Vista Systems’ Spyders Captivate Passengers at the New Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles Airport

The new Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles Airport (LAX) opened after a $1.9 billion renovation that has earned the facility world-class status. The terminal features an Integrated Environmental Media System (IEMS) designed to create a unique passenger experience and a new source of non-aeronautical revenues for the facility. Five of the seven media features that comprise the IEMS use Vista Systems’ Spyder image processors to enhance passenger arrivals and departures.

"The Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX is the first and last impression of Los Angeles for nine million travelers every year,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a released statement. “This new terminal enhances passenger safety and security, while giving travelers the first-class airport experience they expect from a world-class city like Los Angeles."

The high-profile project’s unique IEMS take the lead in offering a new revenue stream for airports nationwide. Developed by MRA International in concert with Los Angeles World Airport’s (LAWA) executive team, the IEMS built within the Bradley West terminal architecture offers the first corporate sponsorship programs in a U.S. airport.

Daktronics, the industry leader in designing and manufacturing electronic scoreboards, programmable display systems and large-screen video displays, has a very visible presence in the new terminal. To support the content for the displays that comprise the Welcome Wall, Bon Voyage Wall, Story Board, Time Tower and Destination Board Daktronics selected five Spyder X20s, four with 16 inputs and one with 8 inputs. “We had experience working with Vista Systems on a number of other projects and felt most comfortable with the Spyder,” says Bob Seeley, LE project engineer at Daktronics. Daktronics worked in concert with the designer of the media features, Marcela Sardi of Sardi Design, and Smart Monkeys who programmed the features, to achieve the design intent and functionality designed for each of the features.

“Vista Systems is proud to be part of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX and its innovative media features,” says Victor Vettorello, Director of Application Engineering at Vista Systems. “Working in tandem with Daktronics’ displays, Vista Systems’ Spyders are delivering fun, artful and informative content that elevates the passenger experience a cut above any other airport.”

The Welcome Wall greets international passengers as they exit passport control and descend to baggage claim. A dramatic 80-foot LED wall, in portrait mode, requires the equivalent of four HD feeds. It bisects the passenger departure bridge with content that ranges from gorgeous atmospherics to joyful scenes of welcome. The Bon Voyage Wall gives a special send off to departing passengers as they clear security and cross the departure bridge. Daktronics’ 6mm LED screen, also in portrait mode, showcases LA residents jumping in super-slow motion in scenes reminiscent of legendary photographer Philippe Halsman’s Jumpology pictures.

Spyder’s powerful capabilities allow a single Spyder X20 to operate both the Welcome Wall and Bon Voyage Wall with a total of eight HD-SDI feeds.

Another Spyder is configured to operate the Destination Board where a total of four HD-SDI feeds and three DVI sources combine background images as well as flight info from the FIDS system. The curved Destination Board displays departure data while entertaining passengers with visuals of destination cities. The 80-foot wide Daktronics screen is flanked by fun facts, weather briefs and images related to the passengers’ travels. An arched LED crest shows graceful patterns tied to the display, such as graphics of national flags and subtle arrays of color.

A fourth Spyder operates the Story Board feature, which has a total of eight HD-SDI sources and one DVI image. The Story Board is a 120-foot long multi-panel LED display from Daktronics spanning the west end of the Great Hall. Also called The Voyage of Discovery, the Story Board tells narrative journeys, relates stories of travel and transformation, and shows stunning visual panoramas on a series of floating screens suspended on custom trussing.

A pair of Spyders supports the complex Time Tower. Built around the Great Hall’s elevator tower, it both tells time and reveals time as part of the travel experience. Its upper surface is composed of high-resolution 6mm Daktronics LEDs and integrates a functional clock face with fun content such as the mechanical clockwork Dance Time with Busby Berkeley-style dancers and a puzzle formed by interlocking pieces of luggage.

“We chose Spyders because we needed a processor that could support the high resolutions of the displays,” says Seeley. “The iconic Time Tower has a resolution of 3198 pixels tall and 4128 pixels wide if the display was unwrapped in 2D space. The end user can provide pixel-accurate content – with no scaling – using a series of off-the-shelf players. The X20’s ability to stitch together the eight 1080x1920 HD-SDI frames required for this media feature made it a perfect fit.”

According to Seeley, the Time Tower has 10 primary source feeds (eight HD-SDI and two DVI) plus 10 backup feeds. They are broken down into various DVI outputs to the Daktronics VIP-4060 display interface processor.

“The Spyders are performing well and, by all accounts, the systems have met or exceeded the client’s expectations,” Seeley reports. “As usual, the Vista support staff has been very good and accommodated the various scheduling requirements for the project.”

The IEMS project was directed by MRA International; the media features and content program were designed by Marcela Sardi of Sardi Design Inc., who acted as creative director for the content. Smart Monkeys Inc. was the System Designer and conceptualized the unique AV/IT system; Electrosonic did provided the system engineering and integration. Montreal’s Moment Factory was executive content producer for the media features; LA’s Digital Kitchen was content co-producer responsible for giving expression to the LAX brand across the features and developing the Destination Board content.

Alan Anderson of Smart Monkeys Inc. concluded, “We really pushed this system to the limit and forced products to work like they’ve never worked before. The Spyder took everything we threw at it. The flexibility of what we could do with it is responsible for the system we have at LAX today. The Spyder is very robust, very reliable and a very mature product. Its role in bringing content to the screens cannot be understated.”

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