Billboard Resolution Requirements

Started May 6, 2005 | Discussions thread
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Cooley
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Billboard Resolution Requirements
May 6, 2005

Greetings All

My question pertains to image resolution for billboard use. Most of my image sales are not used for anything larger than a final size of 17 inches by 22 inches. Using an Epson Pro4000 I make my own high quality prints up to that 17 x 22 inch size.

When customers ask for larger prints I explain that my camera system produces a top file size of only 10 megapixels, and that is not a large enough resolution for a quality image bigger than 17 x 22 inches. I tell them that they need to hire a photographer using a medium format film camera system so that they'll have a large enough file for a high quality photo. I hate to lose the business, but fair is fair.

I have a customer who insists that he can use my 10 mp files to create billboard images that are 8 feet high by 24 feet long for his signs. I tell him he's nuts. He says that if you look at the billboard up close, say from 20 feet away, it just looks like a bunch of dots, which is what I am afraid of. But, he claims, from 150 feet away, it looks just fine.

I have never seen a quality billboard photo that was not razor sharp, even from 20 feet away. While there was some grain, it was not huge dots like this person says will work just fine.

Since I always remember that I will be remembered by my worst photograph, I'm not crazy about having one of my images blown up to the point it looks like a super nova with massive expanses of space between dots. But the customer keeps insisting he wants to "do it".

Are any of you familiar with any billboard printing process that would sensibly allow the use of a tiny 10 megapixel file for a whopping final output of something 8 feet high by 24 feet long? Thanks!

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