George Ray’s Top 12 LED Hits

1. Keep Calm and Drive On

Put all your software, rcfg files, show config files, and firmware updates on a thumb drive. Sounds simple- but laptop crashes, theft, and errant coffee cup spills have caused failures.

2. If It Ain’t Broke…

Keep your firmware as up to date as needed. If the LED is an installation and is functioning 100%, there is no need to update the firmware. In rental and staging, update only after testing. When testing, test on a single tile. Endless tech support emails start with, ‘It was working until I did the update.’

 3. Math Twice, Build Once

Count your pixels, knowing how many pixels in your display is critical to determining everything- how many data ports you will need, which processor will work, how many processors are required. (655,360 is the magic number with Novastar)

4.  Label Everything

P-Touch labels are insurance when we start troubleshooting. If you have poor handwriting (Me), printed labels are readable by everyone on the team. Document everything- LED systems can grow to be extremely complex. Printed, large format (E Size) prints of the system, as well as pdf versions for everyone on the team will save you time, add clarity of purpose, and save the show if someone needs replacing. Emergencies happen- you never know. LED is a team sport- if you don’t understand something, ask. Team members, vendors, manufacturers, FB Groups, message boards. And double check information on new devices- there is a large amount of misinformation floating around. 

5.  Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

Be prepared for changes. Maybe the ceiling height wasn’t correct on the plans, and the motor chains are 10’ too short, or the power requested does not match power provided. Having a stand-alone scaler, or a processor with a scaler in your toolbox might save the day.

6.  Testing, Testing, 1…2…3…

Test Everything: Test your cable, the power drop, the incoming video signal…EVERYTHING. Carry a monitor for LED to test the type of signal you are expecting to receive. An external converter is not the answer. If the signal is SDI, bring an SDI monitor. An external converter may seem less costly, but when it fails, you have no signal verification.

7. Ground Stacking vs. Flying

Large wall ground stacking takes twice as long and requires twice the labor as flying the same size wall. Be prepared…

8.  Viewing Distance

Pixel Pitch in mm X 10 equals the viewing distance in feet where persons with 20/20 vision cannot discern individual pixels.

9.  Learn New Things

Pay attention to the cool new toys in other departments. Are they adaptable to needs in LED? Corollary – steal ideas from everyone. A good idea is a good idea.

10.  Listen Twice. Speak Once.

Just because you have never done something a particular way does not mean it won’t work. This sentiment is especially true when working with house crews. They know their building better than you do. Ask for suggestions if something looks difficult to achieve.

11.  Keep Up!

New features come along all the time. When they do, learn what that new button does. Learn what that new menu has. Learn where the programmer moved that menu to (Module Flash is now in Calibration Menu).

12.  Need More Fiber?

Fiber Optic is simple to implement. Learn the options. We are moving massive amounts of data. Fiber systems are available to make your life simpler. Learn the implementation. Learn the options and the costs before the show. Running one multi-core fiber beats running 32 Cat 5 cables every day.

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