April 19, 2016
Receiving your college diploma typically means that worrying about exams and grades is over. But at Ohio University’s 2014 graduation ceremony, held at the school’s Convocation Center basketball arena, a different sort of “test” was just getting underway: determining whether CHAUVET Professional MVP Ta8 Curve LED panels could provide the high video quality, flexibility and ease of operation required to visually enrich events at the 13,080-seat facility.
“We were looking for something to step up the experience for everyone involved in the graduation ceremony,” said Jeremy Schaffer, the university’s Associate Director of Operations and Production. “We viewed this year as a ‘proof of concept’ – a kind of test to show what video panels can do at events and ceremonies.”
“The Convo,” as the Ohio U arena is affectionately dubbed, presented a challenging environment in which to conduct such a test. One of the campus’s most iconic structures, the circular building is home to the school’s popular Bobcats basketball team, which has won more than 75% of the games they played at the facility since it opened in 1968. Wrestling and volleyball matches, concerts and ceremonies are also routinely held at the cavernous Convo, which measures 328 feet in diameter and has a dome height of 134 feet.
Schaffer hoped to create a more updated, intimate and visually inviting experience at the 45-year-old arena by using LED video screens to display live feeds of the commencement speakers and grads receiving their diplomas onstage, along with “campus glamor shots” of student activities. To create the screens, he chose CHAUVET Professional’s MVP Ta8 Curve panels, provided by Larry Starcher of Sound Rental Service, Inc. A modular tri-colored RGB SMD LED panel with a tight 8.33 mm pixel pitch, the MVP Ta8 Curve is equally effective for both close range and long range viewing distances.
This last feature was especially important, given the vast size of The Convo, proximity of the front seating rows, and positioning of the video screens. Four 6’ tall by 12’ wide screens were hung from the ceiling on truss bars on all sides of the stage, which itself was located at one end of the arena.
“The main concern with the live feed videos was whether the resolution was going to be high enough,” said Schaffer. “It certainly was. It was crystal clear even from the first rows, which were 35 feet away.”
Overall, the MVP Ta8’s high-contrast blackface SMD LEDs, tight LED binning and 4,800-nit illuminance earned high marks from the Ohio U production executive. “Brightness and intensity were superb. The MVP panels more than held their own and stood out in this very spacious arena against all of the ambient light that was present.”
About 55 different cues were used in the commencement video, and Schaffer reported that the programming process was extremely easy, too. “User-friendliness is another very important criterion for us, because student volunteers are the ones who will be running the video system,” he pointed out.
Having passed its graduation-day test with flying colors, the MVP Ta8 will be making repeat appearances at The Convo in the future, said Schaffer. He is already envisioning new design possibilities utilizing another of the panel’s premier features – the ability to create curved concave and convex video displays without losing pixel pitch. “We did experiment with the curve feature prior to the setup of the Commencement Ceremonies,” Schaffer said. “We weren’t able to utilize it due to the number of panels that we had available, but will likely try to incorporate that feature in next year’s setup.” The term “commencement,” which means “beginning,” is used to signify that graduating students are embarking on a new phase of their life; apparently the MVP Ta8 panel is enjoying a commencement of its own — the beginning of a long relationship with Ohio University.