Data Display, Christie MicroTiles Help Pay Tribute to ‘CNN Heroes’

Christie MicroTiles and Data Display celebrated “CNN Heroes” at the eponymous awards ceremony, “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The 256-square foot MicroTiles wall, installed by Data Display Audio Visual, a division of ON Event Services, captured the evening’s festivities and served as the visual backdrop for photos, graphics and video to the live New York audience and millions of television viewers during the broadcast.

CNN Heroes Awards Show (Photo courtesy of CNN) 3 (lr)Continuing its tradition of recognizing everyday people who are changing the world, CNN Heroes, now in its ninth year, celebrates individuals who are making extraordinary contributions to help improve the lives of others. During the awards ceremony celebrating their achievements, celebrities including Sharon Stone, Kelly Ripa and Neil Patrick Harris introduced the honorees, with the 2015 winner –Maggie Doyne – capturing the top prize for her work in building the Kopila Valley Children’s Home in Nepal.

Using Christie MicroTiles for Broadcast and Rental Staging
“The main reason CNN used MicroTiles is that for the last awards show they used a 5-by-5 array of 60-inch LCD displays to create a video wall, and apparently it was a big challenge to match things up properly so the installation was very tricky,” said Mark Swanson, technology director, Data Display. ”This time they wanted something that would go together a little easier and look better to the TV viewer. Once we got up there and tested it all, did the color balance, and showed them on camera, CNN liked it so much they went with the Christie MicroTiles.”

“CNN developed the content and we created four MicroTiles walls, each with 1920 x 1080 content, and stitched them together to make one huge 12 foot by 21 foot wall, to deliver the 4K content across the whole thing,” Swanson continued. “CNN then sent us the signal from their production truck out in the street. The MicroTiles wall had so much more resolution than what CNN had before with the LCD panels.”

Swanson said he dialed back the brightness of the MicroTiles to make them compatible with the set lighting. “They look great on camera. Their superb performance in high ambient light is an asset on set, so they aren’t washed out by (television studio) set lighting,” he added.

Having used Christie MicroTiles at two other CNN live broadcasts in 2015 – October’s Democratic Party presidential debate and the Republican Party presidential debate in December – both Swanson and Shawn Rockefeller, Data Display’s Vice President said the MicroTiles have made a big impact with their on-camera performance.

“We never intended to use MicroTiles for broadcast, but then we said, ‘Why not?’ and kind of fell into it. Their limitless resolution capability is a huge factor for on-camera, large-scale video backdrops because they are running everything at 1080p level. And MicroTiles’ shallow depth helps with space issues because they’re only taking up a foot or two of space on these sets,” said Rockefeller. “We have been involved with MicroTiles’ almost from their inception, so we have a lot of experience with them in a staging environment. We have more MicroTiles than any other stager and Mark has so much experience, he eats, drinks and breathes them.”

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