Flash, Processing, VVVV or Quartz Composer… A dilemna.


We have a video wall project we are conceiving right now that involves 32 40″ plus sized HD Displays… we are trying to build a sound reactive real time system that samples from webcams and integrates with some motion graphics effects. This is a conundrum for us. Usually we use Flash for pretty much everything, but this may be out of Flash’s capabilities. We conceived with Flash this would require a Flash media/data server, and 32 Mac minis. In this scenario, we are looking at nearly 60-70K in hardware costs alone, never mind the design and development efforts.

If we were to move to VVVV or Processing or something else… what is realistically the hardware configuration needed to take real time video, add motion graphics and type, have it be reactive to a sound track and allow interplay from one screen to another (some images or videos may need to move from one screen to another)… All at 720P resolution.

Do we need 32 computers? Do we need a server? What kind of cameras should be used?

Moving to a node based authoring system from ActionScript 3 is daunting, but we don’t want to over extend our selves on Flash, obviously.

Any advice out there from Flash devs doing large scale shows? Alternative authoring tools are certainly up for grabs at this point…

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8 comments

  1. laurent Dec 19

    check out openframeworks => http://www.openframeworks.cc/about

  2. Sven Dec 19

    Chad,

    I’ve been looking at Quartz Composer recently, and it has Audio patches built in, and as of Leopard, it also has network send and receive capabilities: check out one such example at http://celso.arrifana.org/archives/277-Leopards-Quartz-Composer-and-Network-events.html .

  3. Tony Dec 31

    supposedly vvvv allows for easier multi-projector setups, but since vvvv itself relies on DirectX, it seems to be a Windows-only tool. Which is a shame.

    The bottom line, for the hardware, is that you will need to plug those displays into something — 32 graphics cards, with enough power behind each to run HD.

    If this all acts as a single system, a central server would be nice. I suppose the “server” could be build into the distributed system of the computers running the screens, but I would imagine that the added complexity of development might outweights the cost of a server machine.

  4. Chad Dec 31

    I believe we are going to be using an array of Hippotizers for the video serving along with some scripts created in processing and possibly flash for the compositing/filtering.

  5. mox Feb 5

    maybe you should look in vdmx and maxmsp…+ triple head graphic cards..etc

  6. da bishop May 4

    I’d use a bunch of hackintoshes built to spec. You can get 8 DVI outputs from a single computer without too much trouble. Intel QX6600 chip should provide plenty grunt.

    Quartz composer will happily do this type of stuff. It supports networking and full multimedia etc, very good stuff. Flash only just introduced the ability to process audio beyond play and stop.

    Sounds like you guys are a bit out of your depth, though.

  7. lalo_m Mar 20

    Hi,
    I’m a heavy vvvv user. I’ve worked with 4 screens simultaneously from 1 computer, with an ATI radeon 4550 (4 VGA outputs). vvvv has great networking capabilities, great 3d 2d graphic quality, vvvvery fast rendering (120fps). so if it only works in windows (a shame) but the advantages are much bigger. also is very fast to develop interactive aplications, and sound reactive visuals.

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