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Installation Profile: AV Update

Nov 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Dan Daley

Architectural firm RTKL redesigns the U.S. Naval Academy’s historic mess hall with flexible AV.


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Working with viewing-angle studies using the 8X rule, architectural firm RTKL initially suggested placing Sharp PN-455P 45in. LCD screens along the wall of each of the three 250ft. wings of King Hall—the 4,800-seat dining space at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.—so that the furthest viewer would be no more than eight times the height of the image away from the image. However, due to the low ceiling height of the wings and considering that the content would only be for casual-viewing purposes, RTKL increased the rule to 16X. This allowed the team to space the displays out more and reduce the overall number of displays needed. The displays are supported with Chief Manufacturing PCM-2045 mounts that are attached to the structure above the finished ceiling.

Working with viewing-angle studies using the 8X rule, architectural firm RTKL initially suggested placing Sharp PN-455P 45in. LCD screens along the wall of each of the three 250ft. wings of King Hall—the 4,800-seat dining space at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.—so that the furthest viewer would be no more than eight times the height of the image away from the image. However, due to the low ceiling height of the wings and considering that the content would only be for casual-viewing purposes, RTKL increased the rule to 16X. This allowed the team to space the displays out more and reduce the overall number of displays needed. The displays are supported with Chief Manufacturing PCM-2045 mounts that are attached to the structure above the finished ceiling.

When the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., graduated its first class in 1854, semaphore flags were the primary means sailors used for long-distance communication. Most cadets at the academy had likely never even seen a telegraph, which had only gone into commercial use barely a decade earlier. Those cadets would be surprised to see the academy's venerable King Hall today — a 4,800-seat dining space that can literally accommodate the school's entire 4,400-member student body and most faculty at the same sitting. As of earlier this year, thanks to a state-of-the-art renovation of the vintage space, all of them can now watch entertainment and informational programming on 74 45in. LCD screens positioned throughout the hall's central section and the three 250ft.-long wings that emanate from it — so long and low that semaphore could still make sense as a backup system inside the hall.

Thanks to a zoned distribution system for audio and video, the space can also be divided into three separate large classrooms that can accommodate groups of several hundred students each. The distributed nature of the system design effectively overcomes the line-of-sight challenges inherent in the large flat-floor, low-ceiling space. The AV system incorporates a Sony EVI-D70 PTZ camera for image magnification, a Shure distributed antenna wireless microphone system, and IPTV distribution. The system also accommodates high-definition video distribution throughout. All aspects of the system can be managed by a networked asset-management system via any location on campus.

It was an ambitious system design, made more so by the fact that it was done in a government facility, which is always a challenge in an era of high security, and compounded by the fact that, no matter what their course of study, all students still have to eat.

Switching is controlled by two Crestron TPS-12G-QM 12in. touchscreens—one in the middle of the hall and one in the hall’s equipment room—and an AV2 processor.

Switching is controlled by two Crestron TPS-12G-QM 12in. touchscreens—one in the middle of the hall and one in the hall’s equipment room—and an AV2 processor.

One of the other things that sets this project apart is that the AV systems design was handled by the project's architectural firm — RTKL, a Baltimore-based company that is one of the largest in the United States. Tony Warner, the firm's principal in charge of its audiovisual design division, says this ensured the kind of close coordination that was necessary to work both in a government environment and an historical one.

“[We've] brought AV design inhouse to this kind of level, and this job in particular benefitted from that close collaboration,” he says. RTKL would renovate the space, hewing the architectural redesign to complement the historic architecture of the building. The AV design, while less obvious, had to accommodate that as well as navigate the long corridors of the wings.





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