Articulight helps to light up Chevy icon Times Square billboard

Dec. 17, 2008
Date Announced: 17 Dec 2008 Chevy has introduced a new 61 x 40 foot (18 x 12 meter) icon billboard on one of the most prominent city corners in the world - One Times Square in New York City -- at the junction of Broadway and 7th Avenue. Articulight Inc. helped in the process by providing LED fixtures.In the beginning, Fisher Theatrical was contracted to program the LED fixtures on the billboard, which was built by the entertainment division of Oceaneering International. The challenge was how to program the lighting from a distance to allow visibility of what they were doing.Kevin Moore, VP and owner of Fisher Theatrical, explained the initial challenge: "Working in one of most populous areas and most congested RF environments in the world can be a challenge for any wireless technology. But when you have hundreds of channels of real-time data that has to be communicated reliably in all weather conditions from over 2 blocks away, suddenly the challenge starts to look more like a nightmare! “We recognized early on that programming for the Chevy Icon was going to be difficult. We would have to lock the console operator in a closet at One Times Square with no sight line to what they were programming and then establish communications from the designer to the programmer, which of course would raise security concerns and access limitations to the building."The design team at Fisher Theatrical designed the layout of the fixtures and made recommendations to purchase Martin Architectural Units. They installed an ETC Sensor rack. Then Kacey Fisher, president and owner of Fisher Theatrical, did the pre-programming of the ETC Congo Console and downloaded the looks to an Alcorn McBride Show Control Unit."To send the signal, the team recommended W-DMX by Wireless Solution. They tested the W-DMX in their parking lot ahead of time, which spanned the distance they were going to have to cover in New York to be sure it would work. An IP65 rated W-DMX receiver and directional antenna system were installed to complete the setup.Onsite programming was provided by Moore, who set up the console and did the initial DMX testing and programming and also made sure the W-DMX was working properly. Programming was done from the Marriott Marquis with a line of sight hotel room on the 42nd floor. Fixtures used to light the billboard include 18 Articulight Spectacolour 600 LED RGBs, 6 Articulight Spectacolour 1200 LED RGBs, 5 Articulight Spectacolour 1800 LED RGBs, 6 Martin Architectural Exterior 600 Projectors, 48 Permlight ENBS LED Floods, 6 Articulight Aqua HP LED RGBs, 6 Articulight UV Pars, 1 Articulight Quazar Strobe, and 3 rope lights."As soon as we had the directional antenna properly aimed toward the other end, the two ends immediately synced up and we had rock solid DMX," Moore said. "We put a Lil' DMXter DMX analyzer on the receiving end and ran the link through its paces. Everything was totally rock solid. No dropped frames of DMX, very low jitter. No errors. It was as good or better than a hardwired run of cable. "For the rest of our weeks of programming in New York, we worked through all of the issues inherent in trying to get a complex rig of color-changing LED and conventional fixtures 26 stories high in the air on the side of a building all communicating and addressed correctly, but throughout our time there we never did run into an issue of getting DMX from our Congo in the hotel on the 42nd floor down to the 26th floor billboard over 2 blocks away," Moore concluded.

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