New 4K visual system - Part 3 - Warping

Warping is the most demanding part of the conversion in terms of software. We use Immersive Designer Pro for planning with our customers because it is easy to calculate various scenarios in advance. This software is usually too expensive and too difficult to learn for a single case.

That's why we want to give you a few basic tips here. If in doubt, just ask us.

The most important parameters for calculating the visual are

  1. shape and diameter of the projection surface
  2. height of the projection surface
  3. height of the ceiling

The shape and diameter of the projection surface essentially depend on the room dimensions. As a rule of thumb: the bigger, the better. Minimum should be 4.0m diameter.  However, you must make sure that you can still reach all areas of the simulator and the room (e.g. windows) later on. We essentially sell two types of screens: standing or hanging. The standing screen is somewhat easier to install, but requires a little more space. The hanging version can be mounted quite close to walls. It is also easier to clean underneath. The biggest advantage is that you can move it a little if necessary, e.g. to get to the bow of the simulator.

The height of the projection surface depends on the diameter and the ceiling height. A projection surface that is too high cannot be illuminated by the projectors. If the height is too low, it will not look good and a lot of "pixels" will be wasted. Rule of thumb: 150 to 170 cm are good values.

The ceiling often plays a central role in the calculation of warping. In commercially used rooms, ceiling heights of 2.60 to 2.90 metres are relatively normal. In private homes, the simulator is often located in the basement, where the ceiling heights are significantly lower. The lower the ceiling height, the more difficult it is to find suitable positions for the projectors. This is because the simulator itself must not cast a shadow on the screen.

The good news is: there is a solution for every application. Two or three projectors, different diameters and angles. Horseshoe or circular projection, as well as different projector types.

About the projector types: There are of course countless models and variants. With LED, with laser, etc. But the most expensive projector is not necessarily the most suitable. The following features play the biggest role:

  • Luminous intensity
    It should be 3,000 lumens for the projection to be nice and bright. The more lumens, the better.

  • Contrast ratio
    The rule of thumb here is the higher the better. In most cases, black tones are displayed darker, which makes the overlapping zones of the projectors less noticeable, especially on night flights

  • Throw rate
    In our context, we need either ST or, in extreme cases, UST projectors. ST stands for Short-Throw and UST for Ultra-Short-Throw. For most home applications with ceiling heights of up to 220 cm, a throw rate of 0.5 is sufficient. For smaller and narrower scenarios, a UST projector with a throw rate of less than 0.3 should be used.


We use three Optoma 4K400STx in Bottrop.
https://www.optoma.de/product/4k400stx  

We do the warping ourselves with Fly-Elise Immersion Calibration Pro. There is certainly other suitable software for this purpose. We have simply been working with Fly-Elise for many years and are constantly seeing further developments and improvements. There are different versions of the software. For a setup with three projectors, you need the "Ultimate" version. We recommend the dongle version. Why? It is a little more expensive, but the software licences are linked to the PC. If this is replaced or the mainboard breaks, for example, your licence will no longer work.

Warping can be set up in various ways. Either by means of sticky dots on the screen or via a camera. We use the version with the sticky dots as we do not have a suitable environment for a camera due to the existing simulator. We will not go into the details of warping here. The instructions from Fly-Elise are well written, but you have to read them very carefully. The option to automatically calculate individual pixels is particularly exciting. This saves a lot of work. In the end, we have a continuous and clean image.
Warping for MS2020 is somewhat more complex than in Prepar3D. This is mainly due to the fact that the so-called "Viewgroups" construct does not exist in MSFS2020. However, Microsoft has basically come up with something for this, even if the corresponding settings (as of December 2023) can still be found under the "Experimental" tab. Unfortunately, that says a lot.

The warping setup is therefore not particularly convenient (December 2023), but is basically feasible. We have the following tips:
  • Be patient. It simply takes a little time to understand the process.
  • The instructions from Fly-Elise are very helpful. However, you will need to read them several times.
  • Use tutorials. You can find the best video for us here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07tsMdKD880

A tip for all those switching from P3D: The calibration data must be exported separately for the MSFS2020. In our case, the files for the individual projectors were slightly different. Parallel operation with P3D is not a problem here either, as you can switch between different settings in Immersive Display Pro. It is also important to note that you need the latest version of Calibration Pro in addition to the latest Windows 11 and the latest graphics card driver. 

P3D works perfectly fine with the help of viewgroup settings.

With MSFS manual fine-tuning is neccessary. 

And here is a first look! How cool is that!

New 4K visual system - Part 4 - First flight!
New 4K visual system - Part 2 - Installation
 

Comments 2

Guest - Migur on Saturday, 10 February 2024 09:12

Looks amazing, well fone ! Really interesting blog, thanks for that. However, somehow you have a strong misalignment on your right view !?! What i find a bit strange is that one PC can drive 3x 4K projectors on MSFS with acceptable fps and more important no stutters. Maybe you can also do a blog entry about this ??? Thanks Migur

Looks amazing, well fone ! Really interesting blog, thanks for that. However, somehow you have a strong misalignment on your right view !?! What i find a bit strange is that one PC can drive 3x 4K projectors on MSFS with acceptable fps and more important no stutters. Maybe you can also do a blog entry about this ??? Thanks Migur
Christian Behne on Saturday, 10 February 2024 09:42

Hi Migur,

many thanks for your kind words. I have added a image description in the article above. Sorry for confusion. In MSFS you may need to manually tune the view settings. This picture was before this step. Not really a big problem, but in fact the setup of P3D using viewgroups is easier.

Regarding performance. Good idea. Thanks. I will schedule a blog article on how my settings work.

Regards
Christian

Hi Migur, many thanks for your kind words. I have added a image description in the article above. Sorry for confusion. In MSFS you may need to manually tune the view settings. This picture was before this step. Not really a big problem, but in fact the setup of P3D using viewgroups is easier. Regarding performance. Good idea. Thanks. I will schedule a blog article on how my settings work. Regards Christian
Saturday, 22 June 2024

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