Axon v's Catlyst

ksaundersksaunders Registered User
edited December 2008 in Axon
Hi

I'm intrested in buying some kind of media server - Axon / catalyst

Could anybody let me know the main difference between the two
pro's and con's of each system
What one can do that the other can't etc

cheers

K

Comments

  • z6p6tist6z6p6tist6 Registered User
    edited December 2006
    The largest single PRO for the Axon is that it is the identical graphics engine (and DMX profile!) as the DL.2s. This offers huge advantages when programming both for the same show, as the two (Axon and DL.2) can be controlled in an identical fashion and that palettes recorded on one also apply to the other.

    The Content Management Application (CMA) can also be used to manage graphic content on all of the devices, which is very helpful.

    The Catalyst is probably considered by many to be a much more full-featured media server at this point. It's been under development for some time, and new features continue to be added on a regular basis.

    I do not know how to compare the two price-wise.

    Hope this helps a little.

    Phil
  • Woodj32177Woodj32177 Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Also, some other big differences.
    Axon is limited to 3 layers, although those layers are much more flexible than catalyst layers,
    You can move the layers forward and back as necessary,
    With catalyst you are stuck with the order they are placed in.

    But with catalyst you have more layers to work with, As many as 12 in the pro server, you also get 2 outputs instead of 1.

    In all, they are very different animals...
    But each has their own place in the market..
    Joshua Wood
    Service Manager
    Ruehling Associates Inc.
  • SourceChildSourceChild Registered User
    edited December 2006
    If you're running multilayer HD content with constant starts and stops then Cat is best. If you want to sync to external Timecode, currently only Cat. There are some additional features I have been using too that are still somewhat experimental that Axon will not be able to do. One feature is Catalyst is that you can create submixes of outputs. I would explain this but the 4.0 manual update does a better job.

    Axon is a single head where Catalyst is a dual head.

    I can run 8 video inputs into Catalyst though with so many they are at a lower resolutions. This is not something Axon can do.

    Axon is in a rack mount case. Catalyst is in a G5 or Mac Pro which currently requires it's own road case.

    Axon you buy the box. Cat, becomes a bit more complicated.

    In usage, I very much prefer Catalyst for many applications but there are different applications where Axon is a better choice.

    Just doing something simple, I would say do Axon. If you get more complicated, look at Catalyst possibly but perhaps even not.

    Playing with both, I think most people prefer Axon because it seems quicker and easier to use and does things you need quick. Axon is also the DL2 engine as already mentioned and if you get to a show programmed with DL2s, you can put an Axon in without reprogramming and all you loose is the moving projector functions.

    For rock shows, night clubs, and small events where the media server is shooting eye candy and flash then Axon.
    If you go Corporate and want a great deal more, then Axon will do it but Cat does it better.
  • Woodj32177Woodj32177 Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Hey Todd,
    Just a note, I know you know this, but it kinda came off that the axon does not have a video input.

    There is a single input, S-video, just like DL2

    Joshua Wood
    Service Manager
    Ruehling Associates Inc.
  • SourceChildSourceChild Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Right, yes.
    Axon has an S-Video input just like the DL2.
    It was not meant to confuse only show that Catalyst has multiple inputs that Axon does not and that Catalyst is on track for those inputs to be HD.
  • Woodj32177Woodj32177 Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Of course,
    I knew you knew, I just wanted to let everyone that wasn't as familiar with catalyst and axon know...
    no worries,
    Josh
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited December 2006
    SourceChild said:
    It was not meant to confuse only show that Catalyst has multiple inputs that Axon does not and that Catalyst is on track for those inputs to be HD.

    It wouldn't surprise me a single bit though if a newer version of DL.2 came out with an SDI camera built in and an SDI caputre card in it's computer....sooner or later they will have to put in a new motherboard when the chipsets advance, my guess would be a newer PCI Express architecture SDI card.....thereby eliminating the S-video altogether and replacing it with HD
  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited December 2006
    Marty,


    SDI is something we may do in the future with Axon.

    It's doubtful that we will do it in DL.2 though as it doesn't make as much sense for the architecture there. The internal camera is S-video so we will still need/use the s-video for that. Also, since the s-video capture is built into the graphics card we will be able to get better throughput by doing the manipulation directly in the GPU and not having to go through the system bus as we would with PCIE.
  • SourceChildSourceChild Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Just a thought Scott,
    Even though an SDI is not quite as practical on a DL2 regarding the fact that the camera is S-Video, I think I can speak for many others out there and say that when we do big rigs with long cable runs, I would rather send a single line for my HD-SDI than to run my 5-wire or an s-video that is noisy.
    Let's talk about KVM over IP solutions integrated into and out of the DL2 and out of the Axon.
    In fact, I think I'm going to post a scenerio.
  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited December 2006
    Why would you possibly need a KVM over IP solution for DL.2 and Axon?

    That is what the CMA was designed to prevent.
  • SourceChildSourceChild Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Actually, more of a Video over IP solutions. That way I could feasably run nothing but Cat6 to each DL2 and power and do everything. A VidOIP input for the video in, a VidOIP out to send the Camera.
    Right now, 100Mb Copper can transport XVGA. As long as the NIC on the fixture could discern different Subnets, A single copper port running Gb should be able to run several video streams as well as the CMA and sync interface.
  • z6p6tist6z6p6tist6 Registered User
    edited December 2006
    In something related, I really loved working with the S-Video baluns that HES spec'd with the DL.2s, but I would REALLY like to see the DL.2-side baluns as a built-in option on the fixture, with an Ethercon connection on the outside of the fixture.

    PG
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited December 2006
    SBlair said:
    Marty,


    SDI is something we may do in the future with Axon.

    It's doubtful that we will do it in DL.2 though as it doesn't make as much sense for the architecture there. The internal camera is S-video so we will still need/use the s-video for that. Also, since the s-video capture is built into the graphics card we will be able to get better throughput by doing the manipulation directly in the GPU and not having to go through the system bus as we would with PCIE.

    Well I guess we'll have to wait for the "HDL" or "DL.3-HD" or something eh?

    You could put an SDI output board into that camera eventhough its' resolution is below the HD range.....but I have yet to see a graphics card with SDI-IN built into it....SDI-OUT no problemo though (like the nVidia Quadro FX SDI).
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited December 2006
    z6p6tist6 said:
    In something related, I really loved working with the S-Video baluns that HES spec'd with the DL.2s, but I would REALLY like to see the DL.2-side baluns as a built-in option on the fixture, with an Ethercon connection on the outside of the fixture.

    PG

    Agreed, but better yet, since S-video is essenially just a double coax with a very non-robust connector.....it would be great to build in one of the quad-video baluns that do four lines of composite via BNC connectors.

    That way you would run a single Cat5 cable for both camera and input.:D
  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited December 2006
    Yeah I hear ya on the built-in baluns. I think if we had known how popular they were going to be we probably would have done something like that to begin with.

    I'm hoping to do something in the future that will make a drastic improvement to how all that works. We'll have to see if it works in the way I'm hoping ;)
  • SourceChildSourceChild Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Taking the Camera Feed back to FOH is of course common when using a D-Tek etc to switch. Also though, Taking another feed off the media server to run back to FOH is important so I can preview content.
    This is why I mentioned the VidOIP solutions so that we could send both the Cam and the Media Server feed back and then send the return feed to the PJ.
    Composit is okay but I would want the option to have a cleaner signal coming off the media server.
    Bottom line though, It would be so nice to run Cat6 or Cat5e and be done.
  • NoStoppinNoStoppin Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Scott: does axon allow keystone correction for each layer, like Catalyst does?

    peace, Tim Olson
  • SBlairSBlair Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited December 2006
    Hey Tim,

    Axon and DL.2 Keystoning is at the Global level so you apply the keystoning there and it does it for all the media layers.
  • SourceChildSourceChild Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Another note too is that now Catalyst has the ability to do global keystoning as well as edge blending. The only difference between Cat and Axon in that respect is that it cannot be done from DMX but must be done from the Catalyst control interface.

    Basically, Cat and Axon do the same things but to consider it from two perspectives.

    Catalyst is complex and elaborate in what it does both in it's capability and in it's operation. The advantage is the power and sophistication, the disadvantage is the time needed to build a show.

    Axon/DL2 is a fast, down and dirty machine and ultimately the next step in the evolution even if it doesn't carry the power currently in Catalyst.
  • ryanwilkinsonryanwilkinson Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Isn't SDI cabling limiting on the distance it can travel? In looking at a distance chart from Gepco's site, their best cable will only do HD-sdi 448'-851' but the cable is $700 and its RG-11. I know you can repeat it, but it just seems like having to run that up into a rig isn't worth it unless you are a hard core video company that has millions invested and uses it all the time for productions.
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Nope, you can run SDI signal down a coax cable witha BNC connection....just make sure your impedance rating is correct on the coax. Doesn't have to be a DVI type cable.:beerchug:
  • SourceChildSourceChild Registered User
    edited January 2007
    When it's cost versus technology, I still think the best way to address getting a signal to a projector from a media server is to use VidOIP solution. There are several HD-SDI VidOIP solutions and there are also plenty of DVI and VGA solutions.
    Considering cost and ease of distribution Cat5e or Cat6 is so much easier to run than Coax. Also cheaper, lighter, more reliable, easier to troubleshoot.
    I could theoretically have a bundle of 20 Cat5e Cables running down an 80 meter truss to 10 DL1, DL2, Projectors etc and the cost is cheaper that an alternative. Furthermore, I can run redundant lines to each drop to make sure I have a backup.
    When cost, weight, size, ease of use are evaluated, it is always easier. Furthermore, USITT has approved that Cat5e and CAT6 for DMX. Therefore, someone buying a ton of Cat5 or 6 could simply have ether-con to XLR adaptors in the event cross utilization is needed.
  • ryanwilkinsonryanwilkinson Registered User
    edited January 2007
    But doesn't SDI want a different spec coax cable? I have been told it does. Its defiantly a high bandwidth data stream that needs lots of throughput. It seems like that is something equivalent to using cheap xlr for dmx instead of something made for it. It may work, but one day it might not.

    I also agree with the Cat5/6. I think it is excellent because of the flexibility, smaller wire and the cost. I think in the next rendition of the DL2 or whatever comes next should use the baluns built in with the ethercon connection, but also have a 5 wire in and maybe an sdi. It seems a lot of projectors are coming now with DVI which is also an excellent way to get video into them and you can also use cat5 baluns.
  • cormacjackcormacjack Registered User, DL Beta
    edited January 2007
    Two simple hardware questions,
    Is the axon auto-ranging in term's of voltage?
    I understand that the axon is the same as a DL-2 but if you want to use run a camera feed into it are you still stuck with the NTSC option or can it be set to pal or does it make any difference?

    Regards C

    C
  • ksaundersksaunders Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Another question

    Can Axon output to led fixtures like versatube etc
    and how does the pixel mapping work with Axon

    regards
    K
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited January 2007
    K,

    As long as your LEDS have the box that can take VGA input from the AXON, it will drive them. It does not have anything akin to the pixelMAD software on the Catalyst v4 servers.
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Cormac,

    I know on the DL.2s you can set your S-video input to a wide range of video formats including PAL, so since the AXON uses the same hardware I would imagine that it does.

    Not sure about the input voltage though...lemme see if I can find anything out for ya' :)
  • ksaundersksaunders Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Thanks Marty

    So how do you map onto versatubes with Axon or is it the wrong device to use ?

    K
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Cormac,

    P# 222 of the Axon manual indicates that it indeed can accept multiple different input voltages drawing 7.0 amps @ 100-120v and 3.5 amps at 200-240v
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited January 2007
    K,

    For all either Versa-Tile or Versa-Tube, you need a Versa-Drive D2 box that will accept a DVI signal. So run a DVI cable from the back of your AXON to the Versa-Drive D2 and you're ready to rock!:headbang:

    You build your pixel-map and load it in to the Versa-Drive D2 so it knows how you want your pixels laid out.

    Hope this helps:)
  • Woodj32177Woodj32177 Registered User
    edited January 2007
    K,
    You will have to use something that will take a video in as a source for the tubes,
    I know other people have used them like this,
    I believe there is a versatube interface that has a video input.
    That is the easiest way to get video to the versatubes,
    besides the point that if you wanted to control them via dmx, the universe count goes up incredibly fast,
    If you look at a standard high res soft Led curtain, every "pixel" takes 3 channels. and there are 2400 nodes just for a 8'X33' curtain.
    so that would be a total of 7200 dmx channels.

    It is much easier just to use a conversion box to do the hard part.

    That being said, it is possible to use a catalyst version 4 server for this.
    I believe that version 4 pro comes stock with 10 universes stock, via artnet.
    and you can expand it up to 50 universes for a additional fee.

    Hope that answers some of your questions.
    Joshua Wood
  • ksaundersksaunders Registered User
    edited January 2007
    so the setup I intend to use is
    iPC / axon /versa drive D2 / 100 versatubes / rastermapper / mac laptop

    will all this work to output content from Axon to versatube

    regs
    K
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Cormac,

    A little more info on the S-video.

    P# 184 in the manual...

    The External S-video Format can be set via CMA to:
    - NTSC_M; NTSC_MJ; PAL_B; PAL_D; PAL_G; PAL_H; PAL_I; PAL_M; PAL_N; SECAM_B; SECAM_D; SECAM_G; SECAM_H; SECAM_k; SECAM_K1; SECAM_L; or SECAM_L1
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited January 2007
    k,

    Sounds about right. Definitely take a look at the Versa-Tube + D2 quickstart guide @

    http://elementlabs.com/img/pdf/Versa%20TUBE%20and%20Versa%20DRIVE%20D2%20Quick%20Start%20Manual.pdf

    - Your iPC will send DMX to your AXON.
    - Your AXON will send DVI to your Versa-Drive D2
    - I believe RasterMapper only runs on PC (don't know about new Intel Macs)
    - Raster Mapper will allow you to define your pixel layout in the Versa-Drive D2.
    - Your Versa-Drive D2 will send serial data to your Versa Tube Buffer box

    Make sense?:cool:
  • ksaundersksaunders Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Yeah got it - thats great Marty

    Thanks for all your help

    regs

    K
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited January 2007
    :beerchug: No worries.....have fun!!:hogsign:
  • cormacjackcormacjack Registered User, DL Beta
    edited January 2007
    Cheers Marty,
    got it.
    Hope your well wherever you are

    Cormac
  • SourceChildSourceChild Registered User
    edited January 2007
    :friday:
    I would like to introduce everyone to the living Axon manual

    Mr. Marty Postma.

    :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:

    You're better than my computer Marty. :D


    Can I pack you up and set you up on the table next to my console?

    That way I can be lazy and never have to :rtfm:

    Love ya man!
  • NoStoppinNoStoppin Registered User
    edited July 2007
    very interesting thread. question: if I need to use the James thomas Engineering Pixeline battens instead of versa tubes, could I use the VersaDrive d2, or is there another box that would do the same thing?

    peace, Tim Olson
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited July 2007
    Hey Hey now....lets all play nice!! :twak: Sounds like someone is threatened by "convergence";)

    Tim,

    The Versa-tubes do not communicate with DMX, they use their own serial language. So you can only use specific hardware with them. You then input a video siganl to the system which applies it to a pixel map (made by you and loaded onto the Versa-Tube processor).

    In order to do this with a DMX fixture (Like Pixel-Line, or Color-Blaze...whatever you have) you are missing the pixel mapping/processing part of the equation. This is where software like the Pixel-Mad on Catalyst comes into play. In essence, you need to be able to tell the fixture which pixel (or pixels in the case of an LED strip) in the raster it is going to emulate.

    Does this make sense? If not, feel free to ask more questions.:) :hogsign:
  • cormacjackcormacjack Registered User, DL Beta
    edited July 2007
    Hi Tim,
    please post further questions should you need more info and please ingnore Mr.P or simon as his folks might have called him as he is not the average poster on this forum, i did reply to your question in the lightnetwork also,

    Good luck

    Regards Cormac
  • NoStoppinNoStoppin Registered User
    edited July 2007
    Heya Marty & Cormac, thanks for your posts. I know I've seen mapping engines that work with the soft-led curtains, and I was hoping there was a box for something similar. I have a gig coming up that I'd love to use my axons on, probably 150 or more of the JTE battens. I plan on giving the JTE folks a ring on Monday, but I'm soaked with a load-in and of course the gig just finalizsed friday morning about 2AM. bleh. Anyway, it would be extremely cool if I could do something other than solid color!!!!!

    I'll be using the grandma - which does have LED mapping for gifs -- however the parameter count skyrockets and I'd rather have the extreme cool factor of the axons.

    peace,

    Tim O
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited July 2007
    Hi Tim,

    The only standalone software I know of is Pixel-MAD, and that is now integrated into Catalyst v4. You may still be able to find stand-alone Pixel-MAD form AC lighting as they use it with the Chroma-Q Color Web system.

    You will also need hardware to convert from the ArtNet output of the Pixel-MAD to the DMX required by your fixtures.

    So the short answer is not with AXON. AXON is a great server, but will not do pixel-mapping.

    In this particular case, you are much better off with Catalyst v4/Pixel-MAD. There are other servers out there that also have pixel-mapping in them, but they are not as easy to use or have the powerful feature-set of Catalyst.

    You might be OK with the new "Lite" version even. Go to:
    http://www.samsc-pm.com
    for more info.

    Hope this is helpful :)
  • NoStoppinNoStoppin Registered User
    edited July 2007
    Hi Marty, yes it's helpful. this is a bummer because I've spent quality time with our axons and my lil darlins are rarin to get busy.

    many thanks,

    Tim O
  • Marty PostmaMarty Postma Registered User
    edited July 2007
    No problem Tim.

    Yeah AXON is a very nice server. I love mine. Like anything else though it is a tool that is good for many tasks, but not all.
  • Joe BleasdaleJoe Bleasdale Registered User
    edited December 2008
    SourceChild said:
    :friday:
    I would like to introduce everyone to the living Axon manual

    Mr. Marty Postma.

    :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:

    You're better than my computer Marty. :D


    Can I pack you up and set you up on the table next to my console?

    That way I can be lazy and never have to :rtfm:

    Love ya man!

    This is the reason I mentioned Marty in my thank you post in the H3 general discussion. I have read the HOG manual 3 times, when I start working with or buy an AXON I will read that also, but Marty seems to have swallowed the damnd thing! Well done!
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