A Drive in the Country

Savoy Automobile Museum
Three custom dvLED displays are highlighted throughout the museum. (Image credit: Savoy Automobile Museum)

A hidden gem in North Georgia that opened its doors in June 2021, the Savoy Automobile Museum is dressed to impress as you approach the massive building in Cartersville. Donned in bright red—as any sports car enthusiast would love—and draped in windows as tall as the building itself, the exterior of Savoy Automobile Museum (opens in new tab) is a sight to behold. Inside, every classic auto is masterfully restored. Well, minus the 1954 Plymouth Savoy that was uncovered when breaking ground and became the museum’s namesake.

But that’s not even half of it.

Inside the 65,000-square-foot museum—illuminated by a wide range of colors controlled from the Crestron PRO4 app on AV manager Blake Johnson’s iPad—are LG dvLED (opens in new tab) screens. Whether it is the digital displays with pricing information at the welcome desk, daily menu at the café, or stunning 18x31-foot curved display in the theater, there is a screen in just about every line of sight.

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Three custom-built 2.5mm pixel-pitch dvLED displays (opens in new tab) are highlighted throughout the museum. The first one you notice is the 10x24-foot convex and tilted (eight degrees to be precise) display in the Great Hall. Currently, the content—created by Johnson using a tvOne CORIOmaster (to enable multiple sources on the screen at once), Adobe software, Ping HD, and the integrated LG SuperSign digital signage software—is donor names, but there are plans to include upcoming exhibits, fun facts, announcements, and advertisements from partners.

Savoy Automobile Museum

LG displays are used for a variety of digital signage applications, including pricing information at the welcome desk. (Image credit: Savoy Automobile Museum)

“There were talks about adding in displays everywhere,” Johnson explained. “We decided to choose just a few really large display solutions that are impressive on their own and don’t distract from the cars. So, we have one large one in the Great Hall and one in the theater—those are enough to catch your eye. It mimicked a wall and when you see it, it becomes part of the architecture, and doesn’t distract from what the museum wants to highlight.”

Going the Extra Mile

With this being a brand-new building, the placement of the screens was pivotal but also challenging. As Johnson explained, they wanted curved screens from the beginning because they were worried about viewing angles from the multiple exhibits in the Great Hall. An added, unexpected addition was having to tilt the Great Hall screen downward for optimum viewing.

Enter Peerless-AV.

Known for its precise custom mounts, the team at Peerless-AV went to work designing what was required to get the LG displays up to showcase the much-anticipated content.

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“Whether it’s working with a traditional or curved dvLED system, when exploring the option of a custom-mount solution, there are a few important factors to keep in mind,” said Peerless-AV’s Kevin McDonald, senior director of business development. “First, understand that every installation will have its own set of unique challenges. Taking precise measurements at the very beginning of the process is crucial and will ensure not only a smooth installation, but the mount solutions accuracy and longevity. Another important factor to consider is the substructure. Designing and building a foundation that is solid and durable will ensure a completely flat and level surface for the mount solution.”

During the pandemic, there were quite a few installations that struggled in turnaround time. Whether it was supply chain issues or physically being able to get to a place, delays were not unexpected.

That was the opposite at Savoy. The museum looked to Georgia-native Southern Digital Design, headed by Daniel Purcell, for the technological and dvLED installation. Together with LG and Peerless-AV—and its SEAMLESS Video Wall Integration Program—the installation was completed ahead of schedule.

“That’s interesting, right?” Johnson reflected. “It was estimated to take a lot longer than it actually did. Building construction took a long, long time, but getting the screens up? Since it was already all designed by Peerless-AV, it was just a matter of assembling. It was just a few weeks. Southern Digital Design knocked it out and they did fantastic."

Let's Go to the Movies

With the lights a-glow, the displays beaming (opens in new tab), and the automobiles awing, the Great Hall is certainly deserving of the moniker. But wait until you see Presentation Theatre.

Before heading into the 297-stadium-seat space, a 4x24-foot dvLED marquee welcomes you with a hint to the film, promotion, or even TED Talk that is being featured. Coming around the corner, your eyes are immediately drawn to the 18x31-foot dvLED screen that is the centerpiece of the theater.

Savoy Automobile Museum

The 297-seat Presentation Theatre features an 18x31-foot dvLED screen. (Image credit: Savoy Automobile Museum)

Centered in the middle of the stage—behind a fun, rotating stage to display actual vehicles in front of the screen—the LG display is masterfully anchored to showcase a wide array of brightly colored content.

“The theater’s concave design that wraps around the rear of the stage required the need for a custom-mount structure and solution for curved dvLED displays,” said McDaniel. “Peerless-AV worked with LG Electronics and Savoy Automobile Museum to create a solution that ensured each dvLED display blended in with the building’s architecture.”     

According to Johnson, he gets asked frequently why they avoided a projector. “Other than just having the display to impress people—because it’s very impressive—one of the big upsides is with the projector, when the lamp goes bad the entire thing cuts out. With this, if one panel goes bad, we swap out the panel—a quick and easy fix. Also, the brightness and intensity of the image is going to outdo a projector every day.”

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That brightness is important. Another Georgia-based company, Magnum, installed the Chauvet LED, full-color lights that beautifully bring extra oomph to the stage (and the rest of the museum as well). Despite adding an array of colors to enhance the presenter or exhibit, the stunning and vivid visuals remain impressive on display—at only 20%. “A projector is also easily washed out," Johnson noted. "But I haven’t been able to wash out these panels… and I’ve tried.”

There is also full surround sound in the theater divided into three zones which Johnson described as “sounding and looking fantastic for all the movies.” The entire Savoy Automobile Museum has Symmetrix Dante audio processing solutions, bringing soft sounds in the exhibit areas and the dynamic audio required to bring movies to life.

Inside the control room atop the last row of the theater is a NewTek TriCaster 2 Elite and an Allen & Heath audio mixer. Five Panasonic PTZ cameras, three in the theater and one in each dining room, as well as Audix microphones are available during corporate events or presentations at the museum. (Fun fact: The first event held at the museum was a wedding—this place does it all!)

Simply put, the Savoy Automobile Museum's AV setup drives like a dream. With new content expected for the LG displays and exhibits changed roughly every four months, a guest’s visit will be different every time. Now one year in, the Savoy Automobile Museum is in the driver’s seat for an exciting future.

Wayne Cavadi
Content Manager

Wayne Cavadi is the content manager of Systems Contractor News. Prior to taking a leap into the Pro AV industry, Wayne was a journalist and content lead for Turner Sports, covering the NCAA, PGA, and Major and Minor League Baseball. His work has been featured in a variety of national publications including Bleacher Report, Lindy's Magazine, MLB.com and The Advocate. When not writing, he hosts the DII Nation Podcast, committed to furthering the stories and careers of NCAA Division II student-athletes. Follow his work on Twitter at @WayneCavadi_2 or the SCN mag (opens in new tab) Twitter page.