New Event computer Setup



  • DuderinoDuderino Registered Users Posts: 26 Big grins
    edited April 2, 2012
    Thanks Glort. As always, another thoughful insite. I must say, I am just reading the entires in another thread from Pure Energy. Hilarious!!!! Pricing. The least of our problems right?

    I am not expecting to set-up a network. I will do maximum, 5 larger events that will use this system this season and I have planned to load the images on to each Vstation individually. This might actually turn out to be a daft idea. It's just that I have no experience with networks and for the few events I am doing it might be over kill to set up a network. If the Jalbums work fine and we have enough time, it might work out better to do it individually. Any advice on setting up the network in baby steps would be appreciated, including the equipment required. I currently have two modern powerful Dell laptops, one old desktop and a Fujifilm Dye Sub printer. The printer only runs off the desktop because the driver doesnt support Win 7!!!

    Running your car off of cooking oil. Phenomenal.
  • DuderinoDuderino Registered Users Posts: 26 Big grins
    edited April 2, 2012
    I forgot, therefore if I do not run a network, will IE Kiosk still run my galleries, without internet connectivity?
  • DavidTODavidTO Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited April 2, 2012

    I want to see your setup!
    Moderator Emeritus
    Dgrin FAQ | Me | Workshops
  • DuderinoDuderino Registered Users Posts: 26 Big grins
    edited April 2, 2012
    Glort, I want to see it too. Tent, trailer, the lot. Give us a visual. You promised for a long time now :D
  • DuderinoDuderino Registered Users Posts: 26 Big grins
    edited April 3, 2012
    Thanks for the info again Glort. Shame your selling up. What changed from October when you started writing this thread?

    At the moment I am still thinking to use 10 monitors running of one desktop. It seems the cheapest simplest way, as unfortunately I dont have a charity shop almost donating laptops in return for pictures like you :D

    As for the tent part, I am interested to hear how that is for you. What kind of tent etc? This is my next task to tackle as yet I have concentrated on the equipment side of things. Do you use a closed tent or just a marque/roof on posts type? I thought to get a hopup and use a tarp on the sides if it is windy or rainy. Any thoughts on this?

    Btw, in your posts you seems to casually flit past the balls, charity dos, proms section of your business. Does this work come easy to you? It just seems so insignificant to you in these posts, but for me it is still an area I haven't attacked and would love some heads up on getting that type of work. I have done studio portraits a lot, and with my on-site printing set-up, it would come naturally to do this type of work as well. I once called all the schools in the area to get some gigs but all of they had the same guy for many years. I do know that proms and corporate/charity dos are not completely saturated so any help on how to get that would be awesome.

    Thanks again. I hope your new adventures go well. I would be interested to hear what they are too.
  • DuderinoDuderino Registered Users Posts: 26 Big grins
    edited April 3, 2012
    How do I find the swin school thread? Btw, how to I 'quote'. Dont seem to be able to manage it :D

    Are you able to email me a typical letter you send out? A bit cheeky to ask but a great help. This is the toughest part, and while I believe I highlight the benefits etc, it is the layout and type of letter that interests me. At the moment I send out emails first. Then I add the person to facebook if I find them, and if they accept, when we are online together, I start chatting. It has been a great way to contact people beyond email. Of course the phone is great to but Im not that good on the phone. Always clog up. But for the ones that do no respond to email or facebook, I need the next step. Go to meet them is one but these things are all over the country. Posting some blurb might be good but what should it be? Then there's calling, but how to introduce, how to start. The first part is my weakness :D

    Can it be that in a year or two you will be bored with swim school stuff too, it will it be saturated? Might be smart, and its just how I am doing it, to structure the whole business into segments and make sure to market and pursue each one with equal ambition. Another thing, 'a new market to get into that promises more regular, easier ( to me anyway) work and a LOT more profit potential' this sounds good. But in no way let it distract you from the other gigs. I know you will do the larger events, but find solutions where you are seeing problems. Dont depend on your family. It's not fair. Have a bunch of people on hand for when you need them. Between June to August, I have a fixed gig taking passenger photos of a speed boat ride. About 70 people a day. It's enough for a living but not enough to gloat about. But it keeps me open for business and then I can go up to an event and say Hi this is what I do, I can do it for your event too. The permanent gig is the best way to go forward. Plus being seasonal, it makes the year very clear the times of the year which I am available for other work, and highlights my need to extend the season etc. It's a great staritng point. Maybe the swim thing is that for you? One other thing I always think about is whether the event is special to the participants. I have tries shooting passengers in all the trips in our tourist resort, kayaks, boats, and a small train, but only the speed boat sells because it is AWESOME. Maybe that the Pony club thing is not that awesome an event and that it is only the national/state championships that are special??? Also the same for the events I am aiming at. I am doing Triathlons and looking at marathons/half marathons/10k's etc. For the people that have trained all year for them it is special. It gives greater meaning to the need to buy a souvenir picture. Plus throwing '' on it with their race time makes it impossible to resist. I know I still cherish my London Marathon finish line shot with my official time on it.

    To be honest I am shocked you are giving it up. After recently discovering this site your threads have been the most eye catching. Your passion and effort is second to non, and with my experience of always changing, I really hope you do not down size in any way. You need to attack it. Big time. Think bigger. The swim school might be the day job, but then, can you afford to pay someone to cover that while you go do the events? Expand!!!

    Btw, say you are searching google for the green screen type gigs, what are you looking for? What keywords do you use? And when you say green screen, do you actually use chromakey and key in backgrounds etc, or are you simply refering to using a backdrop?

    As I mentioned I called schools once and they at untouchable and you gave me some advice here. Well that was back in England a few years back. In Norway where I am base dnow I have no idea yet how is the market. I just mentioned it as I havent gotten into proms or evening gigs at all yet.

    I had one morw idea which really uses our gear and on-line galleries. We all do portraits right? Well, I see that babies and kids/families sell well. We only need to use a plain white background for some modern shots. A few changes of accessories etc and we got a good bunch of pics from one b/g. Well, why not set up somewhere your own event. Book a place, say the entrance to a supermarket, or the window of a big kids/babies store, and do a weekend portrait event. Totally free for all to attend. Depending on how big the queue is, maybe 5-10 mins each family. Few quick shots. An overnight edit and upload, and the parent buy online. No in studio viewing session at all. How many families could we do over a busy weekend in a mall or whereever? The right marketing on-site to promote before and we should have a good turnout. Many families want pictures, but to be honest, there are just too many photographers and studios all with different packages and pricing models. This event will bypass all that, and as it is for free, I'm sure it will attract many families. Of course, if they dont like their shots, they have only lost 10 mins. But we will sell alot from the event. Similar to school portraits, but with the family, and doing a weekend event like this make them hurry into it. Once the event is over, its done. Then to continue this idea, offer 10% discount on orders the first 7 days, then after 30 days the images are removed. Of course when November comes around, the images are back on-line, and you send out a 50% discount for the Christmas market. Then you can do events, where ever, when ever you want. Of course the pricing is much much higher than your pony shots! No digital though. You do want the repeat sales at Christmas.
  • DuderinoDuderino Registered Users Posts: 26 Big grins
    edited April 3, 2012
    For the portrait event I mentioned above, it is your own event. You control when and where. This town this month, that town next month. From my studio experience, I reckon every family will pay £50-£80, most will pay £80 - £140, and some will pay more. Of course will large canvasses and montage prints etc, there is a great room for more. But how many families will go to this weekend event. 10 minutes each, 5 per hour lets say, 6 good hours = 30 x 2 days = 60 Average spend £100 = £6000. To reach 60 families in the right place is not too hard I think. Flyers at schools, banners on the streets, flyers and a poster at the event location the week prior. Add in the local mums magazine etc.

    Any thoughts on this? For me, my business slows to a stop in October. It is the ideal thing to do before closing for the winter. Could event keep it going in different towns until the Christmas rush is over. What better Christmas present?
  • DuderinoDuderino Registered Users Posts: 26 Big grins
    edited April 4, 2012
    I too dont expect pro athletes to buy, well in the kids range, such as trampolining I have done. The amateurs are by far the best buyers. But what to you expect from the triathlons I am covering? When they train all year and do a great time, or are proud to have finished, surely they will buy??? Any thoughts from your experience? These are pro's mostly. One of the larger ones has a kids race and a short race so I expect that to sell well. For the pro's I will concentrate more on the larger prints. The bordered print with logo and time, certificate, maybe magazine cover. Fewer sales in total but hopefully higher per transaction average. Surely it must be similar to golfers?
  • GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited April 5, 2012
    [QUOTE=Duderino;1760636But what to you expect from the triathlons I am covering? When they train all year and do a great time, or are proud to have finished, surely they will buy??? Any thoughts from your experience? These are pro's mostly. [/QUOTE]

    I have never done Triathalons so I can only speak from gut feeling based on other things I have covered. I also don't know how triathlons and the competitors work.

    The worrying thing is they are mainly pro's. I would think that they are probably doing a lot more than one event a year. Even if the event you are covering is a big and prestigious one, I would expect the only people that would even be interested in a pic is the ones that do a good time or improve their PB. the ones that don't do well certainly will not want to remember it.

    The other thing I'd be looking at is other shooters. Are these pros able to get pics through media outlets, have sponsors paying for someone to cover the event etc?

    You are going to have to be in a good place with your setup near the organisers or somewhere they have to go after the race or better still, or try to get an entrant list ( or have a signup sheet where you get competitors bib numbers and email addys to send the pics to them direct.)

    One of the larger ones has a kids race and a short race so I expect that to sell well. For the pro's I will concentrate more on the larger prints. The bordered print with logo and time, certificate, maybe magazine cover. Fewer sales in total but hopefully higher per transaction average. Surely it must be similar to golfers?

    The Kids and the Bordered print sound the winners. I would be going for the higher end on that event because it sounds like you have something unique and would be held in high regard.

    Forgive my ignorance but as I understand Triathlons, the competitors are out there like 6-12 hours.
    Whatever time they are out there, are they going to feel at all like looking at pics afterwards?
    I don't know anything about this sport or how it works so forgive me if the questions are dumb but I am under the impression that a lot of them would be almost too buggered to stand let alone feel like looking at pics. You probably know better but just my ignorant ponderings.

    I'll say this though, you will want to have as many vstations as you can muster.

    I think this will be a hard slog and it may pay to put up another thread on covering these events and see if you can get some heads up from those that do have experience and insight or knowledge of these events.

    Like all things, I'm sure there are tips and tricks that will make them work and give you a head start on making them pay.
    Are you going to be shooting them crossing the finish line? I always thought for this you could always set up a beam across the line ( or just behind it) so as the runners came through, the cam took the shots automatically. :D If there is a timer display you can get in the pic, so much better.
  • Rocketman766Rocketman766 Registered Users Posts: 332 Major grins
    edited April 9, 2012
    Duderino wrote: »
    Hi all...

    At the moment I really liked Rocketman's set-up using the Ncomputing X550 to allow up to 10 Vstations to run off of one desktop. I have a desktop that is a good few years old, and I wonder if it would run so many Vstations. Is it like having 10 programs opened at once, and each put on different monitors??? This might overload my slow desktop. Might be time for a new one. Can the Ncomputing X550 be run off a laptop, or is there another similar version?

    Ok, I might be a week late to the updated conversation, so I'll just answer the above questions/comments and then give an update to my system/process. I'm not sure how old your desktops are, but the ones I use are Pentium 4s, a few generations ago... Basically the more horsepower your desktop has, the better. If you are running intense programs, the older PCs might get bogged down. This system creates virtual desktops with each monitor. The X550 can NOT be run on a laptop because this version consists of a PCI card you install in the PC. Each card will expand your system by 5, you need 2 cards to expand by 10 as I did. They do have an ethernet version and also a USB version. Any new ones I get will be the USB version in the future. If you haven't checked it out, take a look at their website,

    Now for an update on my stuff.
    The program I run for my onsite events is PhotoParata. They now have a full cart so that means no more paper order forms! This also means I had to upgrade my PC power a little bit. I now am using a 3.0 Ghz Quad core PC, 12 gigs ram, running Win 7 Pro 64 bit for my server and for my viewing station PCs, I have upgraded 2 of the 4. The upgraded PCs are now Core 2 Duo dual core, 2.8 Ghz with 8 gigs of ram and both are running Win 7 Pro 64 bit. I still use 2 of the older PCs but dropped them down to only 5 additional stations off of them. My system had started to bog down a bit but now that I have the slightly beefier PCs and split the older ones up, its back to its speedy self.

    For the onsite printing I mentioned before, I am very happy my wife wouldn't let up. I love printing onsite now, when I go home, no more work to do... I ended up buying 3 Epson Artisan 730 printers (found them 50% off) and loaded them up with a bulk ink system. With the new cart system in the software, the customers build a cart, verify it, and then once they pay the cashier, the images are copied to a "carts" folder and my printing assistant opens the folder, crops for print size if needed, prints the desired number and away they go!!!! We are currently printing 4x6, 5x7 and 8x10s onsite.

    I will try to get a pic of our setup posted soon... I think I might have one or two floating around somewhere.
  • DuderinoDuderino Registered Users Posts: 26 Big grins
    edited April 9, 2012
    Thanks Rocketman. With the USB version, is it possible to run it off a laptop? Would it require 5 or 10 separate USB ports or is it just one USB then branching out from the device? Am I right in thinking that with each kit comes 5 of these devices, each requiring power?
  • Rocketman766Rocketman766 Registered Users Posts: 332 Major grins
    edited April 9, 2012
    With the USB version, you can run with a laptop, but it needs to be pretty strong. Also, there is a good description of what to look for in your laptop. It has something to do with the number of buses in the pc????? Don't quote me on that, but the ncomputing website will tell you more. You can run one USB cable to a POWERED hub and use multiple devices.

    As far as the number of devices that come together, a X550 kit comes with 1 PCI card and 5 ncomputing devices, a X350 comes with 1 PCI card and 3 devices, the USB ( U170) comes with just 1 device each. None of these devices require outside power, they get the required power from the USB/ethernet cable from the host PC. The monitor that you connect each device to will still need power just as it would normally.
  • 5Dme5Dme Registered Users Posts: 29 Big grins
    edited February 3, 2014
    Current set-ups
    I apologize for kind of hijacking this thread but I was hoping some one could provide some more up to date info regarding event computer set-ups and software. I have worked as a second shooter at a few events with a local photography but he is now focusing on weddings and I have been asked to take over several of his events. I have purchase his Sub Dye printer but what I need is some help selecting software and viewing station set-up to increase volume and streamline work flow. I was hoping the software would allow the client to select the products from the viewing station without having to write their orders out and would like to start with 3-4 viewing station and expand from there.
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