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LED Video Wall Captures Downtown Milwaukee’s Attention

The Shops of Grand Avenue is a massive urban shopping destination spanning three blocks in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. Grand Avenue opened to the public in 1980, and at its height, was home to more than 80 specialty stores and one of the largest food courts in Wisconsin. Today the property is being transformed into a multi-use development that will include a food hall, office space and luxury apartments.  


To help build and maintain excitement for the redevelopment project, the Grand Avenue management team turned to Majic Productions, a Midwestern-based sound, video and lighting production company, to design and install a large LED video wall inside the building facing out to one of the busiest street corners in the city of Milwaukee. The goal was simple – make a splash. 


As the Majic team dug into the project, they determined that their original plan to use a permanent, indoor screen was a no go, as the screen would battle with direct sunlight throughout the day – limiting visibility of the images and video displayed on the LED wall. 


To come up with a solution, they reached out to Blizzard Lighting, LLC, makers of IRiS™ LED video products. 


“We’ve had a long-standing partnership with Blizzard, so we called the team there and told them we needed a brighter option,” said Steven Troxell, vice president of operations for Majic Productions. “They came back to us with a solution that not only solved our sunlight issue, but also gave us the ability to reconfigure the wall as the space evolves.”


While Majic originally wanted to go with a permanently fixed, indoor-rated screen, Blizzard suggested they consider the company’s IRiS IP3 outdoor-rated modular LED video panels


Thanks to IRiS™ IP3’s impressive 3.9mm pixel pitch, 3,840Hz refresh rate and 4000:1 contrast ratio, it was a frontrunner for the project as soon as Majic put it through its paces. IRiS™’s ETL® certification was also key to ensuring it would be accepted in a permanent install application. Most importantly, however, is IP3’s impressive 4,500 nit brightness, which gives Majic and Grand Avenue the ability to deliver perfect HD video playback, even in direct sunlight. 


As the project continues to evolve, IRiS™ IP3’s scalable, flexible form factor has also been a benefit, thanks to features including:

  • Lightweight Frame: Each panel weighs less than 21 lbs., thanks to a strong and lightweight CNC and cast aluminum frame
  • Quick Lock System: Designed for one-man handling, the quick lock system allows for fast setup
  • Tool-Free Maintenance: Maintenance is tool-free and easy with 4x magnetic mount LED modules and a quick-release, modular electronics package, all accessible from either the front or rear of the panel
  • Curved Connections: Fast and accurate side locks allow for curved connections from 10 degrees concave to 5 degrees convex
  • Flawless Controls: Panels are easily controlled using industry-standard NovaStar® processors, including their MCTRL, Taurus and VX-series LED display controllers
  • Cloud-Based Management: The panel display can be managed via cloud-based tools, like BrightSign, allowing for quick updates to displayed images

“IRiS™ IP3 panels are versatile, dependable and are designed to be impossible to ignore. While we typically think of using them in a portable/rental application, we knew they also offered the perfect feature set to achieve the results Majic and the team at Grand Avenue were looking for,” said Will Komassa, CEO of Blizzard. 


The 160-panel, 8-meter by 5-meter (roughly 26-foot by 16-foot) display was installed and operational in less than three days and has been flawless ever since.  


As part of the Blizzard support network, dealers like Majic are eligible for Blizzards’ industry-leading warranty program, direct access to the Blizzard team, as well as online technical guides, manuals and catalogs to provide visual reference points. 


“Dealing with people overseas or in different time zones is not ideal when you’re under a deadline,” said Troxell. “Whether it was in-person or remote support, Blizzard was with us every step of the way to answer questions, troubleshoot issues and ensure the installation went as smooth as possible.” 

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