On Feb. 1, the Neon Museum Las Vegas debuted an audiovisual immersion experience titled “Brilliant!,” which reanimates 40 of the museum’s iconic vintage signs. Presented after dark in the Neon Museum’s North Gallery, “Brilliant!” was created by digital artist and designer Craig Winslow using projection mapping to arrive at a shared augmented reality experience. Earth Water Sky served as the system designer and integrator.
Up to 50 guests at a time “will be transported directly into Las Vegas’ history,” where the signs light up accompanied by music from some of the entertainment industry’s most storied performers.
“Brilliant!” utilizes 24 3D-sound speakers and eight projectors emitting a total of 80,000 lumens of light to create a 360-degree audiovisual experience. Two 20-foot, climate-controlled towers, designed to resemble the classic Champagne-bubble cylinder from the old Flamingo Las Vegas hotel and casino, were constructed by noted sign company YESCO. They house the projectors, which are aligned to cover the entirety of the North Gallery space.
To create the projections used to give the impression the signs have been re-electrified, Winslow took a combination of flat photography, drone video, and 3-D photogrammetry, all used as references to recreate each sign, bulb by bulb. He then used a process called structured light scanning to obtain a precise view of the projectors’ output, before fine-tune warping the content to align to the actual surfaces. This process, known as projection mapping, aligns digital animations to the physical world, allowing signs that have not been illuminated for decades to shine once again.
Winslow previously created a smaller-scale, one-night-only projection for the museum’s North Gallery last February. That work was part of a larger, site-specific series Winslow created called “Light Capsules,” where he uses projection mapping to revive “ghost signs”—unrestored, faded, no longer legible painted signs on buildings. After seeing his eye-catching artistry applied to its neon signs, the museum began discussions with Winslow about creating a permanent projection-mapping experience for visitors.
Performances of “Brilliant!” will take place hourly from 6 –9 p.m., Wednesday through Monday (the experience will be dark on Tuesdays). Tickets are $15 for locals and $23 for general admission.