Presenters need to worry about many issues. There’s the quality of their content, the efficacy of their delivery, the power of their visuals…
And on top of that, they need to worry about a thousand technical details. These days, there’s an additional detail they need to consider.
The rise of the video wall.
When it comes to creating a multimedia environment today you have many good options.
You can go for a big screen TV. 60 inches are now somewhat affordable and you always get crisp colors even under heavy ambient illumination.
You can go for a 16:9 DLP projector that looks great with the lights off and it’s pretty luminous also in daylight conditions.
But increasingly there is a third alternative. Instead of buying a more expensive big screen TV you can mount many smaller, cheaper TVs together and create a video wall.
While the video wall features the same crisp colors, and the same excellent daylight performance of a single screen flat TV, you get a larger screen altogether. This option seems like a match made in heaven for presenters.
But, there is a but. These video walls do not create a seamless image. They show gaps, and these gaps can render your slides unreadable and break your design. Plus, the location of these gaps is often unpredictable.
One problem at the time.
Why are there seams?
When you align screens together, there is often a small gap where the bezel of one TV ends and the next begins. However small these gaps may be, we do not perceive the image to be continuous any more.
Where are the seams?
Shouldn’t they always be at the same place?
Most video walls have a 2×2 matrix of screens arranged in landscape format. But… that’s not the only option possible. I just recently held a workshop in a room with a 3×1 matrix of screens in portrait mode.
And the options don’t stop there. 3×3 matrixes are also possible, as are way bigger mosaics of screens. My point is, don’t count on knowing where the seams will be.
What color are the seams?
Since the image is usually bright you see the seams as black lines along your frame. This is the one constant you can count on when working with video walls.
Is there any solution to this?
There is one trick. Even though you can’t predict where seams will appear, if you are sure that you’re going to present in a location with a video wall, you can make your backgrounds black or as dark as possible.
As you can see from this photo of the brilliant talk by David Eagleman at TED 2015, when you display a slide with a completely black background, it’s really hard to figure out where the lines are.
Video walls are great friends because they can ensure high fidelity, but they’re also nefarious enemies showing off their bezels to the detriment of our beautiful slides. What is your experience with them? I would love to hear about it in the comments.