Friday, June 26, 2009

Learning the Ropes

We're in the process of working out some of the bugs in the system for the Megatron. We are testing out some scoreboard (actual clock/score/etc.) layouts for hockey and basketball this week, as well as testing font sizes vs. sight lines and such. In addition to having several videos in the works from the editors for both football and hockey, it may look like not much is going on around here, but there is PLENTY of work behind the scenes. I feel that we're getting to a point where more visible changes and updates may be coming within the next couple of weeks.

Just wanted to keep everyone up on things going on here. I hope to have more updates coming soon!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In the works

Never to be forgotten, we are working on some scoreboard/stats templates for basketball today. I didn't get any images :( but we're trying our best to crank out content as best we can!

Just wanted to let everyone know that we're still working even if it's quiet here :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Holding Pattern...

As far as the videoboard goes, we're in a holding pattern. Daktronics has finished their first phase of getting the board together and turned on, and will be back next month to put some finishing touches on the project.

With the Keith Urban/Sugarland concert tonight, the upcoming WWE event, a hold for the arena floor so that the basketball floor can be re-finished, the Megatron (which I will affectionately refer to the thing from now on) will be staying put up in the rafters for a while.

In the mean time, there is much work being done as far as content creation and scripting the Venus system to make it do what we want.

We did find out that our training sessions will stagger throughout the month of August, starting around the 5th. With the room being turned over to us on the 28th, that's a lot of information to cram into a short amount of time!

Just know there is a lot of stuff going on in the background, and please keep checking back for the latest :) Remember you can follow along on Twitter @CVHD.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Just imagine...

Okay, I know I'm crossing vendors here, but you have to give props to Mitsubishi for their work in Dallas... the Cowboys now have the largest HD screen in the world (or will have in their new stadium), and here's a sneak peek of it in action!

Keep in mind what you're seeing here... This videoboard is 60 yards long and over 70 feet tall. If hung from the rafters in the RBC Center, it would extend from goal line to goal line (actually over by a foot or so on each end) and extend from the catwalks to less than 20 feet above the ice!

Content was found at

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

God Bless America

Running the boards for signal check and heat tolerance. Nice choice of testing content :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I See A Pattern Forming...

Earlier today, they took a still from my personal camera and put quite the interesting subject on the board...

Look, Ma... I'm in HiDef!

Notice there are three separate signals on the boards on the top. We can run something different on all eight if we want. It's all in the scripting :-)

We'll be running more test content over the next few days, and scripting over the next few weeks. Be patient... these things are tricky and we have to create the content to script, too ;) It's coming soon, I promise!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Check check....

Special Thanks to Paul Chapman for this photo :)

Testing 1...2...3...

I'm not in the office today, but I did notice they are testing out the videoboard today. Probably just test patterns and such (I really can't see what's on there right now from the webcam, but it's getting tested :-)

Here's the image around the time of this post.

I will have more details when I am back in the office tomorrow... I should be able to put my own test content on the board by the end of the weekend... fingers crossed!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Exciting times

I have to be careful not to get too many people's hopes up on this one, but it's still very nice!

I can't remember where, but some time ago, I heard that July 17th was the earliest that we could have the Daktronics computer(s) that could run all of the videoboards. Meaning, any creative content built ON the Dak computer, scripts (a single button that can play content on multiple boards) or RTD pages (Real Time Data - stats, game clock, score) that we needed would have to wait until July 17th to be STARTED. Remember: we have to rebuild E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G from the ground up.


Dak brought their rack of equipment (including data distributors, Venus/V7000 computers, etc.) pre-built. Meaning, all the pieces were already screwed in and wired up (within the rack). They had some computer issues to iron out once they turned it on (RAID controller problems), but once that was done, the rack was ready... but... it was still just sitting in the hall.

Asking the project manager how long it would be before it was in place and ready, I was given an answer of "a few weeks" [because they would need to wait for Diversified to finish some things first...].

Then, out of the blue, the following option was presented...

Why not move the rack down to your temporary office?

Simple, but AWESOME! The electricians were still wiring up the power today (officially meaning it took longer to POWER the board than it did to BUILD it), and there are some fiber terminations that still have to be made.

BUT... by the end of NEXT WEEK (nearly three weeks ahead of "schedule") we should be able to start sending some test content to the boards.

NOW... for the depressing part... While we can run content on the boards, it will still be a few weeks before we have everything starting to sing. There are tedious scripts we have to build (so that we hit one button and everything goes crazy, or whatever it's supposed to do), as well as building our RTD pages to hold our scoreboard info, shots/fouls, blah blah blah...

Because it will still be a few weeks, it means that - according to the original schedule, we'd be getting "up to speed" around the same time as all of our main equipment training kicks in the first of August... NOW, we'll have a little "extra" time to make sure things work on Opening Night :)

I know, I know... not as exciting as "we're running stuff already", but it's another significant step in the process! Now... time for a caffeine refill and back to work ;)

Oh yeah, and congrats to the Penguins for winning the Cup...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Feeling more like home...

We got intercom stations and tape decks set up in our temporary offices today so we can work a little easier. It's starting to feel a little more like home!

Someone had asked on a previous post about the physical size of the boards. I actually got firm numbers, but I don't think they tell the whole story...

The old boards had quite a large bezel (physical area outside the display surface, like a TV would have...) between the display area and the corner of the panels (nearly a foot if I'm not mistaken).

Old Matrix Detail

Old Jumbotron Detail

The new boards have pixels covering nearly every ounce of space, so even if the physical board is the same size, this one has a larger image because of the smaller bezel.

The Lower Ring and the lower portion of the Main board

That said, the rough physical dimensions comparison is as follows:

Width: 34' (at the top)
Height: 20'

NEW VIDEOBOARD (not including the "RBC Center" lettering):
Width: 29' (at the top)
Height: 23'

Again, the numbers lie a little ;) The USABLE DISPLAY AREA has easily quadrupled for us on these boards, so don't let the numbers fool you. Even looking at it hanging in the room it looks gargantuan! Remember, too, that part of the size was due to the ad panels at the top, the tri-vision displays at the bottom and the RBC Center designations in the corners.

Also, there has been a rather exciting development here over the last couple of days, and I will be more at liberty to share tomorrow...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Building the future

Time lapse of the new video board constructed for the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC. This replaces the old Jumbotron and will be the new scoreboard primarily for the Carolina Hurricanes & the NC State Wolfpack Men's Basketball team.


With a new video board going into the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC, the old Jumbotron had to be taken out. Here is a time lapse by CanesVision on the deconstruction of the old scoreboard.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

From the inside

Special thanks to Chad for posting in my absence! I think it's a good thing that we're documenting all of this for posterity, if nothing else! Of course, some people obviously find it interesting, because according to Google Analytics, this blog - that I thought maybe 15 or 20 people would find interesting - now has over 4,600 page views from more than 1,400 unique visitors from across 36 states and even Canada... no pressure to get my info right, eh? :)

The Daktronics boards were physically completed on Sunday! Here is what the completed videoboard looks like - close to the ground, at least!

Man... that's a monster!

From the corner

Catwalks inside the videoboard allow for maintenance access and such.
Much more user friendly than the previous version!

You can certainly notice the "high school locker" look I referenced previously...
Also, note the cable bin in the lower left... this is for the cable to spool itself when the board is raised.

And this is how it's looked for most of the day. We have seen so much progress that the next few days will be rather "slow" for us... The electricians are hooking up all of the power and such to the boards today and I'm sure into tomorrow.

As for the control room, we are in the holding pattern for equipment. We got in some rack bases today; we'll get more tomorrow... Slowly, all the equipment that is meant to "drop ship" to us will begin trickling in over the next couple of weeks. DSI will have the site supervisor and some personnel beginning on July 6th(ish), with the full team in house beginning July 13th. Their main objective - wrangle all of the equipment, stick it in the room and wire it up to work!

Not too difficult, right?

So, if I'm a bit absent from posting, it may just be because there's not much to say during the "slow" parts... basically there's nothing new to take pictures of ;) But, rest assured, there's plenty of work going on from the inside!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

And then there was HD

Saturday brought the installation of the main HD boards.  The crew got to work early, but I did not...  When I dropped by around 11am, the main frame for the video boards was completed and the lower sections of the boards were staged around the frame and ready for assembly.  

Main boards and frame

The frame for the lower boards sits on the ground for now, awaiting installation of the main boards.  The 4 main boards are approximately 16' wide by 9' tall, and were each shipped in 4 pieces.  Each piece was half the width of the main board, and the lower sections were about 6' tall, while the upper sections were about 3'.  As you can see in the next couple of pictures, the upper section was attached to the lower section, then that half of the board was bolted to the frame.  the process was repeated for the other half to complete one side of the 4-sided main display structure.

Wider view of the whole structure.  In the foreground is the lower left panel of each side of the main display.

The upper right section of a main display is being moved into place.
As with the other boards, the front panels are removed to bolt the panels together and to make power and signal connections.

The south-facing main display is complete and attached to the main frame.  You can get some perspective of the size relative to the person standing by the forklift to the left of the board.


That Has A Nice Ring To It...

Although I'm nowhere near as timely with my updates as Stephen, hope you find this interesting none the less.  This is still progress from Friday, when the construction crew was in high gear and probably made the most progress in any one day of the project.

The upper ring is completely assembled and the upper matrix is being lowered into place for connections.

Just a few inches more... (T.W.S.S.)

First turnbuckles are being connected from the upper matrix frame to the top of the upper ring.  Everything was lined up pretty well, but there was a little "persuasion" needed to get everything just right.  It's pretty cool how much you can make the board sway when it's suspended on the hoist...

Looking good, but do you really want to stick your arm in there?

Raise it Up!

This is pretty much where construction ended on Friday.  Plan for Saturday is to assemble frame and hang main boards.

More to come...


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Taking Shape

Since Stephen is on the road this weekend, I'll try to keep everyone up to date on the videoboard progress.

There was significant progress made on Friday, with the upper matrix boards completed, the RBC Center logo and text, and the upper LED ring completed and hung. We also bid farewell to the old Jumbotron screens as they were loaded onto a flatbed and drove off into the sunset...

Here you can see the upper matrix/scoreboards hung with a slight angle down toward the bowl/floor. The gap between the boards will be covered shortly with a small, black bezel.

This is the RBC Logo and lettering that will adorn the top of the video board structure. The logo and text were laid out on the supports which were then cut into 3 sections and attached to the tops of the matrix/scoreboards.

There are 2 sets, one will face east (penalty box/Basketball scorer's table side) and the other West (hockey bench/b-ball press table side).

Upper ring is being uncrated.

The upper ring is almost complete. As Stephen mentioned before regarding the upper matrix panels, each of the ring sections has to be bolted together and connections made by removing front panels and inserting bolts, and connecting power and control cables.

The last section of the upper ring is moved into place. You can see the connection points where the sections are bolted together. Also visible is the hole the control and power cables pass through. On the top of the panel is a u-shaped bracket that will connect the two panels as well. After the ring is raised there are the same type of brackets that hold the bottom of the sections together.

This is one of the turnbuckles (and safety cable) that connect the upper ring to the scoreboard/matrix frame. On the left is the base of one of the upper panels, and the black area in the middle is actually the floor of the catwalk that goes around the upper section, behind the displays.

More later...


Friday, June 5, 2009

Long weekend...

I will be out this weekend (wouldn't you know it), but hopefully there will still be some updates. I will try to get some snapshots from the webcam up here at least :)

Link to a "live" shot HERE.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Not what I was expecting

When Daktronics started to un-crate some of the new videoboard panels, I went down to take a look... These certainly aren't what I expected!

First, notice the construction. The previous Jumbotron was a rats nest of exposed wires and such and you could see all of it from the back.

Old Jumbotron

The rear of the new videoboard panels looks like a high school full of lockers, giving access to particular parts of the videoboard. Inside these lockers, there is a plethora of cabling, but also of circuit boards and fuse panels...

New videoboard panel

The biggest surprise to me was the front of the thing... I'm used to the RGB triangle of the ribbon board and old Jumbotron. If you've ever seen our ribbon board up close, you've probably noticed that each pixel is made up of three tiny LEDs - a red, green and blue one. (hence the red/green/blue dotted theme I chose for the blog... it all comes together....)

Existing Ribbon Board detail

The LEDs on the new videoboard panels are below the surface, and all you "see" is the resulting color in these little squares... Each square is one pixel. Simple enough and makes perfect sense, but totally not what I was expecting!

New videoboard panel pixel detail

What's the benefit of something like this? With the current ribbon board, look at it especially when there is white displayed on it. This means all three LEDs are at full brightness for every pixel. If you look at the board at an angle, depending on where you look, the white may look either a little blue/green or maybe pink. This is because the blue, green or red LED is closest to you in the triangle that makes up the pixel.

With the pixels in the new videoboards, they are the color you want them to be at the surface - all the color mixing happens behind the pixel. So, no matter which angle you look at it from, white is white, orange is orange and so on.

Note the distance between the pixels. The pixels above are 20mm offset from center, meaning the center of one pixel to the center of the next is 20mm. The main videoboards (coming over the weekend...) are at a 10mm spacing, meaning the clarity and definition should be AMAZING!

With all that boring stuff said... Here are some shots of the boards before they are hung. Each of these free-standing sections is one-half of ONE side of the upper boards. There are 16 of these sections to make up the 8 boards.



To give you an idea about the size of these things, take a look at this...
I'm 6'4"...


And then it started to come together...

Hanging the first piece of the new videoboard!

The center boards are taken out to bolt the frame together as well as connect the cables between the two halves.

More of the same

Almost done... and this is just the TOP :)

Add to this a 360 ring below, then the main videoboard and another 360 ring on the bottom...


The framework

The frame for the upper boards begins to take shape!

There are four 4½ ton wenches that support videoboard. These are the same ones that held the previous scoreboard.

TRIVIA: The new scoreboard is slated to weigh in just over 33,000 lbs!!!

From near the Canes player entrance.

From the catwalk.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


The steel supports for the new scoreboard! These will attach to the winches to connect it to the ceiling.

Keep checking out the progress HERE.