Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Playoffs Laser Logo Projection

Lasers in a setup like this can be deployed in minutes instead of days or hours. Guerrilla marketing/advertising of this scale is no longer a dream. Get your cameras ready!

NHL Team Pittsburgh Penguins uses the most powerful full-color entertainment lasers in the WORLD ( 85W total! ) to cover the dome of the Mellon Arena in downtown Pittsburgh during the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoff Games. This continued during the Stanley Cup Finals, when Lightwave moved from the Arena roof and projected lasers onto several of downtown Pittsburgh’s tallest buildings.

The First Challenge: How to project dominating bright logos onto the 417ft diameter stainless steel dome of Mellon Arena? Logos that will be bright enough for fans to see on the ground while overcoming the giant wash fixtures that illuminate the shell of the dome.

Additionally, Lightwave visual artists desire high complexity; there are over 8000 vector points in the desired artwork for the various logo rotations. The images cannot flicker. They will be used as a backdrop for national news broadcasts, displayed inside the arena on the JumboTron, and the camera’s exposure settings will be optimized for the on-screen talent instead of the dome. The images must appear stable and flicker-free even with these camera settings. The answer? Use lasers. Lots of lasers. More laser power than is sensible or standard for the industry: in this case, 85 Watts of full-color projection at 150,000+ points per second.

Following a great response to the laser projections during the playoffs, laser projections continued during the Stanley Cup Finals. For game 3, lasers projected the Pens logo from the Mellon Arena onto the side of a nearby skyscraper. The resulting image was ten stories high and visible to thousands of outdoor audience members. For game 4, they decided to go one step further, projecting logos and images onto three of Pittsburgh’s tallest buildings. The projection needed to be brilliant enough to overcome the lit windows in the buildings, easily visible to the lawn crowd and the thousands of attendees exiting the facility.

To realize Game 3’s projection goals, Lightwave used two 12W lasers to project the team logo onto a single building near the Mellon Arena. These lasers drew the image in the most efficient manner to desist flicker and boost luminosity.

For Game 4, the Pens logo was moved to the US Steel Tower, the tallest building in the city of Pittsburgh. Here over 60W of full-color laser power was used for this logo alone. This was done for extreme brightness and clarity, as the USX building is a black surface over 1100 feet from the arena. The resultant image spanned 12 stories, which was quite striking to the outdoor crowd and effortlessly captured the attention of national news media present for the game.