So what exactly is Watchout?

Watchout is software that allows you to send video, graphics and audio to multiple displays to create an amazing multimedia experience.

A simple Watchout setup (from the manual)
You can create a "stage" using projectors, plasma or LCD screens in any configuration and then build a timeline that defines which media is shown on each screen. Projectors can be overlapped to create images of any size and Watchout will take care of the edge blending so that the images on screen are seamless. Because each display is fed from a single computer you can build shows with resolutions far beyond HD. I made a show running on six 1400 x 1050 projectors blended on to a 40 metre wide screen. The resolution of the show was 6000 x 1050 and it played perfectly. If you are using separate LCD or Plasma screens you can even allow for the distance between screens so that moving content will cross the gaps smoothly and not jump to the next screen immediately.

From the timeline you can control opacity, position, rotation, colour and many other parameters. All of these settings can be keyframed and animated.

The Watchout user interface
Watchout is great for museums and exhibitions where you need a show to run repeatedly but it is also fantastic for live events such as Fashion shows or Awards shows.

The issue with live shows is that often things do not run exactly to schedule, so any video or music you use cannot be timed exactly. Watchout allows you to set up the show so that sections of video or audio can loop in place until the command is given to go to the next cue. Similarly with an award show, you can wait to trigger the on screen reveal of the winner until exactly the right moment.

The other benefit of having everything in one timeline is consistency. All my video, graphics and audio cues are in place. I don't have to rely on half a dozen different sources (VTR's, DVD players, CD players etc.) being cued at the right time. I can also build the whole show in advance and rehearse it from start to finish. I can see exactly where things need to be and what problems might occur. I can even render a preview of the entire show to give to the client. At the venue, Watchout can be controlled manually or by timecode, midi or DMX.

I have used Watchout for about five years now and it is continuously improving. The latest version (5.1) allows the timeline to be controlled from a computer with a very simple interface, or even from an iPhone!

Watchout can be used in conjunction with an Encore or Spyder system to provide the base layer for a show with other sources such as live cameras. You can also bring live video into Watchout and display it in a window.

Another feature of Watchout is that projection can be geometry corrected so projecting onto curved or irregularly shaped surfaces is not a problem.

Watchout geometry correction
This project for a casino in Holland used three projectors. The screen was stretched fabric so is was convex horizontally but concave vertically.

Holland Casino curved screen
So what's the downside? Watchout needs the content to be created to fit the stage, especially if you are using blended projection. Any graphics or video should be created and rendered to the exact resolution of the screens.
You also need a programmer who understands what Watchout is capable of and an operator who is cool under pressure. If you have all these things you can create amazing multimedia shows combining Video, Graphics and Audio on enormous screens. Take a look at these examples.

Australian Embassy - Five projectors
Cosmo Girl - Single projector award show
Staatsloterij five projectors - not blended

I am available as a freelance Watchout programmer/operator or if you just need some advice drop me a line