LED screens by ROE Visual have been used to create a huge virtual showroom at the Expo Munich in Germany. The idea was conceived by ACHT and NSYNK, and realised by TFN in corporation with Fournell.
Trying to find alternative platforms for tradeshows and live events while the COVID-19 restrictions are in place for large-scale events, companies are offering inventive solutions that involve a mix of live presentation with virtual audiences, so-called hybrid events. ROE Visual LED screens are increasingly used to create large, visual displays for these types of events.
Early in April 2020, TFN set out to present its format to several interested parties, after which it was contacted by the Expo Munich. The venue’s interest was based on feedback from several of its clients, including some from the automotive industry, and it was decided a virtual studio could be useful until at least September 2021, encompassing the date of the city’s annual car show. The Expo Munich decided to set aside a 10,000m² (107,639ft²) space for the virtual environment.
Appointed to supply the LED screens and further technical infrastructure, Fournell turned to ROE Visual to provide the screens for this project. With ROE Visual’s sales representative Erik Baum based in Germany, the contact was easily established. “With short communication lines and extensive knowledge of the German market, this project has both been rewarding and fun to work on,” said Baum. “I’m very pleased that a project of this scale has kicked off in Germany, especially now, when the whole entertainment industry is suffering from the COVID-19 measures.”
The virtual studio features one continuous, curved LED wall that is 5.5m (18ft) high. It is constructed from ROE Visual’s Diamond DM2.6 panels, divided in 40 columns, creating a circular event space with a diameter of nearly 20m (65.6ft). On top of the curved video wall is a LED ceiling, also composed of Diamond DM2.6 panels, supported with a huge trussing substructure, thereby creating a seamless LED environment.
To comply with strict safety regulations, special structural reports were issued for the ballast needed for the support wall and for the ceiling structure. Working closely with a German Engineering Bureau for the static calculations, the set was built in compliance with the regulations. ROE Visual reports this proved to be no problem at all; having full documentation for all its products enables the company to act swiftly in this respect.
Following the first initial ideas and meetings, a demo was planned to see if the image quality, viewing angles and processing capabilities would meet the required demands. During the demo Fournell, TFN, ACHT and NSYNK were given the opportunity for extensive testing, using cameras with different shutter speeds and so on.
All these tests resulted in a positive outcome, meaning most potential usages were feasible within the demanding quality restrictions. This resulted in approval the studio to be set-up for broadcast applications and advertising usage, as well as live events.
Before the final build, a team of LED technicians from Fournell was invited to the ROE Visual showroom in Leek, the Netherlands, for training.
“The training really touched on all the basics, from how to build the stacking system, aligning the wall and all the specific tips and tricks that make building easy,” said Nikolaus Schmidt, AV technician at Fournell. “It gave us confidence to build the huge complicated, curved LED wall on-site. The training was very interesting, Victor Kortekaas, technical director for ROE Visual, is an easy-going guy who really can explain the technology very well, he knows what it takes to make things work on-site. This made the training to-the-point and fun! We have learned many new things about LED technology. The ROE LED screens are easy to work with, the high quality of the wall makes setting up relatively hassle-free, even for this complicated and huge LED wall.”
With more than 70 million pixels at work, excellent support before and during installation and set-up is crucial. Technical engineer Tim Hamberg supported the team during the build with technical supervision and advice. “The in-depth knowledge of the technical team at ROE Visual was indispensable during this project,” said Frank Förster, managing director for TFN. “Taking on a project of this scale without being able to rely on the unrelenting support of the LED screen manufacturer is inconceivable. ROE Visual have been instrumental and very supportive throughout the whole process.”
The Hyperbowl studio has just opened its doors at the Expo Munich. Working with partners like Unreal Engine, the Hyperbowl studio welcomes live events, film and photo shoots and broadcast productions.