Understanding The Big Picture !
When audiences experience a well designed and thoroughly thought out video wall there is a massive impression made, in more ways than one. Sure, there is a “WOW FACTOR!” but there is a true liberation from your standard content creation. Certainly, you could do a basic square pattern configuration in a 4:3 aspect ratio and simply make your content LOOK bigger… but why stop there? You are NOT constrained to the “square look” of a 2X2 or a 3X3… or a 5X5 installation, as pictured above. Consider thinking outside of the box!
At West Virginia University we are renovating our WVU Visitor’s Resource Center (VRC) and will install three interior vertical 60″ monitors each tasked individually in 1X3 configuration side by side, a 46″ tabletop wayfinding application and a 2X4 video wall with eight 46″ monitors in a horizontal aspect. That’s right… a 2X4 configuration! We also have created a small 2X4 video wall using 23″ monitors to design our content on in our Master Control Room; once created there it is pushed to the large video wall in the Lobby area of the Visitor’s Resource Center. The VRC is the main recruiting portal for campus visits by prospective students during their campus visits and the goal of the VRC is to make a lasting… and BIG impression… on thousands of visiting students each year. Bus loads of students arrive for two tours each day and it all begins when they step into the Lobby and behold a massive video wall that is designed to target market to their market profile. We want every prospective student, by the end of their campus tour, to say, “I WANT TO BE A MOUNTAINEER!”
We have created content in HD video, time-lapsed photography and videography, photo galleries, our institutional national television spot and all of our standard content from our regular digital signage loop of information. Our video segments and images can span the entire length and width, or be constrained to a 2×2 area, to individual monitors or any combinations of monitors… the sky is the limit!
It goes without saying that once the video wall is installed, you have to feed the beast with content. We want to leverage every aspect of a video wall to make a lasting impression on our audiences. Given that this particular video wall is used for reinforcing our marketing message and recruiting new students that are mostly high school age we design the content so that it appeals to that market segment. (We also have elementary and middle school aged students visit as well at other times of the day. We use age-appropriate content to plant a seed in their minds at that young age that a college education is important and that WVU wants them to be a Mountaineer in the future!)
We recognize that this type of content needs to have a fast pace in the messaging. Transition between pages of information need to attract the audiences attention with lots of motion. Graphics need to be stunning and engaging. The content needs to be heavy on the “visual experience” of our campuses. Due to the grand scale of the 2X4 video wall horizontal orientation we are developing some “cool” infographics that will spotlight WVU campus student life, technology, research, sports and social media. The goal is to show prospective students that life on the WVU campus and the Morgantown, West Virginia region will be a wonderful experience that is exciting and fun! From a content creation standpoint we have graphic designers and production specialists from our sister units in Web Services, Creative Services, and Television/Video Productions take on individual pieces of the whole content loop. This management model gives the individual designer some ownership and pride in their piece of the puzzle and they can edit or make changes to their work as their concepts evolve over time. Often they design in such a way that their pieces of work have a long shelf-life in our loop and can be edited in the future to represent changes in the seasons of the year or various special events during the semester calendar.
Content Ideas For the WVU Visitors Resource Center Video Wall
Each vertical monitor will be surrounded by very nice millwork wooden enclosures with ventilation and computer access from behind the wall. Directed audio will be subtly cast to each viewer standing in front of each monitor.
Our engineers consult with the vendors and contractors during the planning and construction process. This is a major consideration! If your engineer and staff are not in discussions early on in the planning and construction phases, I can guarantee a lot of drama when it comes to deadlines and supply chains with vendors when you have to re-order a “fix” for a solution.
A video wall should be a hallmark and centerpiece that speaks volumes about your institutional brand. A well designed project will make you the envy of your peers. Proper planning and discussions from the beginning of the concept that includes your staff, your administrators, the architect, vendors and the contractor will save you thousands of dollars and a ton of aggravation.