View Full Version : Let's Talk A/V

02-07-2009, 05:41 PM
As the "official" A/V coordinator for the event, I wanted to chat a bit about the A/V requirements.

The current plan is to take the output from the participants computers and display it on a big-screen for crowd involvement.

In order to do this, I'll be using a fairly high-end mixer and some other toys.

My requirements from the competitors would look like this:

- Your laptop/computer/whatever that you're using to drive the 'bot will need to be able to mirror its display. VGA output up to 1280x1024, SVideo, or Composite video are all acceptable. I don't think there's many laptops out there anymore that won't mirror their output. I will be providing SXGA -> SVideo scanline convertors that will operate up to 1280x1024. If you're going to insist on a higher resolution, and your laptop can't mirror out to a lower resolution - you'll need to provide your own scanline conversion that can handle the higher res. The Averkey 300 (http://www.avermedia-usa.com/presentation/product_avk300g.asp)is probably a good choice up to 1600x1200 (although I'll be providing pro-grade units at the lower resolution). My units will pass-through at the 1280x1024 or lower, so you can still run an external monitor if that's your plan.

- I will have lots of extension cordage and power strips. If you're needing something really special, let me know.

- I will be bringing a titler as well. I'd like to pre-make my titles, so robot name/team name/your name/whatever should be provided as soon as you've settled on it. Any color-scheme that you want duplicated, or art work and whatnot for intros should be camera-ready art. If you give it to me in high-res PSD (300dpi is fine) or a vector form, I can deal with it.

- I will be recording the matches simultaneously in 1.5mbit/sec MPEG2 and 700kbit/sec WMV9. Those will be available later for download.

- I would like to run B-Roll stuff too. Interviews, bot closeups, and what-not. Just let me know that you want to participate.

In short - I'd like to produce this with some fairly high production values. If the requirements in the first bullet are going to hang anyone up, let's talk about it here and figure things out ahead of time so I can prep for it and still provide the event with the A/V that Tyberius is hoping for. My equipment is running on towards seven or eight years old, so super-high-res it isn't (except for the HD Cam).

02-07-2009, 07:06 PM
Do you want the direct feed of the mech or the output of the laptop? If it's the laptop (pilot's chair), mine might be in stereo and thus un-viewable.

02-07-2009, 07:36 PM
Pure awesomeness...


02-07-2009, 08:21 PM
Thats cool Adren,

My laptop in good to go I think. It is a Dell 6400. and has both a video connector and an S-vid port. I was thinking that we needed to pass our camera output through a router making the video available. But if that isn't needed, I'll try connecting my camera to the laptop in Ad-Hoc mode and see what rolls out.


02-07-2009, 09:04 PM
Feeding it directly off of the video output is a good idea because it wont add wifi camera latency by splitting that feed.

Firestorm- Adrenalynn detailed exactly what is required- a feed off of your laptop, not the mech. Its your call really, if you can't bring a compatible solution just don't expect your fights to be included in any of the video production. There might be a way to splice the video out though.

02-07-2009, 09:43 PM
I'll figure something out...

02-07-2009, 10:18 PM
The plan was to split the laptop/computer's output. The thinking was that not only would we have the video feed you're using then, the crowd would also get the experience of your "cockpit", whatever it ends-up looking like. More immersion for the crowd means more enjoyment.

If it's stereoscopic, we can snipe a feed from one of your onboard cameras. Or you can just feed the external output with ever-other-scanline (assuming that you're doing something like LCD shutter or something similar, that shouldn't be an issue).

02-07-2009, 10:26 PM
I have no problem with any of the above. Will you have the VGA cables to hook to our laptops?

BTW, thanks for taking the lead on this one. It's gonna be a real boon for the crowd to see our HUD's.

02-07-2009, 10:30 PM
Just out of curiosity, are street-level cameras still in? :)
And yes, achieving stereo through stutter, so you can just take every other, no problem; there's got to be an easy way to program that.

02-07-2009, 10:42 PM
I'll probably rig up two street level cameras for direct feed into Jodie's equipment.

02-07-2009, 11:36 PM
Yup, Jes. I'll have cables from the DB15f to the scanline converter. Scanline converter goes over component to the switcher.

As an alternative, I can take either SVideo or Composite directly into the switcher - so gdubb's laptop's SVideo out would work as well. I'm bringing my "magic box" of adapters. Just about anything imaginable in the A/V world adaptered to just about anything else. Need to go HDMI to VGA? No problem. SCART to Composite making a PAL to NTSC switch inbetween? Sure. ;)

I'm planning on bringing the equipment to handle four simultaneous inputs, but can go to eight if necessary. I'll likely have a standard def sixteen input realtime DVR onsite for raw digital footage for Tybs' later use. If anyone gets really fancy and has lots of outputs, that could in a pinch be used as the capture device and mux the signal down for input into the switcher.

Firestorm - should be pretty easy as long as you have a dual-head card. You have to render a scanline, shift, then render the alternate scanline anyway. Just toss either scanline to the other head. I'll resample the scanline you give me into a full-frame.

02-08-2009, 11:41 AM
My setup will probably require two inputs. (if I even make it to the competition... I need to get off my butt and work.) I know for sure that I will have a composite output, and I might have a vga output (I don't know for sure if I will have a "software" cockpit or not. I really want to build a beagleboard into a whole bunch of hardware switches, lcd displays, etc, to make a real hw cockpit.)

02-08-2009, 01:01 PM
I really want to build a beagleboard into a whole bunch of hardware switches, lcd displays, etc, to make a real hw cockpit.)

Oh that would be pretty cool.

02-08-2009, 02:54 PM
One day when I'm rich and famous, I'm going to hire you to be my personal brainstormer. A hardware based cockpit, holy crap is that awesome. Rumor has it Matt Bauer has one of those Steel Battalion controllers he's working on hacking...

My setup will probably require two inputs. (if I even make it to the competition... I need to get off my butt and work.) I know for sure that I will have a composite output, and I might have a vga output (I don't know for sure if I will have a "software" cockpit or not. I really want to build a beagleboard into a whole bunch of hardware switches, lcd displays, etc, to make a real hw cockpit.)

02-08-2009, 04:03 PM
This will be VERY VERY handy for promotional material for future events!
That is awesome that you will be getting all this footage. It is VERY noisy there (From what I've seen last year), use a lav. mic for interviews (or possibly even go outside). Tyb should have one. Sounds like you really have things together! Best of luck!

02-08-2009, 04:28 PM
Thanks, Eric - I remember it well. :)

I have a Sennheiser EW100 ENG (Electronic News Gathering) wireless lav mic, in licensed band, as well as two butt-plug transmitters. I also have an Azden SG2 two-stage shotgun with wireless butt-plug.

I've sold work to Discovery Network, ESPN/ESPN2/X-Games, MTV Sports, and various regionals - I've got it covered. ;)

As far as recording goes - talk with Tybs. It's already in the mix, just don't want to explore too much here. DVCAM and DVCPro. Depending on room and setup times, I might bring the Digibeta deck.

02-08-2009, 04:58 PM
That is TOOOOOO SWEET!!!! Yes... you got pro gear. Very cool. You are the rare individual who has pro-experience. Is there anything YOU DON'T DO!!!. You make me feel guilty for selling all my beta gear a year ago!
Yea... I can see the TR folks are in good hands.:happy:

02-08-2009, 05:36 PM
You just catch me in my sweet-spot - I don't want to sound conceited, it's just that video has been everything to/for me. I've done everything from compressing it, building sats, squirting birds, production, post-production, editing, streaming, webcasting, and security video. If it's in the video space, I'm pretty much there.

I'll have at least three small Sony DVCAM decks. They're not the be-all-end-all decks, but they're tiny and do a good job of standard def. I'd rather be HD end-to-end, but the setup time on that big equipment is a killer. My Digibeta HD deck weighs in at close to 250lbs!

The camera in the picture is DVCProHD, and I have another large editing deck for it.

I still have a full SymphonyHD hardware suite for editing and post, but honestly I prefer Vegas Video these days. I have a 21 machine render farm at home, so it's substantial faster with a really nice clean full-featured interface. I also have Combustion and MAX if anything fancy is required.

So - what did you do that you had Beta gear?

02-08-2009, 10:01 PM
So - what did you do that you had Beta gear?
1 word. Ebay. Sniff sniff!!!
When I left the news and sports video business, I sold most of my gear to get the desperately needed cash. Even had my own Steadicam. Now all's that's left is a hand full of audio gear, a rifa light and a c-stand.
I have never seen someone with such a deep understanding of digital video. As you know, almost everyone in the biz, just knows enough to run the camera. (at least with the crews I've worked for) Truely amazing knowledge. Pity you don't have your own lecture series like Sang Shin, who does javapassion.com. I'd even pay for those classes.. If I had money. :sad: