When U2 started its worldwide tour on September 9, 2009 at Soldiers’ Field in Chicago, it performed with a new giant screen backdrop that changes size and shape during gigs. It is made of stainless steel, aircraft aluminum, and 888 LED screens with 500,000 pixels. Images can be projected across a screen area of 3,800 sq. ft. weighing 120,000 lbs. The expanding video screen provides a 360° concert view for fans. It is reported that every seat in U2 tour’s 75,000+ seat stadiums will have an unobstructed view of the show.
The U2 Expanding Video Screen retracts to 23 ft in height with an elliptical shape.
The expanding video screen’s development is based on designer Chuck Hoberman’s patented “Iris Structure” that was the foundation for the Iris Dome at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Iris Dome at the World’s Fair in Hanover, Germany, and the Olympic Arch in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Hoberman developed an initial CAD model using SolidWorks software to determine information about component weights, sizes, and movement characteristics. Designers at Buro Happold created a structural model of the screen capturing mechanical connections and support details. As the work progressed, mechanical details were shared with video screen designers and fabricator Innovative Design for their manufacturing input.
In full extension, the expanding video screen is 67 ft tall with a cone shape appearance. During shows, the screen continuously expands and detracts around the band.
Mechanical design began in December 2008 and manufacturing was completed in May 2009. Due to a tight schedule, no scale models were produced. The screen progressed from CAD models to a full-scale, final version. The equipment can withstand high winds and harsh weather. The screen is durable to last an 18-month tour and can be assembled and disassembled in less than eight hours.
Filed Under: 3D CAD, Electronics • electrical, Lights • signal lamps • indicators, Software, Vision • machine vision • cameras + lenses • frame grabbers • optical filters