IN MEMORY OF BILL MCMANUS…
Bill was an industry pioneer, a great guy and a good friend. I'm one of the many who will miss Bill deeply.
I first met Bill and Steve Lister, the founding partners of McManus Enterprises, in 1982. My soon-to-be wife lived in Philly, and she worked weekends. I traveled the country for Century Strand. So, on Saturday mornings, I'd crash Bill's doors, argue, laugh, and exchange some war stories. And the occasional burger got flipped on the McManus rooftop barbeque.
In business, Bill was an innovative thinker. A new product or a new venture was always around Bill's next corner.
I've been with Entertainment Technology since 1993, and Bill's was a friend and customer all that time. He was the lighting designer/equipment vendor for HBO/Showtime boxing. Bill would pre-position lighting rigs around the country to handle the HBO gigs. And he equipped these rigs with the IPS distributed dimming products I sell. When I needed a customer reference, he was it. Bill was a vocal proponent of this technology.
I enjoyed the time I spent with Bill and trust that he would say the same of me. This was a very good man.
— Jim Crooks, sales director
Entertainment Technology Inc.
I worked for Bill throughout 1999. At first, I freelanced, and I eventually worked out of the warehouse/production crew. I only met Bill twice but knew he meant business. Walking through the warehouse was like taking a tour through history. The old sets — the infamous Kiss drum riser that rose from the floor, David Bowie's hot pink crowd control barriers, the manual scroller — that place was like a museum. We worked a lot with Bill, some jobs not very glamorous, but it was fun. Who can forget 6 circuit/12 circuit breakouts and cable, dragging it through North Philly (Blue Horizon), through puke, beer, etc.; Conwell Eagen setting up risers (unican); the van that you pray would start at 1 am when it was 30° out, and you only wanted to go to bed. And what about Jack? He taught us so much. I still have every tool he ever gave me. Bill will be missed.
— Shannon Lawrence
In the seventies, I did touring sound and worked as the house tech at the Easttown Theatre, a rock palace in Detroit. A lot of great bands came through there, but no one carried lighting — they just used the two house Super Troupers and, occasionally, the theatre's old cyc lights. When the Doors appeared, along came Bill McManus in a station wagon full of Scrimmer dimmers, a couple of trees, and maybe a dozen lekos. I ran the board for the show, and that was my introduction to touring lighting. Simple though it was, Bill's pioneering efforts started the ball rolling for theatrical lighting to invade the touring rock market. He drove the technology from that simple beginning to great heights.
I struck up a relationship with Bill that lasted for decades. I repaired several broken Scrimmer packs for him on the spot, then rebuilt dozens of packs for greater road reliability, then designed custom lighting boards (Rainbo brand) for him, and on and on.
That's how Leprecon® got started. The touring lighting industry owes a great debt to Bill and his pioneering spirit and ingenious adaptation and development of new tools and methods for entertainment lighting. We'll think of him whenever we see a PAR can, and we'll miss him.
— Jim Fackert, president Leprecon
RE: WHO TO KNOW IN LAS VEGAS
II just finished looking over your article online, entitled "Who to Know in Las Vegas," [LD, October 2004]. This was one of the most directly helpful articles I have ever read in a "trade journal," and I just wanted to let you know.
We regularly are searching for talented and experienced freelance crew personnel in the various cities we are in for our video production events. I am sure I will refer to your list every time I crew a show in Vegas.
Thank you so much for taking the time to provide such a service to all production coordinators. I only wish you would do more listings like this for some of the other major cities in the country and really make my job easier! Please let me know if you do. Thanks again.
— Vicki Lynn Nason Common World Productions, Inc.
In spite of our efforts to clarify Color Kinetics' position in your December 2004 issue, it appears that misinformation about our patent portfolio and strategy continues to circulate. We ask for this opportunity to set the record straight for your readers.
Color Kinetics' unique contributions to the entertainment lighting industry are well documented, stemming from our original product's debut as the one-and-only intelligent LED lighting system at LDI in 1997. When others dismissed the potential of LEDs for illumination, Color Kinetics took on the heavy lifting to resolve technical challenges, educate the specification community, lay the groundwork for gaining UL listing and other regulatory compliance standards, and heavily invest in research that would ultimately deliver viable illumination systems. Our focus is on developing and delivering the industry's best and broadest range of intelligent solid-state lighting systems with superior customer service, and we won't be distracted from that goal.
Far exceeding the concept of color-mixing, which we don't claim to have invented, Color Kinetics charted completely new territory, not only by merging intelligence (such as microprocessor control and a network address) with LEDs to create intelligent solid-state lighting devices, but also by developing new indoor and outdoor fixtures for architectural and consumer markets, new networking and addressing protocols, new calibration technologies, new thermal management systems, new optical systems, new authoring software, custom ASICs, and a host of other technologies. As pioneers, we took the risks and solved the problems that other manufacturers in our footsteps don't have to. The knowledge, expertise and technology that derive from our multi-million dollar R&D program are openly available to the industry, but not for free. They're available through fair and reasonable OEM and licensing agreements, as is the practice in many other industries.
We encourage you, the industry media, to question the credibility and true motives of those who are attacking Color Kinetics and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, particularly those who criticize the system even as they purchase and enforce patents against others in the industry. Question our most vocal critic's annual investment in R&D, and consider their copious record of litigation, which involves suits with not just other competitors, but a law firm, a bank, a supplier, and a customer. Unlike the aforementioned critic, Color Kinetics has not purchased patents as a litigation tool. We have created innovative technologies to drive our business, and, like any responsible company would, we have protected those inventions with patents; patents that have been independently subjected to due diligence by multiple international patent governing agencies, partners, and investment firms.
Color Kinetics has an open and active OEM and licensing program that, in part, helps to drive adoption of intelligent solid-state lighting. It also helps partners like Main Light Industries and Altman Lighting expand or enhance their existing product lines with industry-proven LED technology and expertise. We welcome legitimate competition; it validates the technology that we were instrumental in creating and commercializing. Yet we will continue to vigilantly guard our intellectual property in a professional manner when necessary.
Finally, we urge anyone with questions about Color Kinetics and our intellectual property to contact us directly, and not rely on the tenuous opinions of those who are not legal experts.
— George Mueller, chairman & CEO and Bill Sims, president & COO