DL2 & Timecode

OliLightsOliLights Registered User
edited December 2006 in DL.3/DL.2
Is there anyway of Directly Syncing the content inside the DL2 with either LTC or MTC. This is becoming an ever important part of video playback. My Clients have content that is rendered specifically for Timecode and this is critical for them.
Timecoding the console is not reliable enough and won't allow frame for frame syncing.

Hope you can assist.
Oli
Lighting Productions

Comments

  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited April 2006
    We don't have a method of doing this currently and would require some substantial work to integrate a method of doing this in the fixture. The closest I could see us being able to implement would be using Midi Time Code over Ethernet. I have logged a feature request for this as #9309
  • OliLightsOliLights Registered User
    edited April 2006
    MTC Over EtherNET Would be fine. There are several Units / Pieces of Software that make this possible.
    This would be a very useful asset on the DL2, but i can appreciate the work involved in making it happen.
    A lot of the content i render runs to clock and therefor the entire length of the song, thus really only using 1 layer of the Graphics Engine, but the content files are much larger.
    The only way of doing this currently for 12 DL2's is with 6 x Dual Output Media Servers with RGBHV going to each DL2. Bypassing Media Servers in DL2's !


    Many Thanks for your time on this
    Oli
    Lighting Productions
  • OliLightsOliLights Registered User
    edited May 2006
    Hi There,
    Any thoughts on introducing the DL2 to the world of timecode?
    MTC over EtherNET would seem like the best option for simlicity, but i'm not sure if you guys want to help. I have a long running production coming up in mid June with 12 DL2's specced on my design. 90% of the content i have needs to be synced to timecode in someway. At the moment the only options i have is to timecode the console which in turn delivers a 'GO File Play' at the correct mark on the clock. This is a very simple way of getting a start mark, but is by no means accurate accross the course of a 8 minute song. The second option allows the formentioned frame for frame accuracy, but introduces a whole world of hate in terms of cables, i of course speak about using multiple Cat's and RGBHV to each DL2.. is this really viable for maintaining a reliable system and a sensible budget?...... i don't think so. Please can you try to help, your efforts will give the DL2 yet another valuable asset and something that allows the fixture to be used at the highest corporate levels for media presentation, as well as giving live production a difinative angle on synccing video content.

    Your Faithfully
    Oli Metcalfe
    Lighting Productions
  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited May 2006
    Oli,

    As I mentioned before there may be something like MTC over Ethernet that we could add in the future, but it is a rather complex thing to add and certainly doesn't happen overnight.

    Honestly, I'm a bit surprised that you're seeing you need more playback synchronization. We've been running video clips here lately where we have one clip split with multiple projectors each playing a portion of the clip and even on long clips the synchronization between multiple units playing the same video clip has been totally indistinguishable. Once the clips are playing, even on longer ones we're seeing very tight synchronization from unit to unit already with our existing sync over Ethernet.

    The only thing I see the MTC buying you is the trigger to start playback. Which can be pretty tightly done using DMX already. What helps is if you have all the other parameters set and then just trigger the movie to play as there shouldn't be any noticable delay at that point.

    I would suggest giving it a try as I suggested where you have all the parameters set and just trigger the movie to play...also, have your units linked together with Ethernet so they can do their normal clock sync'ing.

    Scott
  • SourceChildSourceChild Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Scott,
    Very simply, Audio Sync or Sync with external systems is not possible without a timecode sync.
    Just ask Richard Bleasdale how much he hates me whining about Sync of multiple layers across Catalysts when I am running an audio file.
    Try this too.
    Imagine a very fast piece of content moving dynamically across edges of a blend region and you'll see where the server sync is not as accurate as timecode sync.
    When DL2 are used on a perfectly smooth surface, the blend regions are noticable when the content is a fast moving file.
    This new feature of syncing to timecode would mean wonders for me. I have an install that I have called for 6 blended DL2s on a very smooth curved surface and I am reluctant because of the frame sync especially when I am building all the shows using timecode from an audio server.
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited December 2006
    I have an install that I have called for 6 blended DL2s on a very smooth curved surface and I am reluctant because of the frame sync especially when I am building all the shows using timecode from an audio server.

    I have to give the developers some credit here:beerchug: .....from my experience, the sync issue is all but gone with the new software 1.3 for DL.2

    I was having some issues with it on a tour I just finished with the pervious 1.2.x software. We were able to do our last week of shows with 1.3 and all my sync issues disappeared never to be seen again.
  • teericksonteerickson Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited December 2006
    Todd,

    Can you explain a bit more? I'm not sure that I understand why you think that sync is dependent on timecode.

    Timecode generally refers to one of a few standard formats used for sending and receiving synchronization information. The most common type of timecode is SMPTE. There are a number of different formats (LTC, VITC, MTC, CTL) and frame rates (24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, drop and non-drop frame) of SMPTE timecode.

    Video can be synchronized to SMPTE timecode, but it is not the only way to synchronize video playback between multiple systems.

    When a network of DL.2 digital luminaires are synchronizing playback, a master clock source is used and timing information is shared between all of the fixtures. The system that we use allows for frame synchronization of video playback and also for synchronization of rotation and effects motion. One of the major advantages is that we aren't limited by the relatively low frame rates generally used with SMPTE timecode. We can have much finer resolution, which will generally provide a much smoother, better synchronized result.

    I hope this helps to clear things up.
  • SourceChildSourceChild Registered User
    edited December 2006
    I hate to seem confusing. I am very simply stating that I require much more to be syncronized than the DL2s.
    Audio, Video Decks, Pyro, Other FX run "FRAME ACCUTATE" off of the audio timecode. I just want the DL2s to sync frame accurate off of the audio deck's timecode the same way I do it with Catalyst
  • SourceChildSourceChild Registered User
    edited December 2006
    A possible solution would be to enhance the web interface to the DL2s so that the computer running the web interface could do Timecode Sync.
  • teericksonteerickson Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited December 2006
    Todd,

    As Scott mentioned, there is already an enhancement logged for implementing the ability to sync to an external timecode source.

    This is a completely separate topic of discussion than the sync that happens between DL-2 digital lights, which actually allows for 1) finer synchronization than that allowed with a <=30 fps timecode source and 2)synchronization of things other than frame playback, such as object rotation and effects.

    I hope this helps.
  • SourceChildSourceChild Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Honestly one thing that would make DL2s much more exciting is to have an offboard device which synced the external timecode sources with the DL2 sync clocks because yes, I agree that the native DL2 sync is better.

    All I really care about is being able to run a 15 minute audio file where screen content across all DL2s is perfectly synced so that the instant the cymbal or lightning crash at 14m 52s 13f (for example) is still matched to the audio source.

    Obviously we all realize that audio delays across a 30m room are a great deal more sloppy that the sync of hardware but when shooting TV or Film, it's completely different.

    I would propose an offboard tool on my PC that I connect to the timecode source that would adjust the DL2s for clock fluctuations. This way, a DMX Go trigger could also be used to trigger other devices as slave devices to the DL sync.

    Just some thoughts.
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