Screenworks, Concom Devise Octagonal LED Center-Hung for MGM Grand

This weekend, NEP Screenworks and Concom are creating a unique in-arena experience for UFC fans at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The MGM arena does not have a center-hung scoreboard, so Concom and Screenworks decided to create one — or rather eight in one — that will hang directly over the ring.

“We worked with NEP Screenworks to incorporate an LED wall with our lighting truss and audio rig,” says Jodi Mendrek, operations producer for Concom. “We designed an octagon-shaped LED wall that will really enhance the in-arena experience.”

Why build an eight-sided structure?

“Why not go different?” Mendrek asks. “Eight is better than four. Nobody’s going to have a bad seat in this arena. The fans are going to see every aspect of the fight — replays, graphics. Everyone’s going to see everything, and every seat is going to be phenomenal watching this.”

Two Times Four
Each of the eight LED panels in the center-hung structure is 11 x 16 ft., and each can be programmed separately. For this UFC fight, four panels will be fed the program feed from the production truck, while the other four, alternating with the program, will be fed graphical information from media servers.

“There are two parts to this board, on eight sides,” explains Erik Foster, account manager at Screenworks. “Four screens will take the truck feed, and the other four will receive graphics playback off of a couple of media servers. This is unique in that not everything is programmed from the truck. Coordinating the live show with the graphics playback is definitely a challenge.”

In addition, the bottom 2 ft. of every panel, 360 degrees around, will display the UFC logo.

“The bottom 2 ft. will act as a separate graphics feed for the entire show,” Mendrek says. “There’s a lot going on, but everyone’s going to see everything.”

Built-In Audio, Lighting
Concom pre-built the LED structure before hanging it from the ceiling and worked closely with the MGM to determine how many rigging points would be required to hold the weight of the boards.

“This was the first thing that had to be hung before our lighting and audio went up, but we were able to incorporate this into the design of what we already provide,” Mendrek notes. “It fits right over our lighting truss structure, and we built our audio arrays right down the center. We have graphics split left and right of the audio cabinets, so it’s almost built-in.”

Although the broadcast cameras may catch the LED structure in beauty shots, the center-hung board was designed to enhance the in-house fan experience. Screenworks is comfortable building structures of this size, having overseen all the video screens constructed at the venues for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, but this is Concom’s first center-hung structure of this size.

“On the LED side of this, we have not really done a center-hung, and an octagonal one at that,” Mendrek says. “It will look phenomenal. I think this is going to blow people away.”

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