Datapath x4 inspires new dawn for Lorraine television show

Datapath x4 inspires new dawn for Lorraine television show

Part of a new look for ITV's Lorraine television programme centres on a seven-screen video wall that exploits the benefits of two x4 display wall controllers from Datapath, a world leader in multi-screen graphics technology.

"We had an exciting chance in April to give the Lorraine programme a fresh new look," explains Richard Jack, Studio Director for the Lorraine show. "As a result we sat down with our set design team and started to generate ideas. We wanted a look that felt comfortable, stylish and homely. One of the suggestions was to have a selection of photo frames on the wall housing pictures of Lorraine's family, friends and special moments. It was then that we had the idea of 'mirroring' the photo frames on another wall with seven plasma screens which could be used to show features and for Lorraine to interview guests."

Lorraine is the weekday morning news, lifestyle and entertainment show for ITV, presented by Lorraine Kelly. ITV Studios produces the show, which airs on Monday to Friday from 08:30 until 09:25, following Good Morning Britain. Previously, the Lorraine show shared the use of an 8 x 3 video wall arranged in a traditional straight array, but the thinking was different for the new look set.

"We could have used the same configuration but the original video wall was designed to be 'newsy', so it lacked the homely feel we wanted for the redesign," says Richard. "The new video wall had to appear more organic and natural, and less corporate."

The final design was a seven screen plasma array arranged as though they were photo frames on the wall, in various sizes and orientations. To turn the idea into reality, however, required a little more research into display wall controllers than Richard initially bargained for.

"Although it's probably beyond my usual level of detail, I found a number of potential solutions on the internet, including the Datapath x4, which looked ideal for our application," he explains. "Other ideas and products were proposed, but when we drilled down they weren't quite right. As a result, I sought assurance from Datapath that the x4 was the way to go...and so it proved."

For the new Lorraine video wall, Richard wanted to run any live source through the screens. Rather than simple video playback, this meant the system needed to interpret other studio sources straight to the plasma screens in real time. Acting as "a live processor" the selected technology would need to take the feed, split it, and convey it to the relevant screens.

"Although there are seven screens we didn't have seven playback mechanisms – we had to drive from a single source," says Richard.

Having decided to acquire two Datapath x4 display wall controllers, the AV installation company set about configuring the system. As a process, the system is fed from the studio with 1080i (interlaced) signal before conversion to 1080p (progressive) using a DataVideo DAC-70 up/down/cross converter. This in turn is converted via a Kramer FC-332 into HDMI format before being output as two identical feeds into the two x4 display wall controllers.

"We have seven images in one frame – which we call the 'polyframe' – with the x4 controllers programmed to take relevant parts of the image and send them to the screens in the Lorraine studio. To the naked eye it's not ultra-high resolution, but when we put a camera on it we only get 1920 x 1080 pixels anyhow, so it looks fine."

Ultimately the project has proved highly successful with the new video wall used extensively since Lorraine's new set was first broadcast to the viewing millions in April 2014. Moreover, the project is also a huge triumph from a budget perspective.

"The video wall started out as just a sketch and was never in the budget for the new set design," says Richard. "As a result, it had to be created for as little as possible. We are extremely pleased to say that we managed to acquire all the screens and video processing technology for an amazingly low total cost. The Datapath x4 controllers have therefore proved an extremely cost effective solution for what we consider to be a quality outcome."

Download the Lorraine case study

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Datapath Ltd.

Datapath products are used throughout the world, we provide video capture cards, graphics cards and other forms of digital solutions for video wall.

We are a leading innovator in the field of computer graphics and video wall display technology; covering multiple industries such as visual media, military, education, security and health care.

Continuously developing the technology within our product ranges, we are able to provide outstanding solutions. Previously winning the Queens Award for International Trade in 2005, Datapath have now proven continuous innovation to old and new products by winning the prestigious Queens Award for Innovation 2011.

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Graphics Cards

Datapath's range of Graphics Cards

Datapath's graphics cards allow you to use high quality visuals on video walls of various sizes, presenting a clear image on a high number of screens at the same time, multi-card installations for PCI systems supporting 64 displays and PCI Express up to 40 displays.

Our graphics card range provides hardware support for multi-screen solutions, ideal for applications in industries such as control rooms, video walls and high end digital signage.

The graphics cards are PCI or PCI Express compatible support for HD, SD, DVI and RGB video overlays, with a maximum resolution of 4 x 1920x1200 x 32bit. The Image4 graphics card operates with low power providing versatility with a wide range of motherboards.

Gen-locking is used to tie the outputs of the graphics cards together so that they all render their outputs to screen at the same time. This makes fast moving images appear smoother on the video wall and eliminates 'tearing' artifacts on the display.

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Capture Cards

Capture Cards

Datapath have developed a broad range of captures cards for display walls, medical imaging, machine vision, video conferencing, distance learning and video streaming.

These video capture cards offer HD capture or HDMI capture capabilities as well as a number of high resolution video capture modes including 3G-SDI, HD-SDI, dual-link DVI, RGB, VGA and Composite; for Analogue video and SD.

Used in conjunction with Datapath graphics cards, these capture cards offer great performance for multiscreen solutions and video walls. Captured input sources from single or multi-channel capture cards, can be positioned and sized anywhere across the multi-screen display.

Whether you are looking for a video capture solution for streaming, recording or presentation applications we'll have a solution for your needs. With requirements for high quality capture cards continuously increasing, Datapath is responding by offering new improved products at regular intervals.

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Wall Controllers

Wall Controllers

Datapath supply multi-display video wall controllers to OEM partners, these controllers are capable of integrating any types of video and data sources on any display configuration. Datapath offers complete solutions, sub systems and components for any wall controller needs.

Our display controllers are used in variety of different areas such as traffic control centres, telecom operations facilities, utility companies, security applications and in entertainment settings.

We provide highly expandable and flexible solutions for video wall and multi-display applications, using Datapath's latest generation of video capture cards and graphics cards. WallControl 10 is a Datapath Windows application enabling easy configuration and set up of your video wall controller.

Datapath's expertise at a system level gives our customers benefits such as great time performance, low latency, optimised thermal management and a complete set of video solutions including analogue, digital and compressed video streams.

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