Visitors' Center Tech

Some discussions just don't fit into a well defined box. Use this forum to discuss general topics and issues revolving around the Church and the technology offerings we use and share.
russellhltn
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Visitors' Center Tech

Postby russellhltn » Mon May 28, 2007 9:35 pm

I just came back from a vacation that took me past many church sites in the Missouri area. The technology setup for the Independence visitors' center is quite impressive. The 5 panel video presentation was fascinating. I'd be curious to see what the technology behind that is. A computer with multiple video cards? Even the control system with small color LCD screens for controlling the theater was interesting.

On the other end of the spectrum, I found the projector in the visitors' center for the Kanesville Tabernacle to be disappointing. The highlights were blown out and the color was off. Possibly the tint was too far red. I'm not sure how much of it was poor adjustment and how much might be the limitations of early LCD projectors. While they worked, some never did get good color. I've seen "Mormon Battalion" before, but that showing left me flat. Perhaps it's due to the repeated showing (3rd time wasn't a charm?) but I tend to blame the poor color for causing me to "see the technology" rather then being drawn into the movie. Also, while I think "voice of the theater" speakers are good speakers, the ones in the Tabernacle itself seemed rather obtrusive - especially in "battleship gray".

Winter Quarters visitor's center was also interesting. I'm curious on how they animated the map while showing the video.

I also enjoyed playing "find the speaker" at some of the other sites.

In planning my trip, I was a bit disappointed in the information found at lds.org. A time estimate on how long a good visit would take as well as a suggested "loop" though the various sites would be a great help in trip planning. Not all sites are listed. For example Adam-ondi-Ahman is not listed despite being a church site. I had to go to the visitors' center to get details on it.

P.S. Now that I've uploaded photos, how do I get them to show in my message? Once uploaded, they become PHP pages and won't work with the IMG link.
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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Tue May 29, 2007 7:40 am

RussellHltn wrote:P.S. Now that I've uploaded photos, how do I get them to show in my message? Once uploaded, they become PHP pages and won't work with the IMG link.

I don't know how everyone else is doing that...perhaps it's just a copy and paste of the image into the post?

rmrichesjr
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Postby rmrichesjr » Tue May 29, 2007 11:16 am

RussellHltn wrote:...

On the other end of the spectrum, I found the projector in the visitors' center for the Kanesville Tabernacle to be disappointing. The highlights were blown out and the color was off. Possibly the tint was too far red. I'm not sure how much of it was poor adjustment and how much might be the limitations of early LCD projectors. While they worked, some never did get good color. I've seen "Mormon Battalion" before, but that showing left me flat. Perhaps it's due to the repeated showing (3rd time wasn't a charm?) but I tend to blame the poor color for causing me to "see the technology" rather then being drawn into the movie. Also, while I think "voice of the theater" speakers are good speakers, the ones in the Tabernacle itself seemed rather obtrusive - especially in "battleship gray".

link.


Some of the problems with poor color from video projectors is due to the use of _DATA_ projectors. My current stake center uses a unit in the chapel for satellite programs that is clearly marked on its case as a _DATA_ projector. Most faces have abnormally large areas that are exactly the same color, none of the normal variation in shading one would expect. In other places, some wrinkles, lines, and shadows appear much more prominent than they should. My guess is the _DATA_ projectors only store about four bits per color, which is sufficient for PPT slides in a business meeting, but is way too low for live-action video.

(Some of us happen to like seeing battleship gray A-7 cabinets. :-) On the other hand, the three I built during the summer after high school ended up being decorated with dark brown paneling with dark brown burlap as grill cloth. Unfortunately, they wouldn't fit in a Deseret Towers dorm room.)

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Tue May 29, 2007 11:36 am

rmrichesjr wrote:Some of the problems with poor color from video projectors is due to the use of _DATA_ projectors.


Well, you'd think someone who setup the visitors' center would know better. It's not something cooked up by the local FM group.

The old Sharp we have in our stake (it's about the size of a mini-tower laid on it's side) has NO data jacks. Only composite and S-Video inputs. The problem I have with it is the color is not consistent across the screen. I can't get the flesh tones right for the whole screen. When I mentioned that on a video forum, I was told that's a problem with the technology of the time. I'm assuming they've fixed that now, but our old Sharp would have been an improvement over what I saw.

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Postby JamesAnderson » Tue May 29, 2007 2:13 pm

What is more than obvious is the fact that usually a facility is given whatever technology the Church is deploying at the time the building is given its furnishings and other things and because of the speed at which technology is being updated the equipment is allowed to simply go out of date.

We do know that it is largely impossible due to costs to keep everyone updated, but might there be a 'trigger' that might allow for updating of certain things should some equipment become so obsolete that it would be better to simply replace it rather than repair it.

I also know of a matter involving the Conference Center, I was told about it on a movie set about a year ago where I was working with a camera crew. They had gotten a very expensive $1.8 million router to run some of the signals to some places in that building. About a year later the company that made the router went out of business. Six months after that a card failed in the router and they tried to find a replacement card for it but could not find anything even on the secondary market or other outlets but so few of the routers had been made there were no spare cards to be had. They simply had to send the failed box to the landfill.

That's the other issue here, can being able to update a particular piece of equipment easily and cost-effectively without having to buy new equipment be considered in purchasing decisions. Can older equipment be updated to take care of issues described earlier in the thread without having to simply chuck the equipment?

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Tue May 29, 2007 2:57 pm

JamesAnderson wrote:That's the other issue here, can being able to update a particular piece of equipment easily and cost-effectively without having to buy new equipment be considered in purchasing decisions. Can older equipment be updated to take care of issues described earlier in the thread without having to simply chuck the equipment?

Our staff does take these considerations along with many others into our purchasing decisions. However you bring up excellent points that our teams will review.

Tom

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Tue May 29, 2007 4:23 pm

Tom, can you forward my post to the appropriate people? The two main items is the video quality at the visitors' center and the content of the LDS.ORG page. Forward praise as appropriate.

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Wed May 30, 2007 5:21 am

RussellHltn wrote:Tom, can you forward my post to the appropriate people? The two main items is the video quality at the visitors' center and the content of the LDS.ORG page. Forward praise as appropriate.

Sure thing!

Tom


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