So you're a bit skeptical when it comes to advertising campaigns, especially those for major companies such as airlines? Well, just as the company has done since its inception, JetBlue has created a unique, traveling, interactive installation called the "JetBlue Story Booth," which is an audiovisual experience that is, quite literally, all-encompassing. The JetBlue Story Booth is a free-standing installation that debuted at the Rockefeller Center in New York City and will make week-long stops to key cities and towns across the United States for the remainder of 2006. Some of the other host cities include: Boston, MA; Washington, DC; Los Angeles, CA: Orlando, FL; and Burlington, VT.
The systems integrators on this job consist of Mesh Architectures of New York, NY (construction); XS Lighting & Sound, Inc. of Farmingdale, NY (supply, installation and programming of the 10,000 Color Kinetics iColor Flex SLX LED nodes used); and Local Projects LLC of New York, NY (interactive design). The advertising agency for JetBlue was JWT New York of New York, NY (formerly J. Walter Thompson).
The JetBlue Story Booth operates as both a marketing object and a space. The interactive aspect of the installation serves to draw the end-user into the marketing campaign, and the video footage that is captured is eventually considered for JetBlue's advertising campaign.
Serving as a living AV exercise, all visitor interviews are filmed against a chromakey background--also known as a green screen--and animators later create graphics behind each person filmed. Because of the accelerated nature of this installation, it was necessary that every stage of design and production was executed as efficiently as possible. In terms of fabrication, the base was an acoustical pre-fabricated booth made of insulated sheet metal panels assembled in a steel frame. There are Panelite panels made from polycarbonate, two polymers, a core, and a resin facing. To compensate for the need for high-intensity LEDs when exposed to direct sunlight, Dougie Lazer of XS Lighting & Sound adjusted the signal to each individual node. At night, the installation shines very bright, but it is also bright enough to be
visible in direct sunlight at high-noon.
Inside the booth is a recording system running off of two Macs and a high-definition Sony video camera. The projector playing pre-recorded video (i.e. of JetBlue flight attendants speaking to visitors who enter the Story Booth) is made by Infocus LP840. All of the video-capture software was custom-written by Local Projects. It is a three-computer system that consists of a cache computer, a render machine, and a diagnostic machine that monitors the entire system. The software that separates the visitor from the chromakey background functions dynamically and has voice recognition capabilities to help it recognize when people are ending their stories. Dynamic video processing is done on the video signal. To manage the 10,000 LEDs, a Color Kinetics Video System Manager was used along with routers, mounting tracks, and power supply cables.
The signal from the DVD player is fed into the Video System Manager. That video image is mapped onto three sides of the booth. The result is a video image that stretches across three surfaces, in an almost three-dimensional effect. Digital LEDs don't use much electricity and have approximately a 10-year life span. An entire video wall uses less than four 20A circuits of power, which is very low power usage given that there are 10,000 nodes. Such an installation can only be done with digital LEDs; this installation would not have been possible using analog LEDs. Essentially, the DVD signal is converted into LED lights. From the Video System Manager, the signal goes to a canopus box and then to port switches and power supplies. In this instance, the power supplies address each node with their video signal; the power supplies are transferring both power and data. Usually, power and data are run through separate lines.
Says XS Lighting & Sound's Dougie Lazer, "I worked at the RockefellerCenter site after hours, and everyone who would walk-by would pass the booth three or four times. I think people had never seen anything quite like this."