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Dodger Stadium Video Upgrade, Part 2

May 16, 2013 11:38 AM, With Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

Dodger Stadium has gotten a complete renovation and a big part of that job was all new video technology with 10mm LED displays, scoreboards, and videowalls. Chris Mascatello from ANC Sports is back to tell us about the new ribbon displays and the VisionSoft graphics application that runs the whole show, coming right up on the SVC Podcast.

SVC: Chris, thanks for being back with us for part two and this has to have been a fun project to work on at Dodger Stadium when you know just how knocked over the fans are going to be when they see all of the new video displays for the first time. We had only touched in part one about how this massive new video system is operated. VisionSoft from ANC Sports runs the whole thing, right?

Sure, yeah. Most of the digital concept that’s playing out in the broadcast control room is coming off of ANC’s VisionSoft platform. That’s software that is now going into its eighth core revision, and most importantly we’ve made the transition to be the first 64-bit digital playback operating system in sports. Really important, we were able to distribute uncompressed content to all the displays at one-to-one resolution. So [it’s] as pristine an image as designed by the animators and the graphic designers, that is exactly what’s passing out to the display system. So it really does maximize the capability of these next generation LED displays. [Timestamp: 1:48]

But of course, that’s not the only thing that was going on with the video. You’ve got a couple of new videowalls in the stadium, too. Where are those located and what was involved in getting those set up?

Yeah, as part of the project we installed two new out-of-town scoreboard LED videowalls in place of existing digital displays that had been in the stadium since 2003. That was actually one of the easier parts of this project because we were removing something and replacing it with new displays that were just about the same size. So what they have done is there are cutouts in the actual outfield walls, in left field close to the line and right field close to the first base foul line, and they leave a hole in the wall with the LED functioning pretty much as the support for that section. And then what they’ve also done this year with these LED out-of-town videowalls is switched from a Plexiglas/Lexan type covering on the LED display to protect the players and the display and give a flat wall surface, to a chain link design, which is more of a traditional look and feel dating back to hand-operated, fixed-digit scoreboards. So truthfully, we believe that that also does a better job of allowing the video image to come through. You don’t have the glare and off-angle issues that you might have with the Plexiglas. Nor does the chain link get scratched and dinged by baseballs and players and the course of play in the field. So we’re really excited about that. It’s going be just another piece of enhanced informational assets for the Dodgers to play with for their fans. [Timestamp: 3:35]

I’m sure all of the stadiums want to out-do each other with the video and visual effects. You’ve also got a brand-new LED ribbon display. They previously had one of those in there didn’t they?

Correct. The same time they put in the previous out-of-town walls in the outfield, they also did a ribbon display. The display they had, while functional, was really starting to show its age. You could pick out individual blocks where the color wasn’t matching. It had lived a good life, but it was really time to give their entire LED video package a facelift. So again, we removed the existing signage and then cleaned up the mounting and structural steel pieces that were attached to the precast concrete. [We] came in and put in the new LED ribbon display, and it’s going do wonders for giving a real unified, clean look to everything that’s done by the game production staff for the Dodgers. They have a pallette of now two large main video screens, one on the left field, one in right field, which are more than likely going to be showing different images between information, player headshots, replays, etc., as well as the line scores that I mentioned beneath each of those displays. They’re going to have the two out-of-town walls and then this 1,100-foot-plus ribbon board, so there’s really some great opportunities for programming, information, sponsor content, game prompts, etc. [Timestamp: 5:04]

Yeah, a lot of stuff to look at and that’ll keep the fans busy and maybe even the players, too. You got everything in and hooked up, so how did all of the testing of the system go? You’ve got to ring it out and make sure it all works.

You do, and as you mentioned in part one, there’s a lot of other work going on in Dodgers stadium right now. At one point they had dug up the entire lower seating bowl all the way down; removed the seats, took out all the concrete and dug down into the dirt beneath the stadium so that they could build out a modern, luxurious clubhouse, put in batting cages for both the home and visiting teams — really bring their baseball operations and team side package at the stadium up to current levels. So if you can imagine a stadium that has an event coming in less than three months being without its lower bowl seating, you can imagine some of the commotion that was going on from an integrated construction standpoint. But the testing and commission of the displays went really well. We were happy with that. Each main video screen took about two or three days from the time we first turned the power on to get to a 100 percent perfect image. There were some hurdles along the way, because as they were doing the rest of the work in the stadium, one of the things that they also did was bring in a large amount of new primary power, and most of the panels out in the outfield were not energized. So we actually did the testing and commissioning of these video screens step by step, utilizing temporary generators brought onsite so that we could be done prior to all of the stadium power being reconnected. So a little bit of an oddity for us, but we’ve been at this game long enough. You know, you just roll with the punches and make the best of what’s available. [Timestamp: 6:52]

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