When the University of Oregon set out to build a new football center, they knew it had to be a model of efficiency and effectiveness.
The design team had four areas to address:
- Education. The building and its adjoining practice fields would focus intensively on teaching the game of football.
- Fitness. A weight room, 40-yard timing track, cafeteria and nutrition center would help student athletes achieve their personal best.
- Motivation. Winning takes more than fitness and skill. The building would need to help the student athletes want to do their best, as well helping them get to know each other and work together closely.
- Recruiting. The team wanted to make sure they had all the tools they could muster to bring the best athletes in from all over the country.
Performance Center opened for the 2013 football season with absolutely stunning audio and video systems installed by Beaverton, OR based CompView Audio Visual. At first look, a 64-screen video wall in the lobby of the six-story center seems the most impressive of these systems, but actually it’s the nuts-and-bolts of video distribution, display, control and audio that make the biggest difference to its mission.
Eric Day, Assistant Video Coordinator for Oregon Football describes his job as “making sure the technology is in place for the coaches to teach the players about football,” spends a great deal of his time securing, organizing and helping coaches and players view video clips of games and practice sessions.
The video systems within the Hatfield-Dowlin Center are all designed to optimize the creation and playback of these clips. “We installed a broadcast production system using fiber optic cables, 4K cameras, nonlinear editing and a 70 x 70 SDI switcher that runs through the entire facility and out onto the practice fields,” explains Eric Boyd, Systems Integration Manager for CompView.
A separate playback network using Crestron DigitalMedia technology extends into two team theaters, nine position meeting rooms, 12 coaches’ offices, and three coaches’ meeting rooms, as well as a large dining room, players and coaches’ locker rooms, a recruitment center, players’ and recruitment lounges, a media interview room, and the weight and fitness rooms. “Because of how we connected the systems and the availability of the content, any room can, and does, become a teaching space,” explains Boyd. The DM network includes ten matrix switchers ranging from 8×8 to 32×32 in size.
Day says nearly every Monday practice begins in the larger (170-seat) team theater. “We may start by reviewing the film from the day before, or, if we’re playing UCLA on Saturday, watch UCLA film, while the coaches point out their tendencies or what they perceive as the vulnerabilities we’re trying to attack.” That being said, the team spends most of their classroom time in one of the nine position rooms, watching only those clips that apply to offensive, defensive or special teams play. The coaches’ War Room, designed for full-staff strategy sessions, includes eight 80” flat-screen displays and a Christie projector, allowing side-by-side-by-side comparisons of players, game film, play diagrams and other crucial pieces of information, plus the ability to watch multiple live games.
The facility as a whole includes five Christie 1920×1200 projectors paired with Draper ceiling lifts and Da-Lite Advantage Electrol motorized screens, plus more than 60 individual Planar displays, many with touch capability. Coaches have control of all AV components via a Crestron app on their iPads; there are also wall-mounted Crestron panels in all of the main rooms. “There are hundreds of crucial components that the users never see,” Boyd adds. “We keep them all safe and properly ventilated using Middle Atlantic equipment racks.”
“The coaches need to annotate the clips as they talk about them, in much the same way that John Madden would do it on network TV, diagramming the play right over the video,” Boyd explains. Coaches use 20” Planar touch displays in their offices and at the position room desks; in the position rooms they can also walk up to either a 55” or 80” Planar touch display and annotate from the front of the room. If they’re explaining new plays or want to show simple diagrams without video, they can draw them up on paper and project them via a WolfVision document camera, or they can create them on their computers or iPads.
The audio and video systems extend outside of the new building onto the practice fields. “On game day, crowd noise can be extremely punishing, so Oregon asked us to install a sound system that could help their players prepare for that experience,” says Boyd. To acclimate players to game-day noise, each practice field includes six weatherproof loudspeakers supplied by more than 20,000 watts of Crown amplification.
Fitness, team building and motivation
As hard as Oregon coaches work to educate their players, they know that motivation and the desire to support each other as a team are crucial to their success.
In addition to producing game and practice film, the Ducks’ video staff create inspirational videos on an ongoing basis which are shown before and after practice, on game days, and on the lobby video wall.
The lobby L-shaped video wall stretches 35 feet in two directions. It consists of 64 Planar Clarity Matrix 55” displays and is powered by a CORIO® master processor from TVOne. “They use the CORIO system to stitch long pieces of 4K video together so they can run on the display wall,” Boyd explains. An AV Binloop HD from Alcorn McBride makes it possible to drop multiple highlight clips or live video windows from ESPN into the massive image. Biamp DSPs and Crown amplifiers ensure that program audio and background music is clean, clear and loud enough to get listeners’ blood flowing.
While all of these systems are designed to educate and inspire Oregon players, they certainly have an effect on potential recruits, who can’t help but be impressed as they tour the facility.
A recruiting center within the building offers a comfortable place for coaches to talk to potential players and their families in a separate visitors’ lounge with its own TVs and gaming consoles. A video conferencing room, complete with a Cisco C40 codec, Crestron control and Crown PZM ceiling microphones. The Cisco-based video conferencing system makes it easy to connect to up to four sites at once at full high definition (1080p). As important, participants can include game clips or computer files in any video-based conversation. Communications are quick, clear and very close to the experience of a face-to-face meeting. This allows coaches to confer with scouts in the field, as well as their counterparts in other schools.
Jeff Hawkins, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Football, says
“We have a motto, ‘We don’t follow history, we make history.’ We appreciate CompView’s part in creating this history-making facility.”