As the LA Dodgers go to the World Series, Los Angeles rallies behind the home team. Pacific Park programmed their world-famous Ferris wheel to shine blue and display the message, “Go Dodgers”. The special light program created for the Dodgers’ World Series run also featured an animated baseball, World Series pennant, and the Dodger’s iconic “LA” insignia.
Standing high out on the Santa Monica Pier, the Pacific Wheel is an icon on the Los Angeles coastline. The Wheel is regularly seen in the background of live news broadcasts, TV commercials, music videos and every YouTubers’ vlog from LA. The 174,000 LED lights that animate the Wheel’s 130ft face shine nightly at dusk, dazzling viewers from the sand and around the world, thanks to the Park’s HD webcams. The Wheel’s custom lighting array displays messages, icons, emojis, and colorful programs that change with the seasons and holidays. Visitors to the Pier love to photograph the custom displays, hearts, smiling faces, and holiday-themed animations. It’s no wonder that the Wheel stands at the center of the most Instagrammed place in Los Angeles.
In addition to celebrating the Dodgers, the Pacific Wheel has also displayed custom light programs for the LA Galaxy, American Film Market, The LA Opera and many charitable organizations including the American Red Cross, Santa Monica Bay Foundation, and Conserve Energy SoCal. Light programs vary in length, but are usually 6-12 minutes long and loop continuously through the night. The Wheel’s capability to display not just blinking lights and patterns has allowed the Park to craft fun displays matched to the holiday, event, or sponsoring organizations brand. Recent shows have included winking emojis, scrolling text, waving snowmen, and a giant swimming whale for Twilight on the Pier.
The software used to author the Wheel’s program is a proprietary program created by the lighting package manufacturer, eWorks Pro. The program is a frame-by-frame pixel mapping software. Programmers first start by importing a still image into the program, then recolor the image into values the Wheel can display. After that, the image can be animated to spin, twist, and loop. More complex animation, like the kissing emoji or a waving flag, are first animated in a second program and then rendered into images the Wheel can understand. A minute of programming on the Wheel takes about an hour to program.
Since updating the Ferris wheel lighting package in May of 2016, Pacific Park has received an overwhelming increase in requests to light the Pacific Wheel with specific colors and iconography. Companies, causes, and individuals alike all want to partner with the iconic Ferris wheel to celebrate and bring awareness to their individual causes and events. The Wheel’s lighting package can display a wide-array of colors that can be programmed to display animated patterns and pictures. This programming can take just a couple of hours or several days depending on the specificity of the request. Due to the large number of requests and some limitations of the programming capabilities, all requests must meet a standardized set of guidelines and not all requests can be honored.
Want more information about how you can sponsor the Pacific Wheel and see your color shine on the Santa Monica Pier? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get the full run-down and receive a special wheel lighting application.