At a Glance & Tech Specs

In the summer of 2023 the Panasonic PT-FRQ50 4K laser projector was installed to replace an inadequate and ageing projector system. The system is now fully automated and features automatic source switching.

Tech Specs:

The projector can be operated from the floor with the Kramer switch or from the booth by switching the input on the projector side to HDMI 1. The floor system uses the 'Digital Link' input which is Panasonic's word for HDBaseT.

Kramer VP-440X

This device is responsible for switching, scaling, and sending video signals to the projector over HDBaseT (Panasonic calles it 'DigiLink') and to the floor cart audio mixer from the floor AV cart.

The Kramer switch will automatically switch to which ever source is most new, this means when a laptop is connected or the Blu Ray player is switch on it will automatically switch to it.  Once something has been disconnected or power off it will switch back to HDMI 1 which is the floor cart computer assumeing it is on or will be switched on.

Kramer Inputs:
HDMI 1 - Floor Cart Computer

HDMI 2 - HDMI Aux In

HDMI 3 - Blu Ray Player

The Kramer will also force any device connected to output 1080 59.94p. If a device is not able to output at that resolution the Kramer will accept its highest native resolution and then scale it up to 1080 59.94p.

Signal Flow Diagram explaning the Video signals running to the Projector

This part will be updated once the install is done.

Pixie Controllers

To control the projector and screen together and effectively Pixie controllers are installed on the floor AV cart and in the booth next to the video PC. Aside from a few more buttons on the booth control panel they are the same. Pressing 'ON' turns on the projector and lowers the screen with 'OFF' doing the opposite. The 'SOUCE' button on the floor Pixie controller will also turn the projector's own input to 'Digilink' aka HDBaseT. The source buttons in the booth however offer more control. 'COMP' will always be the floor PC/DigiLink input. 'VIDEO' corresponds to the HDMI-1 input which comes from the booth. 'SYNC' corresponds to HDMI-2, just in case. And the 🚫button blanks and un-blanks the projector's output (the projector calls this 'SHUTTER'. 

The Pixie controllers feed into a central controller mounted on top of the projector, this controller is connected to an IR emitter for power control as well as an RS-232 line for controlling the projectors other options such as changing the input. 

There is another GPIO style pixie interface unit mounted next to the projector screen relay which sends the relay command to raise and lower the screen.

There is no central processor or brain to the Pixie system, everything is done at various endpoints weather it be a control panel or control interface.

Projector Screen

Hanging above the stage is a Da-Lite Professional electrol 12 by 16 feet motorized projection screen. This is natively a 4:3 aspect ratio screen but it has been modified to only extend to 16:9. This allows us to use the new Panasonic projector for iMag video use. When the projector is not in use it will automatically roll itself up thanks to the basic automation provide by the Pixie controllers. It will also unroll to the correct height when the projector is switched on. However, backstage left there is a manual control which you can use if needed, however it will not bypass the commands sent by the Pixie+ Controllers. The screen is a high voltage electrical unit so a Da-Lite relay controller is used to receive commands from the manual wall controller and the Pixie controllers. This relay is located above the stage on the opposite side of the wall where the screen is mounted. 

Sending Video from the Booth

The projector is connected to the booth through the video patch panel. You can connect any SDI source to the patch connection. Some sources already to chose from are the output of the Video PC, Output of the Cable TV Set top Box, and the Output of the booth Blu Ray player.

After patching in your source go to the projector control panel located to the right of the video PC, its another Pixie controller just but with buttons to allow you to change the input on the projector. Press the button labeled 'Video' (HDMI 1) to switch from the floor to the booth. Once you are done be sure to press the button labeled 'COMP' to switch it back to the floor (DigiLink).

Note: vMix and the projector system can be a little quirky. After patching in the output of the Video PC you may have to switch the external output on and off once before leaving it on for good. This is because the SDI Decklink, blackmagic signal converter, and projector all need to sync up and handshake before displaying an image. 

Projector Patch Panel

Located on the catwalk above the projector is a small patch panel with cables going in and out of it and below the floor of the catwalk. This is what allows you to access the connections of the projector without having to get the ladder out. You will see HDMI connections 1 and 2 which correspond to HDMI inputs 1 and 2, and an old school VGA line just in case. Typically a Blackmagic converter which receives the video from the booth over an SDI cable connects to this HDMI 1 port. 

You will also notice the two thick RJ45 cables looping in and out of the patch panel. This is what receives the HDBaseT signal from the floor and connects it to the projector. The same goes for the network cables too, they connect the projector to the network switch back stage. 

You should NEVER touch the Projector Patch Panel