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Fast, Flexible LED Displays Winning Corporate Fans

Feb 22, 2007 12:06 PM, By John McKeon


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“Corporate clients absolutely love it,” says Giovanni Ciranni, SoftLED manager at Main Light Industries in Wilmington, Del., of a lighting and video display tool that’s rapidly gaining popularity for sales meetings, conventions, trade shows, and other corporate AV applications.

The product comes in diverse forms and under several names, including LED curtains, LED scrims, and transparent LEDs. Whatever the nomenclature, a typical system includes LED modules mounted either on strands of fabric or on a fine, lightweight grid.

These LED nodes can be mounted at varying distances from each other, often 4in. or 2in., providing different levels of video resolution. “It’s still low-res,” Ciranni says. “You don’t want to do PowerPoint on it.” From a reasonable viewing distance, though—for instance, in a large hotel ballroom, auditorium, or arena—the audience can get an impressive video experience.

Depending on content and software, these LEDs can deliver lighting effects, display video, or appear to vanish when turned off.

“The great thing about SoftLED is that it’s so versatile,” Ciranni says. He adds that in many installs, LEDs are combined with fiber-optic curtains to create major opportunities for display innovation. You can have two looks for a typical corporate event, Ciranni explains. “You have a walk-in look, with random lighting effects, and then ‘Wow! Where did that come from?’” (when the lighting effects give way to video).

Peter Scharff, partner at New York’s Scharff Weisberg, says soft and transparent LED products can serve multiple purposes for corporate clients, providing set decoration, lighting, and video. And the system’s light weight makes it easy to transport and install.

“It’s very hard to get a lot of flying of heavier walls at corporate events because of their weight,” Scharff says. But LED options are much lighter, and give corporate stagers a chance to create depth and multi-layer staging effects, as well as changing the entire appearance of a stage without having to move actual set elements.

Ciranni cites a recent corporate event at which “it took longer to hang the truss than to hang the curtains.” Corporate users also like LED curtains because you can cover a large amount of square feet for a low cost, Ciranni says.

“What’s great about it is, you can do reveals,” Scharff says. “You can be looking at a videowall, and then throw light on what’s behind it.”

What’s more, Ciranni adds, displays aren’t limited to flat surfaces. “Because of the flexibility of the curtains, you don’t have to have a straight wall, you can have different shapes and distorted displays,” he says.

Scharff says the possibilities of soft and transparent LED displays are “just beginning to catch the imaginations of designers.” Although the technology has been widely used in touring rock shows and other entertainment settings, “it takes a little longer for the corporate world to catch up,” Scharff says. “It’s a hard thing to conceptualize.”

Once corporate clients are exposed to the possibilities, however, they often react with great enthusiasm.



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