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Curtains with LEDs

This time the author explains the characteristics of LED curtains, a low-resolution complement to screens of the same technology when you do not have a large budget.

Adrian Morel


The entertainment industry does not stop evolving and year after year surprises us with some novelty. LED curtains, also called "plot" or simply "mesh", today are occupying a very important place in the world of entertainment.

What is it?

A curtain, pattern or mesh of LEDs is a succession of RGB LED sets with a certain distance, which can be 36 mm, 25 mm, 16 mm or any other measure established by the manufacturer.

RGB LEDs (Red, Green and Blue) allow a given color scheme to provide effects and often broadcast low-resolution videos, because the LED curtain is by definition "low resolution".

LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, are nothing more and nothing less than microchips that have the ability to emit light, within the entire color color spectrum.

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Characteristics

These LED curtains can be used indoors or outdoors, depending on the manufacturer. That's why many of the LED curtains are used for both shows and fixed installations. To tell the truth, the difference is not much at first glance, only changes the type of protection called IP, which usually every curtain or LED pattern must have a protection classified as IP65 (by the way the luminaires also have the same protection classification, which means that they can withstand water in any direction and dust. As an additional fact, an IP 68 protection means that this cluster of LEDs are submersible, which is not the case).

Duration

LED curtains do not differ from the typical duration of LEDs. At first and when I started specializing in LEDs in 2004, the industry in general said that LEDs lasted 100,000 hours. Today, after a few years and with a little more experience, the industry has modified its initial stance and says that LEDs last up to 50,000 hours with a power expense or wear of up to 50%. This means that LEDs may last longer but have less and less intensity.

Weight

The weight of the curtains is one of the great advantages, since they are much lighter than the panels of LED screens. For example, a 600 x 1200 mm curtain display can weigh up to 3 kilos, compared to an LED display panel that weighs approximately between 50 and 100 kilos, depending on the model. The issue of weight is very important for the transport of the curtain, since the lighter, the less you will pay in transport.

Installation

This point is not usually one of the happiest, because the installation is quite complicated compared to LED screens. While an LED curtain is installed in several hours (I have been told that depending on the scenario it can take up to 9 hours), on the other hand, the LED panels are installed in less than an hour.

Low cost

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LED curtains are by definition an alternative to LED screens, and therefore, should be more economical. This is in theory because in reality LED curtains are cheaper because they have a lower pixel density, for example, a 36 mm LED curtain is a normal pitch pixel, while a pitch pixel for a 36 mm LED screen is a horror, given that for shows, nowadays, 7 or 10 mm virtual for outdoor events is preferred.

LED curtains are also cheaper because they offer low resolution, which we will expand on in the next point.

Standard resolution of curtains

LED curtains are of low resolution and you could say that on average they work with 16.7 million colors. LED screens are high resolution, because they offer 4.4 trillion colors and reliable video playback.

Conclusions

LED curtains are neither better nor worse than LED screens, they are different animal. They are used as a complement to LED screens, especially when there is not much budget to place LED screens from end to end of the stage, but you want to provide greater coverage in light surface. Curtains serve very well to pass light effects, but still the industry does not get along very well with video projection.

*Adrian Morel is Vice President of OptiLED and can be reached in Los Angeles, California, at the email adrianmorel@optiled.com.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Editor
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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