DIY Media Server

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A few months ago I bought one of those nice octo core Intel Mac Towers. My intention was to build my own media server. I maxed the RAM (16GB), added 3 dual head video cards, and an onboard RAID controller. I set up a RAID5 with 4x500GB drives for a total of 1.5TB of superfast storage. For the software I'm using Garage Cube's Modul8. It was written for speed and stability and in that respect it's as close to true professional grade server software as you get in the VJ world. Modul8 is versatile, it allows you to address up to 8 individual outputs. On my octo-core I run a 3 screen spread plus the preview. Image warping is handled by freeframe plug ins. I am able to mask out shaped projections, screen span, and warp the output to fit 3D screens such as globes and cylinders.

The first test for the server came at a festival in the mountains of NC. We hung inflatable globes around the stage and used the masking and image warping features to match our projection to the screen. VGA was sent to the projectors over Cat5e using Gefen VGA Extender units. They're tiny too and powered by a single 5v wall wart. I really love the idea of sending your video around using Cat5. Not only is it cheap but it inherently rejects noise. During the last tour I spent much of my offtime creating loops using stock video I've collected over the years. Lots ambient light patterns and fluid dynamics, some of it nature and flyovers of beautiful scenery. I'm really getting into the idea of lighting 3D sculptural elements of the stage using projection.

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