GPRM & RR: Hardware & Setup Questions

Discussions on race preparation, race management, sound effects, and other race related software. This is only for software provided by our sponsor, GrandPrix Software Central.
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GPRM & RR: Hardware & Setup Questions

Post by ITNerd » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:16 pm

Hey Grand Prix team, first let me say thank you for your fantastic product and support. We have been using your software for several years, and its been a lot of fun. Except for the kids, they are terrible.

Last year we attempted to add Race Replay to the mix, with varied results. With the long USB cables for the camera, I was able to get solid video, but I don't think the PC was up to the task and it stuttered, and occasionally missed a playback.

This year I have a newer laptop to assist, and i have a few questions.
  • If I can get a second projector, what is the simplest, most trouble-free way to connect one running GPRM pc to one running RR? Can I use a simple switch or do I need a router that can serve up an IP/DHCP?
    If I can't get a second projector, is my newer PC the best option to run both solutions? It's a newer gen chip, but not much better in single threaded passmark score. It also requires me to move both applications over to the newer PC, and with the race coming up this weekend, that has me slightly nervous.
    Is my camera pushing too much to my laptop PC? The camera is borrowed from a much beefier desktop PC I use for work. Is there a popular list, or a decent 1080p one thats a rock solid performer?
Thanks for any input folks - I hope to have the best race yet this weekend!

Details & Specs:
GPRM - v19 newest version
RR - v5 newest version

Laptop 1 Specs (newer)
Processor: i5-8250U CPU @ 1.60GHz (8 CPUs), ~1.8GHz
Passmark: 7642 (1925 Single Thread)RAM: 8GigVideo: Intel UHD Graphics 620
VRAM(dedicated): 128Meg OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit

Laptop 2 Specs (older)
Processor: i7-3667U CPU @ 2.00GHz (4 CPUs), ~2.5GHz
Passmark: 3981 (1556 Single Thread)  
RAM: 8GigVideo: Intel HD Graphics 4000VRAM: 32Meg

Model: Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro WebCam
Resolutions Supported: 4K (Ultra HD)@ 30 fps, 1080p (Full HD) @ 30 or 60 fps and 720p(HD) @ 30, 60, or 90 fps

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Re: GPRM & RR: Hardware & Setup Questions

Post by gpraceman » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:34 pm

GPRM uses UDP communications to send messages to RaceReplay. You may be able to use a crossover cable, a switch or a router to connect the two computers together.

If using one computer, it would need enough horsepower to manage timer communications, video output to a projection system, UDP communications, and processing video from the camera and saving it to disk.

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Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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Re: GPRM & RR: Hardware & Setup Questions

Post by leerbennett » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:21 pm

I have used RaceReplay v5.0 for the last three years on a Windows laptop and had some similar issues and some advise.
I am using a i5-6200U @2.3GHz with 8GB of RAM. My camera is a MS LifeCam Cinema.
My setup seems to work well enough when the race moves along, running a race every minute or quicker.
In the most automated setup, RaceReplay is recording until the end of the race when it runs the replay. So if there is some delay in staging one of the races, the video file being recorded can get quite large. A Video Codex compresses the data to keep file sizes manageable, this process of compressing the data and writing the file to disk is what slows down the systems. To date, I have been using the default Codex setting for my camera which is Microsoft MPEG-4 V2. Picking the optimal Codex is complicated. More processing is needed to reduce file size; but writing larger files also slows down the computer.
Seems that our laptops are relatively similar, but your camera has higher resolution. Getting your camera into a lower resolution capture mode might be necessary.
Here are things I have tried with some success to make the Race Replay more reliable:
1. Keep the event moving to minimize time of video recording. May need to stop and restart recording if there is a pause in the racing.
2. Choose appropriate resolution and Codex. (I am still searching for my best Codex option.)
3. Deselect Audio device is an option reduce the amount of data captured and processed.
4. Test H.264 Hardware Compression setting. My system seemed more reliable when I turned this setting OFF.
Note the relevant Race Replay options are on the Options Menu | Settings dialog
You mention "long USB cables" which may also be a cause for slower processing. In my case the race computer is located near the finish line to keep the cabling short and someone else handles staging and starting the race.

For our setup, I wouldn't be interested in a second screen (and computer). We have a huge stage screen where it make sense to direct both GPRM and RR output. With the single screen setup, I would recommend a Replay Start delay of about 3 seconds to allow to see the GPRM results prior to the replay. This setting also helps gives the system time process the recording.

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