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The Pro Football Hall Of Fame’s GameDay Stadium Theater Gets A Major Overhaul

CANTON, OH—The crown jewel of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in is the GameDay Stadium theater. With two rooms displaying separate but synchronized programs, a turntable floor to move the audience, and a series of video displays in the queuing area outside, the three-part exhibition presents visitors with the bone-crushing action of a NFL season, from training camp to Super Bowl. NFL Films of Mount Laurel, NJ sends its cameras to every NFL game to capture the program’s gorgeous shots, many of them in the company’s signature style: close-up and in slow motion.

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame made upgrades to its GameDay Stadium Theater. Inset: Because the Stewart screens are perforated, RBDG was able to place Electro-Voice speakers behind them for an ideal surround experience.

This past year the Hall of Fame committed to a major overhaul of the GameDay Stadium, with three major aims: streamlining the process of updating the program content, improving the theater’s acoustics, and making the rooms available for special events. The Hall hired Russ Berger Design Group (RBDG) of Addison, TX, as architectural, acoustic, and infrastructure design consultants. RBDG brought in Altel Systems Group of Brandon, FL, to provide systems integration for the project.

Moving the theater from film projection to high-definition video projection was the obvious way to simplify the workflow of updating the program’s content. RBDG selected an Alcorn McBride V16 Pro Show Controller to synchronize and trigger every aspect of the show, including the opening of doors, the rotation of the theater, and all aspects of lighting and video playback. The V16 Pro controls several Alcorn McBride Binloop HD media players, with separate devices for 1080p video and 7.1 surround-sound audio playback. “We chose all solid-state media storage and modular devices to increase the system reliability,” noted Chuck Chiles, project manager for RBDG.

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The players feed two Digital Projection projectors, a Lightning 30- 1080p and a Titan Reference 1080P Ultra Contrast. The former sits in the theater’s projection booth and brightens the custom 30- by 16-foot Stewart Filmscreen Cinecurve screen. In the other theater, with its smaller Stewart screen, the DPI Titan projector needed to be housed and hung within the room. RBDG commissioned a custom soffit sound enclosure from Display Devices to control noise from the projector and the HVAC required to keep it cool.

The audio portion of NFL Films’ program is just as cinematic as the video. To do it justice, Russ Berger, principal of RBDG, performed modeling with both proprietary and standard programs to assess the theater’s acoustical signature. Still, said Chiles, “We rely on our experience more than the model, which sometimes doesn’t give you the right answer. This is one of those cases where that’s probably best, because the shape of the room is quite different from a normal theater.” The models did help to describe the room’s modal energy, which led RBDG to introduce absorption in the form of walls that let through low frequencies but absorb high frequencies. “The voice intelligibility was completely transformed from okay to very good,” Chiles said.

RBDG selected six Electro-Voice Variplex II three-way speakers for the larger screen’s room and six SL12-2V Surround Speakers to accompany the smaller screen. The Stewart screens are perforated, so RBDG was able to place speakers behind them for an ideal surround experience.

Three TL880D subwoofers from EV provide low end, and a collection of EV Q44, Q66, Q99, and Q1212 amplifiers supply power. Three EV Net- Max N8000 mainframes enable DSP for the theater’s two rooms. EV representatives and Bruce Vitale, vice president with Altel, programmed the room’s signal processing. NFL films sent in audio postproduction mixer Vince Caputo to create a custom 7.1 surround mix especially for the theater. The Alcorn McBride players enabled him to avoid compression and 7.1 encoding, keeping the seven channels discrete.

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