With the current emphasis on facts and explanatory data, CNN decided to entirely redesign their studio in Washington D.C. to include the highest-resolution, lowest pixel pitch LED displays in the world for “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer and “The Lead” with Jake Tapper. APG Displays built the redesign around two 108” Leyard LED 1.2mm pixel pitch LED displays and one 30’ Leyard 1.6mm pixel pitch LED display, which they installed after a year of testing and designing.
“CNN’s former LCD modular displays were difficult to shoot,” says APG’s David Weatherhead. “They called on us to rectify the issue with high-resolution LED displays that would allow them to film creative, tight shots of the videowall itself.
CNN’s need for high-resolution videowalls is grounded in their distinct filming technique. In traditional television network broadcasting, news anchors report in front of a videowall, but the camera focuses primarily on them. CNN, on the other hand, uses unique camera shifts and tight zoomshots that require a display that can deliver resolution both up-close and from a distance—without triggering moiré and color-shift effects.
To test the Leyard displays, APG Displays positioned two camera feeds next to each other with one direct graphic feed and the other with the Leyard display’s image of the graphic feed. “No one could tell the difference between the source and the display of the source,” Weatherhead said. “This certainly demonstrated that these displays offer unprecedented imagery.” Additionally, since the new LED technology has no bezels, there are no distracting black-lines on the videowalls. After CNN selected Leyard, APG Displays Vice President of Engineering Kevin Linton conducted extensive testing at the factory in Beijing as APG Displays does with all large LED projects.
The deconstruction of CNN’s old system and the installation of the new system took two weeks total. Since the newsroom never sleeps, the installation was well underway at CNN’s studio while shows were still broadcasted live, meaning that the APG Displays team had to be efficient and extremely quiet.”
Unlike modular LCD displays, Leyard’s videowalls allow the production team to easily manipulate color balancing, calibrating, and brightness levels. APG Displays helped to train the team so that they could easily control the videowall after the project’s completion.
To maximize on-site use, APG Displays designed the large 1.6mm videowall with the capability to split it into two and flip over to be used in either Studio A or Studio B, both of which are set back-to-back. To do so, they used a Christie Spyder X20 video processer that evenly divides the screen into two separate content streams.