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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Event Photography viewing stations
Jayne Oncea, Photographer
Redmond | OR | USA | Posted: 11:07 PM on 01.06.07
->> What is the most simple way to have viewing and ordering stations set up for event/sports photography. Not to print, but viewing stations for people to look at the images and order at the event. Is there an economical way to do this without spending 10,000 on gear?
Does anybody sell a complete setup for this type of thing. What are some of you using for this?? do we use one laptop with 2 display monitors?? or some combination of monitors and computers?
http://www.fastjayne.com
Fast Jayne Photography
Thanks for any suggestions...
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Guy Rhodes, Photographer
East Chicago | IN | USA | Posted: 8:48 AM on 01.07.07
->> I shot for a company a few years ago called Action Pitstop Photography. Their web site is:

http://www.actionpitstop.com/

The owner was Lee Cave. They had a system where three viewing stations (complete with monitor, keyboard, and mouse), were being driven via one PC. Obviously there's some hardware involved in the computer to make this happen, but beyond that, that's all I can share.

Maybe if you give them a call they'll share some info on their setup...
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 9:35 AM on 01.07.07
->> Jayne,

I know of 2 vendors that sell complete systems, e-mail me if you want names. They are about $6k each.

You can certainly put your own system together for much less that 10K. I have an e-bay vendor that is near me. I buy PIII boxes from them as well as LCD monitors.

Again e-mail me if you want to get into the nuts & bolts of a self made network.

Eric
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Robert Longhitano, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | USA | Posted: 10:55 AM on 01.07.07
->> A web based set up is easy to maintain does not use proprietary software or expensive hardware. The viewing stations only need to run a web browser in kiosk mode. All you'll need is a web server (a Mac Mini works great) a 4, 8, 16.... port switch and cheap PC's with a ethernet port and a monitor.

When you set it up you can have as many PC's as your event dictates, you just add them to the switch. When a web browser is in kiosk mode just hide the keyboard, that way the viewer can't get past the browser screen. You'll have to add a "no right click" script to your viewing page or apply sufficient privileges to the user account so the viewer can't gain access beyond the viewing page with a right mouse click.

I use Photo Mechanic in my workflow, PM has a very fast HTML generator built. Lately I've been using Photoshop to export the pages because I can customize the HTML templates. With this set up I can get the pages to the viewing stations 10-15 min. after I insert the CF card in the reader. Once PM includes customizable HTML templets in their next version that time will be cut in half.

Its a very cost effective setup that is easy to maintain, if you have basic networking knowledge it pretty easy setup instead of the expansive hardware/software solution.

Just so you know I don't travel with this setup it's stored at the rink I work out of.
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Kent Gilley, Photographer
Azle | TX | USA | Posted: 12:31 PM on 01.07.07
->> Here is the setup that I use at motocross events.

http://www.sportsshooter.com/kgtex/trailer/

I use a laptop, a router, and three small PCs with monitors attached. Sometiems we bring an additional laptop to edit and print pictures from. The viewing CRT monitors have been replaced with LCDs since the photos were taken. A generator (and spare generator) capable of running it all is stored in the back, but a lot of times I hook up to an electrical outlet at the event.

I upload pictures to my laptop and distribute them over the (non wireless) network to the three veiwing computers. I could use wireless, but it's not necessary as the trailer is cabled. It usually takes 15 minutes to upload the pictures, as I don't edit the pictures, but I do shoot in folders (that is, race one is folder 101, race two is folder 102) that I rename the folders before distributing. Once I finish distributing the pictures to the viewing computers, I store the network router for traveling, as I don't need it anymore. Also, if a customer deletes a picture from one of the viewing computers, they haven't effected the original image. This rarely happens though. About the only thing the customers do is set their picture as the background. After each event, I clear the viewing PCs for the next event.

The inside of the trailer has plenty of comfortable work space(two areas) that could easily (and has) sit seven adults. One of the work desk/tables converts to a bed. I have plenty of storage space, cabinets, and outlets for chargers and such, as well as overhead a/c. I used to print on-site, but motocross tends to get the dust everywhere, so I stopped printing on site this year.

I use an inexpensive software for customers to browse the pictures from the outside monitors. The software allows to customers to zoom in on the pictures, and go through them by using the mouse wheel or scroll bar. The outside monitors each have a mouse, but the keyboards are kept inside. The customers write down the picture numbers on an order form, and my wife completes the order for them. We ship the prints, but could easily print at less dusty events.

At one-time, I had an application server in the trailer that exactly mirrored my website. So, it appeared that customers could surf my website, even though we were not connected to the Internet(I am often at remote locations). But that proved to be slower to get the pictures posted, so I reverted back to just showing the current event or current series using the software.

Also, there's plenty of room in the trailer to carry portable studio equipment.
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Drew Broadley, Photographer
Wellington | NZ | New Zealand | Posted: 3:28 PM on 01.07.07
->> Kent, you mispelt "Colour" on your trailer ;)
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Marie Hughes, Photographer
Fremont | CA | USA | Posted: 4:30 PM on 01.07.07
->> I used to use a system where I had one PC running 3 stations but I ended up going to laptops. The customers seem to find them easier to deal with and they are a lot quicker to set up. Also, if one goes down, I only lose 1 station. I still use a 3-in-1 organization system. I have 1 bin per table and in each bin is everything to set up that table including 3 laptops with locking cables, a network switch, a power strip for the network strip and laptops, 3 mice and all the cables needed to hook it all together.

In both cases, the view stations run a browser in kiosk mode and I have a Keylock program running to keep the customers from getting out of it. (I need keyboards because I have a shopping cart system and the customers need to enter their shipping address and contact info.)

The server generates and serves the HTML pages using Perl scripts but any system that generates HTML pages will work.

I bought all my view stations used. The 3-in-1 PC system ran me $700 for a table (3 view stations) and the laptop setup was around $1000 per table.
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Mike Speer, Photographer, Photo Editor
Golden | CO | United States | Posted: 6:49 PM on 01.07.07
->> We hear of event photogs using networked Mac Mini's ($599) and misc. monitors with various slideshow programs for viewing stations.

At our events we use a 15" Mac Powerbook with an older 20" monitor, along with a 17" IMac. We network the two computers with to a 60 gig firewire hard drive and use Abobe Lightroom to process, display and print. In this configuration we can use one mac for uploading, editing, printing etc, while the the other can be used for viewing & ordering.

If you wish to read a detailed description of a similar system, email us. I have a great article on file somewhere.

Mike
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Jason Jump, Photographer
Humble | TX | USA | Posted: 7:39 PM on 01.07.07
->> I use laptops as well, and just network them together. You can get a set up like that going for less than a grand.
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Drew Broadley, Photographer
Wellington | NZ | New Zealand | Posted: 11:20 PM on 01.07.07
->> What powering systems are you using for all of these ? (yes, I do realise laptops use less power)
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Jason Jump, Photographer
Humble | TX | USA | Posted: 4:16 PM on 01.08.07
->> Drew if your question was directed at me I just find an outlet in the gym (lobby area) I am shooting in and have what I call an outlet snake that I plug the computers into.

I have not used the setup at an outdoor event, but would suspect there would be an outlet within range of an extension cord or two.
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Brian Jackson, Photographer, Photo Editor
San Carlos | CA | USA | Posted: 4:40 PM on 01.08.07
->> Laptops are nice if you are inside. That's what we started with back in 2003, but quickly switched to CRT's, and then LCD's. Mostly do outdoor events now.

Jayne- To answer your question for the cheapest...snag some PII/PIII small form factor computers from eBay for like $10-20 each. (mice and keyboards are cheap) Stick some 15" LCD's on there for ($75-$120 ea), network them together with a switch, run a web-browser on them. Host all the images on your server ($500-$700) and have a web-based gallery/cart system and your done. If you want to save some more cash and have lots of storage/hauling capacity, go with CRT's. 17" CRT's can be had for like $40 ea.

We've got 12 ordering stations and the total cost was like around $1500-$1800 for the hardware & cables. All the other stuff that goes along with onsite ordering is extra.

If you want to get more complicated (less hardware), you can run 2-10 keyboards/mice/LCD's from 1 computer. Just need to know how to setup the software :)

Of course, you're going to need some workflow software, and I'm a little biased towards this ugly website:
http://action-image.net/ Shoot me an email/PM for more info.

Drew- Power depends on where the event is. Land power from outlets if it's available with really long extension cords, or from portable generators. I've got a Honda Eu2000i and it's fantastic.
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Marie Hughes, Photographer
Fremont | CA | USA | Posted: 6:02 PM on 01.08.07
->> I only do indoor events so I just use a wall outlet. I have 3 50' extension cords though because sometime that outlet is pretty far away.
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Drew Broadley, Photographer
Wellington | NZ | New Zealand | Posted: 8:39 PM on 01.08.07
->> Thanks Brian, Marie, Jason.
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Thread Title: Event Photography viewing stations
Thread Started By: Jayne Oncea
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