LONG BEACH, CA – The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is more than a race. Held in this seaside city's downtown area, the three-day event is billed as the “World's Fastest Beach Party,” drawing 180,000 spectators and featuring live concerts and a Lifestyle Expo with over 270,000 sq. ft. of merchandise displays, interactive games and racing-related exhibits.
This year, the Grand Prix venue featured a new “attraction” that was viewed by virtually all who attended: a sprawling EVLED1024SMD 20mm LED video screen from Elation Professional. Positioned near the outdoor stage at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, the hub of Grand Prix activities, the 16' x 8' screen flashed a continuous loop of advertising and other messages provided by sponsor Tecate beer.
Adding an LED display screen to the outdoor pavilion was the brainchild of Festival Lighting (Buena Park, CA), which has provided lighting services to the Long Beach Grand Prix for 10 years. “We suggested they try the Elation screen, because it would give another dimension to the entertainment,” said Festival Lighting's Kenny Jones. “(Tecate) thought it was a good idea. They wanted it positioned so that when you walked off the street through the main gate to the convention center, you immediately saw the screen.”
A lightweight medium-resolution transparent LED video screen with tri-color SMD LEDs, the EVLED 1024SMD is IP65-rated for outdoor use. It is made up of modular, expandable 2'1” x 2'1” tiles with an integrated power supply, each weighing just 16. 5 lbs. Each tile contains 1,024 SMD LEDs rated at 100,000 hours, with a pixel pitch of 20mm and luminosity of 4,000 nits. The curtain itself is composed of a rugged aluminum alloy frame and rubber compound seams for total weatherproof functionality.
Thirty-two EVLED 1024SMD panels, arranged 8 wide and 4 high, were used to create the 16' x 8' screen. One of the Elation screen's advantages, said Jones, was its compact, lightweight modular design. “We didn't need a semi-track to carry it -- the whole screen fit into just 4 cases. And it could be quickly assembled by just two people, so the labor costs were very low.” The EVLED 1024SMD also uses a lot less energy then conventional screens, Jones added, “just four 20-amp circuits, compared to 100 amps 3-phase power for the old-style screens.”
Another huge advantage the LED screen offers over conventional projection screens is its visibility in daylight. “I just did another show where the client wanted us to use projectors. You couldn't see their screen until 8 o'clock at night,” said Jones. “But the Elation EVLED screen was clear and visible all day and all night.”
The Grand Prix' organizers and production crew were extremely pleased with this daytime visibility, agreed Elation's Ramiro Aguilera, who programmed the EVLED screen using content from a DVD provided by Tecate. “The production manager was very impressed with the daylight application, because most of the shows (at the Grand Prix) are early afternoon into early evening,” said Aguilera.
Being that this was the first time an LED screen was used at the Long Beach Grand Prix, the event's producers were “basically experimenting” with it and ended up utilizing it primarily for advertising, said Jones. However, looking ahead to next year, they're thinking in terms of expanding the presence of the EVLED screen and using it to show concert performances and perhaps even the race itself. “They weren't fully aware of the screen's possibilities,” said Jones. “But once they saw it, everybody was in love with it. They're talking about having maybe two screens next year.”
On top of all its other advantages, added Jones, the EVLED 1024SMD screen is very cost effective. “If you compare it to the old-style LED screens, it's maybe half the price.”
For more information, call Elation Professional toll-free at 866-245-6726 or visit www.elationlighting.com
Festival Lighting can be reached at 714-670-8029