TRENDSPOTTING AS VEGAS GEARS UP FOR THE BIG SHOW Y2K was on everyone's mind as LDI rolled into Orlando last November; this year, a more familiar acronym has taken its place, at least among manufacturers - DMX. A number of them have devised new products based on the DMX512 protocol, and Lighting Dimensions previews them here.

One can debate the merits of five-wire versus three-wire DMX512 systems, but, inarguably, the protocol has been universally adopted. While the Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA), through its Technical Standards Committee, works to develop an enhanced standard for the new millennium, new products using the existing one continue to evolve.

Helping to illuminate are special products that all promise to solve a particular problem or to enhance other commonly used items.

Artistic License (UK) Ltd. superscript 280 will be launching the LVD-12 low-voltage dimmer, a 48-channel, 24V, 12A dimmer that offers DMX512 control as well as a sophisticated standalone operation.

Boca Flasher superscript 281, of Boca Raton, FL, has engineered a DMX512 controller specifically for the control of LED striplight products, in red, blue, or green. The DMX 12/200 Controller enables up to 200 Boca Flasher LED striplights to be controlled via a standard DMX512 network; the colors and on/off capability are now linked to other devices and under the control of the console or show control playback device. Additional styles of LED light strips utilizing DMX512 are also offered by the manufacturer. Brightline superscript 282, a manufacturer of specialty luminaires using fluorescents, has developed a DMX ballast that allows for unlimited control over the lighting.

CITC superscript 283 notes that its Universal DMX Relay enables all of its products to be DMX-controllable. The Hurricane 5000 is a variable-speed fan with a specially designed yoke, and the Stratosphere Hazer has built-in DMX connectivity. Color Kinetics superscript 284 of Boston continues to design products that use DMX512 for the control of LED lighting. The Smart Jack 3 is a device that uses the USB port of PCs to deliver a DMX datastream, without the need for an external power supply. The iPlayer is a complete light show storage and playback system for Color Kinetics products, and DMX cue information programmed on a lighting console or PC can be stored within the system.

Diversitronics superscript 285 is flashing the news about the DK-2000, a strobe with normal and ultra intensity levels, that in addition to having total DMX control for rate and intensity, has a special preprogrammed lightning mode for realistic effects. The Sublime series of manual DMX control boards from Dove Systems superscript 286 is based on a modular design for easy expansion, with two-scene, single-scene, and chase capabilities available. These boards are intuitive and easy to use and do not require keypads and displays.

Networked lighting systems have been under development for some time by ETC superscript 287 and others. Among the new ETC interfaces and capabilities being offered at LDI are the ETCNet2 and the ETC DMX Node, which enable control of over 32,000 channels of DMX control anywhere on the network. The flexibility allows for sharing data with a networked Unison architectural dimming system and the use of handheld remotes. The Video node allows lighting information to be displayed anywhere within the system, and supports two screens capable of displaying differing systems' data.

Gilderfluke & Co. superscript 288, a manufacturer and designer of show control systems, offers the LD/DMX/DC, an 8-channel DMX-to-DC light dimmer. Many other interfaces allowing for the control of various devices including analog, serial, and a large assortment of relays for the control of lighting, audio, and animation devices are available.

Gray Interfaces superscript 289 of Canada has designed the PathPort, a DMX/ Ethernet gateway. By using proprietary Pathfinder software, you control the entire lighting control system.

Closely related to DMX-based equipment is the cable itself. Heatshrink superscript 290 has developed a line of heat shrinkable tubing with custom sizes/printing and various connectors, some with gold plating for durability and low resistance values.

Interactive Technologies superscript 291 has developed the Figment DMX, that enables your Palm III PDA to be a lighting console, and contains fixture libraries, patching, cue lists, keyboard commands, macros, and more. In addition, the console can be used for DMX troubleshooting.

Johnson Systems superscript 292 is launching the CD-Pack, an economical, direct plug-in DMX retrofit control module for Strand CD80 portable racks.

The Unique hazer, manufactured by Look Solutions superscript 293 of Germany and distributed in North America by Theatre Effects, uses DMX to provide infinite control (up to 99 steps for the pump and fan) so the designer has control over all of its parameters. Magic Gadgets superscript 294 will showcase a line of DMX-controlled Firelight Generators and Flicker Effect Generators, as well as DMX dimmers and other candle/kerosene simulation lanterns.

RAT superscript 295 of London has expanded its music stand lighting system to include cordless units that last for over five hours and have radio DMX control capability. This enables the lights to be turned on/off remotely and via preprogrammed cues.

DMX is one of the features of the Reel EFX superscript 296 Fan II Turbo, which has additional power over previous models, an advanced frequency synthesis speed control, is quiet at low speeds, and has a reversed air flow design with a glass filled front and back grill.

Rosco superscript 297 is now offering the I-Cue Intelligent Mirror, a DMX-controlled mirror attachment that mounts directly to the front of popular ellipsoidals, such as the ETC Source Four, the Strand SL series, the Selecon luminaires, and the Altman Shakespeare, providing an easily adjustable "moving light." It is compatible with scrollers and gobo projectors and can interface directly with power supplies from popular accessory manufacturers.

DMX512 and computers have evolved together over the past 10 years, so the use of the increasingly popular USB port by Soundlight superscript 298 should not be a surprise. Its USB-DMX512 interface enables any IBM-compatible computer/laptop to be a lighting console. In addition, 100 scenes can be stored for playback without a computer.

Switchcraft superscript 299 is introducing a new line of DMX adapters that will allow for greater interconnectivity between systems. TEI Electronics superscript 300 has the DMXDIM6, a 2.4kW 6-channel DMX dimmer, and the DMXDIM12, a 2.4kW 12-channel DMX dimmer. Also being displayed will be new high-output snow machines. Visual Lighting Technologies superscript 301 will be distributing a low-cost DMX512 lighting playback controller for residential applications.

Beyond DMX512, A.C. Lighting superscript 302 will be demoing the new GrandMA Lite control console. The ChainMaster superscript 303 VarioLift gives riggers the ability to have variable-speed control with lifting capability of 8'-110' (2.4-33.5m).

Clay Paky superscript 304 has announced the debut of the Astroscan, which combines the features of its Golden Scan automated luminaires with a pyramid head consisting of 10 mirror faces. Design & Drafting superscript 305 is busy writing code for a new release of its feature-laden LD Studio and LD Assistant design software. Gecko Enterprises superscript 306 has developed invisible blue glow paint for unique effects. And Nemetschek North America superscript 307 will bring Focus to LDI with its new lighting design module for VectorWorks.

Pro Tapes & Specialties superscript 308 will simplify stage blocking by offering precut spike corners. Rosco/ET superscript 309 will debut the Horizon 2000, the latest in its PC-based lighting control system.

SGM superscript 310 has developed the Giotto Spot 250 automated luminaire with 35 available gobo combinations, 540 pan and 270 tilt, and a Philips MSD 250/2 lamp. Strand Lighting superscript 311 sends word of a new feature-packed dimmer, and the for-sale Virtuoso DX control console from Vari-Lite superscript 312 offers a 3D graphical interface and control capability of 2,000 luminaires.

These products, and many more, will be vying for the numerous awards that will be presented at the show. Categories include: Product of the Year in Lighting/Architecture, and Lighting/ Entertainment. Additional Product of the Year awards are presented for Sound, Widget, Scenic Effects, Rigging and Hardware, and the newest category, Lighting Tools and Software. In addition, three Lighting Designer Awards will be presented, for Themed Project, Architecture, and Entertainment. Besides the Wally Russell Award, other special recognition awards honors will be presented. The awards program will be held Saturday, October 21, immediately after the show floor closes.

If you're attending LDI, you'll find our popular New Technology Breakfasts, at the Venetian Hotel, a great place to hear about the new gear, direct from the manufacturers. These breakfasts are scheduled as follows: Lighting Products has been expanded to two hours and is scheduled for Friday, October 21, in Ballroom B/C. Sound is on-cue for Saturday, October 22, in Marco Polo 806/907; and Lasers & EFX is planned for Sunday, October 23, in Marco Polo 703/803. The Venetian is adjacent to the Sands Convention Center, where LDI is being held.

For more information on LDI - show previews, and a booth-by-booth product review and awards wrap-up following the event - consult our website at www.etecnyc.net in the months of October and November. Magazine coverage of the show will appear in the January 2001 issue.

New products at LDI 2000 are just part of the evolution of LED products maker Color Kinetics Inc. (CKI). For one thing, on September 15, the firm moved into new digs, just around the corner from its old locale. Its new address: 10 Milk Street, Suite 1100, Boston, MA 02108. Phones and fax remain the same: Phones are 617/423-9999 and, toll-free, 888/FULL RGB; fax is 617/423-9998.

At the PLASA show in London, the firm announced 16 new US and international distribution partners to its growing list of worldwide Authorized Color Kinetics Master Distributors, expanding the company's distribution channel by more than 100% in the first half of 2000 alone. The new distributors represent all regions of the US, as well as Asia, Europe, Latin America, Australia, and the Middle East.

Signing on as Authorized Color Kinetics Master Distributors in the US are 10 companies: Bradfield Stage Lighting, TN; City Lighting Products, MO; CM Buck and Associates, IN; Cooper Electric, NJ; Curtis H. Stout Company, AR; Maurice Electric, Washington, DC; Pacific Lighting, Seattle; RC Lurie, Phoenix; Rexel-Elgee, Columbus, OH; and Top Shelf Distributors, Chicago. Six international companies have been added to the Color Kinetics distribution channel: Adawliah, Kuwait; ALS, Japan; Grupo Dug, Mexico; Ideal Electric, Singapore; Lights & Color (Lightpower), Germany; and Primesite, Australia.

With all this activity, three-year-old Color Kinetics has expanded its senior management team. Five new vice presidents - including two promoted from within the company - have been added.

They are: Bruce Beck, vice president, business development: Beck joins CKI with over 28 years of experience in new market development, licensing, OEM partnership management, and sales with companies such as Bolt Beranek and Newman, Amdahl, and Wang Computer. Most recently, Beck was vice president, business development, with Mercury Computer Systems.

Kevin Dowling, PhD, vice president, strategic technologies: Dowling joined CKI in April 1999 as director of engineering, leading a team through the design and development of many of CKI's most successful full-spectrum digital lighting and lighting control products, along with several custom projects. Dowling brings 17 years of experience in advanced robotics engineering as a student, research engineer, and project scientist at the Field Robotics Center of Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to Color Kinetics, Dowling was chief robotics engineer for PRI Automation.

Allen Duck, vice president, international sales: Originally from the United Kingdom, Duck brings 12 years of extensive international sales experience to CKI, with a focus on building and managing worldwide distribution networks in the manufacturing and high-tech arenas. Most recently, Duck was vice president, global sales, with Speedline Tech, Inc., where his team increased sales by $50 million.

David Goselin, vice president, manufacturing: Goselin joins CKI with 30-plus years of experience in manufacturing and operations management, managing both US and offshore manufacturing for leading companies including Honeywell and Modicon, AEG. Most recently, Goselin was senior vice president of operations/general manager, peripherals division, for PictureTel, where he led worldwide manufacturing and distribution of PictureTel's visual- and audio-collaboration systems.

Jeffrey Sirek, vice president, North American sales: Sirek joined CKI in July 1998 as a regional sales manager, bringing a wealth of sales and sales management experience to CKI, with expertise in new market development and distribution partnership management. Prior to CKI, Sirek held sales and sales management positions with leading companies in the medical industry, including Pfizer, Sopha Medical, and Adac Laboratories.

Says CKI co-founder, president, and CEO George Mueller, "The talent and experience of our expanded senior team, combined with the continued support of our customers and partners, place us in prime position to grow this company in multiple directions."