Streaming 4 channels of 720x1280 video - existing, tested hardware setup?

  • Beta Gold

    hello & happy new year!

    I've worked with Isadora in several theater-productions and I absolutely love the creative flexibility given by this great tool. The only problem I face sometimes is the performance of replayed and live video. It's obvious that this problem is directly connected with the hardware setup.

    Quite often I have to use some existing hardware and therefore I have to cope with the given limitations. But for my next production I will be able to build my own hardware setup. After alot of research and some testing I would like to ask the forum, if somebody owns or knows a hardware setup that has the power to do what I need for this production.

    What I want to do:

    **- streaming four 720x1280/25fps videos from four different files in sync via four projectors with a native resolution of 720x1280 via VGA

    • beeing able to fade from these four videos to four other videos of the same kind

    • using the 3d quad distort - actor or any comparable tool that provides the mapping-possibilities given in that actor

    • there will be only replayed files, no live video (so far...).**

    Some notes: I know that a smaller resolution would be the most easy way to a better performance, but as the video-part will be very prominent (size- and timewise) in this production I really want to work with the 720p. I also know, that the fading-issue, which actually means that I would need a machine that is able to replay eight 720x1280 videos at the same time, is another killer, but unfortunately also this will be needed (even if I think that I could cope with a lower framerate during the fading, if there would be no other solution). I probably wont need any complicated realtime-effects but I mention the 3d quad distort - actor because I definetly will need to have the mapping-possibilities of this actor: this show will tour alot and as far as I see this actor and its mapping-features are only available in the non-core version of isadora. This probably also is another performance issue (I tested the setting on my old mac pro with a matrox triplehead to go and in the core-version it plays with around 23 fps - without fades -, in the non-core version it plays only with around 6 fps).

    So what I need is a machine with five graphic-outs (4 projectors + control monitor), probably at least two ssd-drives, a fast cpu and alot of ram. I thought about the new mac pro (second ssd-harddrive via thunderbold); I thought about a windows-pc - as mark says, isadoras videoperformance is faster on windows; I thought about two high-end or even four "middle-end" mac minis, synced via osc (I find this solution problematic because of its slowness in the working-process. I already worked with that kind of several-machines-setup and for me it slows down the intuitivity of the creative process).

    If any of you has a setup that is able to do what I discribed - no matter if mac or windows or any kind of ideas - I would be very grateful if you would share your knowledge with me!

    thanks - ben

  • Tech Staff

    I was just doing some video stream tests... and if I read right you will want to stream upto 8 videos while mixing.
    I can tell you that on a windows machine this will be possible with 2 SSD using native windows media video at the dimensions you mention.
    You will need a high end gaming style video card, and a high end i7 processor. An entry level i7 will not handle it for you, as wmv are heavy CPU and GPU.
    I was just testing and I can stream 4x 1080p wmv off one SSD, however my cpu (entry level i7) maxes and causes a noticeable stutter.. 3x 1080p runs 30fps smooth.

    Sorry I can't help with any other hardware specs.. I hope this helps.

  • Beta Gold

    hey DusX, thanks a lot for sharing your experience - that already helps me. I'll try to find the possibility to do some tests at a windows-machine.

    is there anybody out there who has some experience with a mac-system that could handle what I need?

  • I am currently in the process of figuring out a spec for a similar system. Will post more as I figure out how to reduce latency with the right hardware.