- Written by Jacob Coakley
- Published: 16 January 2013
A moment from the University of Iowa production of Spring Awakening, with a PixelFlex 30mm pitch LED curtain.
The University of Iowa wanted a video wall system that could handle five large-scale main stage shows for its 500-seat theatre, but could also be used effectively in its other two black-box spaces. They chose a PixelFlex 30mm-pitch LED Curtain because it was easy to interface with (it accepts video and images from any computer with a DVI-D connection), could be moved between venues easily, was durable enough to handle all the moves, and just in case anything went wrong, had support staff in the U.S. (PixelFlex is based in Tennessee.) PixelFlex was able to make a curtain measuring approximately 28 feet by 15 feet with custom-sized panels tailored specifically for the University’s installation.
University of Iowa Installs PixelFLEX LED Curtain for Use in Three Unique Campus Theatre Venues
LED Video Screen’s Flexibility and Portability Proves Invaluable
Iowa City, Iowa, Jan. 16, 2013 — Featuring three unique theatre venues on campus, the University of Iowa theatre department recently turned to PixelFLEX and its ultra-flexible and extremely portable LED Curtain systems to enhance the school’s live productions. The department recently installed a PixelFLEX 30mm LED Curtain to provide video and graphic elements to its 500-seat pristine theater, as well as the school’s 60’ x 60’ black box modular space and 140-seat theaters.
“We have a production-heavy department, with about 200 undergraduate students and about 40-45 grad students in directing, design, writing, acting and stage management,” said Bryon Winn, the University’s director of theatre. “Each year, we produce about five large-scale main stage shows and then a number of shows on our other stages, so we were looking for a video wall system that we could use between our multiple stages. Ideally, we wanted something that was durable, lightweight and supported here in the United States. With its LED Curtain and offices in Tennessee, PixelFLEX was the answer.”
Featuring 1100 pixels PSM (Per Square Meter) and 1800 brightness, PixelFLEX’s LED Curtain offers the University of Iowa’s theatre department a solution that is easy to set up and operate – videos and images can be sent to the screen using any computer with a DVI-D connection. For this project, PixelFLEX developed custom-size panels – tailored specifically for the University’s installation – totaling approximately 28.32’ x 15.74’.
Having received the Curtain in October 2012, the theatre department used it in tandem with a black rear production (RP) screen for eight performances of “Spring Awakening.” The system’s performance, according to Winn, was fantastic.
“I had heard of people using an LED wall or panel system and then using an RP screen to soften the look, but I’d never seen it before,” Winn remarked. “We looked at the Curtain raw and then we looked at it behind a soft surface. It was really great.”
As is the case in most performance environments, ease of installation and portability was critical to the student production team. The ability to hang the Curtain video wall on a standard theatrical rigging system without using chain motors, and the fact that the entire system can be folded up and loaded into three or four road boxes added value for Winn and his team.
“Storage and ease of set-up in comparison with other systems we were looking at was important,” Winn admitted. “Knowing that we can load a show in, use the Curtain and then load the show out without any difficulties or significant manpower is wonderful.”
With students scheduled to return to the campus, Winn is excited to see how the theatre department can utilize PixelFLEX’s solution in the modular space and intimate 140-seat facility.
“The black box space doesn’t have a great way of doing RP – there’s just not enough depth in the space,” Winn remarked. “So the ability to hang the LED Curtain in there where we don’t need any depth at all and still be able to generate graphics is of great excitement to our team. People are looking for ways to capitalize on the system’s features to maximize viewer enjoyment.”
Flexible in all directions and exceptionally durable, PixelFLEX LED Curtains are able to bend and shape around structures for a more creative display effect. For more information on PixelFLEX and its growing line of lightweight LED video screens, visit www.LEDCurtain.com. Follow PixelFLEX at www.Facebook.com/PixelFLEXUSA and @LEDCurtain.