Screen GemsAugust 18, 2011 By: Sean Evans
Video is the way of the future for nightlife, and the name of the new game is high-resolution screens capable of producing lifelike backdrops and stunning visuals. Zach Nesbitt and Michael Marcoe co-own LBH Dynamics, a Florida-based tech company that manufactures and retails screens capable of all of that and more. The duo explain the basics of entering into the video realm, as well as some of the things clubs often overlook when considering a video system:
Nightclub Confidential (NCC): How would you describe what you do?
Nesbitt: We manufacture LED displays. On the retail side of it, we do off-the-shelf products, but we focus more toward working with the customer to make a display that will fit their venue, operationally and physically.
NCC: How important is that fit?
Marcoe: Plenty of guys want to sell you what they have on the shelf, but it may be three times what you need. You don’t need so much brightness that when you turn it on, you blind people. A big part of LBH Dynamics is being able to offer solutions that can fit the nature of what they do and what they want to do. It’s a big-ticket purchase for anyone, so that fit is crucial.
NCC: What are some things you consider when designing?
Marcoe: The pitch is a big one. That’s the distance between the pixels on an LED display. The lower the pitch, the higher the resolution. And the shorter the distance you can minimally be for viewing. Basically, you need about 700 times your pitch to determine your minimum viewing distance, or about a meter for every millimeter. You don’t get optimal viewing unless you’re 30 feet away because your eye sees lines. When you’re down to a pitch of 6, 5 or 4 [millimeters], your viewing distance is less, about 10 feet. So you have to know how close people will be to where you want your screen or video wall.
Nesbitt: And their budget needs to be accounted for. We did a 16-foot-by-9-foot video wall at LIV in the Fontainebleau in Miami, which is capabale of doing 3D stuff and has a pitch of 10 milimeters. That cost about $120,000. But if you want your pitch down to 6, for the same size wall, that’ll cost you close to $275,000. That’s a big difference. You’re essentially playing with the resolution and viewing distance vs. size and budget concerns.
NCC: Let’s talk 3D for a second. How far along is 3D technology?
Marcoe: 3D is newer stuff. And you’re up against the glasses, meaning even though they could still look cool, you need to have the budget to give a pair to every patron, which may not be in the average club’s budget. It’s still cool technology, which fundamentally comes down to the display itself — the main driver. It’s so new it’s hard to get content. Maybe you have a guy who is doing some of his own stereoscopic recordings, but most places only have basic 3D content available. As it expands and you don’t need the glasses anymore, I think the market will really open up.
NCC: What about setups that can display holographic images, making it seem like a performer is really there?
Marcoe: You can do that. Nobody’s really done it yet. And I don’t think the effect would be that great. It wouldn’t be as stunning as you may think, mainly because the fact that with holographics you need to be able to bend light just so. In a club, you may have a haze or smoke machine or something else and you really can’t control the light refraction. It’d look sloppy. It’s not that feasible for a nightclub install.
NCC: What's the basic cost to get into high-end video?
Nesbitt: It could be as cheap as $15,000 per screen. We will do the installation for certain customers sometimes. But we usually work with local companies to get the sale and then we’ll manufacture it and have the local dealers install it. But if a venue comes to us directly, we’ll work with them, no problem.
NCC: Do you do any proprietary content production?
Nesbitt: Sometimes we’ll do minor stuff for customers, but not much. We’re trying to expand in that market because it’s a value-added service to the customer. It always looks better when the content is designed for the specific equipment it’s show upon, so we’re growing that sector of our business.
NCC: What about repairs, especially if you didn't do the install?
Marcoe: If there is not a dealer in place, then yes, they call us. The system is designed to be user friendly even with repairs. We train every venue’s staff to be able to fix most things in under 30 minutes and with just a screwdriver. We cover a lot of repair scenarios, so it’s never an issue.