This week in the Podcast we’re excited to cover a topic that we get a lot of questions about how to add video to their Lighting Show.
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Lighting News (1:47)
I am very excited about this week’s lighting news. Obsidian Controls (formerly known as MPC Series) has announced their launch of the NX4 Console.
You can read more about the NX4 Console here: Obsidian Control Systems launches NX 4™
The NX4 Console is a rebrand and rebuild of the old Martin M1 Console. This new console has the same features as the Martin M1 but with so many more upgrades added to the NX4.
Main Segment (4:53)
Until recently video and lighting were always triggered separately in most shows. In the entertainment market especially with smaller productions, there’s just not enough of a market for companies to invest in new technology. This has been the case for years which led to video and lighting always running separately.
Now, there are actually two ways you can add video to your lighting show.
Define Your Output Medium
You need to first, define your output medium. Do you need to output “actual video signal”, or networked lighting signal to individual pixels?
Why does this matter? The chain of equipment and software that you need to get there differs a good bit!
Way #1 – Pixels
We’ve talked in Episodes 45 and Episode 47 about pixels and LED tape. Pixels take a lighting-type signal such as WS2811. This signal is generated by a pixel controller that takes direct DMX, Art-Net or sACN (networked DMX).
Regular lighting consoles OR specialized programs such as ENTTEC’s ELM can, therefore, send data directly to these pixel controllers to generate patterns or pixel-mapped video content.
Way #2 – Video
Sometimes, you need to trigger an actual video signal from your lighting console. This video may be a SDI, HDMI, NDI, VGA, DVI, DisplayPort, or another type of signal to a video display (TV), projector, or LED wall.
Basically, what this comes down to is deciding do you want it to be a video display type or is it a lighting type of signal being sent to a pixel controller. Neither way is the wrong way it just depends what you want the final output to be.
Using Actual Video
You’re not going to be able to drive a video display directly from a lighting console. However, some pieces of lighting software that runs on PC’s can also output a window of video (which can then be brought full-screen and output via a video output of that computer.
Using a Media Server
Most often, however, media for video screens is triggered via a media server, which can then be triggered by a lighting console via DMX input. There are a lot of examples, but here are a few popular ones:
Grand MA VPU
*ENTTEC ELM as well
Many of these media servers also offer the ability to modify the video – adjust the speed, size, warp, color filter, etc. Most are designed like a video switcher and have 2 or more busses to switch between. Depending on the exact media server, you can program all of the controls via a lighting console, or via the media server itself.
Got screens and pixels? Run the output of your media server playing video into a pixel mapper to have all of your surfaces play the media at the same time!
While I try to cover topics using video is a pretty vast topic, and exact equipment recommendations are going to vary based on the exact needs.
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