Huge screen more than simple TV monitor

Anne Kibbler • July 12, 2016
Screen in commons area
The 24-by-12-foot screen appears to float in the atrium area above the Franklin Hall commons. The high-tech tool is the centerpiece of the renovated building. (Anne Kibbler | The Media School)

The Franklin Hall commons has been a great place for soccer fans in the last couple of weeks. Word had it that members of the IU Board of Trustees, whose offices are on the second floor of the building, were sneaking peeks of the Copa America tournament on the 24-foot-by-12-foot screen.

But the screen, suspended from a truss to look as if it is floating beneath the glass roof of the commons, represents much more than a fancy monitor or TV, said Andrew Sellers, who heads one of three companies that installed it.

“This is a place for students to engage with content and with each other,” said Sellers, principal of Indianapolis-based Sensory Technologies.  “It’s a place to watch the ever-popular IU Hoosiers basketball games as a group, a place to remind students that they are at one of the best Media Schools in the world and to make an impact on visitors who may consider applying to IU.”

Sensory Technologies installed the screen itself, under the supervision of technical staff from Nanolumens, the Atlanta-based company that created the screen components. A third company, Aerial Arts of Westfield, Indiana, rigged and installed the support beam.

Installing components
Sensory Technologies installed the screen itself, under the supervision of technical staff from Nanolumens, the Atlanta-based company that created the screen components. A third company, Aerial Arts of Westfield, Indiana, rigged and installed the support beam.
(Anne Kibbler | The Media School)

Sellers, who graduated from IU in 1982 with a degree in telecommunications, said it’s fascinating to see the improvements in Franklin Hall.

“It’s exciting to see the incredible facilities that current students will have available to them,” Sellers said. 

Sellers has worked on the screen project with Jay Kincaid, director of facilities and technology for The Media School. Kincaid also earned his telecommunications degree from IU in 1982, and the two spent hours as students working in the Radio/TV Building, which remains part of the school.

Sellers said students and faculty will be able to interact with the wall with a variety of inputs, including laptops, cable boxes, a live feed from the adjacent student control room and a gaming cart. The screen can be configured to display several images at the same time.

“Faculty, students and visitors will be able to rearrange and size the sources by recalling selected layouts or presets on the touch panel,” he said.

Sellers said his company was engaged early in the project, which he called complex, out-of-the-box and unique.

Screen tech examples
The back-end technology provides more than simple viewing. Students and faculty will be able to interact with the wall with a variety of inputs, including laptops, cable boxes, a live feed from the adjacent student control room and a gaming cart. (Anne Kibbler | The Media School)

“This is a custom, well thought out, user-friendly design that will have a lifespan of many years,” he said.

For the techies out there, here are some statistics about the screen:

  • 2.5 mm pixel pitch direct-view LED wall
  • 23.6 x 12.6 feet, or 2880 x 1536 pixels
  • 4.4 million pixels (more than twice that of an HDTV)
  • 13,271,040 individual diodes with a refresh rate of 960 frames per second
  • 39,813,120 solder joints, greater than the population of California
  • 240 circuit boards
  • 1,440 magnets
  • Maximum power draw equal to 12 waffle irons or eight hair dryers
  • Average power draw equal to four waffle irons or three hair dryers
  • Average BTU of 7,070, equal to 20 average sized human beings or the Hoosier offensive line