Collage Generator™ Content Preparation Guide

Collage Generator™ Content Preparation Guide

A Step-by-step guide for creating custom media files to use with the Collage Generator Effect.

Recommended Sizes and Formats for Collage Generator™ Still Images

The DL.2, DL.3 and Axon can utilize still images up to 2048 x 2048 pixels in Collage Generator™ mode. For proportion accuracy refer to "Configurations array sizes for Collage Generator™" below . It does not matter what your dpi (dots per inch) setting are.
Note: Numerous effects built into DL.2, DL.3 and Axon. Utilzing these effects modes along with placement of images on objects that are moving can yield dramatic clarity and movement to still images even in extreme collage array sizes.
Note: Scaling up significantly images or footage up will decrease clarity.

DL.2, DL.3 and Axon Servers support the following still image formats:

  • .PNG (can include transparent channel)
  • .BMP (24 bit standard)
  • .JPG (RGB 8 bit standard)

Steps for Sizing Collage Generator™ Video Footage

  • Commission or Design High Quality (Visually Clean or Never-Compressed) Video Footage at least 1024x768 pixels in size for DL.3 and Axon, 640x480 for DL.2. Make sure it is a .mov format if you are sending it off for post production. (Extracting footage from a playable DVD is not encouraged as it has been highly compressed and distortion will be present)
  • "Light Optimizing" your footage in a video editing program if possible, by boosting Levels and Color Saturation. Save to Photo Jpeg 98%-100% or Animation Non-Compressed (best) format in .mov format.
  • Import Video master footage into an Encoder/Compressor.
  • Output Encoded Footage.
  • Upload Your Custom Content to a DL.2s, DL.3s or Axon Media Servers.

Array Size Configurations for Collage Generator Video Footage

The native aspect ratio of the DL.2, DL.3 and Axon output is 4:3 aspect ratio. Different configurations of the Collage Generator™ will output a wide array of aspect ratios for use with multiple fixtures. The table below shows the configurations and resolutions suggested for Collage footage.

Fixture Configuration Array (width x height): Lists the number of DL.2, DL.3 fixtures or projectors used with Axons positioned horizontally by the number positioned vertically, each displaying their portion of the content.
Maximum footage Resolution (width x height) Lists suggested maximum pixel sizes for HD sized movie files to be used with the Collage generator.
DL2 units: List the number of DL.2, DL.3 fixtures or projectors used with Axons used for each Collage configuration.

Note: In general circumstances the projectors are all mounted at different angles in relation to the projection surface. Keystone correction is necessary. This turns off projector pixels. Keystone correction for each projector is most likely unique. Real world pixels are application dependent, but with control of remote zoom in conjunction with adjusting the actual size of the 3D rectangle inside DL.2, DL.3 fixtures or Axon servers, you can be very precise in making sure your images are the correct aspect once projected. Most times you can stretch one size array footage in DL.2 and it will work fine for another array configuration. The array sizes listed below will assure your footage will not get stretched out of proportion.

Central 4:3 Panorama Collage array size chart*

Fixture Configuration Array
(Width x Height)
Maximum footage Resolution
(Width x Height)
DL.2s, DL.3s or projectors used with Axon
2x2 1024 W x 768 H 4
3x3 1024 W x 768 H 9
4x4 1024 W x 768 H 16
5x5 1024 W x 768 H 25
6x6 1024 W x 768 H 36
7x7 1024 W x 768 H 49
8x8 1024 W x 768 H 64

Horizontal Panorama Collage array size chart

Fixture Configuration Array
(Width x Height)
Maximum footage Resolution
(Width x Height)
DL.2s, DL.3s or projectors used with Axon
2x1 1376 W x 570 H 2
3x1 1648 W x 472 H 3
4x1 1904 W x 416 H 4
5x1 2048 W x 360 H 5
6x1 2288 W x 340 H 6
7x1 2528 W x 324 H 7
8x1 2624 W x 294 H 8
3x2 1248 W x 624 H 6
4x2 1440 W x 544 H 8
5x2 1584 W x 490 H 10
6x2 1728 W x 448 H 12
7x2 1856 W x 416 H 14
8x2 1984 W x 390 H 16
4x3 1184 W x 646 H 12
5x3 1328 W x 586 H 15
6x3 1456 W x 540 H 18
7x3 1568 W x 490 H 21
8x3 1652 W x 464 H 24
5x4 1152 W x 660 H 20
6x4 1280 W x 616 H 24
7x4 1376 W x 570 H 28
8x4 1456 W x 530 H 32
6x5 1152 W x 684 H 30
7x5 1232 W x 630 H 35
8x5 1312 W x 590 H 40
7x6 1136 W x 690 H 42
8x6 1216 W x 648 H 48
8x7 1120 W x 690 H 56

Vertical Panoramas Collage array size chart

Fixture Configuration Array
(Width x Height)
Maximum footage Resolution
(Width x Height)
DL.2s, DL.3s or projectors used with Axon
1x2 768 W x 1008 H 2
1x3 640 W x 1200 H 3
1x4 560 W x 1366 H 4
1x5 512 W x 1536 H 5
1x6 474 W x 1690 H 6
1x7 432 W x 1782 H 7
1x8 400 W x 1876 H 8
2x3 864 W x 894 H 6
2x4 752 W x 1010 H 8
2x5 688 W x 1140 H 10
2x6 624 W x 1226 H 12
2x7 576 W x 1310 H 14
2x8 544 W x 1408 H 16
3x4 912 W x 848 H 12
3x5 816 W x 934 H 15
3x6 752 W x 1020 H 18
3x7 704 W x 1106 H 21
3x8 656 W x 1170 H 24
4x5 944 W x 824 H 20
4x6 864 W x 896 H 24
4x7 800 W x 960 H 28
4x8 752 W x 1026 H 32
5x6 960 W x 806 H 30
5x7 892 W x 866 H 35
5x8 832 W x 866 H 40
6x7 976 W x 796 H 42
6x8 912 W x 844 H 48
7x8 976 W x 976 H 56

*Subject to change, updated 9-19-07

Compression Specification Overview for Collage Generator™

Bit rate per sec, bps
(Visual Quality Setting)
Constant Bit Rate (CBR) 18,000,000 bps -20,000,000 bps
(Encoding at higher Bit rates could hinder optimal performance)
Frames Per Second, fps 24 fps, 25, 29.97, or 30 fps (Set Encoder fps accordingly)
Group Of Pictures, GOP GOP Structure should be All "I" Frames
Video Stream Type Elementary Stream (Warning: DO NOT use a Program Stream that may have audio)
Progressive Output The footage should be encoded as a progressive frame file, not an interlaced file
Color Space 4:2:0 (Warning: DO NOT encode to 4:2:2 or other color spaces)

Recommended HD (High Definition) and Standard Resolution Encoders

Windows OS:

How to Encode Footage using TMPGEnc 4.0 Xpress* Example Tutorial
Demo of TMPGEnc 4.0 Xpress 14 day Trail Download Here
* Limited to a maximum 1920 pixel wide output
Tutorial How to use TMPGEnc 4.0 Xpress to make a 7x1 Collage

How to Encode Footage using ExpertHD™ Example Tutorial
Fully functional 30 day Demo of ExpertHD MPEG encoding software Download Here


Episode™ media encoding application Example Tutorial
FREE upgrade to the Episode pro if you have Compression Master Download Here

* At this time we do not endorse Apple's, Compressor 3 or Autodesk's Cleaner software as they cannot produce all "I" frames mpeg-2 files compliant with DL.2/DL.3/Axon.

Checking Encoded Footage on a standard computer

(Warning: DO NOT use a Program Stream that may have audio)
The CMA now has added functionality that scans your files unpon upload for most encoding errors. Additionally you may use the utilities below to get more information about you encoded files if needed.

Checking Encoded Footage Using Window OS:

Windows Media Player will let you view your encoded footage.
To Check file dimensions go to the arrow down tab in the upper right hand corner of the player window, tab down to file/properties.

Helpful Utilities for checking encoded Footage using Windows OS:

Bitrate Viewer is a very helpful free tool that can check the bitrate level, size and gives information about other MPEG-2 properties. Simply drag your file onto the program shortcut or icon to view relevant information.

Gspot is a PC utility that gives you expanded information about your encoded files. Simply drag your file onto the program shortcut or icon to launch and view relevant information.

Checking Encoded Footage Using MAC OS X: After encoding you file you can easily view your footage with the free VLC Media Player. While VLC does not display the aspect ratio correctly it is effective for determining image quality on PC MAC or Linux. To determine if the file has been encoded at the correct size Download DiVA. Then simply open a file in the DiVA and it will display the dimensions.


Uploading Encoded Files

You will use the Content Management Application (CMA) on your computer to upload and organize your encoded files to a User Content folder you create and then assign DMX values. The CMA and a User Manual shipped on CD with your DL.2 fixture. You can also download the CMA and a .pdf version of the User Manual for more information.

Important note:
High End Systems Digital Lighting Products utilize RGB lighting projection devices, and are NOT hindered by the darker NTSC or PAL broadcast video color gamut limitations. Footage you acquire often utilizes this dimmer, darker color space designed for viewing on TV screens.

It's very simple to adjust the Levels and Hue/Saturation of your content for lighting projection. This will dramatically increase light output and your footage will automatically come up at full intensity when programming your production. We refer to this as Light Optimizing. The best time to Light Optimizing footage or still images is in post production. This can easily be done with most image or video editing packages. ......100% brightness and saturation in the reds? Feel free.