Case Study

Giant StageScreens and Cool Cars

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One of two 20' x 100' StageScreen projection screens featuring Matt White XT1000VB viewing surfaces installed at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI.

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When it comes to the North American International Auto Show put on every year by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, big and flashy is nothing new. In fact, it’s pretty much required.

So, when Draper dealer TVS Communication Solutions of Detroit started working on this year’s show, they knew from experience it would be a massive task.

“TVS has been working with the Detroit Auto Dealers Association who puts on the show since 2001,” said Sam Hannah, the president and COO of TVS. “We support the domestic and International media and also operate a stage for industry related meetings and award shows.”

The night before the show opens, DADA sponsors a charity preview of the show, including a live concert and a ballroom after party, called Studio 25. For this big night, TVS needed some big screens. As in 120' wide. So, they contacted Draper.

When they called Draper for the quote, our first thought was that the StageScreen would be perfect. The only concern was the size. The company had already been doing screens up to 100' wide, but this was the largest request yet made. Draper needed to confirm with engineering that it could be done. With the job being front projection, middle support StageScreen pieces could be added to assure the frame remained flat across the entire length. The engineers were assured after testing that it would work. So, Draper did recommend the StageScreen®.

The StageScreen is a modular projection screen. Instead of utilizing a hinged frame like traditional folding screens, the StageScreen frame is put together by combining 8 inch truss pieces of different lengths to build the desired screen size. The StageScreen also does away with old fashioned screen surface attachment snaps. The StageScreen DuraLoop attachment system uses pre-attached bungees that can be quickly and easily pulled onto attachment posts on the frame. Hannah had never worked with Draper StageScreen before, but based on his previous dealings with Draper he was confident that the screens would work well. His confidence was rewarded immediately.

“The screens were suspended by cable, which was a solution suggested by Draper,” he recalled. “They worked great. The riggers mentioned that they did go together faster than they anticipated. The content was a mix of custom graphics and edited video pieces. Live shots of the live performance were also shown on screen.”

In the world of screens, photos are a big part of selling the product. People want to see what a screen looks like in context, so Draper saw this as an excellent chance to get some photos of a nice product use. Draper sent Mike Feeney from the company’s advertising department up to Detroit to shoot the photos.

"I walked into the Studio 25 room at the auto show where our screens were located, and was immediately stunned by the way the screens dominated the space and grabbed your attention," he said. "I was actively hunting for the screens, and when I entered the room was still amazed by just how cool they looked."

As TVS’s Hannah mentioned earlier, the content was a mix. Images morphed between abstract moving colors and shapes to dancing figures, and even integrated logos and live tweets from attendees. With his photographer’s eye for visual impact, Mike said he was impressed by the display.

"The content was stunning, and looked amazing and right at home on our screens," Mike said. "Despite their size and visual dominance, the screens and the content blended right into the space and room lighting. You didn’t have a sense of the technology at work, which is the real sign of a great AV presentation. The screens, the room lighting, and the audio all worked together perfectly. When you forget about the technology and are completely engrossed by the show, it’s been done right. And that was absolutely the case here."

What Mike pointed out is especially impressive, given the large size of these screens. Despite the large sizes, however, Hannah said he was never concerned about making the screens work.

"We always work with experienced riggers. We did our homework with regards to what would work well in this room," he said. And they worked so well that he has more plans for them in the future. "The hope is that they will be used throughout the year in this venue. We store them there and we have added StageScreens into our inventory."

The screens took some special handling at Draper to address the extra width. The experience went so well, however, that Draper has now added the 120' wide StageScreens to their standard offerings.

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