Fremont Street Experience Light and Sound Show
Is A Modern Technological Marvel
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Beginning in December (1995), the much-anticipated Fremont
Street Experience project will "turn up the wattage" in downtown Las Vegas
every night with spectacular, computer-generated light and sound shows.
However, there's much more to bringing the unique shows to life than
simply flipping a switch. In fact, the components forming the Fremont Street
Experience Light and Sound Show together comprise a modern technological
and engineering marvel, the only one of its kind found anywhere in the
With a depth of five feet and a curved radius of 44 feet, the space frame
towers 90 feet above a four-block section of Fremont Street -- between Main
and Fourth streets, a distance equal to 4.62 football fields -- and serves as the
display system for the shows. The space frame's interior surface covers more
than 175,700 square feet, an area equal to slightly more than four acres. A
section comprising one-fiftieth of the total space frame equals the size of the
world's current largest electronic sign. Holding the space frame aloft are 16
columns, each weighing 26,000 pounds and each capable of bearing 400,000
pounds, and 43,000 struts.
Filled with 2.1 million bulbs, the space frame is unofficially the world's largest
graphics display system, said Steve Weeks, assistant division manager with
Young Electric Sign Company in Las Vegas, the contractor that fabricated and
installed the display system.
"This is the biggest project the Young Electric Sign Company has ever worked
on in its 75-year history," Weeks said.
Not only is the number of bulbs impressive, but their power potential is
incredible. If all the lights were turned on at full power simultaneously, the
output would equal 7.8 megawatts, or millions of watts, of energy, Weeks
Each bulb is equal to a single pixel in a television picture tube, and like a TV
pixel, each bulb contains red, blue, green and clear lamps. Combined with 8
shades of dimming, the entire display is capable of producing 65,536 color
combinations, Weeks said.
In addition to the millions of bulbs, within the space frame structure are 180
computer-programmed high-intensity strobe lights, 64 variable color lighting
fixtures that can produce 300 colors, and four robotic mirrors per block that
can be individually programmed to pan and tilt to reflect light during the
Accompanying the light display is a sound show second to none anywhere on
the planet. A total of ~08 speakers are mounted within the space frame that
can produce a combined 540,000 watts of concert-quality sound and music.
Running the light and sound show are 31 computers, including 30 within the
space frame, and a single master computer. Combined, the computers
contain 100 gigabytes of storage -- comparable to about 250 personal home
computers, Weeks said.
Eventually, the Fremont Street Experience will have a library of several
shows with interchangeable images that can be tailored for special events and
different holiday seasons.
Observed from street level, the breathtaking shows appear deceivingly
simple. But the complex technology and special craftsmanship behind them
make the Fremont Street Experience a must-see, one-of-a-kind attraction in a
city brimming with entertainment.
In June 2004 Fremont Street upgraded its graphic display system to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) from incandescent bulb technology. The upgrade increases the screen resolution from 2596 x 184 pixels to 7552 x 552. The display now includes more than 12.5 million energy-efficient LEDs with a resolution that utilizes over 16.7 million color combinations creating eye-catching and intense visual images. The higher resolution was achived by decreasing the space between each pixel from 6.2 to 2.0 inches and increasing the number of pixels by 3.5 million.
Here is a comparison of the old system to the new system
Incandescent Display (1995)
LED Digital Video Display (2004)
|1.9 million incandescent bulbs||12.5 million LED lamps|
|477,664 pixels||4.1 million pixels|
|65,536 colors||16.7 million colors|
|360GB of storage||9,600GB of storage|
|7.8 million watts at full power||2.2 million watts maximum|
1.1 million watts minimum
|5,000-hour estimated lamp life||50,000-hour estimated lamp life|
|2,596 * 184 resolution||7,552 * 552 resolution|
|32 levels of luminosity||256 levels of luminosity|
|6.2-in. pixel pitch||2-in. pixel pitch|
The Fremont Street Experience downtown revitalization project is a joint
effort of the City of Las Vegas and the Fremont Street Experience Limited
Liability Company, a coalition of 9 downtown hotels -- Binion's Gambling Hall, California Hotel & Casino, The D Las Vegas, Four Queens Hotel and Casino, Fremont Hotel & Casino, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, Golden Nugget Las Vegas and Main Street Station Casino, Brewery & Hotel. Funding is
derived from the 9 downtown hotels, room tax revenues, city
redevelopment funds, and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Information provided by the Fremont Street Experience
- Las Vegas (1995)