December 19, 2017

60-foot Digital Display Lights Up Connector with Possibilities

A unique digital display 60 feet long and 7 feet high is the final answer to the question “What’s the best use for the 100-foot-long wall between the Greater Columbus Convention Center’s south and north buildings?”

The display, which currently introduces itself to passersby with the statement “I am a 4 mm LED video art wall with a 9:1 aspect ratio viewing screen and a NVIDIA GeForce 1060 graphics card,” actually wastes little time on introductions before bursting into historic video snippets, dazzling color patterns and Columbus branding.

“We didn’t want a static display for that large space,” says Jim Reese, whose Reese Brothers Productions curates the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority’s extensive art collection in the Convention Center, Hilton Columbus Downtown and the Authority’s parking facilities. “It was a two-and-a-half year journey to figure out what was best suited for a 100-foot wall. The Authority’s board members wanted it to stand out and be dynamic.”

The opportunity came as part of the Convention Center’s $140 million expansion and renovation, completed in July. Since its installation, the display has been incrementally loaded with historic references to Union Station – the former rail terminal upon which the Connector sits – as well as some of the art collection. It also reminds passersby about the city’s accepting and inclusive nature and upcoming events such as the Arnold Sports Festival in March.

The display itself was fabricated by Coffman Media Design Signage Solutions, and Reese has worked with motion graphics innovator Leftchannel and creative agency Heart + Soul, both from Columbus, on initial content. Columbus State Community College’s Graphic and Motion Design Department is already working on some additional video assets, and one student is working on an animated version of the State of Ohio Seal.

The potential for content is almost unlimited, Reese says. The display operates 24 hours a day 365 days a year and segments will never be more than 30 seconds or so, he explains, “so there really are no barriers to how much content we can provide.”

Eventually, it will function as a community showcase, advertising space, digital art gallery and entertainment point all in one.

“No other convention centers are doing this,” Reese says. “Lots of them have signage and video walls. But they are not looking at it as a creative space or venue.”

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