Out of the Box
Bankstown Sports Club’s foyer signage showstopper
Bankstown Sports Club (BSC) is NSW’s largest licensed club. So if any club could accommodate some ‘top down’ ‘blue sky thinking’, you’d think it would be BSC.
On this occasion Jason Klippel, the club’s Digital Entertainment & AV Manager, was shown a phone snap of an amazing three-dimensional digital signage feature: “Can we do something like this?”
Bankstown Sports Club may be the biggest in town but it’s also one of the most progressive. It’s long since shaken off the vestiges of old-school, old-boy club culture. BSC chooses its partners carefully and has developed a strong internal culture of excellence.
Jason and his team devised the design and layout of the screens and then turned to the club’s long-term AV technology partner, The P.A. People, to make it happen.
“We explained to The P.A. People how we want the content to work and how we wanted to manage it, and allowed The P.A. People to get on with doing what it does best — integrating the technology and building the systems to ensure it all runs.”
TALE OF 2 CANVASSES
The installation looks spectacular and intricate, but can be considered as two pixel canvasses. There’s a three-wide video wall of HD displays (5760 x 1080) and a 10-strong array of LG Commercial panels behind it.
The two video walls are addressed by two gutsy PCs packing the best video cards money can buy.
Ensuring the content appears correctly on the displays is a powerful tvONE CORIOmaster 4K multi-window video processor. An AMX control system allows Jason and the marketing team to toggle through a selection of screen configurations managed by CORIOmaster. Prior to installation Jason used tvONE’s CORIOgrapher to visualise a number of possible screen configurations and orientations. The board was presented with a variety of options from which to choose. The winning configuration was sent to The P.A. People to bring to life. “We have total confidence in the P.A. People’s ability to get the work done,” commented Jason Klippel.
The content is regularly updated to reflect the theme of holidays, seasons and commemorations such as ANZAC Day. The content cycles to match the 15-second dwell time of patrons’ passage through the foyer.
The content is generated in house by the BSC marketing team — another example of the club’s willingness to invest in its in-house capability. The advantage of retaining the skills to generate the content is in BSC’s ability to respond quickly when necessary, leveraging the display for special occasions at the drop of a hat.
The LG Commercial displays feature LG’s customary super-thin bezel which gives the installation its clean lines.
“The bezel width was certainly a consideration,” confirms Jason Klippel. “We also found the LG screens had the best value for money. They fit the bill perfectly. LG had the right size configurations available for us to achieve our design. The P.A. People had the flexibility to mount the displays the way they needed to without compromise. And we had the support from LG. Durability is another major consideration. These displays run 24/7/365… I’ve not turned them off yet, and we’ve not had a problem.”
SOMETHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY
Out-of-the-ordinary digital signage features are pricier for a number of reasons. The hardware required to wrangle the video needs to be industrial strength. In the case of Bankstown Sport Club’s foyer feature, the two PCs are hi-spec, with top level graphics cards to ensure smooth 24/7/365 operation. The tvONE CORIOmaster video processor is also a hi-spec device that allows you to map your video (in this case a 4K canvas plus a 1 x 3 video wall) to your choice of display types and configuration. For those more technically minded, the C3-540 CORIOmaster chassis shipped with 16 slots and redundant PSU. There are 4 x 4K30 HDMI inputs through the CM-HDMI-4K-2IN cards and 13 x HDBaseT outputs through 7 x CM-HDBT-SC-2OUT-1ETH cards. These were then received at the LG monitors converting the HDBaseT signals to HDMI through 13 x tvONE 1T-CT-642 HDMI 1.4 receivers. This is no small processing task, and one CORIOmaster eats for breakfast.
The other costly consideration is how to mount the displays. As a rule, the off-the-shelf video mounting products won’t allow for eccentric configurations such as BSC’s. Rather, you will need to get bespoke mounting hardware designed and fabricated especially for the project.
The P.A. People is quite uniquely placed among AV integrators in its in-house ability to meet bespoke requests such as this. The P.A. People has its own metal working shop. And although this installation could hardly be called run of the mill, it didn’t present anything like an insurmountable challenge.
Managing Director, Chris Dodds, framed the key nature of the challenge: “Mounting the screens was one thing — it did present a certain engineering challenge — but we also needed to ensure the video wall was serviceable. Each of the three front screens can be lifted off to access the rear screens.”
Club AV Manager, Jason Klippel, doesn’t take The P.A. People’s next-level engineering expertise for granted: “A lot of The P.A. People’s work is right at the end of the project. Their guys were here on a public holiday, working to get this job finished; testing and making sure it was perfect from Day One. They’re always happy to go that extra mile.”