What’s in store at LDI 2001; a select look at some new products making their debut on the show floor – Trade Show Preview
Michael S. Eddy
So you’re heading for Orlando in early November to check out LDI 2001, but the show has gotten so big that you don’t know where to start. You look at the exhibitor listings and are boggled at the number of exhibitors. You’re definitely hitting the big companies because there’s usually something new. Needless to say, you’ll also go see your friends and colleagues. But after that, what do you target to make your limited time worthwhile and get the most out of it? With just weeks to go before the show, we’ve highlighted a few trends and products to look for on the show floor in Orlando this year. These picks come from the exhibitors’ preshow mailings of what’s new and planned for exhibition.
One of the ongoing trends to keep an eye on is the expanding product range dealing with carrying DMX512 over ethernet and use standard ethernet distribution. Pathways Connectivity is expanding on its award-winning Pathport product range. Artistic Licence has developed the Art-Net protocol, a public domain standard with multi-vendor support including Artistic Licence, ADB, MA Lighting, Doug Fleenor Design, and Goddard Design Co. ETC is expanding its Net2 products and Strand has its ShowNet up and running.
Another trend to keep an eye on is the development of software for the Palm OS range of handheld PDAs. There are quite a few companies developing or expanding software to work with the Palm, the Handspring Visor, and any other PDA that supports the Palm OS. High End Systems is polishing up its Handshake that operates as a DMX tester, a remote lighting controller as well as their path to upgrading the software on the High End fixture line. Interactive Technologies is up to version 5.0 of its Figment DMX, an EDDY Award winner in 2000. Billed as a handheld DMX console, Interactive Technologies has packed a lot of features into a small package. The Figment DMX also runs on a wider variety of handheld devices using Palm OS 3.1 or greater, whereas the Handshake currently only runs on Palm III and Palm VII using Palm OS 3.3 or greater.
One of the most promising new products to be unveiled at LDI is the latest console from ETC, dubbed Emphasis[TM]. Combining two strong technologies–the control of ETC’s Expression, and Express[TM] consoles with the next level of WYSIWYG’s lighting visualization software–Emphasis is designed to change the way people work with lighting.
The console is the next logical step in the creative alliance of ETC and CAST. Last year the companies developed WYSILink, which allowed feedback from the Sensor dimmers through the console to the WYSIWYG light plot. It monitored the dimming and lighting system and graphically represented everything from blown-out lamps to tripped circuit breakers.
Emphasis, by contrast, allows users to solve problems before they affect the production by handling the entire lighting process from start to finish, thus taking the redundancy out of lighting preparation. In the past, users had to draw the plot on one piece of paper, do the paperwork–dimmer selection, channels selection, color selection, etc.–on another piece of paper, and then enter that data into the console. If a change was made, you had to go back and correct and synchronize all the pieces of data. With Emphasis, users make the change in one place, and it automatically updates everything.
The other interesting feature of Emphasis is that all current Expression and Express control console users with the 2X system or better can upgrade and get Emphasis capabilities. Emphasis is fully scaleable to user needs. You can start with a 500-channel system, and later move up to 1,000 channels. You can start with WYSIWYG 2D and later add 3D capabilities.
Among the rumored new products slated for launch at LDI are the High End Systems/Flying Pig Systems Wholehog III console and Cast Lighting’s revolutionary new version of its WYSIWYG software. Lamps are another area where new developments are cloaked in secrecy. Ushio America and General Electric are planning on showing their lines of HPL lamps with a tighter, more compact filament. Both companies are working with ETC on these new lamps for the Source Four line of fixtures. Ushio is calling its line HPL + Ultra Compact Filament; it will be available in 375,575, and 750W.
Phillips will be showing its recently announced Broadway line of entertainment lamps as well as a new technology, called P3, which allows lamps to operate with pinch temperatures up to 500 [degrees] C, where current lamps only operate in the 350 [degrees] -400 [degrees] C range.
Osram is planning on exhibiting entertainment lamps with longer average lamp lives. The rim mount ELC-7/x is a 250W lamp with an average life of 700 hours and the EKE/X is a 150W lamp with an average lamp life of 1,000 hours.
None of the lamp manufacturers have listed LED lamps among their exhibits, but this is a trend to keep an eye on. The US government is spending a lot of money in aiding in the development of a good, long-life white LED lamp, as well as keeping the newest developments in LED lamps in the US. The potential for decreasing electricity consumption, as well as HVAC demand, while increasing lumen output promises to be the hot lamp technology for the coming years.
This is not a rumor, but an LDI exhibit listing that caught my eye: Hubbell Lighting is launching a division called Hubbell Entertainment, Inc., which is showing a new line of eight automated fixtures in its Helix line. Hubbell is billing itself as truly a “one-stop shop for indoor, outdoor, and entertainment lighting.”
And now, on to the products to look for at this year’s LDI.
AC Lighting/MA Lighting will be displaying the grandMA Ultra Light Console, a 1,024-channel version of the popular grandMA console. MA Lighting is also premiering a real-time 3D visualizer for the whole grandMA range of consoles. This software tool works directly with the console to make the programming of complex shows easier and more realistic. The visualizer is based upon Microsoft Direct X standard and links to the console via ethernet
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ACT Enterprises, Inc. will be showing the Single Point Speaker Hanger, adding to its popular line of hardware and hanging devices. The Single Point Speaker Hangers use load-rated swivel eyes with a simple locking device that allows a user to dead-hang a speaker from a single point and focus the speaker without using breasting lines, saving time and money. ACT is also having a naming contest for the tongue-twisting Single Point Speaker Hanger. For details, go to the company’s website or stop by their booth at LDI.
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Artistic Licence from the UK has a series of new products dealing with DMX over ethernet. Art-Net is an ethernet communication protocol developed by Artistic Licence. The protocol has been placed in the public domain on a royalty free basis. Other manufactures are now supporting the Art-Net protocol. Art-Net is a TCP/IP based protocol, which means that it can coexist on the same cable with most proprietary protocols. They are launching two new products: Down-Link is an ethernet to DMX Converter. Up-Link is a DMX to ethernet Converter. Both products are Art-Net compliant and are housed in a standard three-gang cover plate. The front panel provides DMX connections, address switches and indicators.
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Coemar and Tracoman will be showing the new Coemar ispot, a 150W automated yoke fixture that uses the Phillips MasterColor CDM150SA lamp, a lamp with an average rated life of 6,000 hours. The ispot an internal storage of up to 144 scenes with master/slave playback capabilities, geared indexing for metal or glass patterns and a continuously color wheel.
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Entertainment Technology Inc., which recently was acquired by the Genlyte Thomas Group, and has shed the Rosco/ET name in favor of the company’s original name, is showing the Horizon Integrated Control Environment, the most comprehensive Horizon software release to date. This software update adds new features, streamlines others, and makes operation easier. Among the new features are more detailed moving light control, advanced effects and chases, linkable cue lists, and improved features for advanced show control applications. You can still get the company’s products through Rosco Laboratories.
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Calzone and Anvil Case Companies will be introducing the new XLT-1 Series Case Line. These ATA-type transit cases are designed to provide the strength of traditional plywood laminate cases, while employing durable, lightweight polypropylene trilaminate that is over 30% lighter and 100% recyclable. A cellular center layer provides strength to the cases. The cases are available in Calzone Patented Double Angle or Anvil Original Riveted designs and are available in 1/4″ and 3/8″ thickness. Currently the case color choices are black, blue, and silver.
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Available from CRS Technologies, Inc. is the WinchMaster Olaf Soot Design[TM], a motorized fly winch system designed for a wide variety of theatre applications. Features of the WinchMaster include vertical, horizontal, or sloping installation options, overspeed brake, positive drum/carriage synchronous drive without roller chains, variable speed AC drive, and encoder for intermediate trims. The WinchMaster comes in three models: WinchMaster Silver 300 (load: 800lbs; rate of travel: 114fpm), WinchMaster Gold 500 (1,000lbs; 166fpm), and WinchMaster Platinum 750 (1,000lbs; 265fpm).
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For those of you who need a strobe with some punch, Diversitronics is introducing the Mark III, a 3,000W, high-intensity strobe light. The Mark III includes nine themed, preprogrammed effects, including lightning, arc welding, rapid-fire machine gun, emergency vehicle, and a continuous mode for architectural applications. The Auto Lightning effect changes after each firing for a random appearance. The Mark III has long operational duty cycles as well as DMX control. There will also be 2kW and 5kW versions with the same features.
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E/T/C/Audiovisuel and Fourth Phase New Jersey is adding the Pigi’S to its Pigi range of projectors. The Pigi’S is a compact 2.5kW HMI projector that is a scaled-down version of its 7kW xenon unit. The projector is available in three versions: a single slide carrier, a single scroller and a double scroller. Other features include dichroic color mixing, an internal dimming shutter, and remote focus. Control is either via DMX control or Pigi software. At press time, it is unclear if this product will be on the floor or in the seminar room.
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The Gala Venue is a new concept being introduced by Gala Theatrical Equipment. The Gala Venue consists of individual rows of self-guided seating risers using the low-maintenance Spiralift mechanical lift column. Available in straight and angle-ended rows, Gala Venue’s design keeps both back and side walls clear since seating elements require no above-floor storage. It is suited to any type of finished floor covering as well as a large variety of seats. The Gala Venue offers adjustable sightlines adapted to each type of event. Providing flexibility in seating configuration, it offers inclusive, secure, and easy access to handicapped individuals and groups. Easily integrated in the design of new buildings and renovation projects, the self-guided seating riser system provides stability comparable to any structurally supported floor.
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For the lighting designer who wants crisper, clearer pattern projections, Gobo Express has a solution for you. Gobo Express is introducing glass patterns with a black, anti-reflective coating to enhance the image. The black coating on the custom patterns cut down on hazing and ghosting, offering a sharp, clear projection.
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Pathways Connectivity is introducing the Pathport Manager, a user-friendly method of remotely configuring Pathport smart nodes. Pathport was Pathways’ LDI 2000 Product of the Year in the lighting tools and software category. Pathport allows for cost-effective DMX distribution over ethernet distribution. The Pathport Manager provides direct PC access to all of the Pathport functions, including soft labeling, universe and channel patching, merging, and input prioritizing. Pathport has support for up to 64 universes of DMX and includes powerful DMX routing capabilities.
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If you have not seen or played with a Selecon 90 [degrees] ellipsoidal, you have to stop by Selecon’s booth and try it out. Sure, the fixture was introduced two LDIs ago, but it needs to be seen to be believed. There will also be two new products from Selecon worth checking out. The first is a mechanical dimmer for the Pacific MSR fixture range. This dimmer is controllable via DMX. The second product is the HiPort, which is a range of recessed fixtures that use either the 70 or 150W CDM/CMH metal halide lamps. Features include high-output pattern projection, a slot for color, and beam-shaping shutters. There are three beam angles of 40 [degrees], 24 [degrees], and 10 [degrees] for throws from 15′ to 60′
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Wybron, Inc. jumps into the pattern rotating business with the new Moire, a dual-pattern rotator designed to fit the ETC Source Four and the Altman Shakespeare 600 ellipsoidals. The Moire allows the designer to spin two metal or glass B-size patterns independently. Use of a toggle switch allows the patterns to move in opposition, together, or one pattern static and one moving. The unit plugs into a non-dim AC output for power. Wybron will also be showing the newly improved Goboram II, which will change, index, and rotate three different patterns. It is designed to work with the Source Four and the Shakespeare ellipsoidals as well, but the fixture does require a modification, since the unit runs through the body of the unit. It gets its power and control from a standard Coloram power supply.
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