Auburn Begins Testing on College Football’s Largest Videoboard
On a midsummer Sunday evening on the campus of Auburn University, one would have thought the aurora borealis had made its way to the Deep South. The Auburn University video team was, in fact, running a color test on the newest and largest videoboard in all of college football, and the staggering 190- x 57-ft. display could be seen all the way across campus.
As the Tigers’ home opener at Jordan-Hare Stadium approaches, War Eagle Productions is getting ready by testing out the board’s abilities and building fresh video and graphics to greet fans on Sept. 12.
The Daktronics display comprises more than 8.7 million LEDs and spans 10,830 sq. ft. It’s a dramatic 435% larger than the stadium’s previous, 30- x 74-ft. videoboard and also breaks the previous record set by SEC sibling Texas A&M, whose board at Kyle Field is 163 ft. x 47 ft. (7,661 sq. ft.).
“When you see it in person from outside the stadium, the structure just looks huge, but, when you get inside the stadium, it actually fits pretty well,” says Andy Young, assistant AD, video services, Auburn Athletics. “It closes in that end zone, which I wasn’t quite sure about, but, now that I’ve seen it, it looks great.”
War Eagle Productions has two rather new control rooms, built last year for the launch of the SEC Network, so the board has a strong technological backbone behind it. The game-day crew will grow in order to help program the board and the two new ribbon displays (each approximately 3.5 ft. high x 435 ft. wide) that accompany it. More camera, replay, and graphics operators will be needed to make it all sing on game day.
According to Young, the sheer size of the board is the main challenge for him and his team of content creators. Its true aspect ratio is about 32:9 and is an odd pallet for video that is typically 16:9. Of course, the board’s technology offers variable content zoning, but Young will want to go full screen on key content, including the team entrance video and any similar hype videos, so those dimensions need to be considered in acquiring and editing video.
To help feed the board during games, Auburn has invested in eight cameras, including three Sony F55 4K cameras, and has added two channels to its Ross Video Xpression graphics engine.
To enhance the experience for fans on game day, Auburn used this project to make massive improvements to the in-stadium audio system at Jordan-Hare. A large bank of speakers and the core of the Daktronics system are positioned in a rectangle right above the videoboard. Measuring 33 ft. high x 70 ft. wide, the rectangle is larger in area than the previous videoboard.
Daktronics engineered the audio solution using JBL and Danley Sound Labs products in a centralized scoreboard cluster of line arrays and low-frequency subwoofers to fit the acoustical and structural properties of Jordan-Hare. Accompanying delay speakers will provide sound to shaded areas along the sidelines. The system comes with a touchscreen control, and custom presets are available.