Purdue’s Renovated Mackey Arena Gets Boost From Grass Valley System

Stephen Hall, director of Hall of Music Productions at Purdue University, has been directing and producing video shows at Mackey Arena since the first board was installed in 2004. His job is about to get a lot more interesting.

A five-year, $99.5 million renovation of the home of the Boilermakers’ men’s and women’s basketball teams is completed, and the arena is slated to debut Tuesday during a men’s basketball exhibition.

Among the renovations were the installation of center-hung video boards, four Daktronics video boards in the lower bowl, and hundreds of small, flat-panel monitors throughout the concourses and at concession stands. The scorer’s table has also been replaced with a Daktronics board, and the out-of-town scoreboard has been replaced with an LED surface, allowing it more versatility to be used for other purposes.

“While the boards aren’t HD resolution, it’s going to be a much clearer, brighter, cleaner-looking picture,” says Hall. “It will be nearly the 16:9 aspect ratio that you get with HD.”

Purdue’s investment included Grass Valley K2 Dyno Replay System with K2 Summit Production Client and 4.8 TB of internal storage, K2 Dyno Production Assistant (PA) software, Kayenne and Kayak production switchers, and four LDK 8000 Elite and four LDK 4000 Elite HD cameras, each with Grass Valley’s new 3G Transmission system.

According to Grass Valley, Purdue is one of the first North American users of the company’s 3G Transmission signal-distribution system, which allows crews to use the LDK cameras with either triax or fiber cabling.

“We’ve seen an interesting trend in the college marketplace,” says Grass Valley EVP Jeff Rosica. “Today, college sports fans at home and in the stadiums expect the same level of production quality that they see on national and regional sports broadcasts. Grass Valley equipment provides that while helping colleges train students on real-world equipment that is priced right and with the most efficient workflows in the industry.”

The Grass Valley K2 Dyno Replay System couples the K2 Dyno controller with the K2 Summit Production Client server. It is designed to help sports producers and other professionals capture live events in crystal-clear HD resolutions and instantly play them out at variable speeds for critical analysis during fast-paced events.

“That replay system will get a real work out here,” says Hall, “and together with all of the new gear will provide fans with a better game experience.”

According to Hall, the new system will also make it possible for the arena to provide a referee monitor for even non-broadcast games. That feed will come down from the server on a different line from that feeding the video boards.

The Grass Valley system debuted during a Purdue football home game against Notre Dame on Oct. 1. Hall of Music provided the video-board coverage of the game, as well as producing content used on the school’s athletics Website and the weekly coach’s TV show.

Digital for Donors
One video feature of Mackey Arena will be able to be enjoyed only by some of Purdue Athletics’ most generous donors. The school has partnered with XOS Digital to develop an iPad app that will be available exclusively on iPads given as gifts to boosters during games.

“There’s an area in the arena where they sit, and Athletics is providing them with an iPad and our iPad app on it. If they want to sit and watch replays or the game on their iPad, they can do that,” says Hall. “We will send to the server an HD-SDI signal, and that gets inverted to iPad format and delivered to their iPad.”