University of Wyoming Makes Big Venue-Video Upgrades
By Jarrel Harris, Editorial Assistant
With a couple of major renovations on campus already, the University of Wyoming wasted no time in bidding for major upgrades for its athletic centers. Included in the improvements is a state-of-the-art control room that Director of Video Production Dennis Trapani says will stand out as one of the better video-production setups in the Mountain West Conference.
“Our game-day experience is something that is very important to our athletic director, Tom Burman,” says Trapani. “When [the administration] decided a couple years back to start pursuing the renovation of the Arena-Auditorium — our basketball arena — one of the things that was very important was the audio-visual experience. Not just the videoboards but the sound system and the lighting system. So, when they decided to put two huge videoboards up, they said [we] should have a control room that … would be a one-stop shop for everything.”
The department worked with consulting group WJHW and Burst Communications to install the control room, which will be located near the athletic offices in the War Memorial Fieldhouse, home to Cowboys volleyball and wrestling.
Although the total outlay for the still-uncompleted video-control room is yet to be determined, the costs are expected to be $500,000-$600,000. That does not include the actual video/LED boards, just the video-control room itself.
“We wanted to be able to utilize the multimillion dollars that we were investing in new video/LED-board technology to their fullest capabilities,” says Billy Sparks, senior associate athletic director, business operations. “Our men’s and women’s basketball teams are both strong annual competitors within the Mountain West Conference, and we are extremely optimistic that the teams’ performances, along with an exciting and highly entertaining atmosphere, will result in increased attendance from fans and students.”
Wyoming has also been able to link the videoboards in its football venue (War Memorial Stadium), basketball arena, and volleyball venue to the control room by adding fiber connections to each camera location. Approximately 144 strands of fiber have been run at the football stadium, 122 will be run to the basketball arena, and between 10 and 20 at the volleyball venue.
Inside the control room, the Wyoming video team will use a NewTek TriCaster 425, a NewTek 3Play for replay, and a ChyronHego IP for graphics. Everything is routed through Ross Video routers.
So far, the video staff has produced three football games (two in the afternoon, one at night) and is enthusiastic about the quality of images being produced for the videoboards. A typical football or basketball production features four cameras and two channels of replay. For televised games, the dirty feed from the broadcaster onsite is also made available for in-venue use.
Wyoming adds social-media elements to in-venue shows through a partnership with social-media–marketer Lodestone. Using a Blackmagic Design DVI Extender, the crew routes desired social-media content to the displays.
In addition to the in-venue elements handled by the control room, Wyoming will also be able to live-stream all games not being produced by a network or television partner.
“It’s going to allow us to take our streaming across the board to a new level,” says Trapani. “The new digital network [that the conference] came out with last season made us able to do volleyball, soccer, and wrestling in HD through the Volar Video system. [Now we can] take it all to HD, and it’s allowing us to more easily integrate replays.
The Arena-Auditorium renovation will be completed by Oct. 1. The existing lower-bowl seating will be replaced with wider cushioned seating with integrated cup holders.
Telescopic seating will be installed from row 12 to the competition floor. It will be retracted to expose the new practice floor during non-event practice times.
Two new videoboards, positioned at each end of the arena, will replace the existing display. Videoboards also will be installed on the front of the scorer’s tables on either side of the competition floor. New LED competition-court lighting will replace the existing system. The existing audio system also will be replaced, with additional “banana speakers” to distribute sound directly into the seating areas as well as over the court.
The focus of Phase 1 of the arena renovation was to make dramatic upgrades to the areas that would impact fans attending games.
The other improvements/upgrades include the following:
- New arena lighting: LED lighting that can be turned off for dramatic team/player introductions and then immediately turned back on
- New special-effects equipment throughout the arena bowl to create exciting and dramatic moments before, during, and after games/events
- New state-of-the-art HD videoboards: two 16- x 47-ft. arena boards, 40-ft. courtside LED board, 10-ft. courtside LED board, 12-ft. LED board (over court entryway), two fixed-digit courtside scoreboards)
- New courtside seating section for students
- New enlarged pep-band section behind student section
- New basketball floor with silhouetted bucking horse at mid court and stained/painted maple wood
- Newly designed championship banners hanging from lighting ring over new court
“[The administration is] completely willing to put the resources, money, and the timing into making it great,” says Trapani. “From my perspective as video director to have the resources, the support from the administration to do all these things is fantastic.”