Video Art Gear Round Up

Here is some of the latest gear I am using in my kit rn and why.

Desktop Powered Notebook for show control and portable workstation.
Eurocom Sky Xe7 . A Portable VR / VJ Beast !
Great new discovery right in my backyard 🙂 . After researching and comparing for months it looks like the Origin PC EON17 and the Sager NP9876 are the same base system chassis known as a Clevo and it is also used by Canadian based builders Eurocom and sold at Best Buy Online. These are bulky but really cool modular Notebook frames. 4 drive bays(2 are M.2 PCIe) and 4 RAM slots and can even support 2 1080 GPUs. Packed in with a high tech cooling system under a nice back lit full keyboard w num pad. The motherboard inside uses a PC spec CPU that is great because it costs less and runs faster than most mobile options. Also a 4k screen or 1440p 120hz option and the piece de resistance all these systems have the same 3 dedicated video outputs . HDMI + Two 2 x MiniDisplayPort 1.2 . Not to mention 4 USB3 and 2 Thunderbolt!
Feels durable so I hope the build quality is good over time. Fins on cooling vents are a bit flexible but maybe meant for just keeping debris out of there.
Basically this system is a high end frame that’s as good as the components you put in it and several companies have adopted the frame. Similar to the Hypersonic PC Notebook Workstation I used long before. Its a beast book but I am looking for power not pretty. It’s very heavy on it’s own and with the power pack you have to carry around it is a real load. Battery unfortunately does not last any more than 2 hours and less if you are doing anything GPU intensive. I am going to see if I can find a higher capacity battery . I upgraded from 16 to 32 gb of RAM
UPDATE : I went for the Eurocom Sky X7E2.
i7 6700k 4.0 , 32gb RAM, 1x 500gb N2m pciE, 1x 500GB Samsung Pro SSD, 1x 1TB HDD, GTX 1080 8gb
Link : http://www.eurocom.com/ec/configure(2,386,0)SkyX7E2

Micro Projectors
Recently I have used lots of these little mini LED projectors to great effect . If you can manage creative uses of content across multiple projectors at this size you can make projection effects nearly anywhere .
Wanting a set of 4 of these little beauties for my own kit to use on the go and for smaller creative or commercial installations.
Link: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1335995-REG/aaxa_technologies_mp_600_01_m6_led_pico_micro_projector.html

Ultra Short Throw Projectors
Ultra short throw units are highly purpose built for creating a surprisingly large screen when mounted from only a foot and a half away from the wall. Recently by combining up to 6  units I have used them to create wrap around image projection rooms in witch the viewers can walk and not obscure the image.
Ill be following up with another post soon covering more details on current projector tech like Laser ,LED , Ultra Short Throw and micro projectors that will cover the bennifits and best uses for each.
Link: http://www.projectorcentral.com/Casio-XJ-UT310WN.htm

Laser Phospor Color and Laser Hybrid Projectors
More on this in a later post but this new light source technology is nothing short of a revolution in the video projection installation world. This lampless technology makes current generation projectors last much longer without maintenance and they are far lighter and more durable as well.

360 Camera
I have been shooting all year with the Samsung Gear 360 camera . Collecting 360 footage and experiences and learning how to use the 360 view type creatively. I’ve been getting excellent time lapse 360 shots of my production jobs and it gives a great way to record the all surrounding immersive experiences that I create . Check out my 360 content online on Veer.tv.  

Mavic Pro Drone
As a first time drone owner and operator starting in 2017 and getting into aerial photography I have to say the DJI Mavic Pro has been amazing . I have used it almost everywhere I’ve gone and pushed it in non ideal circumstances like cold weather , mist and high wind and it has been amazing for the most part . It makes beautiful video and photos that are amazingly stable and is a dream to fly . Its also super durable and I may know after having several “emergency Landings” In trees mostly . The propellers are easy to change and drone repair was of one arm was also not expensive. The one thing I think is a con on this system is the fact that you have to use a separate smart device in the controller to have a screen and advanced flight features. I would recommend anyone wanting the best experience from the Mavic to buy a specific smart device that is not a phone like a small tablet to use with the controller instead of attaching your personal phone each time you fly. I have found that using my actual phone that I make calls on to be problematic and inconvenient but it is a small compromise considering all the other amazing features are packed into this Drone.

Wacom Intous Pro
The drawing tablet is my main input device on the computer when using creative software. It is critical for using Zbrush, Photoshop and Maya. I have worked with several models and owned the Intous 3 and 5.

UPDATE:
My Intous 3 was great but broke after about 10 years so I got the version 5. It seemed nice at first with wireless connection and a touch panel feature. The pen is a bit smaller than the old one and I liked the bigger one I think for my bigger hands the side button is easier to hit. Unfortunately over Christmas my Intous 5 has broken after only just over 2 years so just outside warranty. The insides of the device are cracked somehow. So I went online to find a replacement used and I got lucky. I found a like new condition Intous 3 for $80 and scooped it up .  I love my new classic 3. The pen technology is the same industry standard that Wacom is known for and the whole thing is bigger and more solid with a durable clear plastic cap. Ind expect it will last a long time if I care for the cord. The latest version is much lighter and made of a softer plastic . I question if it being wireless is a good upgrade at all. Personally I am happy to not ever think about keeping the v 3 charged. Apparently many of the problems people having with broken Intous 4 and 5s is starting at the connection point if the removable USB cable used for  charging. This port on the v 4 and 5 can easily be broken . Version 3 has a hard wired connection that is quite durable, re enforced even and cleverly connected with 2 channels for the cable to lay into avoiding it ever getting pinched . The 5 was cool and I liked the touch feature a lot but you can’t beat the build of the 3. Stay away from the 4. It is a first attempt at the new style and was quickly replaced by the 5.
I would definitely recommend to anyone looking to buy one of these to do the same as I just did and search for a used Intous 3 for a fraction of the $400 current model that is not really better just wireless.
Link : http://www.wacom.com/en-us/products/pen-tablets/wacom-intuos-pro-overview

Modular LED kits,


In the last few years I have been incorporating LED light systems into my staging and artistic projection mapping installations. I’ve used several controllers for LED strips from supplier Holiday Coro including the AlphaPix 3 for addressable LED strip control via Artnet . Connected to the ENTTEC DMX to USB decoder box feeding control signal from Resolume Arena or other live visual software .
Link : http://www.holidaycoro.com/AlphaPix-16-Pixel-Controller-V3-p/721-v3.htm

ENTTEC DMX USB
These devices are a critical part of the chain when controlling any DMX fixture from your computer using software like Resolume, Light Jockey and Wings.
Link : https://www.enttec.com/us/products/controls/dmx-usb/pro-mk2/

MS Kinect
The Kinect motion sensor for Microsoft Xbox1 and PC (support since discontinued) is extreemly useful when creating interactive installations and also for 3D scanning and motion tracking applications. I have been experimenting with Kinect since its release and used it in several live projects

Midi Controller
Akai MPD 226. Professional Build quality , illuminated buttons , Great for expressing yourself during VJ performances.

All key components in my regular process.

I look forward to adding a future post about software tools .

Hope everyone is having a Happy New Year

Vj Guy

 

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