Gail Chiasson, North American Editor
Christie MicroTiles are reportedly drawing rave reviews at the recently remodeled University of Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The 15,500-seat arena is the home of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the university’s wrestling (winner of 23 NCAA championships – including 11 straight starting in 1975), men’s and women’s gymnastics, and volleyball teams.
Located in the main lobby of the new entrance, the 10 wide (13’ 4” inches) by 7 high (7’) Christie MicroTiles array greets Hawkeye fans with commissioned video art, slideshows and graphics of upcoming events, and videos of current players and alumni of the college powerhouse.
“We collaborated with KJWW Engineering Consultants on this project and originally there was another brand of traditional LCD-type video wall that was supposed to go in there,” says Nate Lawrence, vice-president of operations, Electronic Communications Systems. “We saw the Christie MicroTiles and thought this renovation project would be a good application for them. ECS has done a lot of video walls and we were really excited to get this new technology in there.”
“KJWW Engineering provided the engineering consulting for the project, including technology engineering services, which incorporates telecommunications, AV and security,” says Jeff Carpenter, associate principal/national director of technology, KJWW Engineering Consultants. Carpenter says that the university wanted a solution with ‘pop’ since the MicroTiles video wall is in a high profile location with both natural and artificial ambient light.
“From a brightness perspective, the university wanted something that jumped out at you when you walked in the space,” Carpenter says. “We set up a demonstration of the Christie MicroTiles for the athletic department and they realized the MicroTiles were the solution they wanted to move forward with.”
Lawrence says the virtually seamless display of a Christie MicroTiles display wall means a more cohesive set-up than other technologies.
“When you see the MicroTiles in person, it blows you away when compared with the standard LCD display walls,” Lawrence says. “The ability to create different shapes and sizes with the MicroTiles is also great. The reaction has been extremely positive.
“When we were putting the wall up, we couldn’t work more than a couple of minutes without somebody walking by making comments and wanting to see the wall get fired up and have content running.”
The staff and students at the school are also impressed.
Dr. Jane C. Meyer, senior associate director of athletics, University of Iowa, says, “We wanted the most vibrant, high quality pictures on multiple screens – with very small mullions – and we have accomplished that with the MicroTiles display.”
The arena has a wonderfully sunlit, airy entry with a video wall that hits visitors with the display – a powerful experience for people first entering the arena. Meyer says that the MicroTiles have the vibrancy in a bright atmosphere that LED would not have achieved.
“The MicroTiles wall is definitely a big focal point of the entire renovation project, both from the people just walking through and from the standpoint of the university itself,” says Lawrence. “With the overall image quality, brightness and how well it displays full motion video, the MicroTiles have created quite a buzz – everyone’s really excited about the overall look and how well everything integrated.”