by Cat Strom.
LDI 2018 celebrated its 30th anniversary with the best-attended October show in its history with over 14,000 registered to attend and over 360 exhibitors. While the core of the show remains entertainment lighting, LDI 2018 showed attendance growth from key segments including audio engineers, video and projection designers, and rigging/staging professionals.
The turnout from Australia was a little sparse compared to previous shows but somehow, after wining and dining with manufacturers, they managed to congregate every night at either The Hard Rock’s Circle Bar or Wynn’s Parasol bar, depending on which camps you were affiliated with! Rumours of bad behavior were a bit tame this year although one well-known Australian LD did lose a whole day of the tradeshow after a big night at the Circle Bar.
Sean McKernan and Davey Taylor from the TLC – The Lighting Collective used the show to announce that they will be distributing the LightShark series of affordable consoles from WorkPro. These small consoles are very versatile with an intuitive and easy interface.
Avolites’ video and lighting control integration system, Synergy, which enables users to connect and configure their Ai media server from the Titan interface, was their main offering for the show. GLP revealed their compact LED moving head impression FR1 which is one of the cutest lights ever. Also new was the impression E350 model, the brother of the impression S350 LED Moving Head, with a 30% brighter LED engine and very narrow iris. Portman weren’t launching anything new but I’ve included a picture because they are just so darned pretty.
ChamSys surprised everyone with their QuickQ range of lighting consoles that bring simplicity and power to the small console market. These consoles are ideal for students, volunteers, or part-time operators, and comfortable to use even by professionals on small-scale shows. VuePix Infiled highlighted their new Air Carbon Touring series and Deep Black high-definition panels which Cuono was very excited by even though he looks very cool in his photo. Meanwhile over on the SGM stand, the G-7 Spot was getting a pounding from water, mud and just about anything else you could throw at it.
For the first time in ages there was no Alex Mair at the show and the Circle Bar just wasn’t the same without him. Elation brought heaps of new product adding to their waterproof Proteus line and showcasing the charmingly named TwinkLED technology. Sounds very Peter Pan. The Artiste Monet generated quite a buzz. High End Systems presented their SolaFrame 3000 and SolaSpot 3000 models but most people were talking about the prototype of the TurboRay, a dynamic effects fixture that is perfect eye candy for multiple applications. TMB showcased their ProPlex IQ Tester LV Ethernet/DMX tester/analyzer which is the first Ethernet tester designed for entertainment production. The Solaris Flare IP range – the brightest outdoor LED fixtures – has two new additions: The Flare IP HD Dynamic White and HD RGBA fixtures.
Channeling an Indiana Jones meets Studio 54 vibe, the Robe stand was a sight to behold. Along with the super bright Super Spikie, the T1 Profile LED moving light specifically designed to fulfil the challenging requirements of three very diverse disciplines – theatre, television and touring – in one comprehensive fixture was the main drawcard. Also launched was iParFect, the first in a range of IP rated luminaires. The Vista by Chroma-Q range of consoles were displayed with a new model coming soon.
The Show Technology team of Emmanuel Ziino, Paul Nicolaou, and Mike Gearin were out on force at the show. There was a lot of gossip as to why Martin by Harman decided not to exhibit on the main floor, preferring a demo room, but whatever the reason, their new mover the MAC Allure Profile was generally well received.
Also new was the ELP, a bold entry into the world of ellipsoidal LED fixtures. The announcement of the ClayPaky SHARPY PLUS excited many as this is the first 100% hybrid unit capable of being both a perfect beam moving light and a perfect spotlight. Well, so they say.
AV Stumpfl showed their innovative T-32 Shift screen system leg – not as sexy as a flashy moving light but a useful addition to their range. Their upcoming PIXERA media server system also garnered attention. Robert Juliat presented the Dalis Access 863 cyclight designed to give those with smaller budgets the first access to Dalis technology. Ayrton not only had an award-winning booth, they also previewed the new Diablo™S, Diablo™TC, Mistral TC and Mistral S automated fixtures.
The Chauvet booth seemed to always be packed. New products were added to the company’s popular Maverick, Rogue, Ovation, COLORado and STRIKE lines. Drawing attention at the center of the company’s booth was a running water display of the new Maverick Storm 1 Wash, a high output IP65 LED fixture that’s especially well-suited for outdoor applications.
Another crowd favourite was the large lighting display wall that featured a show by designer Cody James. Commanding attention on that impressive structure were the STRIKE Saber, a bright pixel mapable LED batten-style fixture with amber shift; and the COLORado Solo Batten, an IP65 rated RGBAW linear unit that produces seamless edge-to-edge homogenised colour across its lens with no separations, dimmed lens corners or tiny circles.
Over on the Philips/Signify was the VL10 the latest Vari-Lite BeamWash fixture, the VL10, was shown for the first time at LDI. PRG/VER: featured the mammoth SuperRay Luminaire which is BIG. As well as being a hybrid fixture that can act as a beam, wash, spot or profile fixture, it can also perform as a followspot as it has an inbuilt camera to tie in with the PRG GroundControl followspot system.
On the award-PRG winning GLP stand Cosmic Truss revealed twisted truss called DNA designed to bring truss to the forefront of scenic designs, creating a stunning contrast to the traditional box truss.
We asked a few friendly faces at LDI 2018 what they found exciting…
1. Graham Anderson – Lighting Director, Backstreet Boys Larger Than Life Las Vegas Residency
I was pretty excited about the High End Systems Turbo Ray that they are planning on releasing next year. It might just be nostalgia for the VL5 but I’d love to get that fixture into a rig. The PRG SPACEFRAME was really impressive as well and will be a game changer for touring.
2. Emmanuelle Gigi Pedron – Lighting Designer, Queens of the Stone Age
I love the Dalis series from Robert Juliat. The Dalis 862 comes in two sizes and is an exceptional footlight. I see a lot of use for it. In the Spots category I’m interested in trying the Mistral and Ghibli from Ayrton and the Picasso and Da Vinci from Elation. It’s hard to see the possibilities of a light at a trade show, nothing better than trying it yourself. In the effects category I’d like to play with Ayrton’s MagicBurst and the JDC-1 from GLP. I think they would be brighter than the sun itself if combined! The drone show by Verity Studio was awesome so was the BlackTrax demonstration. That’s the future of lighting design.
3. Jared Hawke – Managing Director, Frontier Lighting
The Chauvet COLORado Panel Q40 really impressed me – in fact I bought 12! They are extremely punchy, have WDMX built-in, and are lighter, brighter and cheaper than similar products on the market.
4. Ray Bond – Managing Director, Control Tech Asia Pty Ltd
Truthfully I thought there was a lack of stunning products or “game changers”. Innovation seems to have plateaued. The one thing that was obvious was the improvement in optical quality on most projection equipment with razor sharp images even on cheapish fixtures. I did like the Apollo GoboPro+ LED Outdoor Profile – very small, 75w LED engine and inbuilt rotator.
5. Clint Dulieu – Technical Designer
There were three products that impressed me the most at LDI. The TMB Proplex IQ Tester as it is a great standalone all-in-one testing tool for modern lighting systems which very much includes networking and IP protocols in 2018.
The Ayrton Bora (and their whole line up also) because we are now seeing LED hit its maturity where it’s a real replacement for all needs traditionally held onto by discharge fittings, coupled with top rate industrial design and build quality. And AV Stumpfl Pixera servers as, whilst still in development, the new Media Server platform looks extremely promising, powerful, with a very streamlined workflow.
6. Myles Mangino – Lighting Designer, The Pixies
It was exciting to have some time with the new MA3s. Looking forward to taking these out on tour next year and expanding on the depth of programming we were able to achieve with the MA2s. Vectorworks new Vision was an important and well-needed addition for us designers using Previz.
I thought GLP’s KNV Cube and KNV Arc were one of the most unique and useful new ideas this year. Applications could be anywhere from concert tours to architectural installs.
Robe’s ground control Robospot was something a lot of designers were waiting for, bridging the gap between PRG’s system and the software based systems, and making ground control more widely available. Blacktrax had some impressive innovations that will add new levels of creativity to designers, and inspire entirely new designs. And I thought Enttec’s LED Mapping and Pixalator Hardware finally brought the world of LED tape and Dots up to the pro level.