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Cline Library Assembly Hall Upgrade, Part 2

May 28, 2013 10:29 AM, With Bennett Liles

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Yeah, you were just what, passing through there and you got a call and stopped by and made a change right then.

Yeah, several weeks after it was up and running, right before the semester started, my wife and I were driving in I-40 west actually from Lectrosonics of all places, back home to Phoenix, and we got a call that they had a question or something that needed to be changed. We said, “We’ll be in the neighborhood in about an hour.” So we stopped by and Gail trained them on some things on the front panel. I made a change on the main panel, and I think we were in and out of there in less than 15 minutes or so. [Timestamp: 7:11]

Yeah, not bad. It’s always nice when you can come right in and do something like that and the client will remember things like that.

Yeah. They were surprised we were able to show up and surprised that we were in and out in such a quick period of time.

Well, we were talking before about the challenge of AV in the academic environment, so what’s usually the biggest challenge in setting up a system to be operated by so many different people and so much up time?

One of the biggest challenges is really understanding what folks want to accomplish, and what makes it challenging is that quite often they don’t necessarily know themselves. You can start out with an idea and a concept, but how that actually becomes implemented, it can often be something completely different. So it’s trying to think ahead of the client and to anticipate their needs, anticipate how the system might be used so that when they say, “Gee, I wish it could do…” we can come back and say, “Yep, it already does.” [Timestamp: 8:02]

Yeah, they try to tell you about what they do, but sometimes a translation has to be made. They might not know some of the key terminology, but that’s your job to decipher what they really need.

Right, and then taking that and making it easy to operate in an easy-to-understand workflow, and then keep track if you have special things that go on or even documenting the system. We’ve found that documentation is extremely important because documentation can be a lifesaver when you’re far away and you’re talking people through and, you know, having them reading drawings and such. So it has to be something that they can understand, and then, of course, giving them the flexibility to do the control that they need to do. [Timestamp: 8:42]

Is there any sort of automatic scheduling on this system where it does its own thing?

We actually talked about that, but the room is used in such a variety of functions that we all decided that scheduling didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Often the system is staffed by a student worker, and so there’s still somebody there at all times so the scheduling didn’t become a priority. [Timestamp: 9:04]

And of course one of the things that installers love to hate is the HDCP issues with HDMI sources to multiple displays sometimes. Did you have any issues with multiple monitors or videoconferencing in there?

Well, with Blu-ray and the HDCP we really didn’t have any trouble at all since our end video destinations were primarily the projector and the preview monitors, so we were fine there. The only real video problems we had were more with the audio de-embedders. We had some strange things going on where we ended up having to send them back for repair and replace a couple, and that was when we were going from audio into a scaler and going into Cat-6 and then those being coded back to HDMI at the receive end and then run to the audio de-embedder. There were a few places in that chain where the links could get a little squirrely. It took some time to figure what was going on with those audio de-embedders. [Timestamp: 9:54]

That can always lead to some fun in tracing down digital funny business. So you evaluated several video transport ideas and I think you looked at the Crestron DM at one point.

We considered it. We were looking at the number of sources that could potentially come from the podium and have to be sent back up to the projection booth, because at a minimum it was two projectors and the pad camera. And they also wanted to be able to send all kinds of other plug-in sources as well. So when we were totaling it out, we figured a minimum of six potential sources at some point, so the question was with the limited amount of pipe and cable that we have available to get back up to the projection booth, what are our options? We looked at some of the HDBaseT kind of systems, including the DM, and just looked at also the fact that we had to have seamless switching throughout the plant. And we felt that the cost of some of those systems and the fact that they weren’t really clean switched, that we decided to go with putting in some of the TVOne switching scalers right at the podium to take and combine—or to switch the signals locally there and send them up on three of the Magenta Cat-6 extenders up to the main switcher. And that proved to be very cost effective and we have all the clean switching requirements we need. [Timestamp: 11:08]

Okay, so what does the user interface actually look like? I guess you designed it with school colors and all that.

We usually try and do something that coordinates it with the client’s graphical layout, and so we actually went on the university website and found out they actually had published color schemes with all the numbers—all the RGB numbers and such—that we were able, when we created all our graphics and buttons, we just plugged those numbers in and relayed all the school colors on the touch panels. [Timestamp: 11:35]

Yeah and that’s great when they can walk up and see that.


And that was the real creative part of it and that’s how do we make this easy and have them not get intimidated when they first see it. You’ve got that one done just fine. You’ve got that one done so what’s coming up next for Intent Digital?

Actually we’re lining up a good-sized project with the Arizona legislature where we replaced all the audio systems in all the nine hearing rooms. They had two big Lectrosonics matrices, 120 by 60 and 72 by 36, all controlled by the Energize system, so that’s been a fun one. We’re off to Tennessee in a couple of days to upgrade one of our Voltlinks meeting management systems, and then we’re actually about to start a really cool dental education project that’s going to use some video imaging that we’ll be using a TVOne CORIOmaster for. [Timestamp: 12:21]

Alright, never a dull moment.

Yeah, lots going on.

Enough to keep you busy for sure. Bob, thanks for taking the time to tell us about this one. Bob Ginger and Intent Digital in Phoenix and the Cline Library Assembly Hall at Northern Arizona University. Keep in touch and good luck on the jobs coming up.

Okay. Sounds great, Bennett.

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