Feeding Video to a Monitor Wall

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the March, 2009, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Yoni Goldstein writes:

First of all, thank you for your excellent newsletter. My question is about finding the best strategy for editing multi-channel video. That is, a piece that runs on two or more screens / projections simultaneously (and hopefully, in sync). My method so far has been to shrink each clip to 50% (by copying and pasting attributes) and move everything in V1 to the left of the frame and everything in V2 to the right. Unfortunately, because I use effects. I have to re-render everything and the process is rather slow.


Is there a better way to do this? Perhaps using the multiclip view? How do editors build sequences for those 2,3,4 screen displays at trade shows, for example?

Larry replies: The problem with your approach is that you are losing image quality when you shrink your image.

The way a monitor wall works is that you send it a full-screen feed for each camera or image you want it to display. It will then composite them into a single display. This gives you the highest image quality and the ability to zoom one of the images full-screen.

The only disadvantage to this is that you need four separate video sources that you can sync together. Currently, QuickTime only supports playback of one full-screen video image per computer. So you would need multiple computers, or tape decks, or DVD players, or… whatever.

UPDATE – April 2, 2009

Tom Maynor adds:

I recently produced and displayed a 3-screen HD presentation for a trade show.


Multiscreener software (free at www.zachpoff.com/site/software/software.html) controls multiple Macs running QuickTime movies and keeps them in sync.


As the instructions pointed out I produced three same length videos in FCP and exported Quicktimes in Pro Res 422. I made them native to the display screen size of 1024×768. Running 3 mac pros (1 server and 2 clients) on a simple local network the 3 videos played nonstop for 3 days entirely in sync.


Yes, we had to rent the 3 macs in a faraway city but I am finding them more available and affordable and the video looked spectacular!

Larry replies: Tom, very cool! Thanks for letting me know.

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