Billboards, The Good, Bad & Ugly

What used to be a flood lit static ad or a simple yet massive sign has become a video board. Beloved by those in the signage industry & loathed by cities across the country. Why can’t we find a happy medium though?

Let’s start with the good. For the most part, manufacturers of these boards have made them look seamless & almost as if they are giant televisions. When they play a live feed or video, they can be amazing. In my opinion everyone should marvel at this technology, but that’s just my opinion.

First Generation Billboard in Italy

The bad. Well there are some board manufacturers that don’t hard code their software to automatically adjust these boards based on ambient light conditions and they are blindingly bright. Or you can see each module because they are misaligned. Then there are those with substantial vertical and/or horizontal color shifts when one views it off center or from below due to inferior LED population of the screen.

Second Generation Billboard in Italy

The ugly. Cities that pay for studies to be done on whether video boards have a correlation with motor vehicle or pedestrian accidents & then disregard what the findings are. Every city & municipality that has paid for one of these studies has been given the same results. Video boards do not increase accidents of any sort. Rules around placement of video boards & regulations around moving pictures on them are based on nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Now of course no one wants to have one outside their bedroom window, but there’s also a price to pay for living in a city center. I can’t imagine anyone complaining about Times Square, or Piccadilly Circus, but in Canada that’s exactly what you get. A large group of people who want to believe they live in a metropolitan city, who also want all lights dimmed, all noise stopped & no planes overhead at 11pm.

How do we fix this on all sides? Those who make the rules need to begin to learn about the technology. Those who make the boards need to all be held to the same level of work & not just maintain them, but police their usage. Then & only then will everyone be happy.

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