The clock is definitely ticking now, as we’re 48 hours from the LDI doors swinging open to the public. For my seventh and luckiest column to date, I treat you to a full house of LDI exhibitors showing their hand in Vegas. One thing you won’t have to gamble on is finding me at the show; I’ll be wheelin’ and dealin’ on the Anvil Cases / Calzone Case Company stand during the day (I’ll be the guy wearing black), and probably even jamming at the Tropicana with The Swingin’ Johnsons on Saturday night. See you there!

First up from my player’s deck … A.C.T. Lighting, the distributor of MA Lighting and other popular brands in North America. Bob Gordon and his ‘ace’ team have a lot to show you this LDI; here are six important lines to check out. The new grandMA2 console uses the same total control philosophy as the original grandMA, allowing intuitive and fast programming over all connected fixtures and channels in appropriate styles. i-Pix Digital Lighting’s BB 7 beamlight and BB4 washlight use customized light engines from Lamina to create a blended RGB output with no color separation. The user-friendly Satellite, a 42-watt self-contained wash fixture, rounds out this offering of innovative fixtures. Zero 88's new Jester TL offers control of up to 120 dimmer channels and 30 moving lights from a numeric keypad using standard industry syntax. Meanwhile, the ORB console is an inventive combination of theatre-lighting philosophy and an adaptable hardware platform. Schnick Schnack Systems offer a flexible system for both backlighting and the display of animated graphic images. Their unique LED modulation ensures a smooth, flicker-free display. And yes, there’s one more … DistroTech is A.C.T Lighting's proprietary line of power distribution and motor controllers, DistroTech features industry-standard connectors and configurations. The units are UL-listed and will be stocked at A.C.T's California and New York locations. Whew!

Next, let’s check in with ADB Lighting, who is unveiling their WARP Motorized and the WARP Daylight fixtures to the U.S. market at this show. The WARP Motorized features output matching that of a standard 1200W profile spotlight, yet it consumes only 750W. The WARP Motorized offers precision optics combined with patented unique beam shaping capabilities, accurate repeatability, and silent operation. Continuing this theme of high brightness and greater efficiency, the WARP Daylight 575W delivers 2500W of output, yet consumes only 575W; it produces optimum color temperature and includes the company’s patented 360° ring control.

Pathway Connectivity is known for their nifty control management tools, and 2008 finds them showing a pair of really useful gadgets. Their Pathport® Touring Edition is a single port DMX node providing all of Pathway’s DMX-over-Ethernet management features in a rugged truss-mountable form. Designed for the touring and rental markets, the Touring Edition is fully configurable without a computer or a network connection. The Pathport® eDIN is a single port DMX node designed specifically (but not exclusively) for distributing control signal to LED installations. DMX is output via a terminal block or RJ45 connector, with the RJ45 user-selectable between the standard DMX-over-Cat5 pinout or a Color Kinetics wiring scheme.

Another company with a hand of winners is Stage Technologies. They designed their new
F:light to bridge the gap between lighting and automation. It allows moving lights to automatically track moving scenery of performers, while fully remaining under the LD’s control.
F:light uses real-time automation data feedback to accurately follow objects, offering the control to not only track with pan and tilt, but also to maintain constant beam size. Changes of speed or path as well as preset dark regions are handled dynamically, and tracking will continue even if the lighting fixtures themselves are moving simultaneously. And their Acrobat:G6 has new features such as plotting by speed or time, operator speed override, graphical and text based views, and 3D plotting views.

And the final trump card in this column is one hot tip - check out City Theatrical, who is showing a bunch of new products this weekend. TheirsupercoolSHoW DMX debuted at LDI 2007 in pre-production form, but you’ll see it in full production with all accessories. Features include Synchronized Hopping, Limited Bandwidth, Limited Output Power, Limited Burst Mode, RDM, Art-Net, and more. Next, they unleash the iW Blast® TR Lighting Kit, a portable LED lighting kit for location lighting of film/video. It includes three Philips Color Kinetics iW Blast TR LED fixtures, plus stands, mounts, barndoors, egg crate louvers, polycarbonate holographic lenses in both symmetric and asymmetric types, and controllers. There’s also the MasterBlast, CT’s newest LED product for wireless event lighting. It uses a Philips Color Kinetics ColorBlast 12 TR, a battery base and a power/data supply along the their SHoW DMX wireless DMX. Standalone routines, Extended Battery mode, built in battery gauge, interchangeable unbreakable lenses, and user selection of each unit as either a transmitter or receiver make the MasterBlast a standout for events. City Theatrical has also created an updated version of the classic White Light VSFX projector, and gone into production with their DMX Snow Machine™.

Thank you for tuning in to my columns, and I hope to see you during the show – I’m not bluffing.