Environmental Projection is a topic we’ve explored in depth here and we wanted to continue it with providing a list of common troubleshooting tips as you do your live events. Here is our top 5 things we’ve dealt with over the years when needing to troubleshoot Environmental Projection.
1. Not Bright Enough
Did you set up all your projection in the evening and your event is in the morning? We’ve been there. First, see if there’s any way to control the ambient light in the room (House lights that can be dimmed, windows with blinds, doors being propped open to a light filled lobby, etc.) Then work with your lighting team and see if they can bring the overall intensity down to create a more cohesive visual environment.
If all else fails, one of my go to tricks is to boost the Gamma in the projector or inside your display settings on your computer’s output just a bit. This will loose your black levels, but will bump all the mid levels up a tad and give the perception of a brighter image.
There are times when we didn’t do a mask for the load in, or heard of friends who didn’t know how to custom make one, and that’s a massive way to make Environmental Projection look better for your event. I want to introduce you to a software that will be a great assistance in masking. They’re our friends over at CrowdControlGames.com and they have a product called Masker-Aid. It creates an exportable PNG or PSD file that you can then bring into many presentations softwares, giving you precise control over curves, lines, points, and intersections.
3. Bad Shadows
Did you forget to mask out for a balcony, or audience. Maybe you forgot there was going to be a choir in your event or the performers were a bit taller than expected. This will all result in bad shadows and give the perception that you didn’t take the time to make it perfectly fit the room.
My suggestion — Put some feathered edges to some of these above masks. Your audience will not notice it as well as a harsh line, and the performers, audience or choir will appreciate the pixels not flickering in their eyes. Bad shadows are almost always fixed with subtle and simple feathered shapes or brushes.
4. Check the Multiscreen Processor
Are you having trouble getting an image at all on your screen? Then we need to check the multiscreen processor. First, check to see what resolution your output from your presentation software is showing. If it’s the right resolution then maybe a cable from the output became unplugged. Second, if you’re using a TripleHead2Go, I would recommend watching this video and make sure you’ve set it up the same way. (Plus the guy who is in that video is quite good looking if I may say so myself). Finally, if you’re using a DataPathX4, you may want to make sure that you’re using a dual-link DVI cable or even that the outputs aren’t set to auto detect to the native display settings. That could provide problems with the EDID tables.
5. Bad Video Signal
Finally, we have done events where we see rolling bars in our image, or certain colors aren’t showing up on your walls. This may be that your cable is too long. We recommend no more than 100′ for VGA, DVI or any sort of composite cable before putting a repeater or a distribution amplifier after 75′ to re-boost the signal. IF you’re using SDI or RGBHV, try to keep it under 300′ if at all possible.
Many in our community are using Cat5 to send signals long distance. Make sure the cable was made right, wiggle the ends and see fi the colors pop back into place. If they do, then all you need to do is re-make the connector as a cable has become loose. (Just as a side note, we don’t recommend cat5. We know it works, it’s just too flaky for our team when we do an event).
I hope this helps a bit. As always, if there is anything we can do to help… make sure to hit us up on twitter or post a message on our Contact Us page. We’re here to help and want you to create powerful visually immersive environments and atmospheres.
Are you ready to go deeper with Environmental Projection? We have put together a 30 minute e-course on environmental projection from breaking down the myths, methods, and technologies involved. Click here to download.