Remotely Controlled Multi Screen Display Software
This software was written to meet a specific need for a non-profit making organisation which I volunteer for - The SF Ball.
There are expensive professional solutions that do very similar things to this (Watchout being one of the most well known). The aim of this software was:
- To be able to play videos spanning multiple screens
- To display images across multiple screens
- To be able to display a stream from a TV capture device anywhere on the screen, with the ability to display it in Multiple places at the same time.
- To put web pages on the screen
- To display Flash movies on the screen
- To be able to control what appears where on the screen in a dynamic way suitable for a live production environment.
The resulting solution written in VB.Net uses DirectShow to play videos of pretty much any format and uses a client server architecture with the server running on a multi head PC (Has been tested with 4 outputs but no reason it wouldnt handle more) and the controller running on another PC (generally a laptop) in front of house that just needs to be networked to the display PC.
This software has been successfully used at an annual show for several years with no major issues. This software was written mainly for my own use at these shows, so while it has slowly evolved over time it has not had the polish of a final commercial product - it lacks things like configuration: it currently has to be done by editing config files.
The main difference between this software and Watchout is Watchouts use of a timeline. So with Watchout it is much easier to do things like setup shows that have to be the same every time where it always have to do things like play video A, then video B then video C. My software provides much more flexibility in that you can just choose videos from a folder and play them at random. This is very useful in a live environment when you need to fill time.