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My adventures with Video Projection


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Not sure where to post this, perhaps we could get a forum topic just for projection stuff, to make it easier to search for answers. Just asking :)


I wanted to add a projector to my light show. I think I finaly got a handle on it. Here is what I came up with and how I did it, In case someone else is interested in doing this also.

First I needed to extend my VGA cable to the projector. The distance between my show PC and the projector is approx 50 ft. In doing research for this I found places that sell 50 ft cables but were a little more expensive than I wanted to spend. Most info I read is that you don't want to go beyond the 50 ft because of signal loss. ie "ghosting" of the image shown. I did some searching on Amazon and found these, VGA to RJ-45 adapters - 2 for $4.99 lol closer to my budget :)


I built a 60 ft ethernet cable and tested it. It seems to work fine for my purposes. I didn't notice any ghosting. My show PC is an Acer notebook with the ability to run dual monitors.

The next step was to determine the distance the projector needed to be from the screens. In the pictures below, the video plays mostly on the inside of the 2 outer circles. For a projector screen I used sign banner material. It works well as I have a 10X20 screen on the side of my garage for outdoor movie night. The middle circle is going to have a translucent shower curtain as a screen. I have 2 laser projectors that I aim from behind in the middle circle and turn them on/off with LOR. While the translucent shower curtain will work as a screen for the projector, it just doesn't show as well. Oddly the Laser projectors show better when viewed from the front. (i.e. backlit)



To ensure I am able to setup the projector in the right place everytime, I marked a spot in the yard were I setup my table and custom made projector holder. I made a movie that shows 3 yellow circles with the word "Focus" on them. I use this to align the projector to the screens and set the focus.



In order to have the video show only in a limited area I created a "mask" in my paint program and use it as the last layer when creating videos in Adobe Premier Elements. The mask is a .png file saved with a Transparency level of 0 for the circles. This means any of the video that gets projected thru the mask will only show in the circle, you will not see anything else. This is easy to do and only involves sizing the video clip with editing in Adobe Premier Elements. The picture below is my example of the mask I use.



I tried using VPT7 (a video mapping program) I did get it to work but decided for my purposes that rendering a mask in the movie would work better. The mask took a couple tries to dial it in to just show in the area I wanted. Each of the 3 rings have CCR's on them and I didn't want to have video light them up. My viewing screen is a couple of inches inside of the rings. This process involved getting the spacing right between circles on the mask. I tested it by setting up the projector and verifing the circles stayed within the boundries.

Even though I read it many times I still didn't understand how to run the video and LOR at the same time. I finaly had a "duh" moment and realized that instead of an mp3 music file, you use the .wmv video for a soundtrack. This means adding the music to the video before rendering it. I rendered my audio portion of the video to 128k Constant Bit Rate (CBR). When played in the LOR Sequence Editor it will automatically load Windows Media Player and plays the video in a window or full screen depending on what you choose. If you have your PC setup to play to the screen and/or projector you will see your video played. It loads and plays very quick. The sample video below if 99mb and plays just fine.

The video software I used is AVS Video Editor (link below), I use this for screen captures and for editing and rendering the final video I use Adobe Premier Elements 7. In the video below I was interested in just capturing the visualizer that comes with music players. Windows Media player has some visualizer styles built in and also some availble for free downloads. I found that Winamp has a large amount of visualizer styles available included in the download. Oh yeah and it's free, :)

http://www.avs4you.com/AVS-Video-Editor.aspx  I use this for screen capture.


I set up Winamp in a small 500x 500 window and played the song with the style of visualizer and recorded it with AVS Screen capture. Some of the visualizers are sound sensitive and will react to the notes of the music which makes a better visual diplay. I saved the video and brought it into Adobre Premier Elements and made all the final adjustments before rendering it.

In the video, there are 3 examples of Winamp visualizer displays used. My favorite is around the 2 minute mark, It has lots of movement and good color. The eyes are 1 video file layered to make a pair, then copied to make the second set. When the eyes make thier apperance on the screen, I adjust the Opacity of the visualizer clip down to 50% to make the eyes more visible. I also cranked the contrast on the eyes up to make them stand out more. When the eyes fade away I bring the Opacity of the visualizer clip back up to 100%.


I also have a video I did for the 4th of July that has the flag waving, fading in and out etc. It along with all the other led lights in my display really pops.

Sorry for the long post, I just was happy to have figured all of this out and wanted to offer the info to others who might be thinking of doing this. I hope to have video this weekend of eyerything in action.

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The 3 rings really look good I have 1 ring I"ve been working on with 1 ccr on it I tried the Vpt 7 program but It always locks up on my computer  you created the mask for the rings in premier elements? is that program just like the vpt 7?

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  you created the mask for the rings in premier elements? is that program just like the vpt 7?


No, the mask was created using a paint program. The trick is to save it as a .png extension. The .png file will allow the 1 of the colors to be transparent. Adobe Premier Elements is a Video Editing Software. I have version 7 the latest is 13 I think. Any Video editing software that allows masking will work. The main clip (in my example above) the eyes are 1 video, then the second video is the mask overlayed on top of the first to only allow what is shown in the circle to come thru. If that's not clear I came make a short video of how i lay it out in Adobe. Just ask... Although I am busy at the moment but I will do it as quick as I can.


If you are making a ring with 1 CCR on it, I'm guessing it will have a center of roughly 4 ft 8 in. viewable screen area at least that's what mine came out to. I am making you 5 sample movies with varying size circles mask. That way you can setup your projector and run the movies to determine where the best placement of the projector will be. They won't be done until tommorrow, I'll post them here when I get the chance. At least you can get some ideas about what to do next.



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Here are the 5 masked video clips. Each clip is a different size mask 1 = smaller,  mask 5 = largest.

You need to right click the links and save them to somewhere on your PC you can find them (i.e My Videos directory) after you save all 5, load up Windows Media Player and play them to make sure they work.

Draw or make some marks on the wall, garage door, whatever of the size you want the video to play in. (4ft 6" circle) or whatever your (round) screen dimensions will be.

For a 4ft 6in. circle put the projector about 20 ft away from the marks/screen.

Hook up your projector to your PC and play the movie in Windows Media Player. The clips are only about 12 seconds long, so you may want to hit the "Repeat" Button in Win media Player (the litte circle with an arrow on it at the bottom of the player) This will help if you need to be close to the screen looking at your marks it will keep repeating the clip so you don't have to run back and restart it. I made them short so the rendering time would be quicker for me.

BE SURE to play the clip(s) in FULL SCREEN mode, as this is what LOR will do. (Bottom right in Win Media Player arrow with a box around it) There will be a significant size difference between Windowed and Full screen mode.

Start with mask 1.wmv if it is to small and you can't adjust with the zoom on the projector, try the other mask videos, the mask gets a little larger each version, I did this to help you dial in which mask will work for your needs. If none of these work let me know and I can adjust the mask. It all really depends on where on what distance you can/want to have your projector at.

I included the mask that I used for each video, if you find one that works, download it and use it in your video editing software.


Video Clips




Mask pictures



Let me know how it works for you.


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