This is the second half of this series. The first includes a summary of the project and a neat diagram.
Projector: Epson EB-1925W
Our original plan was to purchase either an Infocus IN5104, or possibly a Benq SP831. We would have preferred a projector with complete remote control including zoom and focus. When we actually started ordering equipment we discovered the Infocus was no longer available. We would have gotten the Benq but we had comment from some members that they still had issues seeing the “rainbow effect” even with high-end DLP projectors.
In the end we opted for the Epson EB-1925W, which has triple LCD arrays, 4000 lumens for clarity in daylight conditions, 2000:1 contrast ratio, resolution 1280×800 (16:10 aspect ratio), horizontal and vertical keystone, and wireless control. The image is crystal clear and perfectly still, with bright colours even in ambient daylight. Being able to turn the projector on, switch inputs, freeze and AV mute it from the sound desk PC is very convenient.
We only use the two VGA inputs, one from the sound desk PC and the other from the pulpit. Since the screen (see below) has a 16:9 aspect ratio, we set the PC output to 1280×720 so the image fits perfectly without distortion.
In order to configure it to connect to our wireless router in the church office, we had to set the wireless settings (SSID and WEP password) using the remote control. This was a little laborious using the left/right/up/down buttons to navigate around the on-screen keyboard, which inexplicably omitted a spacebar – I had to change the SSID on the router because it had a space included! At least we only had to do this once. Once connected to the router, these settings are easily changed using the web control interface.
- The projector’s zoom and focus controls are manual only, so after installation on the ceiling we had to make sure it was tuned before we removed the scaffolding. The rest of its functions are accessible via its remote control unit, and many of those functions are also accessible via the web control interface.
- The projector comes with a remote control unit, and has IR receivers on the front and back of the projector, however because we installed it high up in the ceiling, pointed down to the screen, it is often difficult to get it to respond to the remote control unless we hold it high in the air.
This problem is mitigated somewhat by using the projector’s web control interface on the sound desk PC, which allows us to turn the projector on and off, change inputs, freeze and AV mute. Unfortunately, the web control interface doesn’t allow access to all features (e.g. the digital zoom, which we use on occasion).
The Motorised 0513029 matte-white 1615mm x 2880mm screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio which works well for most HD content, as well as making song lyrics easier to read from all points in the hall. It is mounted in the corner of the hall (behind the pulpit), hung by two chains from the ceiling. It is available in black and white housings, we chose white since we have a light-coloured ceiling. Its power goes via a wired bidirectional switch installed in the sound booth which allows it to be raised and lowered. It doesn’t make too much noise.
- When the screen is raised or lowered there is some interference with the video signal (the power cable does go near the video cables at some points) but we generally don’t raise or lower it during a service anyway. This interference caused some problems with the projector until we turned its “Auto Setup” options off.
Sound Desk PC
The projector operator’s PC is a PLE Series 3 barebones, customised with an ASUS 9800GT graphics card for optimal HD video. We kept a 22” LCD monitor, keyboard and mouse from the previous PC, which was replaced due to it only have an AGP graphics slot. The performance of the new PC has been very satisfactory, with smooth video and audio transitions.
Case: Coolermaster Elite 341 420W
CPU: Intel Core i3 2.93GHz
Graphics: ASUS GF 9800GT
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H with 2GB DDR3 RAM
Storage: WD Caviar Green 500GB 7200 SATA2; DVD RW 24x optical drive
OS: MS Win7 Professional 64bit
Software: MS Office 2007 SBE; EasyWorship 2009
A standard audio jack sends audio to two channels in the sound system, for playing music before/after services, video files with audio, and DVDs.
- The PCI Express slot is right next to the two expansion slots, and the 9800GT is double-wide so one of the expansion slots is blocked. The remaining expansion slot is available and not yet used, so this is not a problem for now.
- The case has 4 USB ports on the rear, and two on the front. Five ports are already taken up by the keyboard, mouse, power for the Matrox DualHead2Go, the presenter remote receiver, and the interface for the UPS. This leaves only one front port for transferring data from portable storage devices. In the future we might get a USB hub (e.g. this D-Link 7 Port Powered Hub) (or, if possible, install a set of USB ports on the rear where the expansion slot is blocked) to provide more ports for convenience.
We went with a configuration using a 9800GT graphics card with a Matrox DualHead2Go Analog edition as per the recommendation from EasyWorship. In its default configuration, it duplicates the display to the two outputs. It was initially tricky to set up because the software could not detect the projector (which was connected via the VGA-Cat5 extenders). To set up the software, I borrowed some LCD monitors from elsewhere and connected the DualHead2Go directly to them. After the software was installed and set up, we connected it to the extenders and everything seemed to work fine after that.
The 9800GT graphics card has two VGA outputs – one 15pin DE-15 and one DVI connector. Initially I connected the local monitor to the DE-15 and had a DVI-VGA dongle for the DualHead2Go; I had some problems trying to set up the monitors correctly in Windows, but these were resolved by switching the connectors around, so that the local monitor is connected to the DVI connector, and the DualHead2Go uses the 15-pin DE-15 connector.
The second screen on the graphics card had to be set up using a non-standard resolution of 2560×720. We configured EasyWorship to send the output to custom positions on the secondary output, effectively splitting this resolution into 2 x 1280×720 screens.
- When the computer was booting up, if the projector was not already turned on we had some issues. It would not set up the second output correctly and we’d have to reboot the computer after turning on the projector. We resolved this by setting all the Automatic Setup options off on the projector.
- Because the secondary output is, according to Windows, a single very wide screen, it is a little more complicated to use outside of EasyWorship. For example, if we want to play some media using a media player (such as VLC media player), we cannot just move the window over to the second output and “maximise” – it would only show the right-hand half of the window on the projector.
To get around this we just have to change the window size manually. Trying to manipulate window handles when viewed across the room (even on such a large screen that we have) is difficult – having the VGA switch on the sound desk makes this easy. We can use the web control interface to freeze the projector image, switch the local monitor to view what’s going out to the projector, move/resize the window into the desired position, then unfreeze.
The distance from the sound desk to the stage is probably almost short enough for VGA signals to carry without much degradation. The number of VGA cables and switches required for all the above, plus some uncertainty about signal degradation for HD content, caused us to decide on using VGA-Cat5 extenders instead.
A simple setup for a system using VGA-Cat5 extenders would be:
(Note that the EV214 comes as a transmitter/receiver pair – and the receiver unit is identical to the EV02R)
Our requirements were a little more complex. We installed the following units, as illustrated by this diagram posted earlier.
- 2 x EV02R receivers (in: UTP; out: VGA x 2)
- 1 x EV214 receiver (identical to EV02R)
- 1 x EV214 transmitter (in: VGA; out: UTP, VGA x 2)
- 1 x EV112L transmitter (in: VGA; out: UTP x 2, VGA)
- 2 x EV021X repeaters (in: UTP; out: UTP, VGA x 2)
Each of these units comes with a power cord and transformer brick. When designing a system using these extenders, sufficient power points must be factored into the design.
All of the units have one or more VGA outputs; these extra outputs, plus a small LCD monitor, come in handy when testing the system, and can also be used to duplicate displays that are close to one another. When duplicating a display across a longer distance, we used EV021X repeaters instead, e.g.:
- The only issues we had were to do with the fact that the computer cannot “see” the monitor on the other end. These were easily solved by temporarily connecting a monitor locally while setting things up.
VGA 4-way Switches
We installed a VS-491 crash switcher in the pulpit. It presents a single push button, with a light showing which of the four inputs is currently active; this allows the leader to switch between the projector view, the vocal foldback monitor, and local (for a laptop).
We installed a simple 4-button VGA switcher on the sound desk. This takes inputs from the primary PC output, as well as cables from the two EV transmitters, so that the operator can switch between the three output feeds as needed.
- On the VS-491 there is a short but perceptible delay between the pressing of the switch, and the apparent change of output on the screen; this lack of immediate feedback is too often enough to cause the leader to doubt whether he pressed the button hard enough, and so they’ll hit the button again. The combination of this effect, with the fact that one or two of the inputs are often black, means that it can be a bit frustrating to use. We are considering swapping the unit for a simpler four-button VGA switcher to remove the ambiguity.
A 2-way 350MHz splitter was installed in the pulpit to take the VGA output from a laptop. It sends one output via a long VGA cable up to the projector (input #2), and the other output to the 4-way switch (which is then sent to the pulpit monitor).
The pulpit (photo) has a wooden frame – well, it’s more of a tall wooden box with nice carvings all over it – it is somewhat an heirloom of the church. It has a sloping top surface, out of which a rectangular portion has been cut for a 16” WS LCD screen. The plastic frame was removed so that it would sit snugly into its new recess, and the button panel installed under the front lip of the pulpit.
All the cables needed to connect to the pulpit are stowed under the stage, and accessed by a small trapdoor; the cables are wrapped into a 3m loom which can be drawn out so that the pulpit may be placed in any of several different spots on and off the stage. In addition, the loom may be connected directly to a laptop if we don’t want to use the pulpit. The loom comprises:
- VGA (sends to projector)
- USB (sends to USB DI for audio)
- UTP (duplicate of signal to projector)
- UTP (duplicate of signal to vocal foldback)
An NX-Logi cordless 2.4GHZ was purchased so that we could run a Powerpoint from EasyWorship on the sound desk PC, and allow the leader to move to the next/previous slide from the stage. The remote’s “next/previous” buttons actually send a “Page Down/Page Up” keystroke to the computer. We remap these keys for EasyWorship (by modifying the hotkeys.ini file) so that they would move to the next/previous slide.
Adrian manufactured this great frame to securely attach the vocal’s foldback monitor (22″ WS LCD) on top of their foldback speaker. The monitor’s vertical angle can be adjusted, and the frame can be removed from the speaker and attached to another.