Universidad Pontificia Comillas’ new assembly hall at its Cantoblanco campus in Madrid is equipped with a spectacular Christie MicroTiles video wall, making it the first installation of these modular digital visualization tiles in a university in Spain.
Universidad Pontificia Comillas (ICAI-ICADE) is a private, Catholic university run by the Jesuits. With headquarters in Madrid, it was founded in 1890 and has around 12,000 students and 1,210 faculty members.
The university was looking for a big screen for its new assembly hall seating 220 in Cantoblanco, one of its three campuses in Madrid. The brief was demanding as ICT has been playing an increasingly strategic role in the university’s teaching and research activities ever since it was first introduced, explained Rafael Ortega, director of the university’s Users Services and Classroom Support unit.
“We were after a large high-quality projection format that could handle different sources, and that would also let us record acts without having to dim the lights,” Ortega clarified.
Sertepro, one the university’s regular suppliers of audiovisual equipment, then contacted the Christie partner Ingevideo, who organized a demo for the client. “The new assembly hall admits a lot of light, so we could have specified a powerful projector, but that would have generated heat, light and noise; alternatively, we could look for a novel solution”, recalled Miguel Sánchez, Projects Director at Ingevideo. “We gave them a demo with a 20,000 lumens projector and with a MicroTiles video wall so that they could compare the two different technologies; and they opted for the MicroTiles.”
“The truth is that we were considering large projectors and other video wall solutions,” said Rafael Ortega. “But we decided on Christie MicroTiles because of their brightness, quality and resolution, and also because the compact size of the tiles. In the end it was the solution that came closest to what we were looking for.”
For Rafael Ortega, MicroTiles’ strong points are their robustness, reliability, brightness and resolution. “One of the main advantages of the system compared with other video walls available in the market is the different combinations it offers — a result of being made up of lots of small screens, with high resolution and a built-in mixer, which enables lots of combinations with different signals,” he argued.
The Christie MicroTiles screen installed in Cantoblanco is a 10x8 set-up; this is used for teaching purposes and to support other acts organized in the hall, primarily to project computer signals, films and documentaries in various formats, like VGA, XVGA, SDI and HDMI.
The video wall has two MicroTiles external control units (ECUs), which not only provide content to each of the tiles in the mosaic, but also proportion control of the system level, automatic calibration of colour and brightness and monitoring of the whole screen.
The content is sourced from different devices, including tablets, PCs, Blu-ray players, HD equipment and an Analog Way Di-VentiX II mixer.
In addition, the system works with a TouchLink TLP 710TV touchpanel from Extron, which enables complete control of the video wall, as well as conference systems, mixers, cooling systems for the MicroTiles, and other devices used. The commands on the touchpanel were designed by Extron in the USA specifically for the university.
The hall is also equipped with four Panasonic HD cameras to record acts, a Bosch loudspeaker and digital sound system, a Bosch simultaneous translation system for conferences and Sennheiser wireless microphones.
One of the biggest challenges in the installation was to build the tiles into the wall so that they would be totally integrated with the rest of the assembly hall. “Thanks to the light weight and shallowness of the tiles, which are easily adaptable to any space, the MicroTiles are perfectly flush with the wall and fit in seamlessly with the overall design,” maintained Miguel Sánchez from Ingevideo.
Comillas ICAI-ICADE is more than happy with the new installation. “Our students and teachers are delighted with the high quality of the image, the excellent contrast and the brightness of the video wall,” Rafael Ortega enthused. “Furthermore, the service provided by Ingevideo and Christie was first-class, efficient and fast.”
A good sign of their satisfaction is that Ingevideo and Sertepro are already working on new projects for the university, and planning to install MicroTiles in other halls and classrooms.