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Wired for News

Jun 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Cynthia Wisehart

Onsite for the opening of the Newseum.


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BLOOMBERG INTERNET, TV, AND RADIO GALLERY

Because this gallery is devoted to the history of electronic news, it has one of the highest AV profiles from an aesthetic standpoint. In the center of the gallery is a towering translucent theater (white fabric screen and Christie HD projector) flanked by two 25ft.-high walls embedded with six rows of four 32in. Sony CRT SD TVs. They are fed by eight separate media sources, which can be prerecorded or live.

The two most dramatic AV elements are also the most unique. In the iconic 90ft. atrium in the Great Hall of News, the competition for viewers' attention comes from a Bell JetRanger news helicopter and a replica of NASA's ATX 1 satellite. Yet, somehow in this vast space, the 40"×22" HD Barco LED display holds its own with 1920×1080 resolution — seemingly unfazed by the blaze of light that fills the atrium.

The Bloomberg Internet, TV, and Radio gallery has two 25ft.-high media walls featuring memorable images from TV news, a multimedia timeline, trends in digital news, and a display devoted to pioneering broadcaster Edward R. Murrow.

The Bloomberg Internet, TV, and Radio gallery has two 25ft.-high media walls featuring memorable images from TV news, a multimedia timeline, trends in digital news, and a display devoted to pioneering broadcaster Edward R. Murrow.

Also a Newseum standout, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater is a flexible presentation and broadcast space. But it is a also a 4D theater (indicating a 3D film supported by physical effects). Electrosonic worked with the Newseum and filmmakers at Cortina Productions to develop the unique sightline design, lensing, and systems design for this HD theater. It features a 57'×25' custom curved Stewart screen; a pair of Christie CP2000 projectors; DVX HD servers; and Renkus-Heinz, Tannoy, and Bag End loudspeakers.

The heart of the Newseum's AV is a large rack room, which also interfaces with master control, the broadcast systems, the incoming satellite feeds, and the intercom systems, as well as the portable AV carts that can plug into any of the museum's 80 intercom zones. The seemingly effortless overlap of broadcast, AV, and intercom systems throughout the building — as well as the elegant way the loudspeakers, display devices, and acoustics all fit into the design as a whole — gives the Newseum a wholly modern and organic AV presence.

As Electrosonic's project manager Dan Laspa says, it was — as are so many large-scale integration jobs — a study in cross-discipline problem solving. Site veterans know that there is scope and expertise, and then there is real life, where the particular POV of systems integrators makes for essential collaboration with other construction disciplines. The ability to adapt — whether its software, loudspeaker mounts, or lens specifications — and the ability to provide systems that can be operated and maintained every day in relative ease is crucial to success in an environment so dependent on AV. In this respect, the combination of a designer who understood AV; a client in Jim Updike who was completely fluent in audio and video; and systems integrators with international experience across AV, broadcast, and software ensured that one of the world's most ambitious AV projects would live up to its own standards and those of its constituents in the news media.


More on the Newseum

The ingenious systems design for the Annenberg Theater allows it to house the 4D film installation and double as a flexible live performance/meeting space.

The ingenious systems design for the Annenberg Theater allows it to house the 4D film installation and double as a flexible live performance/meeting space.

  • In an exclusive SVC podcast, Dakota Audio Director of Business Development Michael Blake discusses the company's opportunity to “see” its loudspeaker arrays installed in many of the interactive exhibits at the Newseum and the specialized nature of audio in the museum space. While visitors to the museum won't actually see the arrays — thanks to custom-built enclosures and clever deployments that keep them hidden from view — the audio design is part of the overall rich experience of the Newseum. To listen to this podcast, go to svconline.com/multimedia.

  • On opening day, SVC Editorial Director Cynthia Wisehart took an extensive onsite tour of the technology infrastructure with Newseum VP of Technology Jim Updike. Over the course several hours, she reviewed the front-of-house, backstage, and production facilities that serve the 450,000-square-foot museum. She also took a look at the video content created for the Newseum's 15 theaters, including a 4D theater that combines 3D film with practical effects. Check it out at digitalcontentproducer.com/displaypres/revfeat/art_imitates_life.

  • In SVC's sister publication Broadcast Engineering, Michael Grotticelli details the Newseum's role as a state-of-the-art broadcast facility to serve as the new home for ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, in addition to being used for other television and radio programs. The backbone of the infrastructure includes an SD/HD Thomson Grass Valley K2 media server-based SAN, a Trinix HD video router, and two Apex digital audio routers. To read more, go to broadcastengineering.com/hdtv/newseum_facility_shows.



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