In college football, winning requires elite talent; many schools will go to extraordinary lengths each year to get it. The methods employed to impress recruits can vary widely — from flying them out for a campus visit on a private jet, to more personal attempts like a coach making family visits to the recruits home town.
For the University of Memphis Tigers, the key to differentiating its football program from the pack was through AV Technology.
Specifically, the University wanted to renovate its locker room at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, utilizing giant displays, video walls, and audio and lighting systems to create a unique atmosphere that would wow recruits, while serving to pump up current players prior to games. To provide this experience, the Tigers called on Memphis-based Miestro Home Integration.
The University’s revamped locker room is packed with screens of all sizes, including: four two-panel video walls in horizontal and vertical orientations; a three-panel vertical video wall; a dramatic 117-inch projected image; 98-inch display; 75-inch touchscreen in the coach’s office; 65-inch display in the medical bay; 105 standalone displays — one above each locker — that show each player’s name, picture, and number; three additional touchscreens
Video sources consist of a live feed from the field during games, four media players that deliver custom graphics and video provided by the University, a Comcast cable box, and a direct feed for a local laptop connection. A sound system comprised of technologies from Pro Audio Technology, AudioControl, and Episode plays dynamic audio tracks loud and clear around the entire space.
A player or recruit entering the locker room from the field is immediately greeted by a light show, complemented by music pumping from the audio system and video playing on a 98-inch display. To the left, a large display case houses mannequins wearing the various Tiger uniforms, standing before a 117-inch projected image.
The locker room itself is divided in two. To the right, players will pass two 2×2 horizontal video walls. To the left, they experience the three-display vertical video wall, which wraps around the corner so the image “bends” as you walk through the locker room. Each side has access to a 75-inch touchscreen for play creation. The layout of the displays and speakers throughout the locker room allow for a premium experience from any angle.
During games, the video walls and other displays show highlight reels from the previous week to amp up the team, while displaying custom banners for inspiration. For recruits in the off-season, the focus is put entirely on the individual. The 117-inch image and 98-inch display in the central area showcase the recruit’s stats and other information. Personalized highlight reels are shown as they walk through the facility, set to custom audio. This allows them to see themselves making the key plays that have defined their careers to that point, while getting them pumped up to make new ones as a Tiger.
When it came to AV distribution, the University required a cost-effective and reliable system to deliver any of the video sources to any display or video wall. Furthermore, the set-up had to be exceptionally simple for facility managers to use, and easily expandable to include any additional displays — or sources — as the Tigers’ budget or needs changed.
For the AV distribution system, Miestro chose Just Add Power’s (J+P) 3G Ultra HD Over IP system, supported by a Luxul PoE switch. The system delivers Ultra HD video signals over IP with just 16 ms of latency from source to screen.
In leveraging the facility’s common IP infrastructure, it provided the University with an affordable, high-quality video distribution system that could be adapted to the variety of displays and sources in the locker room. This was important in particular because of the 105 locker displays, which are pre-wired for future inclusion in the system.
Widely deployed in ballparks, arenas, command centers, and many other installations, the 3G Ultra HD Over IP platform removes the limitations and expense of traditional matrixes and replaces them with a more scalable, flexible, and reliable approach.
“In the past we utilized traditional chassis-based matrix systems for video distribution, but have made the switch to AV over IP,” says Lamar Gibson, president of Miestro Home Integration. “We’ve consistently had tremendous success with Just Add Power. Not only is the company’s 3G Ultra HD Over IP system cost-effective, but it delivers outstanding scalability, fast switching, and unmatched reliability. And all these benefits are bolstered by outstanding design and technical assistance from Just Add Power when needed.”
The University’s J+P system supports 4K Ultra HD resolutions and HDMI 2.0 devices with HDCP 2.2. It enables seamless switching between any resolution HDMI source (2160, 1080, 720,576, 480, interlaced or progressive) as well as uncompressed lossless multichannel audio formats including Dolby Atmos support. Video wall functionality is built-in for displays installed in portrait and flipped configurations as well as image push, pull, and pop features. An integrated scaler on the receiver automatically adjusts the picture to fit the screen.
Each video source in the Tigers’ locker room is equipped with J+P’s VBS-HDIP-707 transmitter, while the fourteen displays and one projector are outfitted with VBS-HDIP-508 PoE receivers. The Ultra HD Over IP platform is engineered to provide complete scalability, so expanding the system with an additional screen or source is as simple as adding another receiver or transmitter. With an eye on future expansion, the standalone locker displays and touchscreens have been pre-wired for inclusion in the J+P system.
Control4 touchscreens and keypads are wall-mounted in strategic locations to provide facility managers with control over the entire system using pre-programmed scenes that launch specific video, music, and lighting in a timed sequence. To achieve this, university program managers upload new video content each week and tell Miestro which songs will be needed and when and how long they should play. Miestro creates the custom playlist, which facility managers can initiate with a single button press.
“Just Add Power made it simple to display multiple images, videos, and customized content on a variety of video walls and displays, while allowing for easy expansion to include additional sources and screens in the future as the University’s budget permits,” adds Gibson. “The response to the system has been overwhelmingly positive. The facility is on par with most NFL spaces, and players, coaches, and recruits recognize that. The Tigers’ 2019 recruiting class is looking to be the best in the school’s history, and I have no doubt that this renovation played a key role in recruits’ decisions.”