NEC's direct-lit displays help Central California charity events shine even brighter
Facility: MLD Productions
Location: Santa Maria, Calif.
Challenge: Deploy outdoor digital signage displays for multimedia use at nonprofit events
Solution: Four NEC E505 displays
Result: Enhanced audience experience over prior multimedia methods
Date: April 2016
When a small, family-run production company decided to upgrade its multimedia equipment, it required easy-to-use displays that were light enough to be portable and bright enough to be viewed in direct sunlight at outdoor events.
MLD Productions' mission is to make a difference in its community and beyond by enhancing audience experience at Central California events. Founded in 1994 to provide multimedia rentals and services, it aims to help nonprofits as much as possible; its main client base comprises local charities, churches and small festivals.
MLD garners much of its business through family and friends, including its work with Relay for Life, which raises money to fight cancer – a cause close to owner Mike Diaz's heart because his mother had breast cancer.
In early 2016, MLD Productions was scheduled to provide multimedia and entertainment services for two upcoming Relay for Life events. The company needed a way to inform attendees about event times, raffles, safety information and other notifications, as well as run a slideshow of photos memorializing those who had lost their battle with cancer.
Diaz, a consultant for Scott Shaffer, president of product placement company Turnkey Productions, and asked Shaffer for his advice on a digital display.
"I told Scott that I was looking for a display that was white light controllable via switches on the display itself, as well as something with the ability to lock out the controls," Diaz said. "Scott did some research and recommended NEC."
Diaz selected four NEC E505 displays, which are direct-lit, commercial-grade displays – ideal for outdoor use. The displays' LED backlighting allows for reduced power consumption, a thinner depth, a smaller bezel and lighter weight, making it possible to hand-transport the displays to events and run them for several hours at a time.
An integrated tuner and speakers provide high-definition broadcast capabilities, ensuring that event attendees can hear audio even from far away, and full 1080p high-definition resolution provides images in crisp detail, even in bright sunlight. An integrated multimedia USB player makes it simple to load and play video, audio or JPEG picture files.
MLD used the four E505 displays at Relay for Life events in Lompoc and Santa Barbara, Calif., and immediately saw the advantages of moving to digital displays for events.
"Prior to having the NEC displays, we did not have any way of putting out event times or information other than to verbally announce them," Diaz said.
The displays also made a positive difference during the slideshow remembering cancer victims, which in the past had been projected on a sheet.
"We had several people contact us and comment on the displays," Diaz said. "In prior years, the sheet would move in the wind and the images would be distorted, so attendees were pleased to be able to see the slideshow this year. Using these displays had an emotional impact on the attendees."
Other positive feedback from Relay for Life committee members highlighted the displays' clarity, with one commenting that it was much easier to read information on the displays because of their brightness. Another committee member said that being able to put a display directly below a person giving a speech made for a better user experience; attendees no longer had to look back and forth between the speaker and the images, as they did when images were projected onto a sheet.
MLD Productions plans to use all four of its displays in different locations around event spaces at future Relays for Life and other community events, and is working on a custom aluminum-welded mounting system so the displays can be hung from the trussing for even better viewing. The company is also building a custom case to be able to carry the displays to future events – made possible because of the displays' light weight.
"They aren't going to be permanently installed anywhere," Diaz said. "We'll use them for Relay for Life events, St. Jude's event and Summerfest, a community event at our church that brings the neighborhood together. If we're hired for any other fundraising events, they'll be included."