I couldn't find this online.
Does anyone know how its actually done?
Look for "spectacular".
The widest wide-format printer I've worked with myself was one that could print directly onto vinyl or paper rolls 6ft wide. If I had to print billboard-sized jobs I'd probably have to print it in strips and assemble it on site. But now I've heard of grand-format printers that can print on media 16ft wide. Our jobs cost hundreds of dollars. Something that needs to be that big probably costs thousands.
Check this out it covers what you are looking for: http://bigpicture.net/
I get the print magazine they put out too and it is cool.
all the billboards in this neck of the woods
are turning electronic.
most of 'em now rotate what they display
every 15 seconds or so, cycling through
a half-dozen ads on any given occasion...
this has even given rise to "billboards"
that get updated in real-time, such that
they say things like "watch the new episode
of 'lost' this wednesday night" right up until
wednesday, when it changes to "tonight"...
heck, the other day, during the lakers game,
a billboard told me the _current_score,_ and
it was only 2 points behind the actual score
-- which i knew as i was listening on radio --
on a basket that was probably made _after_
the billboard was composed and displayed.
and when that angels pitcher was killed in
a car accident earlier this year, the angels
had a tribute up on billboard the next day.
so, exciting new times for billboards, but
billboard painters better find new work...
Mostly printed inkjet on vinyl mesh in strips, assembled on site. Called "spectacular" or "building wrap".http://www.panoramio.com/photo/7172687
The large format printers are solvent based inkjet printers. The solvent ink bonds to the vinyl. The largest machines print billboards as a single piece on a heavy vinyl banner material. The banner is stretched around the framework of the sign.The newest thing is large scale LED billboards that light and are changeable similar to the rotators. Rotators are slats covered in adhesive vinyl, also digitally printed. The same material is used for vehicle wraps.
My wife gets a kick out of rotators being stuck or out of sink so that part is one message and the other part is another machine.
<em>...from the Fontry </em>