A new video wall mural on the campus of Central Washington University (CWU) in Ellensburg, Wash., showcases the four-year public university’s growing list of distinguished faculty through photos and video clips. The new interactive video wall is now a visual highlight of Barge Hall, the university’s first building, which opened in 1894.
Originally, the wall outside the university president’s office was lined with framed images of some of the university’s 101 distinguished faculty members from past and present. While certainly traditional, the display was not very dynamic.
“We had this idea for a mural and we wanted to embed a video presentation in it,” explained Olga Mayer, digital artist at CWU. “The history of any university is very rich. So many photographs get tossed in the archives and we forget about those people.”
Part of the appeal of the interactive mural is that faculty lectures, projects, and even musical performances can be included in each faculty member’s profile template. “Everyone is excited,” said Mayer. “When new students tour our campus, they will be able to learn about the people who have contributed to the quality of education at CWU.”
A long panoramic image of the region was placed on the wall on each side of the 2×2 video wall. Video screens display an outdoor image that blends into the image when video is not playing. Advanced Broadcast Solutions (ABS) built the video wall using a 46-inch Planar Clarity Maxtrix LCD video wall system with six-point touch capabilities, which include controls that emulate an iPad interface. “New touchscreen technology really doesn’t fit in an old building unless you present it well,” Mayer explained. “That was a challenge.”
Faced with a hard deadline of CWU’s fiscal year-end cycle, ABS completed the project in just two weeks and met CWU’s deadline. Completing the video presentation, however, will take much longer. Under the direction of Linda Schactler, director of CWU’s Office of Public Affairs, content for the presentation is currently being collected.
While obtaining information, photos, and video clips from current faculty members is relatively easy, information from retired faculty must be retrieved from the archives and digitized. Some profiles were posted in time for the new quarter that began in September 2013, but creating the entire presentation will take several months.
“ABS was wonderful from beginning to end,” Mayer added. “It was so comfortable to work with a technology company that understood that we don’t necessarily know the technical language. They made the effort to answer our questions and help us understand the project.”
New touchscreen technology really doesn’t fit in an old building unless you present it well. That was a challenge.” – Olga Mayer, Digital Artist, Central Washington University