LED screen gives 360-degree coverage for U2 spectacular

Aug. 19, 2009
The transformable LED screen manufactured by Barco provides an amazing centerpiece for U2's concert extravaganza.
U2 in 360-degree LED vision The stage set for U2’s current 360° Tour is dominated by a giant LED screen manufactured by Barco and supplied to the tour by XL Video. Not only does this screen face in all directions (hence 360°) but it also expands in the vertical direction, almost down to stage level. See our original News story on this amazing screen.

Along with a crowd numbering tens of thousands, I was fortunate enough to see the U2 concert at Wembley Stadium, London on August 15. Special thanks to Sophie Hautekeete of Barco for making this possible.

The screen is oval-shaped, measuring 24 x 16 m in diameter, and at the start of the show it appeared to be a continuous curved panel, some 6m tall, suspended high above the stage by a four-legged “claw” structure which dominated the stadium.

Modules In fact, the screen is made up of a large number of hexagonal panels, each containing multiple LED pixels. Specifically, these pixels are Barco’s FLX-24 transformable LED modules, each containing a single, multichip RGB LED. The photo (left) shows a triangular section of part of the screen, containing multiple FLX-24 pixels.

The FLX-24, and its sister FLX-60 containing 5 LEDs (also shown in the photo), are IP66-rated, making them fully outdoor-proof. The modules have diameters of 24 mm and 60 mm, respectively. They enable 16-bit per color processing, and have unique connector systems.

Screen opening Barco described the FLX-24 as “the smallest disconnectable pixel on the market” with up to 256 modules on one cable. The FLX-60 provides “the largest possible pixels on a string” or any other configuration. In-ground lights built with FLX-60 modules were positioned along a walkway surrounding the U2 stage.

Back to the screen, which contains 500,000 FLX-24 pixels. Because the hexagonal panels are mounted on cantilevered arms, they can be moved apart so that the fully-open screen has a height of 22m.

Screen fully open Equally as impressive as the mechanical aspects of the moving screen was the way in which the video content was mapped onto the open screen (remember this is an oval, and the bottom is narrower than the top). The mapping was achieved using d3 from United Visual Artists – see www.d3.uva.co.uk for more details.