UPDATE: Dancing pixel display expanded

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The Greater Boise Auditorium District voted to move ahead with an expanded pixel display on the side of the Boise Centre along the 8th St. alley.

More light bars will be placed across a larger section of the building, both vertically and horizontally – giving a more dramatic appearance. The final appearance was approved at a September 1 GBAD meeting. 

EARLIER STORY – April 28th: Dancing pixel display planned for Grove Plaza approach

A dynamic light show is planned for Boise’s revamped convention center this summer.

The Greater Boise Auditorium District plans to affix a series of vertical bars to the side of the Boise Centre West building – which will be sync’ed to music and the newly revamped Grove Plaza fountain. 

The pixels bars will be installed along the wall – spaced every few feet.

“There’s nothing like this in Boise. There’s nothing like it in Idaho,” Boise Centre AV Manager Chris Morrison said during a public meeting Thursday.  

 A static rendering of where the pixel bars will be placed. Courtesy Greater Boise Auditorium District.  
A static rendering of where the pixel bars will be placed. Courtesy Greater Boise Auditorium District.  

“The idea is that this is seamless,” Boise Centre business information technology guru Svend Knutsen said. “As you approach on 8th street you see the fountain and as you enter you see the experience and hear the sound.”

Morrison & Knutsen laid out the plan for the GBAD board – showing a mesmerizing demo video (below). Everyone in attendance in the meeting seemed awed by the demo (including me).

The product is from Danish manufacturer Martin – a sister brand to speaker makers JBL, Harman Kardon and others. The Pixline uses video with a soundtrack which makes it easy to program and use. The pixel bars will feature LED lights inside of a housing that has a diffusion filter. The filter will be rounded which will make it visible from all angles – including bouncing light off the ground and neighboring hotel building.

“The idea is to keep the sound and the music refreshed seasonally,” Knutsen said. “(It could) perhaps correspond with local events, community highlights and perhaps things that are going on on the plaza.”

Blue and orange on game days? Red and green for Festival of Trees?

Speakers mounted on poles along the south spoke and the Grove Plaza will allow one continuous experience along the walkway and in the main plaza.

 Mounting diagram. Courtesy Greater Boise Auditorium District
Mounting diagram. Courtesy Greater Boise Auditorium District

The bars will be mounted twelve feet off the ground to help ward off vandalism.  Project managers also said they wanted to be restrained in how many pixel bars they used.

“We’re trying to keep it away from the Vegas effect but make it more welcoming,” Boise Centre assistant executive director Cody Lund said. “This will help for lighting and safety reasons, as it’s a bit of a dark path.”

GBAD says it has shared the plan with the City of Boise, Capital City Development Corp, Idaho Transportation Department and Boise’s arts commission and has received positive feedback.

The project will cost $75,000-$100,000 and is part of the budget for the Boise Centre expansion. They should be in place by July.

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