Bringing the Best. To impress and persuade top high school football recruits to play for the Miami Hurricanes, the Athletics Department at the University of Miami (UM) envisioned creating a dynamic "Recruiting Rotunda"—featuring a "Miami Hurricanes Football Recruitment Experience"—that immerses prospective recruits in the sights, sounds, and excitement of the celebrated team and its five national championships.
To bring its "Recruiting Rotunda" vision to life, UM's Athletics Department enlisted Midtown Video, a Miami-based AV systems integration company, which orchestrated and integrated a complex array of hardware, software, and media assets to realize this immersive multimedia extravaganza.
The Recruiting Rotunda serves as a portal that leads to the coaches' offices on the second floor of UM's Hecht Athletics Building. When coaches escort new recruits into the Rotunda Experience, they use a wireless control panel to activate the multimedia show, including firing up the fog screen and selecting the video replays and highlights to present.
Recruits were to begin their journey by walking down a darkened, 60-foot corridor lined with flashing LED lights that illuminate a visual history on the walls, including the championship years. At the end of the hallway, they see and hear championship highlights projected onto a fog screen that shrouds the entranceway.
Once inside the Rotunda, they're barraged with 360-degree video projection, multi-channel surround sound booming from embedded speakers, 3D projection mapping, LED lights, and more. The experience leaves them wowed, smiling, and excited to join a winning team.
Within the Rotunda, which is a darkened, 22-foot diameter, cylindrical theater, nine 10,000 lumen Panasonic PT-RZ970 DLP laser projectors mounted along the perimeter of the 9-foot high ceiling focus a total of 90,000 lumens of projection. Five projectors paint the walls, while four paint the floor. This creates seamless imagery, such as video of dramatic football moments and team camaraderie, while a team banner cycles around the walls.
On one side of the Rotunda, the team's uniforms are 3D projection-mapped onto a 7-foot plaster statue of a football player. The uniforms change continuously to show the team's many adidas-branded looks. On the other side of the rotunda, the team's multiple sneaker designs are 3D mapped onto a 7-foot long sneaker statue.
The multi-channel video blending is all handled by Datapath's versatile Fx-4 processors – the trusted go-to solution for multipoint video blending in large scale projects. Since the projector angles needed to be "locked" prior to construction, it would be problematic if adjustment was needed after construction and installation. The Midtown Video engineering team used Cinema 4D software to plan the angles of the beams and the configuration of the projectors. Three Datapath Fx4-SDI 4K Display Wall Controllers split the 4K DisplayPort outputs coming from the Resolume Arena Media Server, which in turn feed up to four projectors.
The systems' integration included two hidden cameras that allow Midtown Video technicians to perform routine maintenance and troubleshooting of the installation remotely over IP networking.
By all measures, the Recruiting Rotunda featuring the "Miami Hurricanes Football Recruitment Experience" has been deemed a success by University of Miami Athletics Department personnel as well as the prospective recruits that have experienced it.
"To see Datapath play its part in this stunning and innovative recruiting experience is very satisfying", said Greg Dieckhaus, Datapath Sr. Sales Manager, Southeast and Mid Atlantic US. He adds: "Midtown Video have done another stunning job in demonstrating what is possible with today's technology and, with the fantastic visionaries at University of Miami, we have another satisfied end user."
According to Midtown Video GM Jesse Miller, "Businesses, institutions, universities—they're all competing for positive mindshare, and the way they can set themselves apart is to create an immersive multimedia experience that's so impressive that people go away with it burned in their brain."
"We give these kids a great experience when they come on campus," added Andy Vaughn, Director of Player Personnel for UM Athletics. "You want them to leave with that great feeling that 'I saw something new', or 'something different', and 'I was impressed in some way'. And I think this has really done that for us."
Leo Ramos, Director of Brand Marketing for the University of Miami Athletics Department, Miami, FL said, "You really know that a recruit was blown away when they smile, because for the most part, they try to play it as cool as possible."