University of Maryland launches giant football video board, names three control rooms in program-wide video upgrade

Daktronics, RCI Systems, multiple vendors critical to major facility upgrade

“Surrealist.” That’s the only way to describe when, on that clear October 1 night, TerpVision, the broadcast and production unit of the University of Maryland’s sports department, first turned on its brand new video cards. and his audio system in a crowded Capital One Field.

The University of Maryland football team hosted Iowa in a nationally televised game on a Friday night, and fans got their first glimpse of the biggest video board of the Big Ten conference.

Featured this month, the University of Maryland’s HDR video board at Capital One Field measures 6,532 square feet, the ninth largest video board in college football and the tallest in the Big Ten conference. (All photos: University of Maryland Athletics)

“It was surreal,” says Josh Clayton, AD, TerpVision and Video Operations Assistant for the University of Maryland. “We started this project over four years ago and [Athletic Director] Damon [Evans] made it clear that he wanted us to be the best.

A significant upgrade from its predecessor in terms of size and image quality, the 120 x 54 ft. (3,600 × 1,620 pixels) overlooks the 6,532 square foot West End area and projects 1080p, high dynamic range (HDR) images.

In terms of being the best, the Terps certainly put their money where they say it is. Capital One Field’s two new video panels are just the latest move in a multi-year effort to elevate the Maryland Athletics brand.

Over a period of seven years, the Terps remade the video panel at the XFINITY Center (the school’s basketball arena, which is also used for gymnastics and other major college events), put in places connectivity infrastructure in their field hockey / lacrosse complex and Ludwig Field (men’s and women’s football) and puts the finishing touches on a broadcast operations center with three new control rooms to support operations of onsite video conferencing and live broadcast.

While this tall, shiny juggernaut behind the end zone may be the spark for today’s conversation, the Terps have settled down technologically for the future.

“We took this as, how tall can we be? How brilliant can we be? Clayton said. “What can we do to instill Maryland Pride in what we do? “

Videoboard joins a short list of college screens with HDR

Capital One Field’s large video panel is one of the few college football stadiums to feature high dynamic range (HDR) video panels. I think of Autzen Stadium at the University of Oregon, Ross-Ade Stadium in Purdue, and Bryant-Denny Stadium at the University of Alabama. Maryland is also the ninth largest in all of college football.

A second new video panel at Capital One Field measures 34 x 18 ft and replaces a 20 year old screen.

And it’s not the only new big screen in the building, either. At the east end of the stadium, TerpVision did a video card size swap, while also switching to 1080p HDR. The screen measures 34 x 18 ft. and replaces a screen that was almost 20 years old. Both boards were designed and built by Daktronics and feature a 10mm pitch and 8,000 nits brightness.

The decision to go with HDR was not one the TerpVision team originally expected to pursue. In fact, four or five years ago, the initial plans were for a move to 4K. However, with no 4K terminal shipments on the horizon and the high cost of building a facility of this nature, the group determined that HDR offered a substantial upgrade over current on-site displays. and contributed to the flexibility needed to also stimulate live broadcast production. .

It was not without challenges, however. Few schools have gone through the process of integrating HDR displays, and there is a lot to “learn as you go” to embrace the format. Clayton notes that locking in the ideal settings was a lengthy process, adding that it took more than 30 hours to perfect the colors on the video panels before their public debut.

In addition to the visuals, the school also made a much-needed upgrade to its audio system, which Clayton admitted had angered many fans. The teams installed 107 additional speakers in the stadium, including 42 in a row above the large new video panel. This range includes 16 Fulcrum Acoustic Sub218L direct-radiating subwoofers, 22 JBL VLA301Hi-WRX loudspeakers, three Fulcrum AH463 coaxial horn loudspeakers and one Fulcrum AH96 coaxial horn loudspeaker.

According to Clayton, the boards and audio system received rave reviews after that first game on October 1.

“It was great to hear all the positive news from the fans,” he said after the game. “It really touches you what you’ve just built. It works and it looks amazing.

The mothership: three control rooms anchor the campus-wide effort

The new video cards might be a feast for the eyes, but they’re just a small part of the upgrade to the entire TerpVision program, which includes the opening of a broadcast operations center. comprising three control rooms within the XFINITY Center.

One of the two main mirrored control rooms, which are primarily responsible for supporting on-site video panel broadcasts. Control rooms are fiberized at five sites on campus, including Capital One Field and the XFINITY Center. Note: At the time of this photo, the piece was not yet complete.

Two of them are mirrored control rooms that largely handle the production of on-site video panels at each of the five campus sites with large screens: Capital One Field (football), XFINITY Center (basketball, gymnastics, other varsity events), Ludwig Field (men’s and women’s football), Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium (baseball) and Maryland Softball Stadium. The three control rooms are connected by optical fiber to these sites.

For the two main control rooms, the department opted for a pair of Ross Video Acuity 3 production mixers (60 in, 32 out). For graphics, there are two Ross Xpression units, each with three channels. For replay there are two EVS XT-VIA with 12 channels each (with super-slo-mo), four EVS LSM VIA controllers (one pair in each room) and one EVS X-One to support small productions. . For communications, the team selected Clear Comm’s Eclipse HX-Delta intercom system, Freespeak II and RTS five-channel wireless intercom solution to handle integration with Big Ten Network and other trucks. broadcast production staff who can visit the campus.

A third control room is dedicated to live broadcast production for B1G +, the Big Ten Network’s live broadcast platform.

The third, smaller control room is dedicated to live broadcasts of Olympic sports which will be broadcast on Big Ten Network’s streaming service, B1G +. It is built around the Evertz EQX26 router (380 in x 412 out), a Magnum server, and Scorpion for 64 Dante channels.

The B1G + control room will prove beneficial for Director, Broadcasting / B1G + Thomas Mason and Assistant Director, Live Productions Aaron Scotch, with the Maryland program set to produce more live Olympic events in-house for the Big Ten Network’s live-streaming platform.

The Monitor Wall in Control Room 1 was first used for a public performance when Capital One Field’s largest video board debuted in an Oct. 1 football game against Iowa.

TerpVision’s camera arsenal is also being seriously expanded. The team invested in eight Sony HDC-3500 cameras (two of which have HFR licenses for 4X super-slo-mo, a pair of Sony BRCX1000 4K PTZs (one attached to the base of the video card in the center of the XFINITY Center and The add-on also includes four FUJINON 55X lenses and eight FUJINON 23 × 7.6 ENG lenses. According to Clayton, the arsenal is versatile and can be used as a studio build or for large builds with lenses for live game production.

On the audio front, a host of Yamaha equipment – anchored by the QL-1 FOH digital mixing console – has helped to dramatically increase the sound product of the football stadium. A Dante domain manager manages the three control rooms, as well as the football stadium and XFINITY Center systems.

“We did our research and were smart about figuring out what we needed,” says Clayton. “We have relied heavily on our relationships with our suppliers. They held our hands a lot at first, and that helped us with so many little things. “

This external assistance included key contributions from the teams at Daktronics, RCI Systems (the AV integrators on the project) and Gilbane Construction.

Clayton worked directly alongside Joshua Kaplan, Associate AD, Facilities, Operations and Events on this project, and he attributes its success to several others: Associate AS, Broadcast and Production, Mike Farrell; Senior AD Assistant, Internal Operations, Shawn Flynn; Deputy Chief Sports Officer and Chief Strategy Officer Brian Ullman; Special Assistant to Sporting Director Dave Muia; Assistant Sports Director Colleen Sorem; Sporting Director Damon Evans; and president of the university, Dr Darryll Pines.

“We are fortunate to have our sports department because our DA has given us the responsibility of doing this project and making it big,” says Clayton. “He allowed us to do what we wanted. We had full support at all levels, and they believed in us.

TerpVision is powered by contributions from freelancers and students, including Jeff blake, Ed clark, Jacob Dyke, Kevin McRobie, David posner, Pat Shannon, John tillmann, Francine Wyron, Scott youngblood, and others.

For Clayton, however, no one deserves a bigger thank you than his wife Lauren, who is currently just weeks away from giving birth to their third child. Much of this work straddled their pregnancy. Whether at work or at home, Clayton sets up a pretty solid foundation.

“We are ready for the future,” he said. “We are ready.”

About Ethel Nester

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