In this edition of the SVC Podcast, SVC Contributing Editor Bennett Liles continues his conversation 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. The discussion includes the acoustics in various parts of the complex, the Crestron control system and the DSP capabilities of the sound system.
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Nov 13, 2014 3:03 PM,
With Bennett Liles
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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.
When the University of Oregon built a huge new football facility it had to have a complex sound network and everything had to be installed right the first time. They called in CompView for the job and Eric Boyd and John Cathey are back to finish telling us how they got it all done. That’s all right here, next on the SVC Podcast.
Eric and John, thanks for being back with us for part two on the SVC Podcast talking about the University of Oregon’s new Hatfield-Dowlin Football Complex. It’s a huge place with lots of different spaces in it. Some interesting things they did with sound in there that we’ll get into but CompView got into this right during the initial construction phase. With that many different people working side by side on this were there any surprises during the installation?
Eric: The biggest surprise was that there were a lot of people in that space and they had some very unique construction materials they were going with. So once certain floors were done you couldn’t get back there. They had these very unique maple-finished floors and once those floors were in it took an act of God to get you back into that space if you didn’t finish. There was a lot of signing your name on a line so if you mess it up you own this. So yeah, we had to be effective on our schedule, be in and out of spaces when we said we were going to. Parts of the building were being shut down from us constantly. So those were the biggest surprises. Those aren’t typical to a lot of construction that we deal with, but in this case they wanted to make sure these finishes stayed pristine. I think the owner representative during that, he likened it to when you walk onto a lot and get a brand new car it should look like that when it’s turned over. It shouldn’t have any little mar. It should have a new – like nobody had ever been in that facility before and they held to that. It was shiny and beautiful the day they turned it over.
John: I think one of the biggest surprises turned out to be the center point, when you walk into the first floor of the UCC, is a (video wall) 55-inch, 64 panels. It’s set into a corner and it’s well above the reception area. They made a lot of considerations for the panels and the displays, but Eric, in our initial meeting with them said, ‘So what are we going to do for sound?’ It hadn’t been a consideration, and so we had to do something more or less a last moment scramble in the design and getting audio to the images.
Eric: We were in the final throws and I believe it was mid-June when the stakeholders came through, and at that time we were thinking about finishing. We were like the design is done, we’re running for the goal. And they were like, ‘Hey, can you join us on this meeting on the lobby?’ which we thought was just going to be a standard lobby. And there’s the architect and they’ve got a small video panel manufacturer in the Beaverton area with them and they’re like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to put a 4 x 16 video wall here. It should wrap about 70 feet wide.’ They were like, ‘Are you guys ready to install it?’ They were finishing up the space. That was a surprise because all cable path was almost non-existent at that time. I had no place to put the racks or source equipment. Nobody had thought, like John had said, what were the audio options in the space, so that became a challenge pretty quickly. You’ve seen images of it. It was like a large glass and concrete and granite space. It is very reverberant and so we had a system playing with Meyer sound that turned out very, very well, but those were some big surprises. That was the biggest shocker of them all. I was like now we’re doing a 64-panel video wall here near the end of the project. Yeah, we’ll take that on. Sure. Why not? Yeah, there were little things like that along the way. Once you got closer to the season and the sports video team who supports the football team, these guys are really savvy and these guys know their job really well. And then you start to get into spaces and see and finally with equipment in them, they want to see changes, those were surprises. They wanted to make sure when the ribbon was cut it was truly cutting edge. You can design a system like this that was over two years in advance of this. A lot of stuff changes in two years, especially in these last two years. So we had some pretty big design changes that came down the pike at us here in the last 60 days before the project opened and we were able to accommodate that and be flexible enough to make it happen. [Timestamp: 5:02]
The audio system has a lot of sources and destinations and there are a lot of different audio networking technologies. Is there a particular reason why you decided on CobraNET?
Eric: Ultimately it was part of the original spec. It’s something on the consultant team with the stakeholder team had already decided upon. It’s what we used at other parts of the stadium as well. It’s tried and true and it’s definitely something that the U of O sports video team knows and is familiar with and it just made sense to keep with that. And it was robust enough to handle what was onsite there.
John: One of the reasons why CompView was selected is in part because of our familiarity with the robust CobraNET technology. We’ve done a lot of work with Biamp over the years, including Oregon Convention Center, where we’ve been able to show our expertise and ability to make large systems work with the CobraNET and Biamp systems. [Timestamp: 5:58]
I know there are places all over this facility where could have some fairly tricky acoustics in addition to the lobby area. You’re feeding sound out to the practice fields too, so you had to contend with interior and exterior environments and quite a big difference between those.
Eric: Yeah. The exterior practice field was – everything looks different on paper, right? You can do the EASE modeling. You can do all that and you’re like yeah, this looks right when you work with community speakers. But when you’re doing the modeling, one thing that wasn’t on there was this gigantic black building on the edge of the practice field, which wasn’t part of the model, nor was that there’s a – I think it’s a 12-foot tall granite slab all the way around the practice field which the practice field is kind of sunken in and the wall’s up above it. That adds an interesting reflection as well. So luckily, like I said before, that our engineer, Jerry Nuckolls, he’s a trained acoustician. He’s a very intelligent man and that with Biamp and its ability to – its flexibility with that that he was able to tune precisely to minimize those reflections. [Timestamp: 7:04]
So when you got it all hooked up and were ready to ring it out, how did the system testing go? Did you have to do it in parts or did you just finish the whole installation and test it all at once?
Eric: We had to finish it and try all at once. They gave us a couple days’ notice and long, long nights and days to get the thing up and going and installed. The field itself, the general contractor like that, once they got that done they wanted you off of it. It’s a very specialized material on the field do they didn’t want our cranes and everything out there, and us out there. They wanted to be able to shut it down, so we had a very finite time to get out there and get it up and going and turn it on. I think we were able to measure 107 Db continuous on the field itself. I think we wanted it louder, but that was about what we could get out of that. [Timestamp: 7:52]
And I think to run all of this you put a Crestron control system in there?
Eric: Yeah. There’s a full Digital Media in every space. I think the only place there isn’t one is in the kitchen at this point. But yeah, every space had some form of a DMPS or a full DM 8 x 8, up to a 16 x 16. I think we used some rooms that maybe had two 32 x 32’s, I think, in the large theater. And in the sports and video offices I think we actually had three up there. But yeah, every space had everything from the lobby to the dining hall, every coach’s office had its own DM system, control and touch panels. It’s all networked, too. All Mac reservations and it’s all been managed across the network. That was a big feat in itself. [Timestamp: 8:41]
And with all of the different sound environments all over the football complex you had to make extensive use of the system’s DSP capabilities.
Eric: For sure. Yeah, exactly. We have a very strong commissioning team that we turn those services over to who, all the technicians in bidding the programming and doing all the test measurement and final commissioning. [Timestamp: 9:03]
You have a whole lot of flat screen displays including the big video wall in the lobby but you also have some Christie projectors in there?
Eric: The Christie projectors are in the large and small theaters. I believe the throw in the large theater is just under 100 feet and it’s a 28-foot-wide, I believe, screen. That was pretty massive. It’s an amazing theater. They perform nicely. [Timestamp: 9:30]
And when the players are out on the practice fields you can actually put loud game crowd sounds out there where they are.
Eric: Yeah. They pump crowd noise at them. I don’t know how much it revs them up, but it prepares them for what they can expect on game day. John would correct me – he knows more about this – but my understanding is Autzen Stadium is one of the louder stadiums and I think the Ducks like to use that to their advantage and their ability to actually play within any environment that is so loud and they can still accomplish their plays, right?
John: Absolutely. The Oregon Autzen Stadium football is known as one of the loudest, if not the loudest, in all of college football.
Eric: They practice in that noise. It’s something to be around. [Timestamp: 10:11]
Well, that would definitely affect an offense for sure.
John: The opponent’s offense.
John: The crowd tends to be quiet when the hometown is playing, when they’re throwing the ball or running the ball. But when the other team is doing that they crank up their volume of the crowd.
Well, it was a gigantic project and I know we could get into it a lot deeper. The pictures of the place just knock me over. You got that one all done so what’s coming up for CompView next? You have anything big in the works?
John: We’re always out there looking at and working on large jobs and medium-sized jobs. Right now, because we have seven offices throughout the Western U.S. so we’re touching a lot of different places. LPL Financial is one of our large projects down in the Southern California area. The University of Wisconsin nurse’s school is something that we’re about ready to wrap up. It’s coming along. That was a very large project. And an ongoing one, there’s a small internet reseller called Amazon and in leaps and bounds they continue to grow and continue to require audiovisual services and CompView is their partner of choice so we have that continuing on. [Timestamp: 11:20]
CompView can obviously handle the big jobs and thanks to you both for giving us the rundown on how you did this one.
Eric: Yep. Have a great day. Thank you so much, Bennett.
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. Be right back here with us next time on the SVC Podcast.