The House That FUSE Built- LED Displays from Sidewalks To Unique Channel Letters
SignIndustry.com - The Online Magazine for the Sign Trade.
Home | Site Map | Buyer's Guide Search  
Event Calendar Article Archive Message Boards Classifieds Product Showcases News Advertise Search Join Now

CATEGORIES
  3-D Signs
  ADA
  Architectural
  Awnings &
  Flexible Face
  Banners
  Business Development
  CNC Routing
  Computer Technology
  Digital Imaging
  Dynamic Digital
  Electric
  Estimating
  Finishing & Lams 
  Flatbed UV
  Garment Decoration
  Installation
  LED Displays
  LED Lighting
  Neon & LED
  Channel Letter
  Outdoor
   Articles
   Product
   Showcase
   Message Board
   Tips & Tricks
  Painted Signs
  Screen Printing
  Sublimation
  Vinyl Signs
  Hot Shots
  Press Releases
  Tips & Tricks
  Industry Resources
  Books
  Event Calendar
  Associations
  Business Center
  Retail Sign Shops
  Advertising Info

Estimate Software- Printing software that helps you find the hidden treasure in your business.


The House That Fuse Built- LED Displays In Unique Ways

FUSE decided it was time to increase their corporate profile and do so by using extensive LED signage to increase their visibility to their music fans and the public.

By Louis M Brill

FUSE decided it was time to increase their corporate profile and do so by using extensive LED signage to increase their visibility to their music fans and the public.

Clarke Systems Architectural Signage Systems Wayfinding ADA

Check It Out!

  • Outdoor Articles
  • Industry Alert
  • Hot Shots Photo Gallery
  • Message Boards

    Visit Our Advertisers:

  • 3M Commercial Graphics
  • CADlink Technology
  • Clarke Systems
  • Estimate Software
  • International Sign Assoc.
  • JetUSA
  • Matrix Payment Systems
  • SGIA Specialty Graphics Imaging Assoc
  • Supply 55, Inc.


  • Owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation, FUSE is a music television network (NY, NY) that plays rock, alternative, punk, hardcore, emo, and indie music. The network had the classic problem of having a great product and needed an equally great "public' voice to go with it. FUSE decided it was time to increase their corporate profile and do so by using extensive LED signage to increase their visibility to their music fans and the public.

    Dave Alworth, Vice president of Operations, explained that the company's signage strategy was conceived of as a way to put the music network on the map as a new icon for New York City. “FUSE knew it wanted to be more than just a linear television channel on cable and satellite. We've already built a strong presence on the web, on mobile and VOD and from that, we were ready to take on our latest programming strategy and push direct contact with the public through another platform, interactive signage. Our audience is young and hip and we were looking for a sign design that was the same. The guideline for our sign design was that it had to be 'eye popping' as a destination and a 'place to be.' "

    FUSE CHANNEL LETTERS
    The channel letters are the most visible and most visually impactful part of the fuse sign package. With their large size and bright changing colors, they are designed as a long distance viewing system that begins to draw peoples attention from several blocks away from the building.

    The creation of the FUSE signage was designed by Walker Group (NY,NY), now known as Fitch, and Multimedia LED (Rancho Cordova, CA), who both worked together extensively to bring the FUSE brand to life. Fitch, who is an established global, retail design agency, saw the dynamic potential in using the FUSE signage to expand the cable television studio's identity and give them a physical presence on the street. "Ultimately, the challenge we faced was how to use the signage to bring the FUSE television studio onto the sidewalk," said Fitch Studio Director, George Kewin, AIA. "Vice versa, we also wanted to bring the viewing pedestrians "into" the studio to have a more personal contact with the brand."

    To do this, Fitch proposed four different types of LED displays that together presented a series of overlapping sightlines that constantly attracted the viewer’s attention, drawing them right up to the building's windows. First, from a long distance, the FUSE channel letters with their embedded video screens were visible at least six blocks south from the building site. As pedestrians approached the building, a second sign system comes into play; a series of overhead hi-def video displays with endless changing colors, video imagery and text messages constantly streaming across the building. To further attract the curious is a “zipper” electronic message center that snakes in and out of the serpentine contours of four two-story tall window bays, and continues by going 'south' down into the sidewalk in front of the building and ending up back underneath the channel letters. Most exciting was when surprised first time viewers watched as the LED curtains folded up and disappeared behind the windows in front of them. A sign that disappears? Hmmm.

    FUSE WALL FACADE
    The Upper Video Screens is known as "the television system" of the fuse sign system where fuse shows off their programming and the music bands performing inside. At its best, it's a mixture of video, graphics and text, all collaged together in a 'with it' textured look.

    As to FUSE's location, if you'd have guessed it's "just" another Times Square project you'd be wrong. FUSE is actually part of Manhattan's 34th Street, Seventh Avenue corridor, and a neighborhood that is becoming a sign district in its own right.

    Improving brand awareness
    "The solution was found through a unique enhancement of LED signage," as explains Bob Sawler, Vice President of Engineering at MultimediaLED. "The FUSE sign package was a design/build project done in collaboration between FUSE, Fitch and Multimedia LED. The intention of the fuse sign system was to create a destination that would stop people in their tracks to watch FUSE produce its live shows that includes a daily show of musical performances and interviews." According to David Tetreault, Senior Vice President of marketing and corporate development at Multimedialed, “Multimedialed embraced the design vision of Walker Group and the marketing goals of FUSE and created a one of a kind sign project that established a unique experience for the thousands of pedestrians who come in contact with the FUSE headquarters each and every day.”

    HIGH RESOLUTION VIDEO SCREEN AND BELOW IT THE LED CURTAINS
    The fuse sign system presents four different types of LED displays that together presented a series of overlapping sightlines that constantly attracted the viewers attention, drawing them right up to the building's windows, whose LED curtains (below checkerboard image) occasionally fold back to revel the live music action within the cable television center.
    Video channels
    The channel letters are the most visible and most visually impactful part of the FUSE sign package. With their large size and bright changing colors, they are designed as a long distance viewing system that begins to draw people’s attention from several blocks away from the building.

    The FUSE stainless steel channel letters projects outward about 15 feet to completely dominate the airspace in front of the building. This was done with two open-faced FUSE channel letter forms placed left and right to each other in a curved-shape and was completely filled with 12mm, high definition, eVidia RGB LED blocks. The letters were raised 23 feet from the ground, and were each eight feet high and approximately (depending on character shape) nine feet wide.

    "We built the steel support structure for the channel letters," said sign installer Tony Calvano of Landmark (NY, NY), "which in turn were connected to the FUSE building. At the points where we had to penetrate into the building to connect the steel to the building foundation, we carefully cut out the limestone facades with a diamond saw, made the connections to the building's out riggers and then seamlessly replaced the limestone pieces back on the building.

    To maximize the channel letter's long distance sightlines, one segment faced south on 7th Avenue and visible for at least six blocks away. The other channel letter segment curved out across 32nd Street to capture both the pedestrian traffic coming from Penn Central Station and that of the audiences across the street coming to and from Madison Square Garden.

    Clarke Systems Architectural Signage Systems Wayfinding ADA

    ZIPPER SHOUT OUTS
    The zipper embellishes the entire sign package as, at some point it passes under, over and around every other sign system. It begins by running underneath the fuse channel letters, then up across and along each of the four window bays and then down and across the sidewalks, and back into the fuse building.

    Zipper shout-outs
    The second sign package, the blue text message zippers are like a speed bump as described by Alworth. "As people stream the FUSE building, once they read the zippers, they tend to slow down or even stop to check on the words zipping by. The funny part is that even when stopped, their heads are still moving as they try to keep track of whatever messages they're reading as it streams across the building." Simply put, the zipper has become an interactive people magnet.

    The zipper embellishes the entire sign package as, at some point it passes under, over and around every other sign system. It begins by running underneath the FUSE channel letters, then up across and along each of the four window bays and then down and across the sidewalks. As described by Sawler, the blue, monochromatic zipper was 325 feet long, with a six-inch width and a 34mm pitch (8 high x 3160 wide pixel resolution), NovaLite LED module. In incorporating the ticker sign system into the building design, MultimediaLED designed the ticker cabinets to allow for variations in the height and angle of the sidewalk. These elements were all expertly installed by Landmark Signs to minimize visual disturbances to the flowing ticker text.

    Sawler pointed out that the biggest challenge for the zippers was when it was in its "sidewalk" mode. "No one has ever run an LED message center across a sidewalk, this was a world's first. Our biggest concern was how to both protect the LED display and show it off. At issue was the thousands of New Yorkers who marched across the sign face every day, either walking across them, or stopping to read the messages moving past them. There were also weather issues in keeping the sign system waterproof as well."

    CLOSE UP DETAIL OF ZIPPER ON SIDEWALK
    No one has ever run an LED message center across a sidewalk, this was a world's first. To protect the sidewalk zipper screens from the constant pounding pedestrian traffic shuffling across the display face, each sign section was covered with one-inch thick, six inch wide, structural glass using techniques and materials well established in the glazing industry

    "To protect the sidewalk zipper screens from the constant pounding pedestrian traffic shuffling across the display face, each sign section was covered with one-inch thick, six inch wide, structural glass. Working with Landmark Signs and Israel Berger and Associates, curtain wall and glass sealing experts, MultimediaLED developed an easy to install and maintain sealing scheme, allowing for the use of techniques and materials well established in the glazing industry. "As for setting up the zippers on the sidewalk, said Calvano, we took the sidewalk out and set up watertight troughs to insert the zipper cabinets in, We then poured a new sidewalk right up to the troughs to prevent any 'high points' from the cabinet edges from sticking up."

    The zipper is a 'kick' because it has the capability of allowing viewers and pedestrians to read e-mails, advertisements and program alerts. On the other hand, loyal FUSE fans also send “shout outs" providing very enlightening zipper content to be read as pedestrians pass by.

    The Upper Video Screens
    The Upper Video Screens are an incorporation of MultimediaLED's eVidida hi-definition video displays. The Upper Video Screens are what Alworth calls "the television system" of the FUSE sign system and are a people stopper for pedestrians passing the building. This is where FUSE can show off their programming and the brands performing inside. Imagery can be pre-recorded or live. At its best, it's a mixture of video, graphics and text, all collaged together in a 'with it' textured look.

    The disappearing curtains
    The 'piece de resistance' of the FUSE sign system is the LED blinds which are mechanically controlled and according to Alworth, is the “big pay off” for FUSE fans letting them periodically view the inside action of FUSE’s studio. The LED curtains as they are known are a first-time ever use of LEDs as a fold-up video screen. The system was engineered in collaboration between Multimedia LED and LED Effects (Rancho Cordova, CA).

    Each LED Curtain is eight feet long according to Kewin, and consists of a series of translucent polycarbonate tubes filled with RGB LEDs capable of running synchronized full motion video. The LED Curtain's operation is mechanically controlled and designed as a dual presentation system. Closed, the LED Curtains portray whatever streaming video content is displayed upon them. Folded up, the Curtains reveal the "magic behind the curtains" of music band broadcasts for FUSE fans everywhere.

    FUSE FANS
    Rain or shine the fuse fans are there. The sign system has become a destination that stops people in their tracks to watch fuse produce its live daily shows of musical performances and interviews.

    Overall, the FUSE sign system succeeded beyond everyone's (the client, the sign designer and the public) wildest expectations, where the sign system is less a display and more a media experience. From Fitch's point of view, said Studio Director Kewing, "We created a brand environment" that extended down from the client's identity (the building) and into the public realm (the street level encounters). In effect, the FUSE signage acts to bring the television studio out onto the street (by showing live studio activity on its video screens). Inversely it also brings the public and their fans into its studio system. This happens in two ways: first by giving the FUSE reader board a personality as messages zip in and around the building. Second, is the added delight of having the LED Curtains part and disappear for a live look of a television recording session.

    When signage is priceless
    As Alworth noted, "Since the MultimediaLED sign package has been applied to the FUSE building, the cable television studio has become the destination we wanted it to become. From the moment the signage went live, people have been interacting with the building in different ways; Madison Square Garden fans tell their friends, 'meet me' by the FUSE building. Tourists love to get their picture taken in front of the LED screens. And of course people are always checking out the zipper text. FUSE Director of Public Relations Alworth concludes with one unforgettable moment, "A young boy was trailing a few feet behind his parents and was jumping up and down and laughing as he walked over the zipper messages." It was signage at its best, getting people to respond to its messages and that, to quote another sign message, "is priceless."
    Work drawings of led curtain system, includes both a front view of curtain and below that, a look down view

    photo credit: LED EFFECTS

    LED Video Fold-Up Curtains: A World's First
    The LED curtain was engineered and project managed by Multimedia LED. The curtain system was composed of two parts, a mechanical framework that held the LED tubes in place as it folded in and out of the window bay. The second part was the LED video tubes which were custom designed by LED Effects (Rancho Cordova, CA) and inserted into the curtain frame.

    The original mechanical structure was acquired, according to Bob Sawler of Multimedia LED, from a company in England, which was then modified for their specific purpose. The final effect of the curtain was a dual positioning which when closed, showed off a six-foot tall video image. At the preferred moment, the curtains folded back into a twelve-inch storage space allowing each window to provide an unobstructed view into the interior television studio.

    FUSE's video curtain display was designed by LED Effects as noted by Casey Call, Special Projects Manager. "Each curtain segment was composed of 32, eight-foot long 20% diffusion polycarbonate tube. Each tube contained six-feet of three-inch addressable LED strips mounted inside the polycarbonate. Combined together, all four window bays consumed upwards of 128 LED video tubes. Each individual LED video strip was composed of a single RGB LED pixel at a 3 mm pitch. Controlling each video tube was a power and data line, which were tucked into a collapsible raceway that folded up as the curtain was opened.

    Each individual curtain frame had its own controller and power supply which were all linked by Ethernet to each other and to a dedicated computer that processed and distributed the video signal to each individual curtain. Along with the LED video tubes, LED Effects also provided their Designer Suite and Scheduler software to manage the FUSE video files and the LED curtains. The suite included LED Effects proprietary software FireFly which was controlled by the Scheduler program to place the various video segments onto the video curtain at their assigned moments.

    The LED video curtains in effect were the entire culmination of the entire FUSE sign system. The curtains as described by Sawler acted as a "gateway" opening up the windows to allow waiting pedestrians a chance to view ongoing FUSE television productions. The LED video curtains had the ultimate position of a sign system, to draw customers to a brand, and then get out of the way allowing those customers to interact directly with that brand.

    Louis M. Brill is a journalist and consultant for high-tech entertainment and media communications. He can be reached at (415) 664-0694 or louisbrill@sbcglobal.net

    Company
    Home
    Advertising Info
    About Us
    Contact Us
    Privacy Policy
    Site Map
    Resources
    Industry Resources
    Associations
    Retail Sign Shops
    Books
    Product Showcase
    Event Calendar
    Tips & Tricks
    Message Boards
    Classifieds
    Buyer's Guide Listings
    Search
    Add My Company
    Edit My Company

     

    © Copyright 1999-2017, All Rights Reserved.