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Digital projected image competitions

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by nf3996, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. nf3996

    nf3996 Well-Known Member

    Can anyone offer advice on how to go about running a digital projected image competition within my small photographic club, please?

    The club used to have slide and print competitions, but as members moved exclusively to digital working the slide competitions were dropped a few years ago. The club has now bought a digital projector (and has access to a couple of laptops) and would like to revive the modern-day version of the slide competition.

    However, we're stumped by simple things such as how to jumble up the entries or what to do when a judge says something like 'Hold that one back, I'd like to see it again' (in the old days you just took the slide out of the magazine and dropped it in again at the back).

    Is there anyone out there who's club runs digital projected image competitions and who could explain in very simple terms how to do so? Or has anyone come across an online 'idiot's guide' to this?

    Many thanks,

  2. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Havant Camera Club (of which I'm a member) runs a very efficient digital competition. They may be able to offer some advice - you can contact them here...
  3. PeteE

    PeteE Well-Known Member

    Brentwood Photographic Club here in Darkest Essex have even moved into the 'Dreaded Digital Projection' age and there are only two members who know how to work it all -- but we are at www.bdpc.co.uk
  4. RogerB

    RogerB Well-Known Member

    There are one or two software programs around to do this. I have used Film Free Projection which is quite good. A club licence is about £50 as far as I remember. You can download a demo version too. Have a look here
  5. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Needless to say you must have a top class graphics card in the laptop and an excellent projector. Many clubs have full details. My old one got the money from the National Lottery.
  6. AGW

    AGW Well-Known Member

    Here are our club rules......

    Ayr Nothing unique based on the federation standards.

  7. scoobymad555

    scoobymad555 Well-Known Member

    This is a bit of an essay so feel free to skim past it but, some things to consider with projectors .....

    when selecting your projector obviously you want one capable of displaying as higher resolution as possible but you also need to factor in where you're going to use it to determine how bright you'll need it to be. The budget end of the projector range tend to use phrases like "HD Ready" etc. - all the same phrases you see on cheap tv's that unsurprisingly can't display true hd images either.

    the key specifications your looking for are : the projectors NATIVE resolution (the budget ones tend to be 800x600 or 1024x768) and the LUMENS / ANSI rating (again, the budget ones tend to be relatively low - sub 2000 lumens).

    Resolution wise, obviously you want one as high as you can budget for but bare in mind, the higher the resolution, the smaller things like normal text tend to appear (just like your pc screen). Lumens / Ansi wise, again you want as higher number as possible really to give your images the vivid colour definition they deserve rather than appearing washed out courtesy of the projector struggling but, if you're using the projector in the evening and can lower the room lighting slightly etc then something around the 2500 lumens mark would suffice quite happily. Anything over 2500 will allow you to use it in a fully lit room / daylight quite happily.

    Unless your club has some fairly wealthy benefactors behind it, I suspect you'll realistically be looking at "budget" projectors (something in the £300-£600 region). In this case, I'd suggest you consider the Sanyo range or if budget will allow, look at the Sony ones. The Sanyo's offer a respectably high lumens rating (slightly higher than the sony ones usually) and the images are generally acceptable. The Sony ones have the edge (only just) on picture quality.

    Don't forget though that you'll be restricted by resolution in that end of the market though so, you won't need a 'ninja pc' to drive it or even a particularly impressive graphics card (the majority of current laptops drive their own screens at higher resolutions these days) but, it's worth making sure that the graphics card you do have is capable of dealing with down-scaling (for want of a better term) your images acceptably for a lower resolution (i.e. set the laptop / pc's screen resolution to 1024x768). If it can't then you need to look at a slightly better card. The reason for this is that it's better to do your down-scaling at the pc on a whole graphics card built purposefully for doing that kind of thing rather than sending your pictures (along with the rest of your screen display) in all it's high resolution glory to your budget HD Ready projector that will then down-scale it to it's native resolution of 1024x768 anyway but using a £3.50 chipset instead.

    Since I doubt you're looking for a permanent installation of a projector at the back of a large hall or something (though you haven't said) then we can skip past the topic of throw ranges and lenses etc (which is just as well since interchangeable lenses equate to a far higher pricetag) and finish up on one final thing to consider - the lifespan of a projector or more specifically the bulb in it. The bulbs can be replaced (by yourself) easily but, the cost of replacement bulbs is something to look at. Bulbs will last a considerable amount of time now (some citing over 2000 hours of use) but all kinds of things reduce the expected lifetime. As a rough guess based on what you're using it for, I'd expect the bulb to last 2-3 years. At that point, whilst you could replace the bulb, it's probably more "cost effective" to simply replace the projector - technology will have moved on (it's making massive strides in that part of the market at the moment) and you'll most likely be able to buy a new unit with twice the capabilities of your then old one for marginally more money than the cost of the replacement bulb. Obviously this doesn't necessarily follow if you're into spending several thousand on a projector but it certainly does at the lower end of the budget spectrum because it's already happening now with the current generations of kit.

    Oh and please, get a half decent screen to project on if you don't already have one .... bed sheets do work but they really don't do you any favours quality wise! :D

    (and yes, amongst other things I install projectors for a living :D )
  8. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    No, not really. Just one that meets the resolution of the projector.
  9. nf3996

    nf3996 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the comments so far. Perhaps I should make it clear that we already have a good digital projector, laptop and screen, but it's the logistics of running a competition that are stumping us.

    We're a member of the East Anglian Federation, so we're going to use the EAF guidelines on file type and dimensions, but we still don't know how to go about co-ordinating entries, displaying them in a random order, holding back individual files for a judge to view again, and no doubt all sorts of other queries too.

    The software suggestion sounds promising, but no-one in the club is particularly computer-savvy, and having to rely on two members to bring in laptops (the software uses two monitors, I think) is bound to cause problems.

  10. Stevet

    Stevet Well-Known Member

    If you are refering to The 'Film Free Projection' sofware someone linked to it doesn't need two laptops. It sends images to the projector and at the same time uses the laptop screen for the control functions which the operator uses.

    So - you just need to ensure that the laptop supports this method (i.e. can show different displays on screen and external monitor/projector).
  11. RogerB

    RogerB Well-Known Member

    As Stevet has already said, you only need one laptop - the other "monitor" is the projector. The nice thing about this software is that it allows you to shuffle images, hold back images with a single key press, record and display scores and lots of other nice things for competitions. The down-side of the features, as ever, is that the software needs to be configured to do exactly what you want it to do.

    I don't want to discourage you but I do think that unless you have at least one "computer-savvy" person you may struggle to put together any sort of DPI competition. Getting the hardware to work as intended and setting up whatever software you use does inevitably require some computer knowledge.
  12. steeplejack

    steeplejack Member

    Don't worry! Most clubs have these concerns when making the transition to DPI. The days of dropped slide boxes and reversed images will be but a memory. Here are my key thoughts:
    1. Ensure your laptop and projector are calibrated.
    2. Inform members of the best size for their images, as you say best to keep in step with your Federation.
    3. Members must hand in their entries to the competition secretary a week or more before judging. My club has found labelled memory sticks to be the best option. Copy each entry from the memory stick to a folder on the club's computer. When all have been received, rename each image to start 001, 002 etc which will then be the jumbled order for showing.
    4. Print a contact sheet with all the images in thumb print size.
    5. Use the Windows slide show to project the images, making use of the pause button to give the judge time to mark.
    6. Mark the contact sheet with those images the judge recalls, and use that as an aid-memoire to find them in the computer competition folder.
    7. Remember a dimmed torch!

    That's it in a nutshell, but I may have forgotten something or over simplified a point.
  13. nf3996

    nf3996 Well-Known Member

    That's all very helpful advice.

    Many thanks,


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