VuePix ER Series LED Panels
By Paul Rumble and Ben Morris
Paul Rumble is Technical Production Manager at Scene Change, Melbourne.
Ben Morris is the Executive Manager – Technology at Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Scene Change is a national company supporting TDs and producers in delivering their events. We’re working on events of every scale and size, often without the luxury of set-up days, so we needed a LED panel solution that we can get set-up and running quickly. We’ve invested in a sizeable fleet of VuePix ER 3.9 pixel pitch panels.
HANDLING AND RIGGING
We’ve been providing predominately ground-supported LED screens, but we have flown them for a few projects, normally in a wide, unusual aspect ratio of 3:1 or 4:1. One of the things we considered when purchasing a LED panel product was the weight, as a lot of the venues that we work in don’t necessarily have the capability to support much from the roof. We found the VuePix ER Series relatively light compared to some of its competition.
The way that the VuePix ER Series goes together and rigs is very intuitive. The magnetic retention system is really effective and means the panels easily lock together. The locking system is totally integrated so there’s no external pins or anything else to lose. The one metre by 50 centimetre form-factor speeds up the assembly process quite a bit, and they line up really well because of it. You don’t have anywhere near as many joints.
We’re currently using the ER3.9 in indoor applications. We have found that a 3.9 pixel pitch works in most environments. We looked at whether to go smaller and decided that 3.9 is the sweet spot for most venues when you run the screen upstage. That puts the screen around five metres from the first row of seats, which is perfect.
SIGNAL, POWER, AND CONTROL
We’re using Novastar R5 controllers chosen for the number of outputs, and their ability to rotate images. We use Barco E2 presentation switchers as we’re almost always using wide-format screens, with PiP and other content dropped in.
We’ve done one event where we haven’t used the E2, and that used a Barco PDS-902. We have a fibre unit which we mount on the rear of the screen that receives signal from the controller, and distribute signal via Cat5 from that. Power wise, it’s all powerCON, keeping it very simple and intuitive. Signal runs redundant in both directions, and has been completely reliable.
COLOUR AND BRIGHTNESS
Colour reproduction and brightness is comparable to any product with similar specs on the market – it does what it says on the box, as they say. We use VuePix ER at a lot of large corporate events where the accuracy of colour in branding is important, and it certainly fulfils those requirements.
When used for IMAG we don’t see any artefacts or tearing, and there’s no perceptible latency from live camera feeds.
Our relationship with ULA Group was a big factor in our purchasing decision, and with ULA’s Melbourne office, we’ve got the support we need. Ultimately, the VuePix ER Series is a product designed with professionals in mind. Assembling and dismantling has been well considered, and you can get it both deployed and struck quickly. We’re definitely happy that we’ve made the right decision with this purchase.
The GCCEC invested in more than 200 VuePix ER4.6 panels in September 2017. We were branching out to adopt new technology in the display space, following global technology trends for corporate events as well as providing a high impact visual display for sporting events and exhibitions.
The beauty of LED panels is they have many configuration possibilities. That’s a big benefit to our business, as we can then service many different styles and scales of events with the same modular product.
We’re Primarily using the VuePix ER4.6 panels for large format conference screens, stage sets, and display solutions in high ambient light applications like exhibitions and sporting events.
During the Commonwealth Games, we deployed the ER4.6s as a screen cube over the main basketball and netball arena. The cube itself was four sides of 6.5 metres wide by four metres high, providing a 360-degree visual display for the stadium.
That event was in our 6,000-seat arena, and is so far the largest scale application that we have used them on, though we did build a 21 metre by five metre screen in our arena space for a plenary just last week!
We’re also using the ER4.6 for small scale digital banners in exhibition spaces, we can fly small LED displays of various sizes and aspect ratios to replace traditional vinyl banners. This solution adds to the dynamic look of the exhibit, and potentially saves the client on costs.
Selecting a LED product was all about the usability for us, particularly the ability to build a screen quickly and safely, because of the associated labour cost. We really like the unique magnetic locking system, as it means just one person can clip a panel in place. We didn’t find another product on the market that could do that.
SIGNAL, POWER AND CONTROL
We’re doing all of our processing with Novastar R5 controllers always configured for running redundant signal paths, and CVT4K-S fibre convertors for long distance signal transmission via Neutrik OpticalCon tactical cable. We use LSC Advanced Power System distribution which gives us monitoring of volts, amps, and load per phase and per circuit.
We use Barco E2 and S3 Event Master switching almost exclusively. This gives us ultimate flexibility given the various aspect ratios used with LED.
ULA Group provided us with both the warranty and a service level agreement with regards to replacement. All the panels are modular, made up of the LED panels, the chassis, and the control block. They’re all hot swappable, so if there’s a failure we can swap a module live on-site. ULA will then replace any items that are swapped out. We’ve found the failure rate to be so low, it’s a non-issue.
There’s a big, wide world of LED panels out there, and there’s massive variation in quality and pricing. Local support from the distributor was vital to us, and ULA has an office right on the Gold Coast.
The quality of the VuePix ER Series is equivalent to any comparable product in the market and having local support within Australia was the top of our list when making a purchasing decision.
This article first appeared in the print edition of CX Magazine July 2018 pp.55-58. CX Magazine is Australia and New Zealand’s only publication dedicated to entertainment technology news and issues. Read all editions for free or search our archive www.cxnetwork.com.au
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