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Mount Basics

How much adjustment is enough?

We at RPT just can’t walk past a video wall without looking at and most likely critiquing the installation and alignment.  Most video walls are not well aligned and we wonder why. Recently, at InfoComm 2017, the AV industry showcase convention, I walked the floor and estimate that fully 75% of the video walls could have been improved significantly with proper alignment and 25% of them were just plain awful. Our own industry should be showing perfectly aligned video walls, if not something is wrong with either the mounts or the installers.

Let’s face it; mounts are usually the final afterthought in any video wall project, the last thing to worry about and buy before slapping those expensive monitors onto the wall. Mounts are simple, aren’t they?

If mounts are so simple, then why are there so many badly aligned video walls? Perhaps installers aren’t as skilled as they should be?  The wall was more crooked than we expected? We ran out of time, money or both?

A poorly aligned, badly installed video wall is a poor reflection on your brand and your attention to detail, so you should understand how to avoid installation problems. It begins with understanding what a mount needs to do and buying a mount that can be adjusted in your application.

RPT has researched monitor mounting and developed our own mounts where we couldn’t find acceptable alternatives in the industry. We’ve proven, in our testing, that quality Monitors are very accurate and a rigid precision assembled structure can deliver acceptable alignment without any adjustments. In the real world, walls aren’t precision structures, and installers don’t have the tools to measure and mount to less than a hundredth of an inch. SO adjustment will always be required.

There are six axes of possible monitor adjustment:

  • Lateral (X axis)
  • Height (Y Axis)
  • Tilt (Top to bottom relative to wall)
  • Pan (Side to side relative to wall)
  • Roll (Rotation about center of Face, clockwise or counterclockwise)
  • Depth (Z Axis)

Mounts you choose may offer all of these axes of adjustment, or only a few. Some axes may be achieved by combination, example Roll is most commonly adjusted by differential adjustable heights left and right and that works well. Buy onyly what you need, but choose too little adjustability and even the best installer won’t be able to deliver a perfectly aligned video wall.

The Minimum number of adjustable axes to easily achieve good alignment really depends on the flatness of your mounting surface, the skill of your installer and the time allowed to align the array.

Three axis Mounting

A well built flat wall can align an array with three axes: X, Y and Roll only. The bezel to bezel spaces can be near perfect but the planar alignment may not be 100% perfect if the array face is viewed from the side at a steep angle.

RPT’s MVW-GHB L3 Modular Portable video walls are precision assemblies. We build them with RPT GHB 3 axis precision machined mounts of our own design with excellent results. Our customers move these video walls many times per year, and set-up and alignment must be fast and accurate each time. One big advantage is that we don’t need or use a wall; we mount onto a precision modular free-standing structure that assembles flatter than most walls,

Six Axis Mounting

A badly out of true wall will generally need all six axes of adjustment and if the mount chosen has the range of adjustments, and the installer is well equipped, skilled and allowed enough time, the array can be adjusted absolutely flat and perfectly aligned. A badly aligned array with excellent mounts is the installer’s fault.

RPT’s MVW ConnexSys L6+ single or double sided freestanding video wall structures are a great six axis example. We integrate them with the Chief ConnexSys mount that provides wide range full six axis stress free adjustment system with a pull-out for installation and service.

Pull out or drop on?

Monitors should be easily loaded onto the mount. Small monitors drop on easily to some mounts. Large arrays of large monitors should have a pull-out feature to allow center monitors to be removed and replaced without removing a bunch of other monitors. Pull outs also allow easier connections after that heavy monitor is supported. There’s more engineering with pull-outs. You must confirm that the mounting wall’s structure can safely accommodate the overhung loads of your monitor’s weight pulled out to the maximum the mount allows, and one shouldn’t presume that only one monitor at a time will be pulled out at a time. You’ll need to manage a strategy for releasing the monitors or ensuring that they can’t be released by just anyone.

Stress-Free

Hard for me to believe and I won’t name names, but some big name six axis pull-out mounts for large monitors can be adjusted in combinations that twist and stress the frame of that expensive thin bezel monitor. Thin bezel monitors are expensive, and fragile.  At RPT we insist that mounts never impart extra stress to the monitor no matter how they are adjusted.

Arrays of small monitors

Small monitors (VESA 100×100 and 200×200) present special challenges because there are few fully adjustable options for those smaller monitors. As a result, RPT has developed the RPT Wall Mount 3 Axis Artistic Drop on that handles rectangular and artistic layouts of small and medium monitors. We will soon release a full six axis version of the same mount, making perfect alignment of small monitor arrays easy.

Goals

Arrays of monitors should have tiny spaces between bezels. Commonly described as the thickness of a business card, approximately 0.025 Inches or 0.6mm is perfect. Not all monitor bezels are perfectly straight, so we set the design gap at 0.040 or 1 mm and ensure that there is a small gap everywhere along each edge. Gaps are essential to ensure that the weight whole stack of monitors isn’t pushing down on the top edge of the bottom monitor. A business car should slide down the gap without binding. Easy to adjust mounts make that perfect gap easy to set while harder to adjust mounts get the “good enough” in frustration and the result rarely is good enough.

Arrays should present as flat a face as possible. If the array is set back some distance and only viewed from relatively narrow front angles, this is far less important than other adjustments. If a person can walk past parallel to the face of the array, planar misalignment becomes much more obvious and just looks sloppy.

Summary

The cost differential between great mounts with enough adjustment and terrible mounts that can’t be aligned is a tiny fraction of what your video wall will cost. Don’t blame your installer if you choose the wrong mounts and they can’t install a perfect video wall, usually for cost reasons, and the results are less than optimal. On the other hand some installers don’t have the skills or attention to detail even with the best available mounts.

If you want more information on RPT Video Wall Mounting Systems or wish to discuss challenging video wall installations please contact us.

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RPT Modular Video Walls

RPT Motion Inc. specializes in Modular Video Walls Structures

What exactly does “Modular” mean in the world of RPT video walls?

Basically it means that we engineer and manufacture our structural and video wall mounting systems in modules, building blocks that form a cohesive system of re-useable engineering to reduce costs, increase accuracy, speed delivery, increase confidence while allowing for very quick proposals and budgetary quotes followed by quick delivery.

Where to use RPT Modular Structures:

We generally like to start discussions by saying that if you have a structurally solid wall to mount your monitors on, then that’s a really simple problem and we’re probably not your best choice. There are many great options to mount and align your monitors. In fact we use them in many of our Modular Video Walls wherever they work well because they’re made in huge volumes and we can’t compete on the actual mounting and adjusting part of the video wall.

So at our core, RPT are the creative structural guys for video walls and large arrays. The big mount suppliers may offer custom fabricated structures, but it’s usually not their specialty or sweet spot, especially in low quantity arrays of one off or a few off.

We want you to contact us for the Digital Signage and Monitor Mounting applications that challenge you the most, the ones where you have few or no good ideas for except reaching for custom design and fabrication. Because our Modules are

Several descriptive words in explaining your array should trigger a discussion with us:

Freestanding: If your array must stand alone, bolted to the floor, or floor to ceiling posts, then we’re got many options and solutions, especially for large arrays.

Double or Multi Sided: If your array will have monitors on two or more sides, we got solutions, usually these are freestanding fixed arrays, but we can provide double sided portable arrays as well.

Portable: If your array needs to be deployed quickly and/or re-deployed many times, we’ve got great solutions.

Designed to travel Userful Modular Tradeshow Artistic Array Example:

Here’s a picture of the entire kit of RPT Modules for the RPT Modular Video Wall  six monitor artistic display at Userful Booth #611 InfoComm 2017:

Here’s the frame assembled (15 minute assembly time) in our demo shop prior to shipping:

Here’s the original rendering of what we proposed:

The Userful InfoComm Booth as the array was being adjusted, an easy task with Userful:

There are 4 x 55″ ThinGlobal screens 2 x 2 with rows offset, a 39″ Vizio bottom right overlay on a rotatable VESA 100×100 Mount, and a 24″ Monitor Top left overlay on a rotatable VESA 75×75 mount. On site assembly of RPT Modular frame  was less than 20 minutes, mounting and physical aligning of monitors took another 30 minutes, Userful Zero Client wiring and connection to server 30 minutes, Userful Array adjustment 20 minutes.

And playing 4K demo Content on six screens of three different manufacturers, sizes and rotations:

Modular is good for fixed installations too:

Modular construction is equally applicable to arrays that will be assembled once and left in one place for their life.

We’re seeing more requests for large freestanding interior arrays of monitors. Some of these are destined for interior outward facing video walls on widow walls. Having the wall inside the mall reduces cost by reducing  monitor environmental challenges and also often simplifies permitting challenges.

Large arrays need perfect adjustment and a pull-out mounting system. RPT’s MWV-ConnexSys L6+ system integrates the excellent Chief ConnexSys Mount into the flexibility of RPT’s precision modular structural system.

Here’s an LG 47″ Digital Signage Monitor on an RPT  MVW ConnexSys L6+ mount (closed)  in our test area.

Here’s the same mount pulled out for wiring or service.

RPT’s Modular Structure allows rapid on-site assembly of large arrays, from a easy to move and assemble precision modules. This reduces handling issues in existing structures while increasing the finished quality of the array assembly.

Q: What do you put on the back of a large freestanding  array?

A: Why not make it a back to back large array?

The RPT MVW ConnexSys L6+ can also be used back to back. They can move from concept to quote to install very quickly when compared to custom designed and fabricated options, because we’re assembling a custom structure with existing RPT modules and structure.

These arrays can be very large. Because we build on precision T-Slotted aluminum extrusions we can increase the size of components like the legs, and use all of our existing monitor mounting options. That allows us to build high stacks of monitor mounts that install one mount at a time without heavy lifting. The central leg modules connect two stacks, so we can build arrays as many monitors wide as you can imagine, afford or push content to.

I hope this explanation of what RPT’s Modular Video wall structures give you some ideas of our capabilities.

Bring us your ideas for big, small, complicated, portable, fixed, freestanding, or other ideas that need a structure for fast concept renderings, quotes, delivery, and deployment.

 

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RPT CDS 8K Cart

Resolution moves upward constantly, and 8K video content is quickly becoming a reality.  When you need to render, or edit full 8K Video or other ultra high resolution digital signage presentations, how can you present or demo your content to a group in full 8K 7680 x 4320 or even higher resolution? Userful’s Software Video Wall Server can output full resolution 30 fps 8K video and even larger resolutions for highest quality static images.

There are very few good 8K display options: Dell has an incredible but small 31.5″ 8K Monitor that you could huddle a small group around. Several manufacturers offer large very expensive and hard to move single screen 8K TVs, or you could set up a significant and power hungry direct view LED wall and move way back to lose the pixelation effects of direct view LED.

Real world deployments of 8K video in the digital signage market will likely be either 2×2 arrays of 4K Monitors or 4×4 arrays of 1080P monitors. Using 4K monitors will limit the maximum size of the deployed video wall, while the 4×4 array of 55 inch thin bezel monitors will present as a larger 220″ diagonal 8K video wall, or if you want larger choose 65″ monitors. Another benefit of the 4×4 array is that it can be divided into more discrete zones in some end uses.

Obviously, these large scale video wall deployments are technically complex and expensive. They must deploy quickly and function perfectly. How do you test hardware and software to demo a concept and content for such a huge video wall? Content over the life of a large video wall is the key to success and return on investment: Does your ongoing content development process hardware and software functionally exactly match the real world deployment?

RPT’s CDS 8K Cart, an integrated wheeled cart 98″ diagonal portable 4×4 array of the digital signage quality 24″ NEC EX241UN Ultra Thin Bezel Monitors.  The CDS 8K Cart is best powered by an ultra high performance Userful Software Video Wall Server as a great answer that can grow with your future needs.

RPT’s CDS 8K Cart is  fully integrated and designed to be self-contained. It’s sized to roll through a standard 32″ commercial door from your development area to your boardroom, and plug into a standard outlet. Connected to your network, content playback can be managed from a tablet or laptop via Userful’s UCC.

At present, 8K input cards are not yet available, so 8K content to be played is transferred via Ethernet to the Server for playback. We’re confident that Userful will be among the first to support 8K input cards once they become available, and RPT’s Modular CDS system allows us to expand your CDS 8K Cart array to those higher resolutions in the future.

RPT’s CDS 8K Cart is outside the 2017 normal box, but it’s not just for 8K video projects:

Portable Control Room display: The RPT CDS 8K Cart’s Userful Server can be equipped with a 4K input card, or up to 16 HDMI or SDI inputs, any or all of which can be mapped to individual or grouped monitors within the RPT CDS array. Of course, Userful’s full range of source capabilities and video wall mapping is available.  Userful can support 100 monitors from one server, so a hypothetical mobile control room could even network daisy chain six RPT CDS 8K Carts (server on first cart) for a portable 96 monitor security or control system for events. For more on Userful’s Control Room capabilities see: Userful YouTube Control Room Video

The RPT CDS 8K Cart is an ideal digital signage content development platform: RPT’s CDS system is modular. The monitor array can be easily reconfigured into other layouts at any time. These include landscape, portrait, mixed and artistic arrays. One example: Userful’s Rise Vision CMS player allow you to configure any part of the 4×4 array into a Rise Vision Display. Userful can set up different Rise displays for Userful video wall groupings or single monitors and then display different presentations and schedules on each.

Multiple Array Content Development: If you need to demo, develop, present and co-ordinate high quality content for multiple arrays of different sizes and layouts, perhaps arrays in a single storefront or in different locations within a store. RPT can build smaller or larger CDS carts of any array configuration. Each additional CDS cart’s network switch would connect to the CDS 8K cart network switch with a single Ethernet cable. Once tested and deployed into the retail application, the single Userful server installation topology would be identical and the content resolution and user control functionally identical, only the size of the monitors changes. The RPT CDS 8K Cart’s Userful Software Video Wall server can control up to 100 screens in almost any combination of array layouts and input or CMS sources.

The future will have higher resolutions, bigger arrays, and more arrays per installation. RPT’s CDS 8K Cart is just one example of a unlimited number of RPT Content Development System configurations that we can build to help your video wall and content development sales grow into that future.

In a fast moving industry, we at RPT Motion Inc. look forward to helping you with your toughest challenges.

Contact RPT for more information:

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RPT Content Development System

RPT Motion Inc. CDS: Content Development System for Video Walls

Content Providers are a key market driver in the expanding video wall business.

Content attracts and engages target customers to ensure best possible return on the significant investment of video walls.

Concept stage:
In the concept stage of any project, your customer seeing real content on a real video wall is an important part of the decision process.

Video Wall Content providers need better tools to develop and demo concepts and layouts, as well as ways to test hardware, software and content in preparation for “going live” with zero surprises.

Lifetime Stage:
Once a video wall is deployed, especially a large or complex array layout, a constant stream of new content must be developed, adapted, produced, and debugged for the layout of each installed video wall.
Video Wall Content providers need better tools to more efficiently develop the highest quality reliable content.

RPT Modular Video Wall Content Development System (CDS):

RPT’s Content Development System (CDS) has been designed as a highly effective platform to conceptualize, develop, present, and test multi-monitor video walls.

RPT’s CDS is an ideal platform for Content Providers to prepare and test content that exactly matches the customer’s video wall.

What exactly is RPT’s Content Development System?

  • RPT’s CDS system is best described as a high quality 100% functionally identical Modular Video Wall Array on a much smaller scale (physical and cost) when compared to a full sized  installed video wall.
  • RPT’s CDS allows complete concept development, hardware and software integration and testing of complex video wall arrays in rectangular, mixed or artistic layouts.
  • Because of RPT’s CDS modular building block structure, the CDS system can be changed at any time to demo an almost unlimited range of array layouts and sizes.
  • Think of the RPT CDS as a perfect smaller scale model of video walls you sell and supply content for, exactly identical pixel counts, identical hardware functionality and identical layouts but on a smaller scale.
  • RPT’s CDS allows easy presentation and demo of exactly what a proposed video wall will look like with your content.
  • RPT’s CDS, like our full sized modular portable video walls, is built on a precision modular structural system that can be quickly reconfigured or expanded at any time to match virtually any layout of video wall that you need to sell or provide content for.
  • Once a concept, layout and content is tested on the RPT CDS, real world deployment is easy because the hardware and software remains identical, only the size of the monitors changes.
  • After full size deployment, the layout matching RPT CDS system is the perfect place to develop the stream of content that will be displayed in the real world. You can own one CDS  system and in a few hours reconfigure it to layout match any of the video walls you actively develop content for.

RPT CDS Monitor Block is the building block

The magic of the CDS system is a precision machined and assembled structural monitor block based on the superb NEC EX241UN 24″ monitor. Here’s a picture of 3 CDS Monitor Blocks ready to build into an array.

The CDS Monitor blocks quickly connect into rectangular arrays using a system of precision connectors that key into the CDS monitor blocks. Bezel alignment is controlled by precision assembly, and CDS Monitor blocks can be connected corner to corner or side to side, portrait to landscape with any stagger you might want.

Here’s a typical test stand structure in our perpetually messy demo shop:

This artistic display would take about 30 minutes of assembly time to build onto a CDS Cart and connect to a controller.

You can choose to use any video wall controller you want, but we have never found a better option than Userful’s Software Video Wall Server.  RPT’s CDS Monitor blocks are designed with an option for an integrated mount and ThinGlobal MiniPoint Ethernet Zero Client for Userful. That makes only two connections: a power cord and an Ethernet cable.

Our CDS wheeled carts can be built in to your needs in various sizes and usually include a RPT NetPDU module with a small 4U rack containing a Network Switch and a Power distribution. CDS Carts are modular and flexible. You can daisy chain CDS Carts with a single Ethernet cable Cart to cart.

Some RPT CDS Pictures

To help you visualize the power of RPT’s CDS system as well as the power of Userful’s Software Video Wall Controller, from a morning of testing the CDS system with four monitors in different layouts:

These are also a good example of the flexibility and power of Userful’s Software Video Wall Controller. Each new configuration took only a few minutes to set-up and align.

First layout sketch

Reality:

Next layout Zig Zag test. Note that the entire artistic array is supported only on the left leg of the stand, so we can rotate it to see what different angles do with different content. This highlights the rigidity and accuracy of the RPT CDS Monitor Blocks.

Rotated down Zig-Zag, still only supported on left leg.

A 4 monitor CDS Arch layout for a customer considering a large walk through arch with two portrait on each side bridged by two landscape. Again, Userful is wonderful at quickly getting content on any configuration of any shape or size of video wall.

If you’d like more information on how RPT’s CDS Content Development System can help you speed the design, testing and deployment of  better video walls and content please contact us: