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Re: New tech in for stake conference

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:46 am
by harddrive
Ok, I will attach a couple of pictures. One is my S-video output from the video card on my workstation and the other is through the VGA converter on my workstation.

Pictures were taking in a blacked out chapel and I used my Samsung Galaxy S4 camera with the flash. Sorry about the bad looking picture, but it shows what I'm dealing with.

Re: New tech in for stake conference

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:17 pm
by Mikerowaved
I can testify that not all scan converters are created equal. :) There is a noticeable difference in quality between models and (unfortunately) it's not always proportional to the cost of the unit either. I would start there, if you're looking to improve the quality of your distributed signal.

Re: New tech in for stake conference

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:07 pm
by michaelfish
Okay, now that you have explained the wiring configuration (thanks), we can diagnose where the problem is and fix it.

The first thing I would recommend is to check the video right after it comes out of the clerk's computer. Do you have access to a flat panel monitor with both VGA and composite video inputs?

Play a high quality video or DVD in the PC and check the picture on the flat panel VGA input and then again from your scan converter. I like using test patterns but a HQ Mormon Message will do.

You will need to swap the VGA cable between the VGA input on the monitor and the scan converter. Don't run the VGA from the PC through the scan converter and then to the monitor as this will degrade the picture (which may be your entire problem). (See my personal note at the bottom)

Look for and compare the following (please forgive me if you already know how to do this):

* Black levels: You should be able to see the same amount of detail in the darkest most areas of the picture through both inputs. If not, you may need to make BRIGHTNESS adjustments on the scan converter.

* Contrast: Again, check to see if the two inputs have the same quality in the really bright portions of the picture. Again, if the composite input is not the same (washed out or darker), adjust the CONTRAST control on the scan converter.

* Color: Check and compare the color saturation.

Bottom line, the picture viewed from the VGA input and composite input (via the scan converter) should be very similar (the scan converter will NOT yield the same high quality picture, but we're looking at brightness, contrast and color levels here).

If all is well, move to the Satellite closet and check to see if you have EXACTLY the same picture coming directly after the baluN. If the picture has degraded in any way, there is either a problem with the wiring or the baluN is bad. From my personal experience, most cheap baluns are crap. I now spend more money and get good ones.

If the picture is good, reconnect the balun to the manual switch and keep going. You should have the same quality image on the flat panel when you connect to the podium's RCA composite video jack. If not, it indicates a problem with either the manual switch, video distribution equipment or cabling.

Also, connect an antenna cable to the TEST POINT "F' connector on the front of the Pico Macom PCM55 RF modulator and switch your manual switch to the test video, then compare the picture on a TV set. If the picture coming out of the Pico Macom PCM55 is bad, stop and have the FM Group call in a qualified TV distribution technician. Don't make any adjustments to the unit unless you know what you're doing. BTW, I've seen a LOT of Pico Macom PCM55's bad in my day. Our stake has replaced both of ours in the past 5 years.

Personal Note: I've use the scan converter you're using, but ended up tossing it. If you decide to keep using it, the adjustments on it which WILL improve your picture but even with my experience in video and studio work, this scan converter is finicky. The unit's brightness and contrast must be adjusted every time the unit is turned on...and that's difficult because most of the time you'll need to run into the next room to see the effects of the adjustments (in addition, the controls are very confusing because the right button lowers and the left button increases values...I was always getting messed up.) I got so frustrated with it I tossed in the corner and purchased a professional, commercial VGA scan converter (a used one for $50, the same price I paid for the new crappy unit).

I recommend Extron scan converters such as the VSC50, VSC75 or VSC100. These are discontinued products so you can pick them up real cheap. In addition to the very stable composite video output and clean picture, there is an overscan/underscan option and position KNOBS (see picture). I just checked eBay and they're going for less than $50, including shipping (link). If we find you're scan converter can't do the job, I'd suggest picking up one of these.

Re: New tech in for stake conference

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:18 am
by harddrive
Michael thank you for the reply. We may look at this on Thursday if we have time. If not, I will need to get in there one day and check it out.

Just to give you a bit more information, I will be testing a display port to RCA connector. I don't know if it will do any better, but since the computer has a display port and the on board Intel Graphics has a TV section, I hope that the video will be better coming directly off the video card.

I will let you know as we move forward.

Re: New tech in for stake conference

Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:02 pm
by rl_albright
Well here are some updated photos of the AV Loft control room. Still not quite done, waiting on the mixer to come in (comes in today), and then the remaining pieces to connect up that stuff.

Tested out a portion of the system today, and aside from a little bit of overscanning (which I can fix in the modulator) it was playing pretty fluidly.

2014-07-10 12.43.28.jpg
Overview showing computer powered on, with confidence monitor.
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2014-07-10 12.39.12.jpg
Satellite Rack, showing 2 Unity receivers, headend combiner, 5 digital modulators, DVD Player, DVD-Recorder and in-house cable box (used for decoding audio to send to overhead speakers).
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2014-07-10 12.43.41.jpg
Backplane board showing installed equipment, still have a bit more to install on there, but it is almost done.)
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Re: New tech in for stake conference

Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:02 am
by harddrive
on 10 July 2014, the other stake technology specialist and I went to our chapel to determine what the problem was with the video. We used the Sony projector, which I put a new bulb in. This projector first year of manufacturing was 2000. It was a bit better with the new bulb, but as the pictures that will be attached shows, it wasn't that great. This projector is rated at 600 lumens.

The other stake technology specialist brought a ViewSonic projector in from his office and it had 2000 Lumens and the difference is huge. This projector completely wiped out the picture from the Sony. We had a few lights on, but as you can see with the pictures, it is totally different.

The pictures are taken in the chapel, with the clerks computer running PVC at like 1024x768 and running through the exact setup I have described. We made no changes in the system.

We have decided the the issue is with the projector. We are looking to get a new one for each building. We still want to do other things, but they will have to wait for funds.

Re: New tech in for stake conference

Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:29 am
by rl_albright

Yeah it is amazing the difference that new projectors make on a setup, my stake last year purchased new projectors for all of the buildings Epson 915W (Which has since been discontinued, the new model is the 955W). They are plenty bright (at 3200 lumens), so that are even being utilized by the stake presidency during their high council meetings.) and have ALL of the inputs that you could ever possibly need.

Re: New tech in for stake conference

Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:07 am
by michaelfish
I'm glad you were able to find one of the problems you have in your set up.

600 lumens is insufficient to project to an audience of 200 to 300.

I've noticed in all of your pictures, there seems to be more than typical ambient light in your chapel. Are there black-out curtains installed in all of the windows to prevent the outdoor light from coming in? Are there any lights shining on the video screen? If so, you may want to work on getting these problems solved. Our FM Group was kind enough to install black-out curtains for us, which helped tremendously.

Too much ambient light will be an issue, especially with a low powered projector because when light spills onto a projection screen, it will wash out the screen. A dim projector will not be able produce enough brightness to overcome the washed out light on the screen.

For example, black in a video image will only be as black as the screen without a projector.

Re: New tech in for stake conference

Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:31 am
by harddrive
Michael, There are black out shades for the windows. When I tested during the day, they were down and all the lights were off. When we tested on Thursday evening, we started about 7:30 p.m. and there was a storm coming through and by the time it finished the sun was pretty much setting.

We totally understand about the ambient light. only one of our buildings have does not have windows in it and they told me that the building's video is still not great. We do want to replace the projectors because we need higher lumens and there is one that can be purchase for about $450, which is 2800 Lumens and Xga projector.

We will continue to work on this and thank you for all the help.

Re: New tech in for stake conference

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:36 pm
by harddrive
I just want to add a couple of more pictures. I discovered that the clerk computers have display ports on the back. So I purchased a display port to mini display port adapter and then a mini display port to RCA. I connected it up and the pictures attached are from the Sony projector. The picture isn't crystal clear, but it looks a lot better than what I was trying to do before.

I used the following items: ... UTF8&psc=1 ... UTF8&psc=1

So I think I found my solution and now I just need to pitch the case to spend the money to the stake presidency and others.

I will let you know what happens