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Working with High Deliverable Counts

A Sea of Sizes

To the everyday person, if you asked them what “size” a video might be, they’d probably have a few answers come to mind. For youngsters, they might hop to “Vertical” or “Horizontal”, or even “YouTube” versus “Tik-Tok.” For the millennials you might think of “Standard Def” versus “High Def,” or even “16x9” versus “4x3” if you’re among the nerdier of us (You know, my people. I see you.). 

Ah, that sounds nice to only have a few choices. If only. 

But at PEG, our specialty is quite the opposite of only a “couple of options.”

Another Day, Another Spec

There are really two main types of high-deliverable count projects — “multi-channel” and “venue-specific.”

For this blog, we’re focusing on “venue-specific” projects.

The core challenge of these projects is, quite simply, that in large venues (i.e. arenas or stadiums) there is an ever-increasing amount of video boards. If you attend any sporting event, you know this is true. And if you look at their dimensions, they’re often the farthest possible thing from “16x9.”

Sometimes it’s an ultra-wide main video board (a big trend for the last several years), sometimes it’s a specialty column that’s super tall and it’s almost always at least a few super long, super short LED ribbons or “fascia” boards. Those can end up with sizes like 20,500px x 72px. When a sports team, or even a corporate client who has a sponsorship with a sports team, reaches out to us about doing a project for a venue it could be any mix of those. 

Add to the mix that we are usually creating multiple assets or multiple looks for all the various board sizes and these numbers add up quickly. For the NHL Winter Classic, our team created over 400 different pieces. 400! 

Building for Any (and Every) Size 

These projects can be either video or animation-based, but they mainly follow the same requirements. First, the content needs to be designed for all the different board sizes. This may sound simple at first, until you receive all the board sizes, which is a real-world scenario that comes across our desks often.

To add complexity on top of that sometimes a size that has another asterisk to it, like that board changing heights part way down, or physically connecting into a full 360-degree halo, which requires thinking about the animation in a whole new way.

Our approach is usually to design a main board element first, and then break the elements out into the numerous other board sizes. To be able to see everything all together, we generally create what we call an "all-boards" mock-up so our team and the client can see how everything will work together throughout an arena. 

Safety is a Top Priority

Put your OSHA handbook down, not that kind of safety. To add another layer of complexity into the mix when you’re working on board sizes for venues you’re often working around specs for what are called “safe areas.” Generally in sports venues, we are accounting for a space that gets covered up during certain times.

For example, when making graphics for a basketball team they could have an info bar that gets put up during gameplay to show the crowd the current score and stats. In instances like that, content needs designed so it works whether those areas are covered or not, all while still making sense to the viewer and not showing a big gap or blank spaces. 

There are also times when a safe area accommodates a unique crop. For instance, we make graphics for teams where the output of their show must make sense both as a “full-size” 16x9 frame (for concession stands and general TVs) as well as the “main board crop” where only the middle ⅓ of the screen is shown on an ultrawide board. (See above)

Each instance is different, and once you feel like you’ve seen every strange way you have to work with a venue’s boards, the next thing you know someone gets creative and installs them in a new, unique way. 

Sounds Complicated

That’s because it is, and that’s what we’re here for.

PEG has Account Managers who have seen it all when it comes to board sizes and specs, and help keep things in-check and easy to understand. Through spreadsheets, constant communication, project management tools and an organized online folder structure, our team can keep track of what needs to be done, and what the final deliverable should be for each board. 

We have worked in every aspect of sports and have seen all sides. We have helped produce pre-built content for teams and have been in the thick of a control room production. We understand how each venue’s quirks require a tailored approach to make sure your brand is displayed as well on the “Main Board” as it is on the “Concourse Left Side Ad Tube.” 

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