The Global Village at Expo 92 Seville

World’s Biggest Videowall in 1992
Seville, Spain

The Telecommunications Pavilion at EXPO 92, Seville, presented a sequence of shows in three theaters, with audio-visual engineering by Electrosonic. The highlight was a show called “The Global Village”, which used a massive 850-monitor videowall arranged 34x25. Weighing over 35 tons, and measuring 16m (53 feet) wide and 10m (33 feet) high, it was considered the world’s biggest videowall at the time – when measured by the number of separate display devices.

The videowall for “The Global Village” used powerful imagery to trace the history of communication from the first forms of script to the satellite communication of today. The architect’s design concept was that the videowall could, as part of the show, present a map of the world where each monitor was a “pixel”.

Expo 92 Seville Videowall

The videowall was built as a self-supporting steel frame, complete with four levels of rear access platforms. The monitors were custom built RGBS analog units which were fitted with large locating pins that “plugged in” to the main uprights. Thus all weight was directly transferred to the support structure, and individual monitors could be easily withdrawn completely if required.

For control purposes, the videowall was divided into five main sections. In the center there were two groups of monitors each 7 wide x 15 high, together making a 14x15 array. Flanking these, but separated by columns of one monitor were two further groups each 6 wide x 15 high. These four main areas were full multi-source videowalls with complete image control and splitting.

The remainder of the videowall was “back-ground”. In principle, it was also fed from image processing electronics, but with only six outputs which were then distributed by video distribution amplifiers. The background monitor groups were arranged to allow “contouring” of the background, and allow the production of the complete “map of the world” effect with six types of “pixel”.

The show was run from six standard laserdisc players. However, there was also a CRV disc player that allowed the introduction into the show of up-to-the-minute images. The image processing system used was the Electrosonic PICBLOC 3 system, which gave an unrivaled range of programmable effects which were fully exploited in the show.

Five control computers were used, each fitted with a number of Electrosonic communications cards that provided the required high speed communications to the image processing equipment, and provided synchronization to timecode.

The provision of four working levels behind the videowall meant that back access to the monitors was easy. Front access was achieved using a mobile scissor lift platform. The complete system was a major feat of video engineering.