The above words were spoken by a representative from Lumileds at Lightfair 2003, held in New York City's Jacob Javits Center May 6-8, and they refer to the expected industry-wide takeover by LED units. As was the case last year, the buzz on the trade show floor centered on this new technology that, we are constantly told, will replace the light bulb, reduce energy consumption, and save the world. At times it seemed as if virtually every Lightfair exhibitor had a new LED product (office lighting, stage lighting, traffic lighting) for which the most extravagant claims were made (They're brighter! They change colors! They use only 2W a day!). The sound of revolution was in the air. Incandescent bulbs? They're so 20th century!
Everyone can calm down now. Yes, LED technology is an important, possibly revolutionary, development — but it's not there yet. Much progress has been made, but much more development and testing are needed. We haven't seen how these products perform under real-world conditions. From our perspective (that of the entertainment/architainment axis), that big, breakthrough LED product hasn't yet happened.
Let's put it in perspective: There have been many fads at Lightfair that fell short of their initial promise. A number of years ago, fiber optics were going to revolutionize our lives. Then, for a year or two, dimmable ballasts were all the rage. Now, nobody can live without LEDs. If you think we're exaggerating, consider this: No fewer than eight LED units won awards in the Lightfair New Product Showcase.
Still, some industry insiders predict that it will be five to 10 years before LEDs are mature enough to replace other light sources. The impatient among us can't wait that long — they want their LEDs now! But we will see what we will see. Be assured, however, that the company that comes up with a realistic, bright, white LED, suitable for use in the home or as a task light, will have the A-lamp for this century.
In the meantime, there was a fascinating array of LED products at the show: What's particularly interesting is how you can trace back virtually all the LED units on display to a few manufacturers, Nichia and Lumileds being the primary suppliers. Lumileds' Luxeons were in an astounding number of products at the show — a promotional piece directed visitors to at least 20 companies that featured Luxeons in their products. On second thought, maybe LEDs are taking over, after all!
Among the LED units that got our attention:
Altman (www.altmanltg.com) has fully embraced LED technology with its Spectra Series, with the most notable product its 70W Outdoor Spectra Splash 540-LED color-mixing PAR unit. There was also a PAR-64 prototype unit with the larger 1W Lumileds Luxeon for power. It offers a lot of output and could eventually rival a traditional 1kW PAR for punch. Altman also had its full range of architectural products on display.
AVR, the UK-based maker of architectural color changers, now has a US home under the stewardship of Marcel Fairbairn (www.avr-usa.com). AVR had Ledion, a color-changing, DMX-controlled lighting panel; consisting of a very slim 44×300×300mm square panel, the Ledion produces a diverse range of colors and shades from its state-of-the-art LED light source.
Color Kinetics' (www.colorkinetics.com) new products included the ColorBlaze, a theatrical striplight version, which, in the hall, appeared very bright and is scheduled to ship this summer. The C-Splash waterproof fixture can now be submersed up to 15' underwater. iColorCove now comes in a variety of throws, including a 180° throw called iColorCoveNXT. The coolest new product was shown in a prototype format: Chromasic technology. Chromasic works with single-chip LEDs with RGB output, for a truer sense of a point source. CK had panels made up of it and it could be programmed in an infinite variety of patterns and colors. CK is looking to simplify some of the programming, so it won't require a huge number of DMX universes to program a complicated effect.
Hess America (www.hessamerica.com), a stateside affiliate of Hess from Germany, introduced the Millenio, the first pole light using LEDs as the source. This product, along with many in the Hess line, screams for use in theme parks as well as malls, walkways, etc. The housing is comprised of two parallel, slender aluminum sections reminiscent of a tuning fork. Each section houses 450 LEDs and a specially designed teardrop lens. The pole light has a minimalist European design and is constructed from anodized aluminum.
James Thomas Engineering (www.jthomaseng.com) showed the latest from the PixelPar range of LED products. Among its product offerings was the prototype of the PixelPar 90L RGB, a PAR-64 fixture using 90 of the 1W Lumileds Luxeons; a PixelPar 12L, an all-white LED PAR; and a low-profile batten version for indoor use with an outdoor version to follow in about six months. This company is really pushing the use of LEDs in traditional PAR and strip form-factor luminaires.
Lumileds (www.lumileds.com) is releasing a warm white version of its high-brightness Luxeon LED that will feature a correlated color temperature in the 3200K range, a typical color-rendering index of 85+, and an average light output of 22 lumens.
Imagine rows of LEDs floating in space with no visible power source and you have pictured Orgatech's (www.orgatechomegalux.com) new Lightstar LED indirect luminaire. Two dimmable 54W T5HO lamps with wide-distribution reflectors provide primary illumination. The 80 blue or white LEDs mounted in twin laminated clear tempered glass panels are powered by an invisible low-voltage power supply. A standard dimming ballast provides variable control of illumination levels.
Times Square Lighting (www.tslight.com) is repurposing its fixtures for use with LED sources. There is the LED180, an LED-driven fixture in a PAR-38 style body. The unit takes three channels of DMX for color control or can use its onboard dipswitches for stand-alone control. It can be surface-mounted or used on a track. The fixture is available finished in black, white, or silver as well as custom colors. Times Square is now carrying the Nordic Aluminum Global control, which can have separate channels of control in addition to adding DMX to the track.
TIR Systems (www.tirsys.com) has branched out from the Light Pipe with its award-winning Destiny ColorWash fixture. Using the Lumileds Luxeon LED package, coupled with TIR film for diffusion, the Destiny most resembles a laptop computer to wash walls with a range of colorful light. The company also has a smaller version of the light pipe, for those applications that require a neon replacement.
The Xilver Droplet fixture was seen at PLASA and at LDI last year; Xilver (www.xilver.nl) has been busy making refinements to the first intelligent luminaire that uses LEDs for its light source. Among its new features is a new optical design. The fixture comes standard with a 10° lens as well as being supplied with an 18° and 30° lens. Extension arms are now available for the Droplet to get it into the right location. The Droplet is being used in a new national tour of the musical Starlight Express.
Another holdover trend from last year: A number of traditionally theatrical manufacturers were present making — or trying to make — the crossover to the architectural lighting market. Architecture is providing much-needed growth for a number of manufacturers, since entertainment has been growing very slowly in these questionable economic times. Walking the floor were more than a few theatrical dealers looking to expand their product lines and find a way into this new world.
Of all the intelligent lighting manufacturers that have crossed over into the architectural market looking for growth, the most successful has been Martin Professional. From its booth design to the design of the product as well as how easily they are making the integration of control, the Martin line of architectural products have made the biggest impact. The highly designed Euro look has won a lot of praise, even though some of the products look like escapees from a 1950s sci-fi movie, with a bit of Tim Burton's design sensibility thrown in; nevertheless, they perform their assigned tasks well, and look good while doing them.
Among the crossover companies on display:
Apollo Design Technology (www.internetapollo.com) featured gel tubes for fluorescents, available in over 100 colors, standard 4' length or custom sizes, with safety cap. Apollo also featured 2.8mm-thin glass gobos for black-and-white or color scenic effects.
Enliten (www.enliten.co.uk), the architectural arm of the English company White Light, showed the exhibition PAR/PARnel “Baby,” a 150W daylight fixture that combines ETC technology with high-power HID daylight sources for high-brightness applications. The company also showed the Exhibition Ellipsoidal 16/35°, a high-powered discharge projector with 575W MSD/HR long-life hot-restrike lamp and electronic power supply. Sharing space with Enliten was Tempest Lighting (www.tempestlighting.com), maker of exterior housings for automated lights. Products include the Storm Lighting Enclosure, which was conceived with all fixed-position ellipsoidal projectors in mind. It provides basic protection from the elements. The sturdy fiberglass body is topped with a 10" projection window on its front cap, which is easily removed to access the luminaire and its shutters or focus adjustments. It will hold ETC and Altman 10° ellipsoidals.
Electronic Theatre Controls (www.etcconnect.com) was on hand to promote its full line of Source Four HID fixtures. In other news, ETC's architectural division recently named Mike Hubbard its central regional sales manager. Hubbard will be based out of Chicago and will cover that city, plus Minneapolis, the rest of the Midwest, and part of the Southwest. Joe Bokelman has signed on as western regional architectural sales manager, and will cover markets in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and Western US and Canada. ETC has also opened a new office in Rome with regional manager Culvio Cotogni and field project manager David Gray on hand to focus on ETC's activities in southern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
The most popular item at the GAM Products (www.gamonline.com) booth was the soft gel sleeve for fluorescent tubes from T5 to biax, available in 138 GAM colors. Also on hand was the line of TwinSpins and effects units that come in a variety of sizes for a wide range of fixtures.
The Genlyte Thomas Group (www.genlytethomas.com) of companies included Vari-Lite (www.vari-lite.com) and Entertainment Technology (www.etdimming.com) in addition to its more purely architectural lines. On display was the new Vari*Lite® VL3000™ luminaire (see “Belle of the Bal,” page 30) as well as ET's new Marquee 24/48 control console for all the people who like Horizon control but still have a jones for furniture. It is a sleek new console, with some very good design philosophy behind it. Look for a new version of Horizon to power it, and they have a strong contender in the mid-range console market. This console will spread the use of Horizon much further afield from its current base of loyal users.
Kupo (www.dichroic.com.tw) showed its Hot Mirror heat-reflecting mirror, to be used in applications where it is desirable to transmit visible light but reflect IR (heat energy) and block UV light from a source of continuous radiation. Also shown was the UV blocking filter which reflects both near and far ultraviolet energy and transmits much of the visible and infrared.
New from Lightronics (www.lightronics.com) is the TL-5024 lighting controller, an easy-to-operate, mid-sized console designed to answer the needs of both theatrical and concert lighting applications. It features soft patch and cue list with programmable fade times as well as live scene control and programmable chases.
Martin Architectural (www.martin.dk) had on display variations on the Alien 02 and 05 color-mixing luminaires, both with new features and accessories; the Viro Station, which mixes audio with color-changing technology; and the Exterior 600, with the addition of light pipe for a bright and interesting twist to color-changing and signage. New products included the Cyclo 02, 03, and 04 color-mixing fluorescent units, along with a recessed version of the 04 for washing walls in color. Also shown was the Imager, an image projector with movement. It is designed for high-resolution projection of patterns, images, logos, and messages. It is available as either a single-image projector or in a four-image version, as well as an optional moving-mirror click-on accessory. It uses a 250W discharge lamp, the standard spread angle is 23°, and it is easy to insert narrow-angle 15° and wide-angle 32° options.
Pixeon's (www.pixeon.com) bright, color-changing Color Stream LED tube won a New Product Showcase award and garnered a lot of attention on the show floor.
Lehigh Electric Products Co. (www.lehighdim.com) showed its new 30-circuit dimmer rack as well as the Designer Series consoles available in 12- and 30-channel models.
Rosco (www.rosco.com) displayed many of its products that are crossing over into architectural lighting, including a swatchbook of the Rosco colors that are available in dichroics. This is a more cost-effective way for Rosco to promote its line of dichroic glass color filters. Also getting attention was the ImagePro, which allows a range of colored patterns, both glass and plastic, to be used in a range of ellipsoidal spotlights.
Selecon (www.seleconlight.com) displayed the Aureol Fresco Flood, its new addition to its Ardiis line. The Fresco complements the well-known Aureol BeamSpot and BeamShaper. There is a choice of line-voltage tungsten halogen or low-voltage light sources, and the contemporary design is achieved from a combination of pressure die castings and extrusions, and is available in white, silver-gray, black, and a new chrome finish. Mounting options include track mount, ceiling base, and a hanging clamp for temporary installations.
Space Cannon (www.spacecannon.com) displayed its line of products which grab a lot of attention for washing buildings as well as a range of LED-driven products, both in linear cove fixtures and in more traditional architecturally designed fixtures like its Metamorphosis, which has a lot of punch and adds an amber LED to the traditional RGB LEDs, allowing for better color balancing. The unit comes with a range of PAR-style lenses that allow for quite a throw from this very sleekly designed luminaire.
Of course, there were many strictly architectural companies on hand, too (and yes, you'll also find LED products here). Among them:
Bulbrite (www.bulbrite.com) had a number of new lamps at the show, including T-4 Ultra Slim fluorescents in warm and cool white, daylight, RGB, and blacklight; MR-16 Vivid Lite with a 4600K color temperature, as well as the award-winning frosted MR-16 lamps, which are also available with the back of the reflector finished in black or silver for no throw out of the rear of the lamp.
Crestron (www.crestron.com) was present, after a few years of being absent from Lightfair, and was showing off its home automation products. They are promising some new developments in higher-end control configurations with Ethernet, wireless DMX touch pads, as well as a better implementation of DMX coming in the near future. Crestron has also become a Pathway Alliance partner, having implemented Pathway Connectivity's Pathport protocol in its products.
GE (www.gelighting.com) celebrated in a big way with a gala awards dinner aboard the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier on May 5 (see BizWire, page 12, for winners). GE also introduced a wide range of new lamps in a variety of categories, emphasizing energy efficiency and lamp life. GE is also pushing forward in the LED category with its GELcore technology and the launch of a new higher-quality white LED.
Hubbell (www.hubbellentertainment.com) is a major architectural lighting company, but, ironically, the company garnered the most attention for its new entertainment gear, the HX line of wash and profile luminaires. These long-awaited products — they were first shown at LDI 2001 — are now available and are being specified by LDs looking for small-but-powerful units in display applications.
Lumenyte (www.lumenyte.com) showed the LumePanel™ backlighting fixture, a fiber-optic solution for challenging backlighting and color-changing scenarios, and the Sta-flex® LEF710M linear fiber solution designed to provide an alternative to fluorescent and neon units.
Among the many new products at Osram Sylvania (www.sylvania.com) are the Metalarc Powerball Ceramic 150W 3000K lamp that combines energy efficiency with high color rendering (CRI 89); Linex mercury-free linear lamp systems for entertainment, studio, and architectural lighting, especially in extreme temperature situations or when rapid lamp switching and critical color are needed; the Linearlight Colormix LED dimmable system, used in conjunction with the Optotronic LED power supply to provide dynamic control of color-changing LED modules with 30 surface-mounted LEDs; the patent-pending HPR 575/115 high-performance reflector tungsten halogen lamp, the newest member of the family of lamps for theatrical, concert, and architectural applications. In addition, Osram Sylvania's new Octron 28W T8 Supersaver Ecologic won the fluorescent category in Lightfair's New Product Showcase.
Universal Lighting Technologies (www.universalballast.com) showed Triad® high-efficiency ballasts, which deliver 3-6% additional energy savings over traditional ballasts, and the Homestar™ ballast for residential applications, among others.
Ushio (www.ushio.com) introduced new lamps in all categories including “ceramique,” Pulse Strike, UMH Horizontal Burn, Pro-PAR, CF-L four-pin long fluorescent tubes, Softline MR-16, Whitestar MR-16, and Ultra5 T5 fluorescent tubes. Ushio now offers an HPL lamp with a ceramic base for better heat distribution and less arcing in humid situations and a tighter coil that pumps out 20% more light. A featured product was the MR-16 lamp with new frosted reflector that removes glare and provides smoother light distribution and 2900K color temperature. This lamp is intended for glass pendant and decorative lighting fixtures and is available in 20W, 35W, and 50W.
Entertainment Design and Lighting Dimensions would like to thank this year's Sponsors and congratulate this year's EDDY Award Winners:
set designer John Lee Beatty
(presented by choreographer Kathleen Marshall, sponsored by Rose Brand)
projection designer Elaine McCarthy
(presented by set designer Lauren Helpern, sponsored by Scharff Weisberg)
sound designer Dan Moses Schreier
(presented by lighting designer Natasha Katz, sponsored by Meyer Sound)
production electrician Mike LoBue
(presented by lighting designer Howell Binkley, sponsored by ETC)
Mary Zimmerman's design team Dan Ostling, Mara Blumenfeld, T.J. Gerckens
(presented by Second Stage artistic director Carole Rothman, sponsored by Altman)
45th anniversary Theatre Projects Consultants
(presented by set designer/director Tony Walton, sponsored by Strand Lighting)
Playback Equipment Akai Z8 Sampler
Microphone Technology Countryman E-6 EarSet
Console DiGiCo D5 Live
Loudspeaker Meyer M1D & M2D Curvilinear Arrays
Wireless Technology Sennheiser SK 5012 Transmitter
PROJECTION AND STAGING PRODUCTS
Show Control Software Medialon Manager
Projection Technology Texas Instruments DLP Dark Chip Enhancement
Projection Software Dataton Watchout
Truss Tomcat Swing Wing Truss
Soft Goods Rose Brand 110" Smoke Out IFR
Dimming System City Theatrical WDS Wireless Dimming System
Dimming System Entertainment Technology IPS Intelligent Raceway
Control System Electronic Theatre Controls Emphasis Control System
Intelligent Luminaire Martin Professional MAC 2000 Performance
Intelligent Luminaire Vari*Lite VL1000 Automated Ellipsoidal Spotlight