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2017/10/12 11:50:49


In June, Canadian advertising firm Astral Out-of-Home, a division of Bell Media, announced the debut of a gigantic digital screen near Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square (already a hub for signage of all kinds, having been designated by the municipal government as one of the city’s special sign districts).

今年6月,加拿大广告公司贝尔传媒的一家分公司Astral Out-of-Home宣布,他们所制作的一个巨大的数字户外大屏幕将首次亮相于多伦多Yonge-Dundas广场附近(Yonge-Dundas广场作为当地市政府指定的城市特色标识区,已经成为了一个展示各式各样标牌的中心)。

At more than 7.9x57.3m (26x188ft), the light-emitting diode (LED) billboard tops 454 m2(4,888 sf). It may not quite be Canada’s largest outdoor digital screen—that record apparently belongs to the 557.4-m2 (6,000-ft) screen mounted right across the street, above the Eaton Centre’s Forever 21 store—but it does seem to be the longest horizontal one and, for that matter, the largest contoured one, as it ‘wraps’ around the corner of the former Hard Rock Café with a three-sided curved shape. This configuration increases out-of-home (OOH) advertisers’ exposure by facing southbound and eastbound pedestrians and traffic.

这个户外大屏幕的尺寸超过7.9 x 57.3 米(26 x 188 英尺),即这个屏幕的面积至少有454平方米(4,888英尺)。这也许不是加拿大最大的户外数字大屏幕,因为这一纪录已经由街道对面的伊顿中心Forever 21店面上方的户外大屏幕所持有,它的面积达到了557.4平方米(6,000英尺)。但是这个大屏幕所辐射的范围应该是最广阔的,即它应该是拥有最大波型外观的户外大屏,这个大屏幕以硬石咖啡厅的三个角落为连接点,形成一个屏障包围着咖啡厅,呈现一个三面弯曲的形状。整个大屏幕通过面向在这个十字路口向南行和向东行的行人和交通来增加户外广告(OOH)的曝光度。

“This digital wrap represents a major addition to our portfolio,” says Karine Moses, Astral’s president. “The sheer scale of the screen, which synchronizes full-motion video with a dedicated static face, provides flexibility for advertisers to deliver a powerful story and bring their brands to life.”


OOH advertisers are certainly drawn to the area. Located at one of Canada’s busiest intersections, Yonge-Dundas Square sees daily traffic of more than 93,000 pedestrians and 30,000 vehicles and co-hosts annual arts festivals like North By Northeast (NXNE), Luminato and Nuit Blanche. The Eaton Centre also contributes to a total of more than 52 million visitors per year.

喜欢投放户外广告的广告商肯定会被吸引到这个地区。Yonge-Dundas广场位于加拿大最繁华的十字路口之一,每天可以看到超过93,000名行人和3万辆车从这个路口通过,每年这里都会举办NXNE音乐节、Luminato和Nuit Blanche艺术节等活动。伊顿中心每年还有超过5200万的游客从这里经过。

Answering the call


Plans for the giant screen predate Astral’s involvement, as it was seen as a way to upgrade the rooftop space previously occupied by a combination of printed and digital faces that were operated by Cieslok Media.By the time Astral finalized its acquisition of Cieslok earlier this year, a request for proposals (RFP) had already been issued in 2016 for the all-digital structure.


One of the companies that answered the RFP was Media Resources International (MRI), an integrated sign manufacturing and maintenance company in Oakville, Ont. Its portfolio already featured extensive related experience, such as the construction and installation of a 418-m2 (4,500-sf) three-sided full-motion LED display for the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ont.

对RFP有所回应的公司之一是Media Resources International (MRI),这是一家位于安大略省奥克维尔的综合标识制造和维护公司。该公司拥有丰富的从业经验,比如说,为安大略省尼亚加拉瀑布的Fallsview赌场建造和安装一个418平方米(4,500 英尺)的三面全屏动态LED显示屏。

“We got the job and started to work with Cieslok in advance of the acquisition by Astral,” explains Keith Edwards, chief operating officer (COO) for MRI. “Then we continued to work on the design with Astral before fabricating and installing the screen.”

MRI的首席运营官(COO)Keith Edwards解释说:“在Astral得到这个项目之前,我们就与Cieslok合作开始进行这个项目了。在制作和安装屏幕之前,我们决定继续使用Astral的设计理念进行设计。”

“MRI was selected because they were the best company to take this project from concept to completion,” says Kevin Martens, Astral’s director of construction. “We worked with them hand-in-hand from design to final installation to meet our deadline.”

Astral建筑总监Kevin Martens说:“选择MRI是因为他们是从概念成型到最终完工,都是这个项目最佳的公司选择。从设计到最终安装,我们与他们的携手合作将保证我们能够在规定的时间内完成这个项目。”

“Although our customer changed midway, the specs stayed the same,” says Jeff Rushton, co-owner, president and CEO of MRI.


A structural issue


One of the challenges of replacing Cieslok’s multiple boards with a unified digital face was addressing the increased weight load on the heritage building, which is slated to become a flagship Shoppers Drug Mart store later this year. Compared to the previous rooftop signs, which were 6.4 to 6.7 m (21 to 22 ft) in height, the screen would be not only heavier, but also taller and, thus, would need to endure a higher wind load.


Cieslok worked in advance with the municipal government and its heritage preservation department to acquire the necessary permits to alter the building.


“The process involved two years of backroom discussions before they got the go-ahead,” says Edwards. “Once they had developed early drawings of the sign, an architect developed a plan to put in a more pragmatic sign structure and an outside engineering firm determined what specifically needed to be done.”


Cieslok hired Enseicom, a sign, billboard and street furniture manufacturer based in Lachine, Que., to fabricate a steel structure for the purpose.


“Then we put the new steel structure atop the building to support the screen,” says Rushton. “The building’s existing substructure was also enhanced so it could support an additional 35,380 kg (78,000 lb). We built the sign around that base structure.”


The older signs were removed from the roof in March and the new steel structure was installed in April.


Pixel by pixel


As for the LEDs, MRI sourced surface mount diode (SMD) products with a 10-mm (0.39-in.) pixel pitch from a manufacturing operation in which it is a joint venture partner.


“We had someone overseeing every single LED,” says Rushton. “You need integrated binning of LEDs to achieve uniformity of colours. And for that, you have to ensure control of the whole supply chain. This is especially important with a tight timeline. Once we got our own go-ahead earlier, we had to build everything as quickly as possible.”


The scale of the fabrication process was massive. The screen comprises an array of nearly 4.7 million pixels, each of which combines a trio of red, green and blue (RGB) LEDs with a white lens for optimal light diffusion.


“The very tight pixel pitch represented the further evolution of what we had done in the past,” says Rushton. “We had to put the modules together one-by-one to make sure they fit perfectly. We couldn’t be ‘off’ in any direction by even 1 mm (0.04 in.). Fortunately, the fabrication process went well, because we had already done a lot of planning.”


The pixels were assembled into tiles, each measuring a little over 0.09 m2 (1 sf), with 1,024 pixels per tile. Then those tiles were further collected into subsections of cabinets.


“The screen is so big,” says Edwards, “even with its rounded corner, it took up most of our floor.”


The system for controlling the LEDs, also proprietary to MRI, is almost fully redundant.


“I come from a software background and we applied networking principles to this board to optimize uptime,” says Rushton. “We have set up a pretty sophisticated control room with high-end computing equipment to ensure it always continues to run. If anything goes wrong in terms of fan speed, the temperature of each module, etc., we get an alert on our smartphones, so we know right away. And we have mobile technicians who can fix it in an hour or two.”


Raising the rooftop


Finally, the on-site installation of the screen began in late May, shortly after the Hard Rock Café shut down permanently at the end of its lease.


“The screen was divided into sections and we shipped out three at a time,” says Edwards. “These were then connected together on-site at night. There are three sections facing west to Yonge, one corner section facing northwest and nine facing north to Dundas Square.”


The work took eight nights straight, with all hands on deck.


“Trying to meet a fixed installation date for something this complicated is crazy,” says Rushton. “I’m very proud of the employees from all of our divisions who came together to engineer and install this landmark digital display.”


Specifically, the sign went live on June 5, just in time for Warner Bros. Canada to promote the June 9 release of its hit movie, Wonder Woman. Another initial advertiser was Energy Brands, which promoted its Vitamin Water product line. Both used the unique shape of the board creatively, with content developed and laid out for each of its sections.


“I was very happy with the ad agencies’ work,” says Rushton. “The Vitamin Water content looked fantastic!”


“Overall, our clients are very satisfied with the impact and overall appearance of the display,” agrees Astral’s Martens.


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