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HD projection questions

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  • HD projection questions


    I hope this is an appropriate forum for this question - if not please redirect me.

    I'm working as a tech consultant on a 90m feature, and it's being screened in September. It was shot 1080/60i, and finished in Final Cut as ProRes HD. We have D5 and HDCAM master tapes.

    The projection arena has a Sharp XG-P560W projector, which, according to the documentation (unless I've misread it), should be capable of outputting a 1080i resolution. It has component BMI inputs, which we were considering hooking up to a rented HDCAM deck for HD playback.

    However, the in-house tech has stated the following:

    "The projector will only take an SD signal unless its an HDMI. Even that is only projected as a Standard Def signal. The reserved deck [a Sony J30] is only capable of giving us an RGB Component out. Its a analog signal. The difference between that and a digital hdmi signal being projected will be impossible to tell with the naked eye. You can get the same results with a DVD player."

    Does that sound right? Basically this tech is trying to convince the director that there's no point pushing anything higher resolution than a DVD into the projector.

    I believe another option would be to rent a Matrox MXO or similar breakout box and run the screening direct from the Mac Pro.

    Does anyone have any experience with this Sharp projector, whether or not it's capable of 1080i output, and whether a deck or breakout solution would be more reliable?

    Many thanks for any and all suggestions and advice.

    Matt Clifton

    Mac Consultant

  • #2

    Are you sure you have the correct model number? Because according to the specs I found, it should be able to project full 1080i and p from component or HDMI, as you can see here:

    A Sony J30 is an older standard definition Betacam Deck- so yes of course that would send out only analog SD. But I also see little reason why you'd use it when you have plenty of other options. The projector itself sounds perfectly capable of projecting full HD provided it receives the right signal. But I personally wouldn't bother going with a full on HDCAM deck rental- crazy expensive.

    Instead, bring a laptop with an AJA IO HD or a Mac Pro with any decent BlackMagic or AJA card. I project HD to projectors like this all the time. These cards offer component and HDMI outputs- all in full HD with XLR and RCA audio output as well. You should have no problem playing ProRes right out from your computer. I'd suggest making it a ProRes LT though (just 'ProRes' if you're on FCP 6 and not 7. I've done some projections off of system drives that skipped on ProRes HQ. You can easily buy one for what you would have spent on an HDCAM deck rental (and you won't have to cought up for the insurance).

    That all said, wouldn't be the first time a tech guy at a venue was either too lazy or too uninformed about the gear they have to use it properly. (And no offense to tech guys intended, some are great, some are terrible, like any job). Well actually technically he's correct if you assume that the only piece of gear in the universe is that Sony deck and discounting the possibility you roll in with your own gear and connect to the projector.

    So it's a technical issue and also a political one. If the arena is being rented for a real rate and the director doesn't care about hurting the tech guy's feelings, then fight to project in full HD as the projector whose model number you have here is completely capable of doing. Schedule some time to test first though, nothing is more embarrassing than trying to get a projector to work while people are sitting there waiting for the movie to begin. Hope that helps.

    Last edited by NoahKadner; 08-31-2009, 09:34 PM.
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    • #3
      Noah -

      Thanks, that's extremely useful information. The director was nervous about going directly from the Mac, but it sounds like, with the right preparation, we should be just fine. We do have a Kona LHe and breakout box that ought to serve.

      I'll double-check the model of the projector, of course, and hopefully be able to schedule some test time ahead of the screening.

      Thanks again!



      • #4
        I will ask the Technogeek. This is what he does for a living, and he's very good at it.

        Noah's suggestion is perfectly fine, but if the director would feel better renting a deck, the Technogeek should be able to tell you what gear will make it work.

        Or he'll agree with Noah that using the computer is the best option...

        Right now he's not available. I'll corner him when he resurfaces.



        • #5
          I cornered 'im!

          Here's what he says:

          "According to the Projector Central link, <> this projector's native resolution is 1280x800. Put another way, this projector only has 1,024,000 pixels to paint the picture with. 1920x1080 video has 2,073,600 pixels, or more than twice as many. Now you can pipe all those pixels into the projector and you will get a full sized picture, but it will only have a maximum of 1,024,000 pixels to do it with.

          So, you can't get true 1080(anything) *out* of this projector. Your optimum size is 1280x720.

          The projector has component (Y-Pr-Pb) inputs. The J30 has Y B-Y R-Y outputs. Depending on who you talk to, this may or may not be the same component scheme. I can't recall ever having an issue, but I normally have a slew of gear that can handle any conversion necessary so I can't say for sure.

          Bottom line: 720 video is best you're going to get out of that projector. If you want 1080i then you'll shove their projector over and rent one that will display it."

          Let me know if this needs further translation.



          • #6
            Thank you Technogeek and debe! I really appreciate the help. I didn't elect to get emails sent from this thread, hence my late reply.

            The director was able to test directly from Mac Pro through DVI to the projector, but without success. (Unfortunately I was unable to be there to assist.) I can still test with the Kona LH next week, before the screening. At this point, it'll likely either be that or a DVD.

            Thanks again