With all the technology wonders presented at ISE 2016, Dataton booth was definitely the one leaving the lasting impression. Featuring a Nordic theme with a 3D model of a polar bear, the company’s stand was one big product demo highlighting the features of the renewed WATCHOUT multi-display software.
The show encompassed LED displays from ROE Visual and six Titan Super Quad projectors from Digital Projection in a dazzling combination of emerging technologies, all running under WATCHOUT 6.1. The external control was made via WATCHNET 1.2, the web-based control software for the WATCHOUT systems.
The WATCHOUT multi-display presentation system is Dataton’s flagship product with over 15-year history. The software features a variety of options enabling to control digital scenography projects of any complexity.
With the set of advanced tools onboard WATCHOUT is a flexible solution suitable for a variety of applications. The projects include complex projection mapping, digital scenography for events, exhibitions, and museums, or digital signage. The possibility to control vast video surfaces enables WATCHOUT to orchestrate complex media projects that unfold on large LED screens. The stunning art installation of Comcast Experience is one of them.
The project comprises 10 megapixel LED video wall with sound and graphics that graces the lobby of a Comcast Center building in Philadelphia. WATCHOUT manages the unique content delivery system by constructing original scenarios and playing them out in an ever-changing sequence.
With the version 6 released in 2015 WATCHOUT underwent the most significant upgrade in its history. The added features apply primarily for 3D productions, e.g. 3D projection, and complicated mapping. The options include a 3D projector to accurately program and line-up complex 3D geometry projections; a new marker-based calibration system to precisely match the on-screen setup with the real-world objects; real-time interaction with 3D objects such as dragging in, texturing, manipulating, etc.
Among the added features are also multi-channel audio playback; support for high-end uncompressed video; playing uncompressed image sequences at full resolution and framerate.
Introduced in the version 6 is also an entirely new concept called Virtual Displays. The tool can be used in a variety of ways, in particular as a new flexible way of dealing with LED walls. The option makes virtual displays precisely match the aspect ratio and resolution of real LED screens that otherwise could not be output from the graphic card of the computer. Moreover, WATCHOUT 6 makes the real screens appear as media elements with the content displayed as part of media elements. “The pixel mapping is nothing new, - comments Fredrik Svahnberg, Marketing Director for Dataton. - But what makes it great in WATCHOUT is that you can keep your real-time workflow and animate media across virtual displays, so they look the same on your LED screens”.
The Virtual Displays feature revealed its best of potential with the 2015 Bidvest Awards Gala Dinner held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The project themed “Bidvest on Broadway” involved a live cast of dancers and singers performing against a huge digital backdrop of 1001 LED panels. For the project were deployed three LED configurations with different resolution and pixel pitches that created enormous digital setup of 9800x1200 pixels. The entire set was controlled, and visual content managed by Dataton WATCHOUT 6.
The event was organized by Gearhouse South Africa, who supplied the lighting, visuals, and sound. Marcel Wijnberger, the AV engineer at Gearhouse, commented: “We chose WATCHOUT 6 for a few reasons, the main one being the timeline based production control. The new Virtual Displays in WATCHOUT 6 was an indispensable feature given the number of LED screens that needed to be controlled. Time-code tracking – a previous feature of WATCHOUT – enabled the entire technical team to lock together as one production. For this set, we used two display machines and a production machine all with a fully independent, switched backup display network.”
The version 6.1 introduced at ISE 2016 includes some new features such as a Stage List with a hierarchical view of tiers and displays for easier selection in complex shows; support for additional 3D file formats (BLEND, FBX) as well as Auto Save, Auto Refresh and a right-click contextual menu options for a smoother workflow.
According to Dataton, both WATCHOUT 6.1 and WATCHNET 1.2 are scheduled for release this spring.