Having just attended Lightfair here in New York, I was struck by two things: just when you thought you had seen as many LED products as possible at a trade show, there are more; and not a single Internet kiosk or computer was available to anyone — exhibitor or attendee — at the Jacob Javits Convention Center for the three days of the show. So much for technology (or was that retro chic?). I truly felt for anyone without Internet connectivity on a PDA or phone. Just when you thought you were going out for drinks with your colleagues after the show, a hundred emails in your inbox greet you with a reality check.
While Lightfair is primarily an architectural lighting show, there were some lighting designers there from the entertainment world — those for whom “architainment” is a real part of their business. And while I'm sure some designers attended the show just to find really cool decorative lighting for their lovely homes (you know who you are), maybe they also found something new for the next gig. We'll have some new products from the show featured next month in “What's New in Gear.”
So, how fast is LED technology moving for the entertainment world? Not so fast that LEDs will be powerful enough to be used as a followspot or a searchlight any time soon. Now that will be interesting.
What is ceasing to be interesting is all the news we're hearing about the legal battles being waged on the LED front. It has become as familiar as the moving head wars of the ‘90s, and I'm not so sure we should keep publicizing all the letters and arguments back and forth until there's actually a legal decision. I understand that there are very serious issues to be determined in the coming months, but this is a matter for the legal system to address, not to be played out in the pages of a trade publication. Doesn't that almost trivialize the issue? When there is progress and a decision is handed down, we'll be all over it. In fact, we'll shout it from the rooftops, in print and in our e-newsletter, so the entire industry knows. Until then, I don't think it's a matter for the industry to decide. If it were — like the decision of which console to use — then it wouldn't be in the court system. It would be a marketing issue.
But that's all just my opinion. Read on for our theatre-focused issue, and stay tuned for our concert issue next month.