When Lockheed-Martin decided to consolidate its Washington, D.C.-area operations in a Global Vision Center, the leading defense contractor turned to The Brand Experience to deliver a unique visitor center experience featuring Alcorn McBride equipment.
“Our charge was to tell the entire Lockheed-Martin story in the common area of the building so that anyone visiting for the first time would be exposed to all of the company’s products and services in a compelling and engaging way,” says Dale Tesmond, Chief Experience Officer and Managing Director of Cincinnati-based The Brand Experience.
Since one of the objectives was to communicate the global reach of Lockheed-Martin, “we kicked around separate ideas of a videowall and a globe,” notes The Brand Experience Creative Director Geoff Thatcher. “Then we said let’s combine a videowall with a globe and create the world’s first 4K video globe. It was an innovation to take a traditional videowall and wrap it around a traditional globe. We felt it was possible, but it had never been done to that scale because our idea was to use different size monitors to form the continents in an artistic and sculptural way.”
From the outset, Thatcher says, “we knew what Alcorn McBride technology could do, so we felt that the concept of 51 media servers running 51 monitors wrapped around a nine-foot steel globe was totally do-able. The big challenge was the geography of the project: using flat, rectangular monitors to create the continents on a curved sphere. South America gets pretty skinny at the bottom, and we had to produce content that would look fantastic on the videowalls that formed each continent.”
Working with producer Todd Hall, The Brand Experience took on Atlanta-based ID3 to engineer and fabricate the globe and INTER-TAIN Productions of Vienna, Virginia for AV integration and show control. New York architects ZB Space integrated the globe into the lobby.
The huge globe, fashioned of steel bands around a hollow core, was wrapped with 51 Boland monitors of varying sizes and aspect ratios; their bezels were covered with black automotive paint. Lights were installed at the base of the see-through globe as well as overhead.
Cincinnati’s Sandlot Pictures crafted the videowalls’ content in three acts. Act I is a screen saver map of clouds and beautiful high-resolution images of the world. Act II presents 60- to 90-second videos of defining moments in Lockheed-Martin’s history from aviation’s F-35 and the Aegis guided-missile cruiser to alternative energy solutions. Act III features 22 different video programs, some tailored to a particular client base whether the armed forces or civilian businesses.
To deploy the videowalls’ content Emile Wolsky, executive producer with INTER-TAIN Productions, a full-service digital design communications and production company, deployed a complement of Alcorn McBride products. “The video had to be chopped up and sync rolled,” he explains. “Shows can play on one or 10 monitors – or all of them. Many images were designed to run from one monitor to another.”
He used an AMX control panel on the front end to program and trigger an Alcorn McBride V16 Pro that, in turn, triggered four 16-channel Standard Definition Alcorn McBride Video Binloops storing the video for the 51 sync rolls.
A versatile, frame-accurate show controller for serial and network devices, the V16 Pro is reliable, solid, connected and familiar to use. Its proprietary design features no moving parts to wear out and no software that needs updating, and it has no vulnerability to viruses.
The Video Binloops are compact, economical and highly-reliable professional audio and video reproducers. Each of the system’s cages accommodates up to 16 reproducer cards; the Binloops lock to NTSC or PAL video sync and records or generates linear timecode at many different SMPTE and EBU rates.
For lighting, Wolsky selected an Alcorn McBride LightCue DMX recorder to sync lighting effects with the globe’s sound system. The V16 Pro triggers this versatile, small, easy-to-use system that records the output of any lighting board; a single rack records 512 DMX channels in realtime and can store preset looks. INTER-TAIN also handled the complex wiring demands of the globe, which required that no wires be visible.
“Alcorn McBride equipment is among the most solid we’ve ever worked with,” Wolsky declares. “It’s a perfect match for the project – it doesn’t go down, it never stops running. The fact that the Alcorn McBride gear has no moving parts that can break down was a real plus.”
The Brand Experience reports that the one-of-a-kind globe has been very well received. “We have to give a great deal of credit to Lockheed-Martin,” says Thatcher. “There’s no question that they’re one of the most innovative companies in the world. And that culture of innovation and leadership is the reason we could do what we did.”
The globe’s prominent position in the lobby generates interest from visitors of all kinds. “Lockheed-Martin actively encourages math and science education so they get a lot of student visitors who are able to see in a very dynamic way how those disciplines can make the world a safer place,” says Thatcher. “I watched a FedEx delivery person stop for a full five minutes and watch the videos,” notes Tesmond. “The globe combines lighting, sound and video in a very powerful icon for the company.”
“It was exciting to use Alcorn McBride technology to bring this project to life in a unique and innovative way,” Thatcher adds.