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LED 101

LED has become a mainstream solution in the live events industry and it’s here to stay for the long term. With so many LED products out there in different resolutions, sizes, and configurations, how do you determine what will work for your show? Here’s a few tips to consider:

Content: The type of content on the LED (light-emitting diode) display is very important in determining the product. Is this eye candy content, or the main display where the audience will need to read text, or see the details of what’s happening on stage or remotely? If you need to see every detail, you will want to go with a higher resolution, finer pitch tile or consider HD/4K projection as an option.

Viewing Distance: The general rule of thumb is to multiply the pixel pitch of the LED by 3 to estimate the correct product for your audience. For example, for a product with a 5mm pixel pitch, the audience would be somewhere around 15 feet away or further for the optimal viewing distance. While it might make sense to always use the highest resolution product, you might not need it depending on where your audience is located. Each product also has a viewing angle that might affect your choice of tile based on the audience’s perspective.

Configuration: What look are you trying to achieve? It might seem simple, but this question greatly narrows down the choices. If you want to create a curved/circular screen, either concave or convex, there’s fewer tiles built to achieve this configuration. Also keep in mind some products are designed to produce a natural curve, meaning the individual tiles have a built-in ability to curve, while other products rely on hinges to produce this effect, referred to as a segmented/faceted curve.

Support System: A key consideration when selecting an LED solution is determining how it will be supported, whether rigged from above or ground supported by a temporary structure, as LED walls can be very heavy and/or intricately creative. This is especially important as the cost of rigging in certain venues has skyrocketed in recent years.

Consistency: It’s important to know that LED is manufactured in large batches. You want to be sure when you book LED tiles for your event, be sure they all came from the same production batch, otherwise the tiles won’t match each other. This can also be affected by the processing system feeding the LED, so work with your technical team on these decisions.

Lighting/Environment: LED is commonly used in environments with high ambient lighting, such as a trade show floor, awards show, or outdoor event, because it’s much brighter than projection. Look at the environment carefully and choose a product with a brightness level and durability that can stand up its surroundings. If you are planning to use LED along with projection, you will want to balance the LED brightness to not overpower your projected screens.

Intended Use: Certain types of LED are built for specific situations and weather. If the LED will be subjected to wind/rain, this needs to be considered not only for presentation, but for safety. In addition, some tiles are designed for very specialized uses – such as a floor, whether a dance floor or scenic floor, it’s important to understand these differences.

Primary & Backup Systems: No technology is perfect, and it’s critical to have back-ups in place for your displays. With LED, you will want to make sure you have back-up processing in place in case of any failure with the primary system. You will also want to be sure there are spare LED tiles in case any are damaged in shipping or installation, and work with technicians who understand your needs.

When in doubt, remember our LED team is always ready to discuss the best solution for your next show in order to maximize the look of the content on the screens to successfully deliver the message.

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