With a half sphere dome spanning 8 feet in diameter, the total surface area when corrected for curvature is the equivalent to a 170 inch display. And with the quality standards the designers at the Aquarium have always prided themselves on, with a display of that size, a more realistic experience that comes from pixel density was absolutely important. They selected a projector with a native resolution that exceeded 2K standards of 2560×1600, and it was up to me to find a flawless playback solution that not only could handle they data rate of an uncompressed video at that resolution, but also could sync to a secondary video stream with bi-lingual captions of the narrated 3D animation.
I looked into how to best push that much video data and settled on a utilizing a custom presenter provided by Window’s Enhanced Video Renderer, and built the computer with a second video card to handle the status reporting. The final result is flawless playback that is without stuttering or image tearing.
UnPeg® DDR is an off shoot of the original player software, but with a different UI geared for providing video playback for live TV environments. When used with a supported Black Magic Decklink card, the software can also play out a key signal, allowing for live real time graphic playout as well.
The sister organization to the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, or MBARI. And when that connection was to be showcased in the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we stepped up to help in numerous ways. From programming the 3 video games visitors play that demonstrate various research MBARI projects to providing our own uncompressed HD video player software (UnPeg) and hardware for a 3 channel video wall and tied all of it together so the whole system together so it all was synchronized with the Aquarium’s show controller. The permanent exhibit has been open since 2007 and has only required one service visit from us (which had a response time of under 12 hours).
UnPeg® is a Windows based DirectShow player I made for providing videos for interactive exhibits. It’s supports either fullscreen playback or output via HDSDI. In addition, it provides 3 different methods to trigger videos playback (keyboard, MIDI and serial). It also supports syncing with other devices and other UnPegs® regardless of frame rate. It also provides seemless looping.
It’s been installed in many exhibits for as long as 5 years and has been maintenance free and easy to startup.