With the Production Control Room at Bridgestone Arena reaching the end of its lifecycle in late 2017 and the discovery that the LED control system purchased for the 2016 NHL All-Star game had also reached end-of-life status, the Predators and their consultant contacted Ross to discuss capital improvements to their game-day production system. As a starting point, the Predators were looking to add real-time dynamic graphic content to their LED production, and the conversation quickly evolved.
In addition to updating their LED Display Control system, the Predators were looking to improve the efficiency of their existing workflow between the Display Control and Production Control Room systems. Ultimately, they were aiming for tighter integration between the production switcher and the overall show, moving from a simple 16×9 LED board show to a Unified Venue Solution.
Some of the key challenges and expectations the Predators management had to deal with included:
Designing around a phased installation. The Production Control Room would be installed first for the 2018-19 season. Included in the initial upgrade would be all the required content management and controls for the LED system, which would be installed a year later for the 2019-2020 season.
Updating the technology. The Predators would be moving from an older 1.5G workflow to a full 1080p HDR-ready workflow.
Looking beyond hardware obsolescence. The Predators were looking for a technology partner and a platform that was software-driven rather than reliant on hardware generations.
Expanding data-driven content. Historically, the Predators’ show has been heavy on pre-rendered fan engagement videos. The plan was to start transitioning to more data-driven content and sources.
Real-time, pre-rendered content. Like most teams, the Predators wanted to combine their familiar pre-rendered workflow with a real-time rendered solution.
In the spring of 2018, the Nashville Predators and their design consultant announced that both the Production Control Room and the LED Display Control System at Bridgestone Arena would feature Ross equipment at its production core. This would create a Unified Venue Solution through the shared infrastructure of both systems, allowing the Predators production to elevate their in-game day presentation to new heights of creativity and fan engagement.
An added benefit of the real-time rendering capabilities of the system has been the “Stars of the Game” graphic, which is now generated at the time of announcement rather than through a pre-rendered clip. This reduces hours of rendering time and frees up the creative team to work on other things.
The full Ross solution includes:
Acuity • DashBoard • XPression • Tria+ • Carbonite Mosaic • XPression Tessera
In addition to all the new hardware, the Predators hired the creative arm of Ross, Rocket Surgery, to assist with creating XPression templates and DashBoard custom control panels. Rocket Surgery worked with the Predators’ internal design staff to implement their style guide and content into new templates and graphics. They also built multiple custom DashBoard panels to trigger and control the entire system. One DashBoard panel was created specifically for the producer station, allowing the operator to control the entire Ross suite of equipment and third-party elements such as the lighting system. This allows the producer to trigger immediate “BIG MOMENT” takeovers for goals and wins at the push of a single button.
The Predators’ production team quickly became comfortable with the Unified Venue Solution workflow and have continued to dive into the unparalleled creative flexibility offered by the system.
One of the most impressive aspects of the new production system is the creative use of the Ice Projection System, which is supported by real-time data and user input. Driven by an XPression system tied into the DashBoard control system, all elements projected onto the ice are linked directly to content on the LED displays as well as to the lighting and audio system in order to generate in-sync, show-stopping moments. The stanchion LED strips are also fed with XPression content and linked to the entire system.