Conmy Hall, the historic events space in Fort Myer, Virginia, was built in 1934 as an indoor equestrian facility. Used by General George Patton, it was converted into a gymnasium as the mounted cavalry was phased out, and later changed into an indoor ceremonial area for the United States Government. And in 2019, it underwent another transformation with the addition of a massive 144-foot by 14-foot Christie CorePlus LED wall. The renovation, spearheaded by The Bridge Group and integrated and installed by Quince Imaging, included a Christie Spyder X80 image processor and a suite of Christie Pandoras Box content management solutions.
Conmy Hall is now the U.S. Army’s principal performance center, used for Presidential functions and military ceremonies, as well as hosting multi-agency briefings and strategy sessions. The hall, which seats 1200, also hosts U.S. Army band concerts and productions by the Military District of Washington, both of which are open to the public.
Prior to the renovation, the space used two projection screens and large, vinyl-printed maps for multi-agency briefings and strategy sessions. “The equipment and processes became inadequate given the expanding needs and advancements in technology,” says Cathy Arevian, CEO & Managing Director, The Bridge Group. “After conducting several events using large format rental equipment and projection, it became clear that the versatility available using this equipment was worth the investment.”
In 2015 the project began, and various technology and configurations were considered. “We knew It had to be state-of-the-art, and configurable to meet the changing needs of the space,” says Scott Williams, COO, CFO and Co-Founder, Quince Imaging.
The Bridge Group, Quince Imaging, and project manager VCB Events LLC designed and installed a massive 144-foot by 14-foot, 12-million- pixel, Christie CorePlus LED video wall that spans the length of the Hall. “The age and limited structural documentation of the roof strength dictated a system design that was almost entirely ground supported,” says Arevian.
The wall is divided into three sections: a center 26-foot array, with a 61-foot array on each side. “The center array is suspended on a trolley that allows it to independently move four feet downstage. The center screen delivers a perfect 16x9 image and allows for a mid-wall backstage entrance on each side of the screen,” says Arevian. This unique 25-foot, built-in “doorway” is automated, and can be retracted with the push of a button.
Christie Pandoras Box and Spyder X80 manage 12 million pixels
Managing the Christie CorePlus LED wall are two Christie Pandoras Box servers and one Pandoras Box manager. Says Williams, “Pandoras Box is managing the uber-wide, 12-million-pixel wall. It also manages the buttons, and houses the wireframes and templates, so a user can easily select one of a dozen looks for the wall. We used Pandoras Box Widget Designer to configure these solutions.”
“We have a long history of success with Pandoras Box,” adds Williams. “Every sports installation that we’ve done since 2013, that we’re known for, has been a Pandoras Box system. We can easily manage them remotely and the users understand the workflow. It’s proven to be a robust broadcast, workflow solution. Why would we ever consider anything else that has worked flawlessly in all of our installations?”
Christie Spyder X80, a powerful multi-windowing processor that can manage up to 80 million pixels, manages the inputs from Pandoras Box, the output to the LED wall, as well as sending return feeds to HD broadcast trucks as needed. “We chose Spyder X80 because of the massive resolution of the wall. It also manages other displays around the facility, as well as camera inputs. The Army has a HD truck that comes in on short notice, and they wanted a plug-in solution to augment the production capabilities in the building.”
With Christie Pandoras Box and Spyder X80, Conmy Hall has a versatile system, with a three-tiered operating capability, says Arevian, to meet the changing needs of the venue. The first tier is a simple, push-button system to produce different screen configurations using in-house resources. The second tier is a more complicated show, using custom show cues, like a Presidential visit. Lastly, an advanced Pandoras Box and Spyder X80 operator could program the system to deliver a custom, spectacular show, like a Presidential Inauguration.
“One of the major advantages is that the system is designed so that a large amount of programming can be done remotely, using cameras set specifically to allow a remote view of the video display. Remote access also enables last-minute troubleshooting of the display,” says Arevian.
The Bridge Group and Quince Imaging deliver a stunning installation
“The result is a magnificent, completely configurable, and versatile LED display that delivers and immersive experience, and provides an amazing backdrop for the military ceremonies,” says Arevian. “The client is impressed with the clarity and sharpness of the images and the ability to have many standard templates pre-programmed and ready to go at a moment’s notice.”
“The customer is elated,” says Williams. “And we’re subsequently part of a team providing ongoing services and support. They’re very pleased.”
“Quince Imaging and The Bridge Group have designed and installed an incredible solution that will serve Conmy Hall and the US Army well for many years to come,” says Jon Litt, senior manager, Christie Government Solutions. “We are so proud and honored to have Christie solutions included at this historic site and to be able to be used for such significant events.”