DVD on a really really big screen
March 11, 2009 9:05 PM   Subscribe

I have DVD's that I need to show on a Barco DP-1500.. How?

Here's what I know:

I need DVI-D input. Most video cards/DVD players seem to have a dual-link DVI-I output, but I'm confused as hell about what variety of male connector I should be using.

Assuming we settle physical connectivity issues, I then need to convert standard DVD to...JPEG 2000? This is what I've heard, but I've also been told there may be "max resolution issues", i.e. filling only half the screen. I'd definitely like to avoid that, if I can. Is there a better format to use? And what software should we use to convert the video? Do I even need to convert, or will the hardware do that for me?

And is there anything in general that I should know about Barco projectors? Are they fussy?

This is the first time my organization (meaning 4 guys with laptops, day jobs, and a withoutabox registration) has had to deal with theater-size venues in our screenings, and this won't be the last, so whatever solution we figure out, we'd like it to be cheap, portable, and replicable without too much fussiness once we know what we're doing.

I'm googling, but any help/pointers are appreciated!
posted by saysthis to Technology (5 answers total)
If you haven't already, you might want to read the Wiki page on DVI. You won't need anything hugely special to connect a DVI-I source to a DVI-D display device. That's probably the most common configuration of DVI devices in the world.

You'll want to get a DVI-D cable. That will fit into the DVI-I connector on the DVD player or video card, and also into the connector on the Barco. Most generic "DVI Cables" that you are likely to find are DVI-D, I believe. Here is an identification guide. As long as you stay away from the (uncommon) DVI-I and DVI-A cables, you will be fine.

I don't know where you got the JPEG2000 thing; DVI doesn't use JPEG compression, as far as I know, in any way. If it does (which I really doubt) it's totally encapsulated in the DVI spec somehow, to the point of being transparent. It's enough that your devices both speak DVI-D. (I think DVI basically just streams the raster image down the wire, uncompressed, as a very fast serial link.)

I can't speak to particularities of that Barco; you might want to ask that over at AVSForums if you don't get a satisfactory response here. I really do not imagine that you will have trouble if you send a very common resolution (like 720p or 1080p, assuming you have an upconverting DVD player, which is a not-unreasonable assumption if it has DVI output) down the wire, but you could ask there if you want to be absolutely sure.

Speaking in general, I'd keep the setup as simple as you can make it: if you don't need a computer (i.e. you're just playing DVDs), don't use one — use a standalone DVD player instead. The stupider your equipment is, the fewer failure modes it has, and the better off you are.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:36 PM on March 11, 2009

Following onto Kadin2048's suggestion to keep it simple, I'm willing to bet that a regular ol' HDMI to DVI-D cable plugged into a normal upscaling DVD player will do the job just fine.
posted by zsazsa at 10:12 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's probable that the projector will have the necessary scaling to simply display whatever you send into it over DVI, provided you work out the physical connection.

Any chance you could do a trial before the actual event to work out the issues?
posted by odinsdream at 6:31 AM on March 12, 2009

Is this someone else's Barco projector, and you're bringing in a DVD player to connect to it? Outboard video scalers are not at all uncommon in large projection setups, so you should make sure you need to be connecting directly to the projector itself and not to an intermediary box which may have a different set of available inputs (and which will handle any upscaling/format conversion issues that might arise.)
posted by contraption at 9:50 AM on March 12, 2009

What is the nature of this event/your presentation? Hard to answer this question without knowing what you're trying to achieve.

If your are screening your short film at a festival (which seems to be implied) please know that this is NOT an ideal way to screen. From my experience, a hi-end D-Cinema projector like this Barco will make your standard def DVD look worse than if you had run it through a non "professional" projector. If this is a festival, they should have a technical director who can advise on specs, etc. Very rare that you would have to bring in your own equipment to screen.

The answer here depends on what you're trying to show. If it's some sort of powerpoint-esque presentation then you should be fine with just a DVD, and the above advice re: DVI-D output from DVD players should suffice. If this is a short film, you should really screen off of a professional tape format such as HDCAM or DigiBeta, which most festivals can play.

This "JPEG 2000" thing... I think you might be confusing this with native resolution of the projector, which is 2048 x 1080 aka 2K D-Cinema. Your DVD's resolution is probably 720 x 480, so your 720 x 480 DVD needs to be 'uprezzed' to display at the projector's resolution. There are many ways to do this -- please give more details or feel free to send me a message and I can advise.
posted by hamsterdam at 1:15 PM on March 12, 2009

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