AV Overhaul at Consol Energy Center Part 1

David Corathers of Mitsubishi Diamond Vision talks about the installation of a huge center hung scoreboard video screen, LED ribbon displays and other video monitors in Pittsburgh’s new Consol Ener 1/13/2011 6:28 AM Eastern

AV Overhaul at Consol Energy Center Part 1

Jan 13, 2011 11:28 AM

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The excitement of the big game in a sports venue is bumped up several notches by a huge scoreboard video screen and flashing ribbon displays. Pittsburgh’s new Consol Energy Center got the latest in Mitsubishi LED video with Vision Soft Control and David Corathers from Mitsubishi Diamond Vision is here to give us the low down on the project. Coming up next on the SVC podcast. David it’s great having you here on the SVC podcast from Mitsubishi Diamond Vision. Tell me a little bit about what Mitsubishi Diamond Vision does.
Well Mitsubishi Diamond Vision is a manufacturer and installer also of large scale video screens for sporting stadiums and Times Square, Las Vegas to commercial markets as well. [Timestamp: 1:08]

And I have seen pictures of many of those and they are spectacular. One of the more notable ones lately has been that colossal Diamond Vision screen in the Cowboy’s stadium. So what do you do as engineering manager for Diamond Vision?
Well as the engineering manager I’m responsible for the project design group as well as the products that we manufacture in the states. We manufacture both in Japan and in the states. Primarily the products that we’re manufacturing through here are ribbon board technologies as well as some video board type products. The projects in the states are designed here as well as working with our design groups and product development groups in Japan so we have a dual manufacturing and dual engineering process where we can better meet our market needs of the United States—so with our design groups here and with that interface back to Japan. [Timestamp: 2.07]

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AV Overhaul at Consol Energy Center Part 2
Video monitors, ribbon displays, and a 15ft. LED screen all carry the game action at Pittsburgh’s new Consol Energy Center. Chris Mascatello of ANC Sports is here for part two with details on the control aspect of the project using VisionSoft. ...

And the project here is the Console Energy Center in Pittsburgh with a huge center-hung scoreboard video display, ribbon displays, monitors everywhere. So how did Mitsubishi Diamond Vision get into the project there?
Of course Mitsubishi Diamond Vision is one of the largest suppliers and we’ve been around for 30 years so we did the Las Angeles Dodgers back in the 1980’s which was the first large scale video screen and we were recognized as one of the number one suppliers in HD, high resolution video boards so when Consol and the Penguins and Pittsburgh was looking for a supplier we were one of the number one’s on their list. It also helps that this is our hometown—so that also helped but most opportunities that customers are looking for, the large scale HD screens, would come to us and ask for us to bid on that project. We did and of course we won it as well. [Timestamp: 3:09]

The center scoreboard here can be customized for the various home teams that share the Consol Energy Center. Was there anything that turned out to be a significant challenge on this installation?
Well, the project was pretty much straight forward. I think some of the challenges we had were towards the end. There were several different things added. It’s certainly a very large center-hung, it’s using our 6 mm black package for the HD, and it has very good contrast. They were good designs. They’re challenging from that standpoint but pretty much straight forward. The other products that came in later when they wanted advertising for boards or out in the concourse areas and in some of the entrance areas and we…there were many options discussed-as videos on the walls and different types of patterns and what was decided is we pitched what we call our “video pucks” and they were basically looked like very large pucks, hockey pucks, with video around the outside edge and they’re architecturally designed to look like a puck. There’s three of them, different sizes, coming up the entrance making it almost look like the puck’s coming at you and there are three of them anywhere from 19ft. to around a little over 12ft. in diameter. And they’re hanging from these entrance ways and there’s very large steps to come up and the challenges were to be able to interface with their architecture to be able to lower these things so that they’ve got a self-climbing hoist built into each one to get them down so that they can be serviced and also in a stairwell area where there’s no real flat surface to bring it down to. [Timestamp: 5:13]

AV Overhaul at Consol Energy Center Part 1

Jan 13, 2011 11:28 AM

What kind of a timeline did you have on this thing? Was there any kind of a hurry up on it?
Well yes certainly were on the pucks, that wasn’t part of the original bid but these are things that they certainly wanted for some of their first open houses was these pucks. [Timestamp: 5:29]

This center-hung scoreboard display is so impressive in the pictures I’ve seen. How big is the video screen on it?
The video screens are in the center-hung, there’s four of them on each side, but it’s 14.5ft. high by 24.6ft. wide and above it on each side is the matrix for screens. It’s really a video screen but it’s primarily used for scoring and graphics and advertisement they’re a 5.3ft. high by 24.5ft. wide. And at the very top we have a circular video ring—it’s a ribbon board ring, the top one is 3.7ft. high by 122.7ft. in circumference but the diameter’s about 39ft. in diameter. And underneath of the scoreboard is another ring that is about 2.1ft. high and about 80ft. in circumference or about 25.5ft. in diameter. [Timestamp: 6:37]

Yeah from the pictures I’ve seen of the display nobody’s going to have any problem seeing what’s going on there but you have a lot of stuff going on not only on the center scoreboard but on the ribbon displays and the monitors all over the building. You’re never going to be very far from the action or from the advertising too. So what video format did you send to the screens? These are some mighty long cable runs.
Of course everything is HD to the video screens and then most of the computer and animations are all DVI. Our controllers are actually up in the control room because we had multiple channels, different types of formats, DVI, standard definition. Although they’re not driving it we can handle all these different types of inputs. So the controllers are in the control room and then from our controllers we still use SD-SDI HD-SDI signals to get our data out there but primarily the video signal is up in the control room and that is HD-SDI and 1080i is the format that they’re using in the HD format. [Timestamp: 7:44]

And while you were installing this and running all the cabling did you have anything in the way of architectural challenges and getting the cable where it needed to go?
The biggest challenges in course of the center-hung were coordinating with all of the other different vendors. There was Wi-Fi being put everywhere within the facility and cameras that are mounted in the center-hung to get that view from the top down over the ice. So there was a lot of different other contractors and suppliers that were wanting to use the center-hung to host in the bottom of the structure. There are now many different Wi-Fi antennas and stuff that are mounted in the bottom of it so we had to coordinate a lot of other cables from other suppliers bringing down into the center-hung and so that was somewhat of a challenge. Also from an architectural standpoint on the ribbon boards, they wanted a really nice clean look for the emergency fire alarm lights and because the ribbon board almost covers all the fascia we allowed the fire alarm companies to actually run their cables in part of our ribbon board troughs and mount their lights underneath the ribbon boards so that they could easily be seen. [Timestamp: 8:59]

And I think they have some 10mm dasher board displays in there too?
Yes, that was a really nice addition too. That came around the same time as the pucks did but the dasher boards had to be coordinated obviously with the dasher supplier and mounted in there and then the anti-glare and Lexan, but be tough enough to be able to handle the pucks and players running into these things and take the abuse. But we’ve been well pleased with those 10mm products. They look very good. We have the ability to match any color—one of the problems with dasher board is they’re on camera all the time and they tend to look pink or bluish turn because of the LED’s reacting with the cameras color compensation and we can actually match any color but the challenge we’ve found is we’ve matched with all the cameras in-house but every time there’s a different network coming in they tend to have their different cameras, different set ups so what we’ve done now is create various color settings to try to match the cameras so that it looks actually white on TV. [Timestamp: 10:14]

AV Overhaul at Consol Energy Center Part 1

Jan 13, 2011 11:28 AM

Yeah, that could be a trick because the TV cameras don’t respond to color exactly the like the human eye does. The way you actually see it from where the fans are.
Well and the idea is primarily that advertisement is for not just the fans in there but primarily for the TV audience and it is a challenge to…luckily we can control that color and achieve the white. It’s just getting the right setups for the different camera crews coming in to make sure that we can set up for them. And that’s what we’ve been able to do to get various presets to allow that to occur. [Timestamp: 10:52]

With so many people working together on a big construction project like this there could be times when things don’t exactly happen in the right order when you have to wait on something else to get done first. Was there anything like that to contend with?
Well obviously we were awarded in July of 2009—it takes a little while, we could not start working because the arena was not able to let us work at that point but as far as a engineering standpoint we started doing most of our work towards the end of 2009. We started installing cabling and stuff in the March timeframe and going all the way through to finishing up in July 4th was actually when we had one of the first open houses where everything was viewed. [Timestamp: 11:46]

So what do you see happening with LED displays now? I mean the technology’s come a long way.
Obviously on the indoor products, the surface mount technologies are really coming along nicely. It’s pretty much dominated the indoor market. We’re seeing it as the Penguin’s going to more and more black packages, higher and higher resolutions. We are now bringing out our first what’s called O-LED which is the organic LED’s. I don’t really see that primarily in the sports market at this time but certainly the density that’s starting at 3mm and higher resolutions that’s the area where it’s going more and more LED almost any open surface is being covered by video advertisement and fan interaction. I don’t believe anybody that goes to these arenas and stadiums are being bombarded by advertisements but there’s certainly an interaction process where information and stats and crowd imprompt’s and interaction as well as being hit with the advertisements it’s certainly a nice trade off. The fans certainly love it. I’ve never heard anybody seem to be annoyed by the amount of advertisements and stuff that are coming at them. [Timestamp: 13:11]

And no trouble keeping up with the action. In some stadiums now almost every time the game gets into action you can see the player stats and team stats and every kind of fact and figure on it. What kind of sports project does Mitsubishi Diamond Vision got coming up? Anything you want to give us a preview on?
Well there’s the next phase of sports would be into baseball season which we have a project at the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners…so doing additional stuff out there. We already have fascia ribbon boards at the Red Sox and we’re adding additional video boards and out of town and advertisement type boards in that facility as well as the Seattle Mariners we’re adding other fascia boards that’s replacing some of their old lamp base products and just enhancing overall fan performance. [Timestamp: 14: 09]

Well if you do as spectacular a job on those as you did on this one they’ll really have something to talk about. It was great having you here David to tell us about the Consol Energy Center video display’s project and what did you did there with LED displays and thanks very much for being here.

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