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Barco’s ‘Philadelphia Story’

The LED modules form the public-facing element of a system that also includes six DX-700 LED digitisers, seven Encore Video Processors and three MatrixPRO routers. Content for the LED wall was designed and produced by the Niles Creative Group.

Steve Scorse, vice president of sales and marketing for Barco’s Media & Entertainment division, North America, commented: “There’s never been a screen not only of this resolution, but also of this realism. The screen integrates seamlessly into Comcast Center as a forum for content, and at times the content mimics the atrium’s natural wood panelling and virtually disappears. The resolution, contrast and seamlessness are such that you can do things with this screen that cannot be done with any other technology.”

Barco’s vice president of media, Jos Vancoppemolle, told II that the project created challenges with regard to the architectural layout, serviceability and – most crucially – playback. “This is far from being an average wall! Given an artistic palette that is five times the resolution of high-definition television, there is no single device capable of playing back 10 million pixels – it just doesn’t exist. In addition, you can’t simply connect a video cable to this wall and expect to see a picture. At Barco’s image processing group in California, we designed the solutions to solve this visual puzzle.

“First, we manufactured a highly advanced video processor called the DX-700 that translates video information into a form that the LED walls can display. Second, we manufactured a multi-screen, multi-layer presentation system called Encore that is capable of stitching together multiple high-definition images to form a single seamless wide-screen picture with pixel for pixel accuracy.”

Artificial intelligence is an important part of the installation. “The system creates unique content on an ongoing basis without human intervention,” said David Niles, founder of the Niles Creative Group. “In addition, the system is modulated by time of day and the activity in the atrium, hence the screen’s programming changes fairly dramatically from weekends to weekdays. I’ve done 35 years of projects – everything from Broadways shows to this – and this is truly unique. Barco’s 4mm LED screen made it possible to create a photo-realistic screen in a close-to-daylight environment.”