The last of 59 truckloads of digital signage modules left the manufacturing facility at Watchfire Signs in Danville, Ill. recently, closing out the chapter on the renovation of the world’s largest single video screen, Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas. Watchfire Signs, selected last year for the $30 million renovation, completed the project on budget and ahead of schedule for the grand reveal on New Year’s Eve.
Installation is complete on the digital canopy that covers Fremont Street Experience. It is 1,500 feet long and is suspended 90 feet above a pedestrian mall. The first update in 14 years, the new digital canopy is now seven times brighter and four times sharper than the original, making the light show on the canopy vivid even during daylight hours.
Watchfire designed an all-new product for the Fremont Street project that allowed the modules to be cut to fit the existing structure without impacting the information displayed. Perforations in each module also let daylight filter through and air circulate, critical for dispersing heat and illuminating the street below. High contrast materials and an innovative light trapping design combine to make it possible to run content on the canopy during the day – something that was impossible with the old design.
“We had to get very creative to develop a unique product that met all the distinctive needs for Fremont Street, including trimmable modules that fit the canopy’s shape and can handle the extreme desert conditions,” said Steve Harriott, president and CEO of Watchfire Signs. “Interest in this product has been very high and we’re looking forward to using it for other projects.”
The scale of the Fremont Street project was the largest in Watchfire’s history. It included manufacturing and shipping 130,000 sq. ft. of digital signage. The canopy was manufactured in more than 67,000 modules containing 49 million LEDs. A total of 1,054 subframes containing 64 modules each were installed in phases, allowing Fremont Street to remain open during the upgrade.
Since each subframe was manufactured to be installed at a specific spot on the canopy, Watchfire created a special crating and labeling system that arranged frames in a precise order within the shipping crates, making identification on the job site easy.
“The success of the Fremont Street project is proof of what Watchfire stands for. We are a team of innovators, combining new design with in-field excellence in service. This was an all-hands-on-deck project for Watchfire, and nearly every employee was involved in some way,” said Harriott. The Watchfire production facility added optional overtime shifts to accommodate production, enabling experienced Watchfire staff to build the project without the need to hire and train temporary workers. The entire project was completed without impacting the company’s existing sign industry customers.
Fremont Street Experience attracts more than 23 million visitors annually and is adjacent to 10 casinos and more than 60 restaurants. An exciting reveal of the new canopy at full visual capability is planned for New Year’s Eve. Tickets will go on sale beginning November 27.