For event planners, the question of where, when and how to use LED panels over projection displays is a perennial one.
And because of all the underlying technical wizardry, the choice between LED and projection can be daunting for even veteran planners. But armed with some basic technical information about the pros and cons of each system, the appropriate selection can be made with confidence.
But in order to get the most out of such a decision and deliver a memorable, technically flawless event, it helps if planners understand some basics about LED and projection technology, as well as some rules of thumb for when and where to apply each system.
LED is an acronym for light-emitting diode. An LED panel is typically comprised of an array of diodes that act as pixels to create a video display. Because the diodes are so bright, LED panels have tremendous versatility. They can be used inside or out, even beneath the noontime sun. They can be deployed to dazzling effect on walls, billboards, signs, vehicles, and more.
A projector sends light from a lens that’s focused on a flat surface to create an image. The image then reflects off the surface toward the viewer. It’s a mature technology that’s been around since the days of Thomas Edison. And it can produce high-resolution, seamless imagery without the noticeable pixelation.
As recently as a few years ago, the use of LED systems for events was a budget-buster – prohibitively expensive for most event planners to consider. And though price points between the two systems have recently begun to converge, LED panels, generally, still run about 25% higher than projection.
So price-relative-to-budget will likely remain a consideration for most event planners in their decision-making process. But the lowering of LED costs brings new flexibility. And that’s a good development for the event production industry. The decision to go with either LED or projection can now be more closely aligned to what’s best for the client or the event setting, rather than the overriding constraints of a particular budget.
As communication professor and author Marshall McLuhan famously stated, “The medium is the message.” To this end, an LED wall might be suitable for when an event requires something dynamic, attention-grabbing, vivid or exciting.
A projection display might be more appropriate for indoor corporate meetings or presentations in which the display should augment, not overwhelm, the speaker or the overall message.
The primary reasons for selecting LED for an event have to do with brightness, image placement and flexible design.
LED panels are ideal for high ambient light conditions found in outdoor venues. Their brightness can usually overcome any of these difficulties.
Further, if there’s a venue with obstructed views or other issues that make projection problematic, LED is likely a better solution.
Finally, LED lends itself to more creativity when it comes to image shapes and event designs.
Projection should be the system of choice when a planner or client desires high-resolution, excellent photo backdrops, flexibility in integrating images with content, and, of course, cost-effectiveness.
Projection systems deliver high-resolution and seamless images that are void of pixilation. They also provide much clearer backdrops for an event that is going to involve a significant amount of event photography or videography.
For events in which there are speakers or voice-overs with accompanying text or graphics, projection can almost always allow for greater flexibility, editing and incorporation.
Finally, of course, projection will almost always be the favorable solution for the cost-sensitive event planner or client.
Ultimately, event planners need not be technical wizards to get the most out of their visual displays. But armed with this checklist, they’ll be able to work intelligently with their audio-visual vendor to select the proper medium and keep their clients delighted.
At AV Concepts, we dovetail our event planners’ working knowledge with our deep technological expertise and resources. We’re here to not only assist in the selection of proper technology for your next event, but to make sure that it is both seamless and appropriate.
If you’d like to learn more about how LED can brighten your performance, click here to provide upcoming event details, and we’ll respond promptly with answers or happily engage you in a conversation.