In this edition of the SVC Podcast, SVC Contributing Editor Bennett Liles talks with Eric Boyd and John Cathey of AV installation and support company CompView about their installation of a large Biamp AudiaFLEX system in the University of Oregon’s (UO) new Hatfield-Dowlin Football Complex. They outline the system design and discuss the challenges of installing it and linking all the I/O points on a CobraNET network.
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Nov 3, 2014 6:18 PM,
With Bennett Liles
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<a data-cke-saved-href=”http://blogcast.svconline.com/?p=1291” href=”http://blogcast.svconline.com/?p=1291” target=” target=” _blank”=””>From Sound & Video Contractor Magazine, this is the SVC Podcast with Eric Boyd and John Cathey from CompView. Show notes for the podcast can be found on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at svconline.com.
The University of Oregon just built their fabulous new Hatfield-Dowlin Football Complex and CompView got into the project with Biamp AudiaFLEX on CobraNET, flat panel displays, projectors and Crestron Control. Eric Boyd and John Cathey are here to give us the details. Coming up next on the SVC Podcast.
Eric and John, it’s great to have you with us here on the SVC Podcast from CompView. We’re talking about a big installation at the University of Oregon’s new Hatfield-Dowlin Football Complex and this wasn’t just a grandstand PA and some locker rooms. A huge place with a 40-yard timing track, practice fields, weight room, nutrition center and a 170-seat theater. But before we get into that, tell us a little about CompView. How long has it been around and what sort of projects do you get into there?
John: CompView, we’ve been around for 27 years going on 28. We are the largest integrator-based in the West with seven locations providing nationwide support with traveling teams in all parts of the country. Our projects encompass a broad spectrum, everything from design build collaboration rooms and digital signage for clients like Standard Insurance, Metrographics, Columbia Sportswear, and the U.S. Navy. We also install digital media systems in classrooms and simulation labs for Modesto Junior College and the University of Wisconsin. Overall we have about 160 employees. Most of those are devoted to field and service technicians and engineering and design. [Timestamp: 1:57]
That’s quite a handful and I’m sure you’ve got all those people busy especially with projects like this one. So the University of Oregon was building their new football complex and what kind of a facility is that? We know it’s big and there’s a lot in it so what do they have and what did CompView have to do?
John: Members of our team worked with the University of Oregon football program in all sorts of support roles over the years and we were asked to participate in integrating and building the systems for the Hatfield-Down complex, which is also referred to as the HDC complex. The fact of the matter is college football is extremely competitive in trying to not just play the games every Saturday and be competitive, but also to recruit the star athletes that are all over the country. And so the University of Oregon was looking for ways to enhance that opportunity for attracting high school recruits to come out and be members of the Ducks football program and also how to, once they’re there, to make them better and more efficient athletes and more competitive on those Saturday afternoon fall games. So consequently the University of Oregon, through a gift from Phil and Penny Knight, were able to establish the HDC complex and football operations. And we were fortunate enough to be able to participate in putting the AV systems in place that allow for that. [Timestamp: 318]
A mighty complex sound system network. How many sources and destinations are involved in the facility’s audio network? I know you used a Biamp AudiaFLEX system which has been around, it’s proven so when you got this all set up and connected you knew it was going to work. So how many inputs and outputs are there?
Eric: It is massive. I mean in a Biamp FLEX and CobraNET system, it spans anywhere from out in the practice field into the building. It’s a six-story complex that is ultimately spread two buildings wide. We traverse from the field to what they call their – the office building to their teaching building and the teaching building is where the players go into – disburse into different teams to kind of strategize and then the opposite side is where all the coaches’ offices are. And that’s where also the sports video center is, which is ultimately the control center for the practice field and a lot of that broadcast distribution, camera signals in and around the building as well. So across the field I think we have about a dozen what we call essentially inside conference room a floor box, but it’s out in the field there. It’s basically vaults that you open up and in there you have a few CobraNET connections, not to mention a couple of analog audio connections in each one of them that allows the coaches on the practice field to be able to communicate to the players while they’re in practice as well as they pump in some pretty high-decibel crowd noise to simulate what it’s like on game day to the players as well. For that matter, from the sports video center on the 5th floor in the office building, they can pump out audio, whatever they want ultimately, and from there they’re also connected into Autzen Stadium and they can share audio feeds back and forth. So the exact count, it’s high. It’s very high. Everything is going through different switches.
John: That’s why we chose Biamp.
Eric: Yes. It’s pretty expandable. It’s expansive at this point. And we also connect up with the large theaters in the spaces and down into the lobby area where they have a very large entrance and presentation space as well. [Timestamp: 5:28]
That’s got to be impressive when they have a possible team prospect come in and he sees all this, that’s got to be very helpful in their recruiting efforts. There was a lot of work going on while the building was going up so what was the timeframe on all of this? You got in during the initial construction?
Eric: Yeah. We were in there very rough construction just because the building is very unique. ZGF, the architect, wanted very, very tight lines – reveals and everything – so when we’re putting in displays, displays are sunk into walls. The AV equipment needed to seem as if it was part of the building, not something that was stuck to the building, right? So we were involved very early on to be in some of the rough construction and get in there with cable pulls. We had to get in because there’s not a lot of drop down ceiling. This is mostly marble and granite and maple floors everywhere. So once this thing got buttoned up, there was no going back so we had to get it right the first time. So we were involved pretty early on. The big sprint of the project really took on from just about when? I think it was right after Christmas that year and trudged right up to the first game. I mean we were getting everything up and going as players were coming in the first week of August.
John: They had a hard start date, fully operational based on their football schedule. And so it wasn’t a project completion that could move out based upon anything except it had to hit on that date.
Eric: I believe it was just about eight to nine months. [Timestamp: 7:00]
And when you had just gotten in there, what did you have to do first?
Eric: Really everything was cable pulling infrastructure. I mean getting things in. It was really rough construction, just kind of getting all our supports and stuff in place because not everywhere did we have point-to-point conduit or anything of that nature so we had to get in pretty early on to get wire in walls and get stuff running. [Timestamp: 7:24]
A lot of people with different jobs working shoulder to shoulder in there and keeping all that coordinated can be a challenge in itself.
Eric: I couldn’t tell you how many actual trades and tradesmen were onsite, but it was a lot of people – it was a lot of organization. I think at one point we had upwards of, just for our team onsite working, I think we had about 20 technicians onsite just doing AV and we were all split upon. Some guys were allocated to the practice field, some guys were on the office tower, other guys were on the teaching tower. And yeah, they had their different teams they had to report to, so it was busy. [Timestamp: 8:02]
That’s a lot of different acoustic environments you’ve got to have that system work well in. Was that the most difficult thing or what was the one big challenge you had to deal with on this project?
Eric: Our biggest challenge was schedule, ultimately, but I mean you’re right. The architecture of the space dictated a lot. The architect wanted to get this right. The client really wanted to get this building right. It needed to be a flagship. So the design, from an architectural standpoint, was fluid up until the day the building opened because I think it was one or two times a week the architect would come through and look at something and if he didn’t like it, it was going. And if you had something on that wall or something behind that wall, it was coming off. And so one day you thought you were done in a zone and it was torn apart the next day. So that was probably the biggest challenge. As for hard surface acoustical, we had some really strong engineers on staff and our engineer who was our point man, Jerry Nuckolls, on the project, nothing he couldn’t or hasn’t dealt with before and so everything came in and was tuned out well. [Timestamp: 9:08]
I know they have a pretty sophisticated videoconferencing system in there. What did they want you to put in for the videoconferencing capability? How was that hooked up?
Eric: We had the Cisco C40 in a dedicated conferencing space that was just solely to the coaches themselves, and it was kind of like a hidden conference room ultimately. You don’t even really know it’s there. The coaches get together and they use it to communicate with other campuses and talk with recruiters about upcoming players and such. It’s kind of like if you’re not a coach you’re not going in that room kind of thing. So it’s kind of a hush-hush space and that’s what they use to basically communicate with other teams and other recruits. [Timestamp: 9:48]
And of course the C40 has been around for a while so that codec is well-known so the same situation there. You knew when you got it connected that it was probably going to work right from the beginning.
Eric: Absolutely. Especially considering it’s something that – IT is a big deal on that campus. Everything that’s in this building is on their network, everything from the control systems as well. The folks in their IT department didn’t hesitate because it was on the network and not raise any red flags. [Timestamp: 10:20]
Well, I know that was a huge job and the building is unique. There are so many completely different spaces in there and you had to have something that you could be confident in, that you knew was going to work when it came time for testing and that’s why you went with the AudiaFLEX.
Eric: Ultimately it was a spec, right? We worked with a consultant on that so we knew what we were getting into. So we knew it was reliable. I’m sure if it was something else we probably would have wanted to have an open discussion with them and maybe changing it. But yeah, the FLEX, it added to supporting what we do and getting a project of this size done. [Timestamp: 10:52]
Alright, Eric and John, thanks for filling us in on that and in part two we’ll get more into the CobraNET network, the Crestron control and some other things. It was great hearing about it. I know you were under a lot of pressure on this project. Thanks for taking time to give us a taste of it and we’ll get more into it in part two.
Eric: Thank you.
Thank you for being with us for the SVC Podcast with Eric Boyd and John Cathey of CompView. Show notes are available on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at svconline.com. In part two Eric and John will give us the rundown on the Crestron Control system and the facility’s CobraNet network on the next SVC Podcast.