The story of neon signage in the city of angels dates back to the early 1920’s when French engineer and inventor Georges Claude sold a pair of neon signs to the Packard Car Dealership for a grand total of $24,000.
Those signs (allegedly, though perhaps disputed) became the first neon signs ever installed in the United States.
Today there are literally of dozens of historic neon signs dotting the skyline of greater Los Angeles, and though you may or may not have taken notice of all the neon that populates our city, L.A. based cinematographer Drew Ganyer did, and a short video he posted to Vimeo aims to highlight this very point.
Ganyer’s video, entitled Neon Rooftops of LA is a brief but gorgeous sampling of the many incredible historic neon signs taking up real estate on the rooftops of L.A.
After seeing Ganyer’s video on the r/LosAngeles subreddit I reached out via email to learn more about what he had created.
It turns out Ganyer was inspired to shoot the neon signage after recently acquiring a DJI Phantom 3 drone and doing some test flights at a friend’s apartment that was adjacent to The Embassy sign.
That initial flights piqued a curiosity, which lead him publicartinla.com where he discovered a laundry list of neon signs and their exact locations around Los Angeles.
From that starting point, a passion was uncovered, and a project was born:
“It took me about a month of filming to capture the signs. My goal was to shoot them all around dusk or dawn when there is still a little glow in the sky but the challenge was that all the signs turn on and off at different times and a lot of the signs turn on after dark and turn off before dawn. I was lucky that my friend and neighbor, Josh Humphrey, was excited about creating some music for the video and he did a great job. I have some sign footage that didn’t make this video and there are a lot more signs out there, I’d like to keep filming and maybe put out another video or a longer version.”
As Ganyer hints, with some footage left unused and a desire to keep shooting more signage, this may not be the last rooftop video we see from the filmmaker.
If so, I say go for it!
For those who are really serious about their neon signage, I recommend checking out the newly built Museum of Neon Art in Glendale.