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- One beefy computer to handle the demo
- 4 Short throw projectors
- A triple head display port
- A monitor to work from while we were sorting out our projectors
- Enough VGA and extension cables to make several Halloween costumes
- The three projectors in the triple head
- The lonesome projector with its own VGA port
- Our monitor using the mini-display port
Lots of developments on the installation side this week:
I developed a method for connecting the square metal rails to the bottom ring at 12 more contact points along its outer diameter, up from just 4 before. I basically used some fancy math to add some cross-connecting pipes that reach different lengths inward of the frame’s outer diameter, the points of which have hooks to catch the lower ring and hold it down. It basically looks like some kind of freaky fractal math textbook cover, which is both badass and functional- it’ll help the frame keep its shape even if the joints loosen up during setup or cleanup. I’ve already assembled all the materials (didn’t cost a penny- it was all laying around the Innovation Center), and assembled one corner’s configuration. Next time I go to work, I’ll finish the other 3.
The ceiling mount finally came in, and it’s pretty sweet. It came with everything I needed… except screws to attach it to the actual projector. Luckily I scrounged some up and tested it out, and everything seems to be OK. Now I need to figure out how to attach a PVC pipe extension onto it, and measure how long it’ll need to be. Once that’s done and the test mount is in place with its wiring arranged properly (assuming all goes well), we can order the other 3 mounts.
Friend of Upstate Freshness and Lead Fellow at the Innovation Center Eliza Hammer came to our rescue this weekend, lending her expertise to help us get the top stitch sewn along the fabric, so we can thread the top ring through. As much as I would’ve liked to try doing it ourselves, this stitch is too important to risk messing up- one wrinkle or twist along the stitch could cause permanent wrinkles in the fabric when it’s stretched. So far she’s done the longest length of fabric, and can finish up the rest next week.
Which brings me to the last big development- I found another long-lost length of the same fabric material we’ve been using- and it’s almost as long as our longest length, and the right height, too. This is a huge relief, since I wasn’t sure we’d have enough to reach all the way around if we wouldn’t be able to stretch it horizontally the way we had been. Adding this new fabric will give us much more control, and allow us to design the proper entrance/exit seam without too many unnecessary seams. I brought the fabric home and it’s currently spinning in the washer- it’ll be bright white and smelling like Febreezy spring flowers in a few hours.
On a side note, can’t wait for those freaking surround sound speakers to get here….
The photos below are from our latest installation test over the weekend. We’ve made a few big strides since before Winter break- the fabric has been cleaned, I’ve figured out a means of adjusting the vertical tension along the bottom with clips, we’ve got a plan for ceiling-mounting the short-throw projectors to hopefully take care of the angle issues we encountered, and we’ve pretty much settled on an entrance/exit solution.
While we had the installation up this time, I measured the height that each line was hanging at, and adjusted the hooks so they’re uniform across the board. Then I duct taped them and marked the points where they hang from the ceiling, so from now on the top ring will be hanging from exactly the same uniform height, every time we put up the installation. I also figured out what was causing the majority of the “bowing” effect on the fabric- it’s actually the excess horizontal tension to blame, not the vertical tension. So when we get the top of the fabric sewn shut, I’ll need to find the right amount of stretch along the top ring before I screw the eye hooks back through it. I also took the chance to measure the bottom ring’s radius of curvature along the bottom metal rails, and used that info to think up a way for the bottom rail to have more contact points with the bottom ring, aside from just the 4. That should solve the lifting of the bottom ring along the corners caused by the fabric’s stretching.
Finally, Joe did some research on how we can deal with the image stitching problem, and came up with a piece of software that might be what we need. It actually lets us manipulate the video output on the software side, before it even gets to the projectors. We like what we saw from tinkering with it enough to try and use it going forward- albeit with a nice big watermark across the image for now, since we can’t afford any paid version of software that requires you to “call for a quote”. Hopefully we can figure something out there before Imagine in May.
We’ve got tons more work to do on the installation- the more variables we can eliminate from the equation, the easier and more consistent our installation set-ups will be. While we could probably make do with what we already have with just a little more work, I’d rather go all-in and make something that’s worth showing off at Imagine on the hardware end, as well as the software end. Besides, I’d ideally like the hardware we use to be left for future students to use as a platform to develop more software to run on it, so the easier I can make it for other people to operate the setup, the better.
There are pictures. Supposed to be here http://asg6227.cias.rit.edu/
The plan is illustrated here:
- wires will be attached to the rim of the center circle via S-hooks looped over the ridge
- the S-hooks will be mounted and unmoutnted using the magnetic pole system we use for posters
- the wires will be attached to the curtain ring
- the curtain will hang from the ring
- projectors will be positioned on the floor in use, stored in lockers A6, C13, C17 when not in use.
- when dismounted, nothing will show and the materials will be stored out of sight
- the team will join the nova site, and BLOG progress and plans like this