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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Aug 5

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8/5/2010 12:00 PM  RssIcon

Sean BusherAuto racing fans will be amazed by the exhibits and revolutionary AV technology the minute they step into the striking new NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. A huge cluster of Christie® MicroTiles™ digital display tiles is driving the fan experience running massive archival videos and engaging visitors in the attraction's showpiece Great Hall.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame's Fan Billboard uses 252 MicroTiles in an 18-tile wide by 14-tile high array (or 24ft by 14ft) suspended over Glory Road, a section of sloping track in the main hall that shows the progression of NASCAR from its dirt track days to the modern paved speedways of today. The NASCAR Hall of Fame's main visitor orientation theater also uses Christie's powerful digital projectors and video processors to bring NASCAR's history to life.

"We're delighted that the NASCAR Hall of Fame is the first entertainment venue to feature Christie MicroTiles," said Winston Kelley, executive director, NASCAR Hall of Fame. "It's our goal to deliver an interactive experience to each and every visitor, and our unique MicroTiles billboard gives an authentic feel as soon as our guests enter the building."

Visit CharlotteOpened on May 11, 2010, the entertainment attraction gives NASCAR fans a place to learn about stock-car racing's long and colorful history and its most celebrated figures. The NASCAR Hall of Fame, which is located in uptown Charlotte, is owned by the City and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority under a license with NASCAR.

Designed by famed architectural firm, Pei Cobb Freed, with exhibits designed by the internationally acclaimed firm of Ralph Applebaum and Associates, the hall's design borrows on the sweeping curves of race tracks. A metallic ribbon runs around the building façade, and carries that design element inside to the expansive four floors of exhibit and attraction space.

The soaring heights, curves and glass curtain walls that dominate the venue presented unique design challenges that were addressed by using the Christie MicroTiles - modular digital display tiles that can be stacked and clustered like building blocks to create display walls of any shape or scale. The patented MicroTiles use an entirely new, advanced optical design that produces unparalleled levels of brightness, contrast and color reproduction.

The consulting AV design firm overseeing the project, JaffeHolden, was struggling to sort out what display technology could best suit the curving space above the faux Glory Road track without projecting the screen too far into the hall. Working with Electrosonic (www.electrosonic.com), an international audio-visual company specializing in AV systems integration and services, the team reviewed a number of technologies. After seeing a preview of the MicroTiles at Christie's R&D labs, months before the technology's commercial launch, both JaffeHolden and Electrosonic recommended them to the city's project management team.

The MicroTiles reduced the depth and weight of the display dropped substantially, and lowered overall construction and long-term servicing costs. The MicroTiles also drove higher resolution images and substantially reduced energy consumption expectations, noted Bryan Abelowitz, Electrosonic's senior systems consultant on the project.

"Glory Road is a centerpiece of the Great Hall and the Fan Billboard which crowns Glory Road is ideally suited to MicroTiles," added Zoran Veselic, vice-president of Christie's Visual Environments Division. "Whether they are displaying historic NASCAR footage or bringing the excitement of a live race to visitors, the Christie MicroTiles are the largest installation of the technology, to date, and deliver a larger-than-life experience fans have never seen before."

The Fan Billboard runs archival footage from the early days of stock-car racing, as well as video and image montages, and an interactive application called the NASCAR Hall of Fame Showdown. When guests pay admission to enter the attraction, they are issued personalized "hard cards" with embedded RFID chips. As part of the overall fan experience, the hard cards can be used at more than 50 interactive kiosks throughout the facility.

Another focal point of the entertainment attraction is the 278-seat Belk High Octane Theater, which has a huge, 64-foot wide curved projection wall showing the story of NASCAR from the early days to present. This orientation theater uses the output from three edge-blended Christie HD10K-M DLP(r) digital projectors to produce one seamless visual. A fourth HD10K-M is used for off-hours presentations.

The visuals are all driven by Christie's Vista Spyder, a powerful and versatile video and widescreen display processor that allows the museum to mix video sources in multiple windows, create multiple picture-in-pictures, and define, shape and blend borders easily.

About NASCAR Hall of Fame

Located in uptown Charlotte, N.C., the 150,000-square-foot NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interactive, entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. The high-tech venue, designed to educate and entertain race fans and non-fans alike, opened May 11, 2010 and includes artifacts, interactive exhibits, 278-person state-of-the-art theater, Hall of Honor, Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop and NASCAR Media Group-operated broadcast studio. The five-acre site also includes a privately developed 19-story office tower and 102,000-square-foot expansion to the Charlotte Convention Center, highlighted by a 40,000 square-foot ballroom. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is owned by the City of Charlotte, licensed by NASCAR and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. www.NASCARHall.com.

About Christie(r)

Christie Digital Systems USA, Inc. is a global visual technologies company and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ushio, Inc., Japan, (JP:6925). Consistently setting the standards by being the first to market some of the world's most advanced projectors and complete system displays, Christie is recognized as one of the most innovative visual technology companies in the world. From retail displays to Hollywood, mission critical command centers to classrooms and training simulators, Christie display solutions and projectors capture the attention of audiences around the world with dynamic and stunning images. Visit www.christiedigital.com.

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