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Old January 24th, 2005, 03:54 PM   #1
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Projecting DV

I am discussing doing a not-for-pay video project for a local non-profit. It will be mostly interviews of children (some adults and other footage), explaining how this program has impacted their life. One question came up today that surprised me and I am not sure what to do.

This group is doing a high-profile charity event for about 350 people, and would like to show the video at this function. But that means projecting the image up to a pretty large size ( no details available except audience of 350 in a restauarant designed for these kind of parties). She asked me if the quality of the image would be acceptable. I gave her a non-committal answer, since acceptable is a subjective term.

But what do people here think? Can a DV image be blown up that much and still look okay? Or should we plan on using a higher quality cam (or even letting her work with local TV station crew)?

My second challenge is that I was planning on shooting most of it on my 1-chip consumercam, since a 3 chipper is not in the budget until April or May? Is this a stupid idea? Should I rent a better camera like a PD-150, or do you think well shot footage out of my 1 chip will be almost as good (except for color saturation)? I don't envision any real cute photography on this, no rack focusing or anything. My instinct is that if we have good audio, good interviews, and good editing into a nice story, the video quality might be less important. OTOH, this will be a premier local event with a national speaker, so it might behoove me to put my best foot forward, short of renting an HDV camera.

All opinions gratefully accepted.
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Old January 24th, 2005, 05:47 PM   #2
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You might be able to get away with the 1 chipper IF the lighting is very good. Otherwise it might go dark and grainy.

As for projecting it, I projected on live edit stuff to 12 and 15 foot screens using my 150's and frankly it was 'O.K.'. Not necessarily great but no one else noticed nor said anything. I would have much preferred to use the good ol' 370 but....

I did a same day edit and projected the DV tape from a 1 chipper to a 10 foot screen and it was fine. It was also shot on a pd150 so the fact it was playing from a 1 chip did nothing to degrade it as it was strictly working as a VCR.

If you use the 1 chip, make sure the area is lit up well and keep smooth steady shots and you'll probably be fine.

Good luck,
Don
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Old January 24th, 2005, 05:57 PM   #3
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Thanks DOn, I hope to hear a few more reassuring words.

I notice you said you projeced direct from the DV tape. I planned on making a DVD of the final project. Do you think that using a DVD will be a bad thing?
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Old January 24th, 2005, 06:27 PM   #4
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You could try uprezzing the footage to an HD spec and then play it off of a laptop computer into a digital projector. It would help keep the image together on a larger screen a bit better.
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Old January 24th, 2005, 07:00 PM   #5
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It is possible

Last November, I handled the multimedia presentation for an after-opera party for the local opera company. I projected freshly shot video using an old (purchased in October 2000) Epson PowerLite projector (1000 ANSI lumens) onto a 10' wide x 7.5' high screen mounted 10' up to a group of 200 people seated around tables at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.

I used a Canon GL-2 - and existing lighting for almost all of the couple hours of footage including backstage scenes during the final dress rehearsal, people in the lobby and a few minutes of interviews under a large tent.

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, partly due to the fact nobody had ever seen this kind of presentation before. But aside from the novelty factor, I thought the image was very much viewable.

It helped that the room was semi-dark but the weakness of my old projector was recently brought to light (heh) last week when I did an awards program for over 300 people at a Hyatt Regency hotel and used my old Epson and a borrowed brand new Dell 4100MP. The color, contrast and brightness of the Dell far surpassed the Epson when showing stills off my laptop (using a video distribution amplifier to drive the projectors).

As for a 1-CCD video versus a 3-CCD, I did a presentation for a friend's 50th birthday in April 2004 and used footage shot with a vintage 1998 Sony camcorder projected onto the same 10'x7.5' screen with the same projector in a small clubhouse and a huge amount of backlight with passable results.

But if this event is important enough, I recommend you go into the store with your own tape and camcorder and shoot the same objects or people. Compare the footage shot with the various units.

Given that this is mostly interviews (static subjects), I think that good lighting for the interviews, a good projector, some buffing up during post, optimal lighting conditions in the event space and most of all, good interviewees, can make up for a marginal camcorder.

All my videos were WMV.
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Old January 24th, 2005, 08:04 PM   #6
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John: there are some good thoughts from others here already. My gut feeling is that you will be OK due to the documentary nature of what you're doing. Sounds like the point is to convey information instead of making a "movie." As long as you're mindful of the basics which others have mentioned (steady camera work, enough light for proper exposure, clean audio) I suspect everyone will forgive any shortcomings of the camera itself. Now of course it can't hurt to get the best image possible, so if it's in the budget then I'm sure you won't regret using a 3-chipper.

But with the atmosphere of a party or social event, I seriously doubt that people will critique the technical merits of the video unless there are some big problems (and of course a few drinks should put everyone in a good mood for starters ;-) I think you should just concentrate doing the best job you can with the equipment you already have. If you're still concerned then I'd take David's advice and see if you can look at some test footage with a projector similar to the one which will be used.
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Old January 24th, 2005, 08:17 PM   #7
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Thanks to everyone who responded. Boyd, I agree that this project is about content and information, and that was what I expressed to Executive Director. It really surprised me that her two concerns were on-time completion (understandable and 100% achievable if she does her part) and image quality when projected at dinner (surprising). I just was totally unprepared for that question, but I feel much better now. I will probably call her in the morning with the "consensus opinion" from my group of experts. Thanks again to everyone.
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Old January 24th, 2005, 08:17 PM   #8
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venue is only 350...

You'll be fine. A 3 chip cam will give better image results from a luma standpoint and contrast control. This is more important when you go to the rear projection screen. 6x8 or at most 7.5x10 for your fastfold screen and be sure to get the optional dress kit. To complete the look, you will also need to rent 2 10' high run off panels. One for each side. Minimum 1500 lumens for the projector and don't increase the brightness in the menu. Use control over the house lights instead.

You will need sound reinforcement at all 4 corners of the room. 250 watts minimum. Get the speakers that you can diasy chain a second speaker to and run 2 left and 2 right.

That should keep 'em amused!
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Old January 24th, 2005, 08:56 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by John Galt : It really surprised me that her two concerns were on-time completion (understandable and 100% achievable if she does her part) and image quality -->>>

Then perhaps you should give her an estimate for renting or purchasing a 3 chip camera for your project and let her be the judge of whether this extra "insurance" is justified?
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Old January 24th, 2005, 09:26 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Boyd Ostroff :
Then perhaps you should give her an estimate for renting or purchasing a 3 chip camera for your project and let her be the judge of whether this extra "insurance" is justified? -->>>\

She was talking about the "videos" done by National HQ for their annual meetings and how great those looked when projected to really big sizes. I suggested that since it was NYC and they had a big (national) budget, it was entirely possible those were shot on 35mm film. She could do that, but production budget would be north of $100k. And there were other quality/cost steps in between. I think that brought her back to reality. :)

I am sure we will be fine. I just didn't know how to answer her, since I have no experience at this issue yet. Thanks again.
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Old January 25th, 2005, 10:57 AM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by John Galt : Thanks DOn, I hope to hear a few more reassuring words.

I notice you said you projeced direct from the DV tape. I planned on making a DVD of the final project. Do you think that using a DVD will be a bad thing? -->>>

No one has responded on the DVD issue so I will say yes, John, using a DVD will be a bad thing.

When you take your lightly compressed DV master and make a DVD it undergoes much more severe compression and that will be very highly visible when projected. You will lose a lot of quality in using the DVD over a DV tape. Frankly, I also find DV tape to be _more_ reliable than home produced DVDs.

I strongly suggest you project from the DV master. Just bring your camera and two copies of the final video on two different tapes and run the outputs from the camera into the projector.

You might want to make a DVD and bring a player solely as a backup if you are really paranoid about equipment failure (always a good trait in these situations).
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Old January 25th, 2005, 11:49 AM   #12
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I think the point made earlier about adequate lighting during taping is spot on - you will want the best light you can get.

The other point to make about projecting your footage is that you will want to adjust the color balance of the projector some time before the audience arrives. The main problem I have with all video projectors is that the color is often odd. Video projectors usually have high color temp bulbs which makes the footage look blue and /or washed out.
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Old January 25th, 2005, 02:54 PM   #13
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Another option you might explore is projecting directly from a laptop. It depends on the projector, but in some tests I did myself we got much better results with a VGA hookup from the external monitor port on my powerbook than using s-video from the camera. See if you can do some tests to compare the various options ahead of time.

Bill has good advice: have a backup strategy so there's more than one way to play your video in the event of equipment failure. If you're really paranoid this would include two projectors (budget permitting).
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Old January 25th, 2005, 02:58 PM   #14
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Great idea to use the 15 pin connector from the laptop. For maximum stability, a desktop computer works well with the playback 15 pin connector feeding a professional 4 into 1 vga multiplier. This way you won't be at the mercy of a slower processor and/or low memory video card attempting to do double duty...
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Old January 25th, 2005, 03:59 PM   #15
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I can't speak for Windows machines, but on just about any Mac PowerBook you shouldn't have any problems. The VGA (or DVI) port is a separate screen - not a "mirror" - from the builtin LCD, and it can run simultaneously. Running FCP you can choose this as your external video device, then you can play the video directly from the timeline. It worked fine from my old Titanium PowerBook G4/667, so I doubt that processor speed or video cards would be an issue.

Of course it can have its pitfalls as well.... DVD players and cameras rarely "crash"...
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