In our last post, we talked about the many benefits of LED video walls, which have recently become way more affordable. We also discussed at length what to use them for and how. However, because this technology is new to most of us, few event creators know how to really navigate it. Today we’re going to put the logistics into layman’s terms and give you some pro tips.
Armed with this information, we can explore the decision to use LED video walls. The trend is catching fire in the virtual space, but don’t let that lead you to believe that this technology is necessarily best for your events. There’s a lot to consider when choosing whether to implement a new technology, including how to best meet your goals within your budget. So as mentioned above, this post is about understanding how LED walls work, but it’s also about giving you the tools you need to decide whether they’re right for you. And even if you decide not to tap into this technology now, you may need to know how to use it later. In this ever-changing event culture, too much knowledge is never a bad thing!
So let’s not waste any more time. Event planners are big-picture visionaries, but they’ve also got to dive into the details! Here’s what you need to do:
1. Understand Your Space
You’ll need to determine the right size, brightness, resolution, pixel pitch, and power requirements for the video wall you purchase. Also consider your goals for the event. Luckily, event creators have an exceptional ability to visual spacial concepts, so put them to use. What is the role of your LED video wall? It should complement rather than distract from your main messaging. For example, let’s say you’re displaying social media walls at a small virtual exhibit. If the size of your video wall is too big for your space, it can distract attendees from your other content and messaging.
Pixel pitch is key in determining the viewing distance needed for a clear image. Smaller pixel pitches producer higher resolution, which means that viewers can practically press their faces against the screen and still see clearly. To a degree, smaller pixels are more ideal for virtual events because people generally sit close to their screens when they watch.
Consider the size of your video wall at all times, and make sure your font is large enough for attendees to read. Content tends to look very different on a regular screen than it does on an LED video wall, which is much larger. So you may have to adjust your content to fit your video wall. Remember, practice makes perfect (or at least yields improvement). So the more you use the technology, the better you’ll get at gauging compatibility and fitting it all together in a cohesive, visually stunning way. The first step in that process is to understand your space, and make sure your video walls are compatible with it.
Finally, will your event be held indoors or outdoors? Even some virtual events go live from outdoors rather than indoors. Direct sunlight has a major effect on LED video walls. Outdoor brightness should generally be greater than indoor brightness, and direct sunlight requires the highest brightness settings.
2. Keep Messaging Short and Sweet
LED video walls are meant to visually enhance your messaging, thus making it more memorable. But messaging that is too long or takes up too much screen time is distracting and takes away from its impactfulness. Information overload is a real problem, and it’s only getting worse as the world essentially goes virtual. So make sure your content is easy to digest- and visually appealing without being too loud. In this case, less length is generally more.
It can be tempting to indulge yourself in the shiny new technology and explore too many possibilities. What do we mean by this? Well, for example, no one wants their text to be boring- and look here, LED technology allows for enhancements that bring font to life! But visuals that are stunning on your screen may have a less appealing effect on the actual video wall. Making font pop or adding too many nuanced details may not only be distracting, but won’t necessarily show up with the same clear resolution as it would on a laptop. That’s because LED walls generally contain less pixels than computer screens.
Your best bet is to create text that is moderate to large, and don’t add too many details. It’s okay to keep it simple- the brightness and vivid quality of the video wall creates a powerful enough impact without too much enhancement.
3. Use Interactivity To Your Advantage
The interactive component of your event doesn’t necessarily have to be separate from your LED video wall. Interactive video walls respond to touch and/or gesture. (Important Note: This doesn’t have to be part of your interactive content; interaction can be just as powerful without being enhanced by this advanced technology). But whereas before a touch display was needed to make video walls interactive, now there are apps that accomplish the same feat. Virtual product demonstrations can greatly benefit from this kind of augmentation. Touching rather than clicking can make the experience feel more tangible and real.
Let’s also keep in mind that ableism still plays a strong role in the virtual event world. While virtual events are touted as more accessible, that’s not always the case. (We’ll discuss this in detail in our next post, actually). But LED walls can be used to make events more accessible to those who can’t click the mousepad or type responses, or can’t do so with as much ease as they could gesture. With some LED technology, users can do specific gestures to interact with content.
LED walls may also allow you to customize fonts in ways that are more easily digestible to visually impaired people. Those who have difficulty focusing either visually or cognitively may benefit from curved or 3D imaging. Take a moment to see your event through the eyes of your diverse audience. What do you want them to take away from the event? Knowing this will better inform the ways in which you use technology to deliver value.
Will touch or nonverbal gesture interaction enhance or distract from your event? It depends on your audience and content. The answer may not be easy, but when determining this, factor in your business goals. Also factor in your audience, including those with disabilities.
4. Take an Organized Approach
Visually stunning content that is splattered all over the screen like an amatuer art project loses its appeal. That’s a fact. Sensory overload is something to be strategically avoided, especially with content that is brighter and bolder. You can avoid this by making your content cohesive as cohesive as it is visually digestible. You might want to use storytelling as a frame of reference. Who are you and what do you do? How do you do it better than other brands like you, and how are you unique? Illustrate this information visually and with text throughout an engaging virtual experience. And organize your content in a way that supports your key business goals.
5. Let Your Goals Drive Your Content
What are your primary business goals for your event? If one of your goals is to build lasting relationships with sponsors through promotion, LED walls can be extremely beneficial. Creating immersive, high quality experiences for sponsors goes a long way toward building their audience- and increasing their engagement. If higher engagement is your goal, LED video walls can really give you a boost. Generating sales for a new product? This kind of technology can greatly improve product demos, especially interactive ones.
6. Work with a Reputable Systems Integrator
This is a big one, and we’re not going to lie- it adds to the cost. If you’re a newbie or even moderately experienced, you’ll likely need an experienced systems integrator to get your tech up and running properly. Video walls are comprised of several intricate systems, and if any of them malfunction, it can really destroy an event. In addition, let’s say your tech does malfunction during your event- a systems integrator will have a contingency plan that can potentially save your entire event.
A potential solution to the higher cost associated with hiring a good systems integrator? Well, of course it helps if you know someone. But you may also consider renting rather than buying your LED wall, which can be cost effective on its own. Besides, this option lets you try out the technology without making as big a commitment. And if foresee only needing it for one event, renting might make more sense.
Should You Use an LED Video at Your Next Event?
To be clear, LED walls are trending, but they’re not the standard. And they may not be the right fit for your event- at least at the moment. How do you know? Again, it comes down to budget and business goals. If investing in an LED video wall would take up so much of your budget that it compromises the quality of your content, drop the idea for now. (You might come back to it later). The goal is always to enhance your messaging, not diminish its impact.
When it comes to LED video walls, resolution affects cost. Projects have a built-in pixel count, so determining its ability to produce quality images is straightforward. LED walls utilize pixel pitch, and smaller pixel pitches generally create better resolution. Generally speaking, smaller pixels are better for virtual events- but they do come at a higher premium.
Also, it’s important to know that LED tiles are produced in batches. What does that mean for you? The LED tiles on your video wall need to be from the same batch. All of them. That’s because tiles from different batches actually vary in color consistency and reproduction.
It’s also important to note that less reputable companies may produce video walls without adequate shielding. You may be wondering why the heck that matters, but unfortunately it does. Without proper shielding, LED video walls can emit a high level of radio frequency energy. This can cause major problems with audio, video, intercom, and wireless mic function. Yikes! However, this is a pitfall that can be avoided by doing your research. There are companies that make affordable, high quality softer walls- you just have to seek them out. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions before making a purchase.
We know that’s a lot of information to take in. We recommend processing the information piece by piece, and taking your time when making the decision. It may be that your budget simply doesn’t accommodate this technology- and that’s more than okay! As we regularly discuss, there are hundreds of ways to create high-quality virtual events using a projector or traditional panel displays. But if you do give LED video walls a whirl, keep our tips in mind and use them to your greatest advantage. Happy progressing!