360 degrees Projection with Millumin and f.e. Mac Pro

edited July 2014 in MAIN
Hi, i am evaluating Millumin at the moment and I am impressed and short before buying.

Did anybody do a 360 or 180 warping Project with it yet? It seems to be theoretically possible,
but there is no "preset" or "setting" for it. I am just curious if anybody has experience with "curved"
projection and millumin

I am thinking about a Mac Pro with 6 Zotac adapters (12 Projectors)
MacBook Pro with 2 Triple Head2gos (6 Projectors)



  • Hello @franzschuier,

    Yes you can do 360° by using soft-edge (see this tutorial) on every edge of your screens. I advise you to use 2 instances of Millumin : one for the content, sending Syphon output to a second instance for the mapping/warping and soft-edge (take inspiration from this tutorial).

    Some people made such a setup with 10 or 12 projectors, but we got no MILLU project to give you. Sorry.

    To finish, you should contact the manufacturer support (Zotac and Matrox) and check that multiples devices can be handled on the same computer : at least 2 Zotac Dual HDMI or TripleHead can be plugged to the same machine (despite this is not officially supported apparently). Note that TripleHead cannot go 3x1920x1080 (see this sheet).
    Also, check the Datapath X4 which is a more professional device.

    Best. Philippe
  • Did some more research for those interested:

    Regarding the MacPro it seems to be complicated to use all outputs. See apple document here:

    but the Zotacs are display port so they may work. Will have to test I think. I will order another 2 and see if 3 work.

  • I have tested my 2013 Mac Pro 8-core with D700 GPU. I have no problem running 6 1920x1080 60p outputs using active (not USB power) DVI adapters. I can also run 19 simultaneous layers of full HD content at the same time, warping in real time with no problem. This is 1.5 to 4 times the performance I get with Arkaos, Mbox or Catalyst.
  • Hello @Wizard_of_Oz,

    Thank you for these informations. Very interesting, especially about how many fullHD layers you can run smoothly.
    Don't hesitate to post more info.

    Best. Philippe
  • I will post more detail next week after I finish performance testing.

  • edited August 2014
    Cool, thnx for testing... Waiting for the next update to jump on the MacPro train. 

    Which Adapters did you use? the Apple Dual DVI active ones?



  • I am using the Sapphire (100925) single link DVI adapters . I also have some Startech dual-link mini DisplayPort to male DVI cables (short 0.9m) and will test those once they arrive. I plan to use those ones for my rack case patch panel which has pass through DVI connectors.

  • edited March 2015
    Hello Wizard_of_Oz, and others actually talking about 360,
    I have an installation that needs 4 walls, each with 3 projectors with edge blending (no edge blending between walls). Each wall plays a 4kx1080 30p media. So 4x 4kx1080 to play over 12 projectors (all have HDMI input)
    The most out-of-the box solution seems tot be 2 Mac Pros (recent), using the 5 display port with active single link DP-HDMI adapters each and the  direct HDMI out for the 6th projector. I can use USB3 to HDMI adapters for control screens. Each Mac Pro would manage the soft-edge blending and playing (20mn on a loop, no mapping needed) of 2 walls using 6 projectors. If I use Millumin, I can use simplesync to synchronise play from beginning the composition on each machine. Each composition has an output of 8kx1080 spanned on 6 projectors (2 walls) and 2 layers, one for each wall, video file 4kx1080.

     I also could use Datapathx4. To get 4x 4kx1080 I would have to use 4x Datapathx4 and use 3 outputs from each for each wall. And output that to 4x3 projectors (I cannot use only two per wall because of pillars etc, so 3 short throw). Or maybe only 3 Datapathx4 and using 3 outputs from each for single walls and 1 from each to make the 4th.
    This would physically fit on a single Mac Pro leaving 2 Mac Pro outputs for control and an eventual 13th projector (might be needed). That would mean using dual link DVI active adapters. I have read many issues with these. Are people using these (Apple model or ?) with Datapathx4 with no issues?
    Could a single Mac Pro play the 4x 4kx1080 30p easily? The different video cards available make a difference?
    Wizard_of_Oz had an equivalent 3x 4kx1080 but 60p and with many layers warping etc, so I guess it could.
    The Datapathx4 solution sure seems interesting.

    Basically I just have to go for the safest solution, also considering the installation will run for weeks if not months.
    This is the first time I ever do something this big in number of projectors, resolution, need of stability, but with no mapping or warping, just soft-edge blending. But this has to be done quickly.

  • This would physically fit on a single Mac Pro leaving 2 Mac Pro outputs for control and an eventual 13th projector (might be needed).
    I realize probably not. The MacPro can have 3x 4k outputs out of the 6 ports, using all 3 buses to do so. So the 3 others are not available. 3xDatapathx4 would be used for 12 projectors only.
  • Hi perspixe

    I am in my lab today and did some tests with the equipment below. Sorry for the very long and messy post, but I tried to provide as much info as possible as I don't know when I might be able to answer any questions.

    First, reading back over my first response above it is misleading. My 19 layers of full HD playback was not at the same time as doing 6 HD screens, it was a separate test with one screen. Sorry, if I got your hopes up!

    SET UP:

    1 x Mac Pro 2013 - 8 core / 2 x D700 / 1TB SSD / 32GB RAM running OSX 10.10.2 (Yosemite)

    5 x DP to DVI output at 1920x1080/60p screens (4 x Startech DP to Dual Link DVI cables & 1 x Startech DP to Dual Link DVI adapter)

    1 x HDMI output at 1920x1080/60p screen

    1 x USB to DVI at 1920x1080 screen (Winstar USB 2.0 with v2.3 driver)

    1 x Samsung EVO850 SSD on TB to SATA adapter (just to check if still had access to 2nd TB port on Bus 0, already driving 1 x DP and 1 x HDMI).

    Optimised System settings as much as possible (only just installed Yosemite today for the first time on any of my machines) i.e, energy saving settings, spotlight indexing off , etc, etc….

    Millumin v1,56:
    Output 11520 x 1080 pixels
    Multiscreen x 6
    Soft blend - 384 pixels (20%) / Smooth 1.00 / White Point 1.00
    Transform - I simulated edge blend corner mapping with just random pixel offsets on each screen corner.
    6 x Layers each playing back separate clips of 1920x1080 and 4sec crossfade between 2 columns (total 12 clips). Tested with Photo-Jpeg medium & Hap codecs.

    I tested the HAP clips at both 25p and 30p. This makes a BIG difference if the clip FPS is not an even division of the display rate and the system has to do frame pull up/down conversion.

    With Soft Edge at 20% overlap (384 pixels) the total pixel output is only 5x 1920x1080, but I still ran the 6x 1920x1080 clips, so one was off screen.

    I used 60 sec long clips and made sure that during cross fade tests I was not at the end and looping during the fade, which also makes a difference.

    I used 12 separate video files, not copies of the same file on different layers in Millumin.

    I also, had one of the monitors (the one connected to the DP-DVI adapter) lose picture quite often (in Mac desktop so hardware or OS related). I tried to trouble shoot but ran out of time. Will update if I get a chance to test if it is cable/monitor issue or a symptom of the multiple outputs.

    The data rate of these clips even with 12 simultaneous ones is well within the 880-990MB (Bytes, not bits) read I get on the internal SSD.

    The USB to DVI adapter performed much better than I expected, not perfect but very good.

    Overall the interface was as responsive as usual, except when jumping in and out of Millumin while still fullscreen.

    I ran each test over 30-45 minutes doing multiple random cross fades when not typing this.

    If you are going to run multiple monitors I highly recommend using EDID emulators or you WILL go mad trying to ID which output is which, especially after restarts or monitors getting reconnected. Get one fully programable one (like the Parrot) that you can create custom device names with, then use that to copy to the cheaper ones (like Kramer) with individual names like Output 1 , Output 2, Output 3 etc.

    Finally, don't run a show based on my test results!! Do your own…trust no one!

    Its worth noting that if you are near an official Apple Store, you can buy a system (or 10 if you like) and return within 14 days for refund, no questions asked, at least here in Australia and the USA anyway.


    Photo-JPEG medium 25p (1920x1080):
    Millumin reports 30FPS once full screen and with no clips playing (Global FPS set to default 60). Still reports 30FPS with 6 clips but it is dropping a lot of frames (actual clip playback maybe 18-20FPS).

    With 4sec cross fade to another 6 separate clips (total 12 clips running) drops to 20FPS but no additional visible dropped frames (still 18-20fps).

    If I remove all Soft Edge and Transforms Millumin reports 60FPS and with 6 clips looks like it is playing all frames. With 4sec cross fade to another 6 clips drops to 45FPS and I can see dropped frames (again maybe 18-20 FPS).

    Hap medium 25p (1920x1080/25p):
    With Soft Edge settings on I get same results as with Photo-JPEG test above.

    With no Soft Edge / Transform I get 60FPS and no noticeable dropped frames. Even with 4sec cross fade test 58FPS and no noticeable dropped frames!

    Hap medium 30p (1920x1080/30p):
    Millumin reports 30FPS with no clips playing. Still reports 30FPS with 6 clips but had mixed results with visible dropped frames. 50% of the time looked fine and 50% at around 18-20fps. With 4sec cross fade test similar result as 6 clips.

    With no Soft Edge / Transform I get 60FPS and no noticeable dropped frames. Even with 4sec cross fade test 58FPS and no noticeable dropped frames!

    As a final test I dropped the output back to 9600 x 1080 (5 HD screens) and 5 layers of clips (with the USB still doing main display). Millumin still reports 30FPS but playback was a little more stable but similar to the 6 outputs.

    With 6 x 1080/60p output screens I would not be comfortable running a show with soft edge and/or mapping. With 5 outputs I might be OK with more testing. Four screen outputs plus main monitor (no USB convertor) would seem more like reality for a show to me.

    If I get a chance tomorrow morning and I can find enough 50Hz compatible devices I will try everything at 50p / 25p, which is what I would do normally on a show with projectors (here I am just using 60hz only computer monitors). That would be a 20% reduction in overhead which could make all the difference.


  • Thanks Tom
    I will read all well again to try get it all.
    First remark about a test I made:
    Simulating the content resolution 2x4176x1080, playing on 6 outputs set up in Millumin (outputs going to only two displays, but with soft edge blending (visible then as black soft columns on single display, just a simulation), on an old Mac Pro 2009 2.66 Octo 64GB ram and loaded with fast storage.
    Photo-JPEG was choppy, loosing frames, horrible. Prores 422HQ was super smooth and clean. That goes against Millumin recommendations pushing photo-JPEG as best codec. Any idea why?
  • Hello @perspixe,

    Could you tell us your configuration ?
    - OSX version
    - graphic card model of the MacPro
    - Millumin mode (32 or 64 bits)
    - global resolution (8352x1080 ?)
    - file sizes (difference between Photo-JPEG and ProRes 422HQ)

    Thank you. Philippe
  • Hello
    (sorry for my english)

    Such projector have directly edgeblending (like Chrisite Twist).

    With it, you can just use 1 output for 3 projectors without edgeblending software...

    It's just an idea...
  • edited March 2015
    Hello Philippe,

    OS X 10.9.5
    NVidia GTX680 (PC model flashed, seen as Mac version)
    Millumin runs in 64 bits mode
    Global resolution: 11520x1080. I output 3 Screens to each of my displays (all I have now: a NEC 30" 2560x1600, other 1920x1200) .
    I have two layers in the composition.
    each has a 4176x1080 video file, two different files.
    Photo-jpeg is 2.2GB
    ProRes 422 HQ is same size

    If I do some warping it still plays smoothly in ProRes.
  • Hello Manouche35
    The room where I project on the 4 walls is 11x11m, 3m high. Each wall 11x3m is covered by projection.
    I have 4 pillars in the room and the only way to do it is to use ultra short throw projectors with a ratio of 0.50 or less.
    The only one I found is the Optoma GT1080. I am already using one in a single projection in a Museum in Bologna and it is a vary capable but I have to edge blend it in software...
    So I need 3 projectors per wall
  • I talked with Datapth in the UK. They have never tested 3 datapathx4 on a single Mac Pro (that would be in the case all 12 FullHD projectors and video streams would be played from same Mac Pro).
    I have also checked the PictureAll Octo solution. It accepts multiple Datapathx4 and has 8 dual Link DVI outputs, so I could have 2 data path attached to 2 of its outputs and so get 14 outputs total. Perfect. Edge blending is done within the Octo. lens distortion correction can also be made in the Octo to ensure overlaps for edge blending are in good registration for optimal sharpness. This solution is too expensive for the budget unfortunately.
    So it seems to me that the safest solution is to use two Mac Pros, one with one datapathx4 attached to it, so I get a total of 14 Full HD outputs between the two Mac Pros. I can do the soft edge blending with Millumin, but I don't have a simple solution for lens distortion correction.
  • edited March 2015

    About EDID problem Wizard of Oz talked about.
     I enquired about DVI parrot and the response from UK team was very fast, here are their comments that make this device quite necessary for a permanent (7 months) installation (see below).
    But I haven't figured out yet how to use only one and Kramer (model VA-1DVIN?) for all others, copying settings made with the parrot on each projector to the corresponding Kramer...

    The Parrot is useful in two ways.
    1. If you are connected to a projector that has an non-standard EDID setting (aspect ratio or timings) which is not supported by the graphics card on your playback device, then you can obviously run into problems. You can however program the Parrot to "fool" the graphics card on your playback device into thinking that the non-standard EDID it is detecting is actually an EDID that is supported by your graphics card.
    2. If someone was to accidentally disconnect or power down a projector during playback then some systems are unable to lock back onto the projector automatically. When you place a Parrot between the playback unit and the projector, then the Parrot will keep providing an EDID message to your playback device regardless of whether your projector is on or off. This can be very useful from a protection point of view. This also allows you to power up your playback device before you power up your projectors, your playback device will then detect the EDID setting generated by the Parrot, and configure its outputs accordingly.
    I would also like to mention that the Datapathx4 has fairly comprehensive EDID management built into the unit as standard, so you may not need to add Parrots on these outputs.
    It might be worth adding Parrots to your direct connections to provide extra protection and EDID management if you need it.

  • Hi perpixe

    I am doing some testing with 6 outputs on Mac Pro and will report back later today, so far I don't think it is really possible for smooth playback.

    With the EDID - Use the Parrot Trainer software to create EDID profile, including the custom display name e.g. "Display 1". Once copied to the Parrot you can plug the Parrot in to another EDID emulator (like a Kramer) as if it was a monitor then copy the custom EDID to the Kramer. Then change the name of the display in the Parrot Trainer e.g. "Display 2" save it to the Parrot and connect the next Kramer and copy again, etc. Note that I needed the Parrot to be powered by the USB cable for the Kramer emulators to copy the EDID from properly. If you want a particular resolution to be the default, the only way I could do that was to have just one resolution in the custom profile. When you connect it to a computer (Windows or Mac) the system will still show the standard VESA solutions as available, but it will default to the resolution you created.


  • Hi Wizard of Oz
    Thanks for doing this.
    In theory the Mac Pro supports natively 3x 4k displays or 6x Full HD displays.
    So I hope it can work.
    Let me know when you have tested. Note that despite using 6x Full HD outputs, my video files will be in fact 2x 4176x1080, so about 4x Full HD, spanned on 6 projectors.
    Understand about the Parrot trick: just learn and teach procedure. Nice one.

  • Ok, I did a test of 6 x 1920x1080/60p outputs with edge blend (792 pixels x 4) for total screen size 8352x1080 pixels. I used 3 x Sapphire VID-2X DisplayPort versions to get the 6 outputs, one on each TB bus. Plus a main monitor at 1920x1080/60p via DP sharing TB bus 0. 

    I created a test clip (designed to make dropped frames noticeable) at 8352x1080/30p with HAP, Photo-JPEG and ProRes LT codecs. With all of them Millumin reports playback at 30fps even during a 10 second cross fade to another clip (with same codec). However, I noticed dropped frames (jerky playback) at some point with all codecs, even though it was no worse during a cross fade. Note that as soon as I put Millumin into full screen even without any clips playing the frame rate drops from 60fps to 30fps. So it would seem the system is stressed just running 6 outputs with edge blend. If I turn edge blend off I get 60fps during all playback including cross fade and no noticeable dropped frames.

    My conclusion is 6 outputs with this set up is not show safe. I would think 4 outputs plus a control monitor per Mac Pro (so 3 machines) would be more likely. I will try to test that config tomorrow.


  • edited March 2015
    Thank you so much Tom
    I will probably need to use soft crop effect instead of soft edge blending as describe in thread
    So if I want to avoid using any effect like soft edge:
    Once I have my compositions ready with soft crop effect, I can render them and then play the rendered versions. That way I take off this stress from the system and would have 60fps no dropped frames as in your test.

    One question: you use the Sapphire 2x1, you end up with 3x3840x1080 input on each, split to 6x1920x1080 correct?
    Would it change something to have direct connection for the 6 projectors (thunderbolt to DVI to Parrot to HDMI)? Or same?
  • edited March 2015

    I got same  performance with either 3 x Sapphire VID-2X (plus control monitor) or 5 x Active DP-DVI (non-powered ones) & 1 x HDMI direct out plus a USB to DVI control monitor. However, I don't completely trust the USB-DVI adapter (Winstar USB 2.0). Whilst it seems stable in "normal" use sometimes doing things like changing it to the main monitor in Systems Preferences would make the finder menus disappear from the menu bar and would need to force quit the Finder to make them reappear.

    I had a go at the workflow suggested above doing the soft crop on slices in a composition...I gave up after doing just one of the blends!! It is infinitely more difficult than using the Output Soft Edge on six outputs (not to mention the 12 you need). It took me 8 minutes to warp and blend one join using the Output Soft Edge set up. I spent 30 minutes doing it with slices and still wasn't happy with the result (I am picky).

    If you use the slice editor you have no numeric control over the size or positioning of each slice, you can only adjust them by eye. Its four times (at least) more work setting each side of a blend seperately. Keep in mind that when you apply slices its subdivision are based on the size of the media clip not the size of the workspace. So if you change the media and it is a different size all your alignment goes out the window. Essentially you lose all scaling flexibility. Infact I had to use media at the full output (11520) width just so I could get my head around slicing it correctly. But maybe I have just been staring at this stuff for too many hours now. This all might not be a problem if you have all the media created perfectly and in advance, but that has never happened to me on a gig!

    I took 25 minutes to render a 1 minute composition at 11520x1080 out of Millumin (Compressor took 2min 30sec to render the same size clip), so a 20 minute composition would take over 8 hours to render. Also, the settings for each codec output is pre-set and the Photo-JPEG one is nearly twice the data rate (264 mbits/s) than the data rate I use with Compressor (190 mbits/s with Photo-JPEG Medium quality) so I could only playback the rendered video file at 15fps. So you would probably need to re-encode it at lower bit rate afterwards.I didn't try any of the other codec outputs.

    However, the full original 11520x1080 Photo-JPEG test clip with the soft crops and warping (corner pinning only) applied played back very well directly in the Millumin Composition and then dropped on to the Board, and renders at 60fps with no noticeable dropped frames. Though with a cross fade to a second Composition I got 50% dropped frames (and drop to 45fps output). Also got a jump whenever the clip loops. But if your clips can start and end with static images to cover any cross fade time or loop then you wouldn't see the dropped frames. Playing straight out of the Composition also gives you the flexibility to make the inevitable updates to the blends with a temporary rig over a along period of time.

    Philippe (if you read this far) why does the Output Soft Edge have so much more system resource overhead than the soft crop and warping on layers? I thought it would be pretty much the same code? Looking at Activity Viewer the CPU is running at just 19% with either one so I assume its all happening on the GPU then?


  • As a note, I got very poor performance going the two instances of Millumin, with one doing the media to Syphon out and the second doing Syphon in plus soft crop and warping. The first Millumin dropped to 30fps and the second Millumin reported 37fps but the video looked like it was running at 15fps, very choppy.


  • Thanks Tom
    I understand now that there is a way to make it work. There are constraints, and all of them I can deal with. The main is that it is not a live show. It will be setup, everything, and then will run with no intervention. So if time to setup is long because of some constraints (render comps, soft edge crop if I end up deciding to do it this way...) I can deal with it.
    For the Parrot I found only seller from England (TMB)...
  • Once I will have equipment and start setup, I will make a new thread to describe the configuration and how all is doing, as Tom has done in this one. Hopefully that will help others as I have been helped. Thank you for all.
  • edited March 2015
    just a last one for now, Does multi-threading improves Millumin performance dramatically in playing that kind of sizes and number of projectors?

    stupid question sorry, I can see that obviously yes as I am at 50% CPU use on a Mac Pro 2009 2.88 octo
  • Hello @perspixe,

    Millumin is already multi-threaded.
    So there is nothing to change that way (unless I didn't understand your question).

    Best. Philippe
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