Cargill Headquarters Auditorium
With 155,000 employees in 70 countries, Cargill requires the best in collaboration technology. For its Twin Cities headquarters’ primary auditorium – an environment that hosts upwards of 300 remote events a year – America’s largest privately held corporation asked Alpha to provide the capabilities it needed.
Fabrication & installation services
Audiovisual & control systems
Digital communications & media walls
Testing & programming
Service & support
Cargill had distinct requirements for the new headquarters auditorium space. Key to its vision was that the room be a flexible, multi-use environment where multiple events could be held simultaneously. Secondly, operation needed to be easy enough so that employees could start and manage video conferencing sessions by themselves. Third, Cargill expected the solution’s updated technology to provide distinctly superior production values for every presentation and videoconference. And if that weren’t enough, “We also wanted to have some future-proofing built in,” said Brandon Sheffield, Senior Live Event Consultant for Cargill.
A primary challenge was the project’s tight timeline – 12 weeks from start to finish. Moreover, because Cargill required diverse capabilities in a multi-use room, the design needed to allow users to reconfigure the space by themselves. The live events team would then need to be able to flip the room to do a fully managed show quickly. Flexibility to use web and video conferencing, phone conferencing, room audio and projectors was also mandatory. That meant the creation of movable airwalls capable of changing the space from one large auditorium to three smaller ones, each equipped with a projector and three cameras, along with confidence monitors, audio speakers, mics and podium presentation control. Consequently, the control room would need to route and switch nine cameras along with laptop sources, and mix audio from dozens of inputs. It was also important to have manual control over the mics when doing a managed show.
The key to creating a flexible, future-forward space was NDI technology, which Alpha used to integrate nine Panasonic 4K PTZ cameras and a Gallery Sienna NDI router to connect a NewTek TriCaster multi-camera production system. This also enabled video clip playback and lower-third graphics. Two control rooms allowed for independent production of simultaneous events and the ability to quickly switch among the nine cameras. A Dante digital audio system connected 12 Shure microphones along with laptop audio and audio conferencing inputs into Yamaha audio consoles for live mixing. JBL column arrays provided room audio. And all of it was controllable via tablet. Simple, single-user operation and presentation control was achieved via a Crestron DM-MD64x64 control system, integrated and programmed by Alpha to provide ultra-fast digital video and audio switching for complex signal routing applications. And the results? “It was a great experience working with Alpha,” said David Hromadko, senior PM, facility services at Cargill. “We have capabilities now that we’ve never had before.”