high definition video. While it took a fair bit of capital to turn over our inventory and get all the right toys in stock, it has indisputably been worth the investment. Making our client’s graphics and videos pop on screen is a lot of fun!
That said, there’s a whole lot more to HD projection than just hooking up to and turning on a high definition projector. It starts with content creation and ends on the screen surface only with a whole lot of paying attention to detail in between. But with a bit of due diligence, we are able to use high end MacBook Pro computers and PC’s to take your content and make it look it’s very best on screen in front of large audiences.
In most of our larger setups, we utilize seamless, high definition, Analog Way switchers to manage what and how your videos and presentations appear on screen. These boxes are a bit like the man behind the curtain in the “Wizard of Oz”. They take in all the different types of presentations and videos you can throw at them and magically they appear and transition seamlessly on screen in 1080 resolution. While not cheap, around $10k for a nicely equipped model, they are worth every penny we’ve spent on them. With abilities like logo storage, picture in picture, mixer mode, matrix mode and a list of features the length of my arm, these boxes are indispensable. And that’s before you start managing them with software on a computer which can takes their functionality to a whole other level.
But, alas, the job doesn’t end at the switcher. There are other demons to be conquered. The output signal from a seamless switcher can be in a number of different flavors. HDMI, DVI and SDI are the most common but the only one of those signals that will stand up to longer cable runs, up to 300 feet, is SDI. Converting a HDMI or DVI output signal to SDI requires a little more magic, specifically converters. Our preference leans towards Datavideo, Blackmagic, Gefen and Kramer to work these signal flow miracles.
What’s next? Distribution amplifiers. It’s not uncommon to have multiple destinations for your presentation signals. Of course there are the projectors and often times, two or three of them. But often those same signals are also needed for confidence monitors, video streaming, video recording, video teleconferencing etc. DA’s as we call them, split, amplify and re-clock your switcher output signal for distribution to all the different places it needs to go.
So now all of your signals have reached their destinations so mission accomplished? Perhaps, that is unless they need to be converted once again to match the inputs on all the different devices you are sending the signal to.
Okay, so now we’ve reached the projectors with a high definition 1080 signal. What’s left to be concerned with? Lumens and lensing. With all the extra real estate of wide screens, the need for additional brightness to be spread over the screen surface is significant. We ball park about 50% more lumens than what we used for standard definition to compensate for all that extra real estate. So what we used to do with a 6500 lumen projector for a full screen image, 9’ high by 12’ high, is now accomplished with a 10,000 lumen projector for a 9’ high by 16’ wide image.
And finally, lensing. The increased width of what is being projected needs to be taken into account here too. This is the proverbial rectangular image projected into a round hole. Yes, we can make it fit but it’s still possible to round off the corners if one wanders too much off the sweet spot of the lens. And, just the fact that images are wider means issues particularly for short and long throw projection. Needless to say, the interplay between lenses, lens shifting and keystone adjustments makes alignment a little more critical but once the proper due diligence has been applied, you end up with those images we referred to earlier. The ones that pop on the screen.
Next up, 4k is just around the corner!