Florida Senate Chamber’s $6M Renovation Features Planar Video Wall

A Planar DirectLight LED video wall system serves a civic purpose for state legislators in the Florida Senate Chamber.

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Florida Senate Chamber’s $6M Renovation Features Planar Video Wall

The Florida Senate Chamber in Tallahassee now features a Planar DirectLight LED Video Wall.

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Les Stephenson is no stranger to the Florida Senate Chamber. Nor is he a stranger to technology solutions such as Planar DirectLight LED video wall system or Crestron automation.

The owner of integration firm and instrument retailer Music Masters, based in Florida’s state capital Tallahasse, had installed technology in the home of the state senate about five years ago, he recalls.

Recently, however, the chamber underwent a $6 million renovation that included new walls, a new dome ceiling and architectural features like Ionic columns and egg and dart molding. It also included some much-needed technology upgrades. That’s where it all comes together for Music Masters.

“We are the Senate service provider for their AV systems,” Stephenson says.

Let’s take a look at what that entailed with during the course of the $6 million renovation.

Florida Senate Chamber Gets Visual, Audible Updates

The Florida Senate Chamber was modernized with an audio-visual technology update that included a new surround sound system and a Planar DirectLight LED Video Wall System from Planar, a Leyard company.

Planar says the DirectLight LED Video Wall features an ultra-fine pitch of 1.6mm in an 8×6 configuration and is used in chamber sessions to display bills, amendments, PowerPoints, videos, and images in Full HD resolution.

Planar Video Wall Provides New Focal Point

The Planar DirectLight LED Video Wall System replaces a rear projection system that Music Masters had installed. The integration firm was brought into the $6 million renovation while it was in the final design phase “approximately 4 months prior to the construction start date,” Stephenson recalls.

“Our initial main role was to remove the AV system we put in about 5 years ago, store it, and then re-installing it.  At that time the only part of the system that was not replaced was the projector and screen.”

The Planar video wall enables the Senate to display text associated with bills and amendments that is much more defined, leading to better communications with the legislative body, the press, and guests seated in the gallery, according to Planar.

That’s because DirectLight is a seamless, ultra-fine pitch direct view LED video wall that provides a superior visual experience and 24×7 reliability, it continues.

More from a Planar case study:

Planar DirectLight’s revolutionary Planar® EasyAlign™ Mounting System, with six-axis of adjustments, combined with Planar® DirectLight® Control Software allows for ultra-fine tune image calibration, delivering stunning, uniform images.

The Planar solution makes a big difference, Stephenson says, claiming that senators can read a “12 font” from the back of the chamber without straining their eyes.

“For this size room the display is very conservative, size wise,” he says. “But the resolution and clarity of the Planar 1.6[mm] display make everything so easy to read.   So if you are sitting in there hours on end reading, following, and focusing on bills as they roll through, I can only imagine how much better it is.”

Insides a Tricky Installation Venue

It’s easy to see from the photos that while the video wall is striking placed high about the Senate Chamber floor, it’s not necessarily in a convenient location for an installer.

The resolution and clarity of the Planar 1.6[mm] display make everything so easy to read.  So if you are sitting in there hours on end focusing on bills … I can only imagine how much better it is,” says Les Stephenson, Music Masters

“Everything about a project like this is a challenge,” Stephenson acknowledges, quickly adding that there were solutions for each and every challenge.

In terms of accessing the video wall, “There was a scaffolding in place for the wood workers,” he explains. “When it was time to install the display they made way for us to complete the install.”

Some of Planar DirectLight’s features also helped Music Masters navigate the project. From Planar’s case study:

Based on the critical importance of a solution that is also reliable, the off-board architecture of the Planar DirectLight is another key attribute. This distributed design allows for the power supplies to be stored in an equipment room located behind the display, removing heat, complexity, and potential points-of-failure from the video wall display. This unique architecture means any system failure can be easily accessible, reducing downtime, and keeping vital video walls up and running.

Additionally, the front-service access of the Planar DirectLight—which allows for efficient and cost-effective in-place servicing of all system components—is another beneficial feature that reduces any potential downtime.

And, if an LED display module needs to be accessed or removed, it is easily accomplished without the need to remove other modules within the video wall.

Meanwhile, when it comes to servicing the well-placed video wall, “We have special aluminum scaffolding which we can set up to get us up there,” Stephenson says. “It’s not really that high off the upper level of the dais, about 12 feet.”

Crestron Automation Poses Tricky Challenge

What challenged Music Masters more than the Planar video wall was a request from the customer. “The Senate wanted a ring around the microphone opening in the desks that lit up when the microphones turned on,” Stephenson says.

Music Masters ended up getting creative with a Crestron automation solution that was already in place. “We had an LED in a small plate before, with the renovation they wanted something a little more special.  So we designed a lighted mic holder that fits into the desk openings for the microphones. It is back lit. When they turn on the microphone, it lights up.”

The integration firm turned to a local custom plastics shop to build the parts and a local metal fabrication company to get the metal plate “to hold it all together made, tweak the design, get it remade, until we had a perfect proto type,” Stephenson says. “Then we built 45 of them.  Just some of the crazy things we do.”