The observatory employs a sophisticated video distribution system. In its standard configuration, it is used for computer-based presentations, to play DVDs and to display real-time astronomical images collected from the the observatory's telescopes. It can also be configured to route video from the telescopes to 'Baby Bear' for recording by user-supplied equipment.
There primary components of the video system are:
- cameras attached to telescopes on the imaging mount
- a standalone monitor used by the operator of the imaging mount
- a standalone video switcher to control the the telescope operator's monitor
- two color monitors, mounted on the observatory walls for public use
- a multimedia projector and large screen, permanently mounted
- the video switching equipment used for routing video signals to the desired monitor(s) or the projector
 Cameras attached to telescopes
There are three cameras installed on the imaging mount's telescopes - one PlanetCam (for lunar and planetary imaging) and two StellaCam II cameras (one for wide-field deep-sky work, the other for narrow-field deep-sky work.
Each camera is assigned a number for reference. The configuration is:
Only cameras #1-3 are currently used by the imaging on the imaging mount. Camera #4 is reserved for future use at the mount. Camera input #5 is reserved for use at the visual mount. Camera #16 is technically not a camera, but is used by the observatory's DVD player.
 Telescope operator's monitor
On the table next to the imaging system there is a B&W monitor used to acquire, focus and preview video images from the various cameras.
The images displayed on the operator's monitor are limited to the cameras attached to the imaging mount's telescopes and are selected via the standalone switcher dedicated for this purpose. The video switching equipment used for the public monitors does not control the operator's monitor.
 Video switcher for operator's monitor
The standalone switcher does not affect the display of video on the public monitors, only the video displayed on the telescope operator's monitor. The video signals from each camera on the imaging mount pass through the standalone switcher directly to the main video switch housed in Baby Bear.
Note that the Quad Switcher must be powered on to enable the video pass-through. If the Quad Switcher is not operating, no video from the imaging mount can be displayed using the main video switcher.
 Public wall-mounted monitors
There are two 21" color monitors mounted on the observatory's walls. As viewed from 'Baby Bear' the left-hand monitor is referred to as 'Monitor 1', the right-hand monitor is 'Monitor 2'.
|1||Color video monitor (left-side of 'Mama Bear' as viewed from 'Baby Bear')|
|2||Color video monitor (right-side of 'Mama Bear' as viewed from 'Baby Bear')|
|3||Composite video input of Optoma multimedia projector|
|4||Small color monitor on Baby Bear Shelf #2|
Setting the picture options on the public monitors is simply a matter of pressing the appropriate button on the front of the monitor ([Contrast], for example), then using the [Volume Up] and [Volume Down] buttons to adjust the value shown by the on-screen display. The menu will automatically close a few seconds after input stops.
Color / Tint: The only cameras with color output are the PlanetCams. These devices have their own color adjustment on the rear of the camera body. Use this feature to adjust color on the monitors, leaving the color / tint settings on monitors at their mid-range settings (i.e., at '50').
Brightness / Contrast: The brightness and contrast settings of the monitors should be adjusted to maximize image quality under varying light conditions. When used at night, for example, the brightness should be set to the minimum value to minimize glare and background brightness of the screen. During daytime use, both the brightness and contrast may need to be set at a higher setting due to the affect of ambient light.
 Multimedia projector, screen
The multimedia projector, designated as 'Monitor 3', is permanently installed above 'Monitor 1'. Detailed operating instructions are found in the document titled Optoma DX607 Multimedia Projector.
 Video switching equipment
Routing of specific video signals to the various monitors in the observatory is performed electronically by a 16-input / 4-output switcher (installed in Baby Bear) and a keyboard controller. The controller plugs into a jack located below the wall-mounted telephone in 'Mama Bear' via a standard Ethernet cable.
 ...display video on the public monitors
Routing a video signal to public monitor is accomplished using the the keypad and LCD display on the right side of the controller. To route a video signal to a public monitor:
- Begin by selecting which public monitor you want to use. Press the [MON SELECT] button on the controller once, then press the number of desired monitor on the numeric keypad. (NOTE: As you face the monitors, monitor #1 is to your left, monitor #2 is to your right.)
- Next, press [CAM SELECT] once, followed by the number of desired camera, again using the numeric keypad. (See the above table for a list of available cameras and their associated number.)
- Press the [ENTER] button.
The LCD panel will display the results of the process.
TROUBLESHOOTING: If the switching system does not respond as expected, repeat the process, pressing each button firmly. If the system still does not respond correctly, try resetting the controller. There is a small recessed reset button on the back of the controller. Using a pen or straightened paperclip, gently press it to reset the controller. The reset process takes about 30 seconds--watch the LCD display on the controller to determine when the reset process is complete.
 ...use the telescope operator's monitor
There are three cameras on the imaging system, designated as follows:
The Appro Quad Switcher is used to display all three concurrently, or to select only one for full screen display. There are six pushbuttons on the front of the switcher. Only the rightmost five are used.
The button marked with the icon displays of all four video images on the monitor at once. The red LED above the button will light, and the screen on the B&W monitor will show up to four video signals simultaneously. The video signals appear on the monitor in the following sequence:
(If any of the camera 1 - 4 lights lights are illuminated when displaying all four cameras at once, turn them off by pressing the corresponding button. This will ensure that all of the images displayed will be continuously refreshed.)
The buttons labeled with the icons , , and select camera outputs 1-4 respectively. To display any single camera as a full-screen image, press the button associated with the camera. The corresponding red LED will illuminate to indicate the camera is active. (If screen continues showing four separate camera inputs, switch off the split screen display by pressing the button labeled with the icon.)
To display any other camera full screen, simply press its corresponding button.
[NOTE: The quad switcher must be turned on in order to display video from the imaging system on the public monitors, but its operation has no affect on these monitors. It only affects how the video is displayed on the telescope operator's monitor.]
 ...play a DVD through the video distribution system
The DVD player--located on Baby Bear Shelf #2--is designated as 'Camera 16'. Route this camera to the desired outputs.
(Note: Sound from the DVD play is hardwired to the speakers on the wall-mounted monitors, so these must be powered on even if the DVD video is only displayed using the Optoma projector.)
 ...project video using the Optoma projector
The Optoma multimedia projector is designated as 'Monitor 3'. Route the desired video signal--telescope camera, DVD, etc.-- to this output for display.
|Computer display when using projector doesn't fit on screen||Your computer must be configured with a screen resolution of 800x600 pixels. The projector input must be set to 'VGA' and it's display mode set to 'native'. (Note, when properly working, the computer display will not fit precisely within the boundaries of thie screen.)|
|Video switcher not responding to controller||Confirm the power strip above the door in 'Baby Bear' is 'on'.|
Confirm the telecope operator's standalone switcher is powered on.
|Cannot display any video from the imaging mount||Ensure the telescope operator's standalone switcher is powered on.|