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Thread: Video Mixing?

  1. #1
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    Video Mixing?

    I have a fairly specialized application, and was wondering if there were any solutions out there, or if I'l need to figure something out and hack several levels of stuff together.

    I'm looking to take live video feeds from four sources (in this example for simplicity) and mix them down into one. in a 640x480 stream, I'd have four 320x240 feeds tiled around the eventual stream. Is there anything that will do this in real time, and rebroadcast the mixed together stream, or will I need to record my four feeds seperately, toss them together, and rebroadcast it like that?

    Either way, are there any ways of easily doing this without hacking together? can Final Cut take four seperate clips and tile them as one?

    I apologise for using confusing terminology, I've never really done much with video stuff, but am trying to learn

    CCC

  2. #2
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    Two questions:
    (1) What type of streams are they? e.g. Firewire, etc?
    (2) What is your budget?

    If you can afford it, you can probably find a vision mixer to suit your purpose. This is what you'd normally use for live switching between sources although I've never used it to combine more than two sources at once. I'm also not up with the play on the latest Firewire switchers.

    I'm not sure if FCP can do this in real time, but even if it does, you would presumably need some sort of hardware to accept multiple sources.

    I know you can get monitors which show multiple cameras tiled on the same screen, in fact we're supposed to be getting some at work soon. I'm sure you can get some hardware that would do this and provide a single tiled feed, I just can't seem to locate anything at the moment. I will keep my eyes peeled. I'll also ask the techs next time I'm at work, but I won't be going in for a few days.

    Anyone else?
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  3. #3
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    (1) I'm still in planning stages, I could go with either Firewire, composite, S-Vid, or anything of the sort. Ideally, I'd like to use Firewire DVcams, assuming they can bypass magnetic media and stream directly along the firewire bus, that way they could be used for this purpose of live streaming, as well as recording other kinds of stuff for editing later on

    (2) my budget is fairly low at the moment. at present, I might end up with eighties style cameras, forget exactly what they're called, but the ones that plug into a cable similar to XLR, but with a lock, which plugs into a breakout box, providing power to the camera, and composite video out. Quality isn't a huge issue, since each of the tiles is going to be about 320x240, and the way it's going to be streamed, I'd like to introduce noise and such to give it a sort of holographic cyberpunk look (I'm using the one video feed to display various streams on prims in a 3D enviroment, have to do it using only one stream, so using a tiled stream with offsets so one area only displays what it should)

    as for Final Cut, it was more of a question as to whether Final Cut could do something like that at all, not live. Final Cut is really exclusively for post-production, and anything kludged together using it would likely suck, but for taking prerecorded video feeds, and tiling them, it'd work well. Was wondering if it's capable of doing that (I worked with it back in the graphite G4 days, but not much since then, I've forgotten what it can do)

    as for the hardware that can do it, I was just thinking that a security camera multiplexer would be an interesting kludge to try, I could probably pick a standalone unit up on ebay to play with, and see if I could hack something together to make it work. Quality wouldn't be a huge issue, if I layer it with some interesting effects to make the crap quality a feature instead of a setback...

    I'll poke around and see what I can come up with, my budget is rather small at the moment, since I'm feeling into this as a hobby, and don't want to dump too much bread on something that would work, but might not be horribly feasable later on

    Cheers!

    CCC

  4. #4
    Ok there are a couple answers to your question that i could come up with.
    as for Final Cut, it was more of a question as to whether Final Cut could do something like that at all, not live. Final Cut is really exclusively for post-production, and anything kludged together using it would likely suck, but for taking prerecorded video feeds, and tiling them, it'd work well. Was wondering if it's capable of doing that (I worked with it back in the graphite G4 days, but not much since then, I've forgotten what it can do)
    1 I would firs like to dissagree with the above statement that anything kludged together would likely suck using Final Cut Pro (FCP). (FCP)will do this with out a problem. but you are looking at recording off 4 different Video inputs and then loading each one in FCP. so in this application. a 1 hr show is at least 5 hrs putting together (with zero editing) this will probably take longer because of the rendering time. (1 hr for each video input plus 1 hr for the output) If you do not have FCP, Avid Pro and Premier Pro will also do it, taking the same time for input and output.

    2 If you are trying to go from live feeds straight to tape you could invest in a Grass valley (GVG) Kalypso (or any other 4 ME switcher) they can be routed to 4 vid over each other in any order. this is a perfect way to do this......but not on a low budget. I cant speak for all switchers, but i know the (GVG) is not cheap.

    3 for the cams that you are looking for (mini DV w/firewire output) make sure you read up on them. if you are looking to bypass the magnet recording stage, you may want to look in to either a DVC pro setup or Tapeless all together Studio cam. I am not sure if you would ever take theses cams outside of the hookup range.


    hope i helped you a bit
    Manoni Productions
    Pass me another beer...You are still ugly!

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the reply

    as for my statement about kludging something together with Final Cut, it'd suck if I tried to do it live action through FC. For post-producton work, FC would rock the pants off of most other solutions.

    I've done a bit of homework, and becasue I'm on a low budget, and what I'm doing is proof-of-concept, I'm probably going to end up going wtih older colour TV cameras that can be had for a song, and a security camera multiplexer or similar. I can put a setup like that together for <$300 total, and see if it works for me. Quality isn't a huge issue, I can work with the craptacular quality coming from old cameras like that by layering the video with cyberpunky effects and distortion, all part of the effect.

    as time goes by, I'll likely look for a firewire solution. The reason I was considering miniDV cams that could bypass recording to tape, is so they could be used for other things than this dedicated, specialized purpose. I couldn't justify spending several bills per camera, only to have them be good for one thing :P

    Thanks again!

    CCC

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