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Dodger Stadium Video Upgrade, Part 2

Dodger Stadium has gotten a complete renovation and a big part of that job was all new video technology with 10mm LED displays, scoreboards, and videowalls. 5/16/2013 7:38 AM Eastern

Dodger Stadium Video Upgrade, Part 2

May 16, 2013 11:38 AM, With Bennett Liles




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Dodger Stadium has gotten a complete renovation and a big part of that job was all new video technology with 10mm LED displays, scoreboards, and videowalls. Chris Mascatello from ANC Sports is back to tell us about the new ribbon displays and the VisionSoft graphics application that runs the whole show, coming right up on the SVC Podcast.

SVC: Chris, thanks for being back with us for part two and this has to have been a fun project to work on at Dodger Stadium when you know just how knocked over the fans are going to be when they see all of the new video displays for the first time. We had only touched in part one about how this massive new video system is operated. VisionSoft from ANC Sports runs the whole thing, right?

Sure, yeah. Most of the digital concept that’s playing out in the broadcast control room is coming off of ANC’s VisionSoft platform. That’s software that is now going into its eighth core revision, and most importantly we’ve made the transition to be the first 64-bit digital playback operating system in sports. Really important, we were able to distribute uncompressed content to all the displays at one-to-one resolution. So [it’s] as pristine an image as designed by the animators and the graphic designers, that is exactly what’s passing out to the display system. So it really does maximize the capability of these next generation LED displays. [Timestamp: 1:48]

But of course, that’s not the only thing that was going on with the video. You’ve got a couple of new videowalls in the stadium, too. Where are those located and what was involved in getting those set up?

Yeah, as part of the project we installed two new out-of-town scoreboard LED videowalls in place of existing digital displays that had been in the stadium since 2003. That was actually one of the easier parts of this project because we were removing something and replacing it with new displays that were just about the same size. So what they have done is there are cutouts in the actual outfield walls, in left field close to the line and right field close to the first base foul line, and they leave a hole in the wall with the LED functioning pretty much as the support for that section. And then what they’ve also done this year with these LED out-of-town videowalls is switched from a Plexiglas/Lexan type covering on the LED display to protect the players and the display and give a flat wall surface, to a chain link design, which is more of a traditional look and feel dating back to hand-operated, fixed-digit scoreboards. So truthfully, we believe that that also does a better job of allowing the video image to come through. You don’t have the glare and off-angle issues that you might have with the Plexiglas. Nor does the chain link get scratched and dinged by baseballs and players and the course of play in the field. So we’re really excited about that. It’s going be just another piece of enhanced informational assets for the Dodgers to play with for their fans. [Timestamp: 3:35]

I’m sure all of the stadiums want to out-do each other with the video and visual effects. You’ve also got a brand-new LED ribbon display. They previously had one of those in there didn’t they?

Correct. The same time they put in the previous out-of-town walls in the outfield, they also did a ribbon display. The display they had, while functional, was really starting to show its age. You could pick out individual blocks where the color wasn’t matching. It had lived a good life, but it was really time to give their entire LED video package a facelift. So again, we removed the existing signage and then cleaned up the mounting and structural steel pieces that were attached to the precast concrete. [We] came in and put in the new LED ribbon display, and it’s going do wonders for giving a real unified, clean look to everything that’s done by the game production staff for the Dodgers. They have a pallette of now two large main video screens, one on the left field, one in right field, which are more than likely going to be showing different images between information, player headshots, replays, etc., as well as the line scores that I mentioned beneath each of those displays. They’re going to have the two out-of-town walls and then this 1,100-foot-plus ribbon board, so there’s really some great opportunities for programming, information, sponsor content, game prompts, etc. [Timestamp: 5:04]

Yeah, a lot of stuff to look at and that’ll keep the fans busy and maybe even the players, too. You got everything in and hooked up, so how did all of the testing of the system go? You’ve got to ring it out and make sure it all works.

You do, and as you mentioned in part one, there’s a lot of other work going on in Dodgers stadium right now. At one point they had dug up the entire lower seating bowl all the way down; removed the seats, took out all the concrete and dug down into the dirt beneath the stadium so that they could build out a modern, luxurious clubhouse, put in batting cages for both the home and visiting teams — really bring their baseball operations and team side package at the stadium up to current levels. So if you can imagine a stadium that has an event coming in less than three months being without its lower bowl seating, you can imagine some of the commotion that was going on from an integrated construction standpoint. But the testing and commission of the displays went really well. We were happy with that. Each main video screen took about two or three days from the time we first turned the power on to get to a 100 percent perfect image. There were some hurdles along the way, because as they were doing the rest of the work in the stadium, one of the things that they also did was bring in a large amount of new primary power, and most of the panels out in the outfield were not energized. So we actually did the testing and commissioning of these video screens step by step, utilizing temporary generators brought onsite so that we could be done prior to all of the stadium power being reconnected. So a little bit of an oddity for us, but we’ve been at this game long enough. You know, you just roll with the punches and make the best of what’s available. [Timestamp: 6:52]


Dodger Stadium Video Upgrade, Part 2

May 16, 2013 11:38 AM, With Bennett Liles




And since they were using the VisionSoft graphics app from ANC Sports, I guess you were training people on all that.

Yeah, and what was nice was we knew that we were going to be facing some tight deadlines once we got to the tail end of the project leading into Opening Day with the various construction elements, the broadcast control room. So what we did on this project was we actually brought in the VisionSoft system as well as the Vista Spyder multi-image viewer that we used to parcel up and do the picture-in-picture and layout effects on the two main video screens. We had both of those pieces onsite months in advance and we set up a virtual control room in one of their office suites so that their staff could begin practicing with the software and the integration of the various pieces, and also start to play with their design looks and really get ahead of the curve there so that we weren’t waiting until the last second, you know, the last week leading up to Opening Day to get them some seat time. [Timestamp: 7:50]

Once you get everything working and all of the people trained, there’s a huge amount of preparation that goes into preparing for a game. They have to get all of the sponsors’ things lined up. So I guess that once they’re all set up, doing the game is really the easy part.

Actually it even breaks down into more of a modular piece than that. It’s really the lead up to a home stand or a series that has a lot of time to make sure the programming’s right. Once you get into game two, game three, game four of a given series or a home stand, a lot of the content remains the same. It’s the same visiting team and you’re almost doing a rinse-and-repeat type of game presentation at that point. But in the case of a new display package like this, plus a new control room everything’s new so every bit of video, graphic animation, still, sponsor, it is all new. So content creation began back in probably November or December and it takes a good four months to get everything built and ready for Opening Day. Once we’re into the season, the game day operations staff is at the ballpark a minimum of three hours before the game to do a run through and test out the system and make sure that everything that needs to be there is there and that the displays are running the way they should. [Timestamp: 9:05]

And LED displays generate heat. You’ve got a warm climate at Dodger Stadium, you’ve got direct sunlight. How’s the ventilation on those big displays? How do you make sure they don’t overheat?

Well, any outdoor display is going to be susceptible to the effects of the environment. The good news with L.A. is while it is generally warm throughout the year, Dodgers Stadium – Chavez Ravine – doesn’t get to the really taxing 110 degrees that we might find in places like Phoenix or sort of the double whammy that we had in Nashville with the Titans project where it was roughly 100 degrees for a lot of the summer and early fall with 80 to 90 percent humidity. So in the case of the Dodgers, it’s going to be a relatively low-humidity environment with a nice, seasonably warm temperature. What we do is we take a look at the screen size; we take a look at the power draw and the anticipated brightness of the screen in a day game or a night game. We do a thermal analysis, how many BTUs are going to be put out and how much heat is going to need to be vented from the scoreboard structure behind the video screen, and then we work with our HVAC subcontractors to put together an airflow plan. In the case of the Dodgers, all we needed was forced air. We just needed fans and ventilation. In the case of some warmer environments, Phoenix or Las Vegas, you actually need to create your scoreboard in one big air-conditioned space, which adds, as you can imagine, a whole other level of complexity and cost. But I think the Dodgers is actually a great environment for putting in a video screen. [Timestamp: 10:45]

And that’s not all you put in there. That’s a huge stadium and a complete renovation. What else is ANC Sports providing for the stadium?

We did the video screens, we did the VisionSoft system in the control room. We actually put in a new scoring system, so all of the play-by-play and pitch-by-pitch scoring for the team and the broadcasters is being done on an ANC system. We have a signage package. There’s going to be two new, Iconic 17ft. diameter circular signs at the top of each of the scoreboard structures as well as new home plate and first base and third base field-level rotational signage, which is totaling a little bit over 140 linear feet. It’s really a brand new stadium. When people walk in they are, a lot of folks aren’t going to recognize large aspects of it. It definitely is Dodger Stadium. It’s the same beautiful view from home plate out towards the hills, but everything is getting a really nice, brand new paint job and technology overhaul. [Timestamp: 11:46]

It’s great when it all comes together and you see how much the fans enjoy this when they come in and see it all for the first time. I know this was a biggie, but what other projects are coming up for ANC Sports?

Yeah, well at the same time we’re doing this Dodger project we’re also participating in the final stage of the display renovation for the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. We’re providing the integration of VisionSoft into their control room, and they’ve added a new video screen this year, which is going to be the largest video screen in all of baseball in terms of square footage. It’s over 200ft. wide by more than 55ft. tall. From a resolution standpoint, it’s actually two 1080p images side by side in one display. So you can look at it as two HD 1080p’s or you can look at it as the top half of a 4K image. So really going to do some interesting stuff with VisionSoft and the statistics on a pallette that’s that size. And then as we move on into the summer and fall we’ve got some large collegiate and professional arena projects that are going to start kicking off just as soon as baseball’s finished. [Timestamp: 13:02]

There’s a lot of competition and people from other stadiums are going to be somewhat envious when they see this whole display system in action and you’ll probably have some more work to do.

Absolutely.

Chris Mascatello from ANC Sports it was great listening to how this whole new video system went into Dodger Stadium and thanks for telling us about how it all got done.

Thank you very much.


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