NEP Redefines Multiviewer Setup With The Wall App
NEP is looking to take configuration of monitor walls to the next level with the help of The Wall, a new app that runs on the Apple iPad and allows verified production personnel to configure monitors offline and then, when the multiviewer is connected via the truck’s network, immediately configure the monitors as desired.
“The whole theory is to allow the users to just show up to do a game, call up a file, and load it in,” says NEP CTO George Hoover. “We worked as diligently as possible to increase the efficiency between park and power and when people want to work. [With] so many programmable things like routers, switchers, and intercoms, how do we let everyone get started working sooner?”
With The Wall, any user can configure monitor walls with drag-and-drop selection from a variety of monitor layouts and any of the available video sources. Several easy and quick tools allow users to customize almost every detail: border styles, colors, tally views. A swap tool enables the user to rapidly swap video sources as well as whole-screen layouts, with instant reconfiguration of the screen if the number of sources has increased or decreased in the swap. When finished, users can save screen configurations to a “favorites” list and recall them at the touch of a button in any NEP mobile unit enabled with The Wall — a timesaver for touring productions that need to maintain the same video-wall configurations from show to show.
NAB 2014 attendees interested in a first-hand look at the app in operation can stop by NEP’s outdoor exhibition and visit the remote-production unit.
Two important aspects of The Wall are, first, that it allows anyone in the truck with permissions to set up a monitor configuration simultaneously with other users in the production team. Second, those settings can be automatically brought into another truck even if the physical layout of the monitors is different.
Jeff Joslin, VP of NEP Labs, credits that built-in intelligence to MDL (Monitor Description Language). He says MDL ensures that the desired configuration maps correctly to the physical size of the monitors so that images are not stretched or squeezed incorrectly.
“The communications gateway is our proprietary server,” says Hoover. “The backend interface is agnostic, so that it doesn’t matter whether you have an Evertz, Harris, or Miranda multiviewer.”
The system is currently available only for NEP SS5, 6, 18, and 22, and the long-term plan is to get it on as many trucks as possible (it will be on an additional 10 by the end of the year). It is also available only for iOS devices, because the Android platform has too many variables in terms of display resolutions and sizes to make it possible to effectively build an app.
Users can work with the tool offline before they arrive on-site and then log on when they arrive at the mobile unit to instantly set up the monitor walls with the new configurations. The Wall is completely multiviewer-agnostic and provides seamless connectivity with all major manufacturers’ systems.
Joslin notes, “The technical director or engineer can arrive at the venue with all of that time-consuming work done and focus instead on the creative aspects of the show.”