Install of the Month

In summer 2002, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame moved to a brand-new building near the location of its previous home in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Publish date:

Install of the Month

Mar 1, 2003 12:00 PM

In summer 2002, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame moved to a brand-new building near the location of its previous home in Springfield, Massachusetts. This 18-acre site includes not only the new Hall of Fame but also offices, retail space, restaurants, a visitor information center, a hotel, a community center, and an underground car park. The vision for this grand-scale museum and entertainment center in Springfield was acknowledged as an important goal for the economy of both the city and the region.

The new Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame serves as a monument to the pioneers, builders, and major players of the game and also features a museum collection of artifacts from its past. It needed to be fully interactive and engaging for a broad international audience. The main spaces had to be flexible and conducive to a wide range of events and activities. Exhibits had to be kept current, and audiovisual and lighting systems had to be exciting but easy to maintain.

Electrosonic Image Control won the contract for the audiovisual system integration and installation by bid on a system designed by Thoughtful Designs. Electrosonic then partnered with Cortina Productions and NBA Entertainment to provide a complete hardware and production package.

The hall includes many exhibits illustrating various aspects of the game and its history, using video, audio, computer-based interactives, searchable databases, and visitor interactive experiences. The centerpiece of the hall is a scoreboard featuring four video screens and an extensive sound system for playback of custom-produced program material, with the capability for showing user-supplied video for special events. The audio system was a big challenge acoustically, because the main structure is a dome with a hardwood floor.

In addition to video pieces supporting the various historical background themes, there are several visitor interactive exhibits. One of these allows the visitor to see and hear an announcer call a famous play from a game and then have the opportunity to record his or her own voice making the same call. Another interactive puts the visitors into a TV set and gives them the chance to record a sports report using a TelePrompter. Other computer-based interactives teach the visitor the fundamentals of several different coaches' playing strategies, let visitors search a database of highlights from famous games, and help visitors learn about the different skills of famous forwards, guards, and centers.

Electrosonic was responsible for the complete audiovisual systems supply and installation. Electrosonic SD video servers are used extensively, and a MediaSonic ESCAN Scheduler show control program and a MediaSonic FrEND are used to automatically coordinate the startup and shutdown of all exhibits and also to control the visitor interactives. The FrEND is a network peripheral device that supports multiple serial and discrete control channels. All control channels are supported under a single TCP/IP connection, making control system design and layout simple.

There are nine stations with computer interactive displays driven by Elo touch-screen monitors. These stations all have the CPUs remotely located in the control room, and they feed the 1,024-by-768 graphics signal to the remote touch screens through Magenta Research Multiview active Cat-5 extenders. Forty stations of looping video support various displays. Video display devices include Digital View LCD monitors, Panasonic CRT monitors, and Pioneer plasma screens. Fast Forward Video Omega digital video recorders are also used for the interactives involving recorded video of the visitors and also for the main scoreboard show (for full-motion JPEG-quality images).

The two theaters display large-screen images projected by Sanyo XF-30 video projectors onto Stewart screens. One of the theaters uses the Stewart Ultramatte projection screen, which is optimized for use as a front and rear screen at the same time. A combination of JBL Control Series, Mackie MR4s, and Cambridge Audio Microworks loudspeakers provide the sound throughout the exhibits, powered by 23 QSC Audio and 8 Allen and Heath amplifiers.

A central control room, with eight racks of equipment, serves the main museum exhibits and retail background audio areas, as well as the separate multipurpose theater with video projection. The Show Control System automatically controls the startup and shutdown of the facilities each day and includes a flexible user interface to change the startup and shutdown on a daily basis. It also allows for easy integration of special events throughout the day.

Installation started in June 2002 and was completed in time for the grand opening on September 27, 2002. The biggest coordination challenge came from the installation of the scoreboard in the Center Court area. This large structure contained eight video projectors on four screens and four large speaker clusters, as well as numerous fixed and robotic lighting fixtures (by the light contractor). This structure was assembled on the Center Court floor, and all systems installed before it were raised to its final position 32 feet above the floor, where final wiring and adjustments were done.

The creation of the new Basketball Hall of Fame involved the cooperation, professionalism, and talents of numerous companies and hundreds of people. An estimated 14,000 people visited the new building in the first weekend of its opening.

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