There's only one lighting show in the world where club designers advertise their talents with giant nude placards of themselves, and that is SIB International. Lighting Dimensions last visited SIB in 1998, its final year as an annual event, but the bare facts of the event remain intact: The International Exhibition of Equipment and Technology for Discotheques, Dance Halls, and Rental Firms, as it is properly known, continues to draw funky crowds, serve up delectable cafeteria food, and spotlight the hottest illumination gear.

This was the 18th edition of SIB; held March 26-29, the millennial show attracted 44,275 trade members to the Rimini Trade Fair, up 11% from 1998, who gathered to see the latest in lighting, lasers, audio, and furnishings for the entertainment market. Overseas visitors made a strong showing, up 29% over 1998, totaling 8,324 attendees.

Visitors, particularly from the lighting and staging fields, generally reported a healthy show, though a few long-time attendees noted, wistfully, that SIB had become more businesslike--Giglio Moroder's infamous "bubble pool," where models cavort, seemed smaller, and emptier, than usual. Nevertheless, the more conservative vibe likely proved conducive for improved international trade--and roaming contingents of bizarrely dressed performers ensured that SIB will never be mistaken for another show. What follows is a selective rundown of manufacturers, with an emphasis on product launches and new gear.

Clay Paky was one of the moving lights companies that demonstrated that its products travel well beyond the club arena, SIB's typical domain; just about every company in the automated sector is now spotlighting the architectural and retail markets. The company showed its popular Stage Line, for numerous applications, and additions to its Display Line for retail, including the V.I.P. 150 (Visual Information Projector) with a long-life HQI-T 150W lamp. Its Water Column, for interior design and show effects, now comes with a dichroic 12V 65W halogen lamp and a base and cover in three different finishes. Pulsar Light of Cambridge, at the Clay Paky booth, showed its Masterpiece Replay Unit 216, which performs shows created on Masterpiece 216, 108, and 48 models, holds up to eight selectable shows in memory, and can control up to 512 DMX or 216 PMX (Pulsar Multiplex) channels of lighting and effects.

Demos of the CF 7 Hard Edge (HE) and Wash Zoom (WZ) products highlighted the action at the Coemar booth. Distributed in the US by Tracoman, the units feature 700W Philips MSR SA lamps, and bodies made from a light carbon fiber that are easily mountable and allow easy access to all internal parts. The HE has two rotating variable-speed prisms for image multiplication, which can be used in combination with any other effect; the WZ has a rotating filter for 360-degree beam shaping and a diffusion filter to optimize even light output. TAS products for nightclubs and discos were also part of the booth.

England's DHA Lighting showed its Gecko, a miniature low-voltage profile light that can be used as a framing spot, or for image projection; its gobos can be made to order. E\T\C Audiovisuel returned to SIB with its PIGI projection systems in tow.

Electronic Theatre Controls, which shared space with DeSisti, was one of a number of international companies that either doubled or tripled up with other firms to exhibit at SIB or were repped by local distributors. Others seen in Rimini, mostly with samples from their product ranges, included American DJ Supply, Arri, Avab Transtechnik, Avolites, Compulite, GAM Products, High End Systems, Lowel-Light, Ludwig Pani, MA Lighting Technology, MDG, Neutrik, Optikinetics, Rosco, Strand Lighting, Strong, Super Vision, Tomcat, Total Fabrications, Verlinde, and Wybron.

Equipson of Spain displayed its Work line of products; these range from stereo mixers and CD players to light boards and DMX dimmers. The F.A.L. booth housed a range of products, including the Italian firm's Three Sixty family of moving-head projectors, which use Philips MSD 250W lamps for brighter beams; the new Three Sixty 3 has a streamlined design that suits it for live production and architectural uses.

GALA reported a strong first-time appearance at SIB; prominent at its stand was the 6" Spiralift, for applications including seating riser lifts, and piano, portable, and podium lifts. Its other flagship products, the Spiralift and the Vertilift, are in use in theatres and concert halls in Quebec, Japan, Germany, and Las Vegas.

Griven, whose Kaleido color-changing units with MSD 575W lamps were prominently featured along the Champs-Elysees as part of millennial celebrations in Paris, showcased its latest wares. Prominent among these are the Kolorado MK2 1800 and 2500, intended primarily for exterior architectural use; the 2,500W version offers higher light output. Both are wide-angle high-power floodlights with a CYM color changer and a remote ballast for portability. The Kolorstream, which uses an HMI 2,500W lamp, is a projector for long-throw architectural applications.

Laser Entertainment and LOBO Electronic put on elaborate displays for attendees. Lighting Technology of the UK showed a number of product lines at its booth, in close proximity to the PLASA stand. Link displayed its LKS lighting connectors.

Lite-Puter was one of a number of Taiwan-based firms that trekked to Italy to publicize its products. Its principal offering was the CX-2401, a 24-channel DMX dimmer console with 120-channel operation and MIDI, audio, and chaser functions. Also from Taiwan, Antari showed its fog machine and effects lines; Geni Electronics its Mizar12 Scan, a high-end 1,200W scanner with effects that include five rotating gobos, six stationary gobos, and eight dichroic colors plus white; and Superstar Lighting its numerous club products.

Martin Professional had an outsized and visually stunning booth, festooned with its instruments. Notable lighting products included its small and affordable MiniMAC, making its Italian debut; the MAC 600NT, a new version of the MAC 600 with an overhauled CYM color-mixing system, an innovative color temperature correction system, and a color wheel with four replaceable color slots; the King Dome, an inflatable dome used for protecting Martin fixtures outdoors; and the MX-4, a "big brother" to the MX-1 scanner for clubs and discos, with a 150W discharge lamp and an ultrafast shutter for extreme strobing effects.

In the retail realm, mobile phone makers are calling on Martin: Its MAC moving heads, Jem hazers, and Mach sound systems are part of Nokia's new "concept stores" in Denmark and other parts of the continent, and LD Thomas Tennagels of Lichtwerk in Dusseldorf used 24 Martin Exterior 600s to illuminate Ericsson's German headquarters in that city. In the UK, Martin has a new 24,757-sq.-ft. (2,300 sq. m) factory at Louth in Lincolnshire, turning out fixtures and Jem smoke machines; its new club sales executive in the UK is David Martin, who has been in the club field for five years.

Osram Sylvania, whose lamps have been used to illuminate a number of historic basilicas in Italy, brought along a contingent of products for architectural, studio, and theatrical use. Philips touted its MasterColor optics, a key component in many architectural applications; the MSR 6000 Hot Restrike, which extends its HR metal-halide range; and its MSR Short Arc (SA) range, high-efficacy, single-ended, metal-halide lamps for entertainment and projection uses.

Sagitter announced new optical systems for its Wall Color 250/150 outdoor CYM color changers and Shop 250/150 CYM color-changing wash units; the former are for architectural use, while the latter fit right into retail environments.

SGM introduced the Giotto Spot 250 and Giotto Wash 250, two compact moving heads. Both use the Philips MSD 250/2 discharge lamp and an electronic ballast for lighter weight, and share features including strobe with onboard music sync, linear 0-100% dimmer, 3200K full CTO correction filter, automatic lamp restrike, and remote lamp on/off and reset via DMX. The Giotto Spot 250 has 20 colors and a UV filter, a 9-degree to 24-degree linear zoom with electronic focus, and two fixed-aperture diaphragms of 4mm and 8mm to create colored beams of almost any diameter. An insertion adjustable effect frost filter and a frost filter with adjustable projection angle give a full range of beam diffusion.

The Giotto Wash 250 has a CYM color-mixing system with onboard music sync for infinite color potential plus an independent five-position color wheel for basic or custom colors. A motorized 120mm fresnel lens with 9 to 24-degree zoom coupled with a built-in beam shaper with four independently adjustable blades, each able to black out 50% of the beam when fully closed with +/-50-degree rotation give designers greater control over the beam shape.

Space Cannon spotlit its Ireos Pro, a 7,000W automated outdoor xenon searchlight with a built-in electronic power supply. Features include electronic dimming of the lamp; an electronic high-speed strobe (up to 25Hz); a built-in dichroic color-mixer named Quick that achieves a full color change in 1.5 seconds; mechanical shutter; and variable beam shaping with precise positioning control.

Studio Due was all around town at SIB, illuminating the Waldorf Hotel in Rimini and the Grand Hotel in nearby Riccione with its color-changing CityColor, CityBeam, and MiniCity architectural fixtures. The firm has also enlarged its headquarters in Viterbo.

Perhaps the biggest news from SIB came from its organizers. The Rimini Trade Fair is moving into a brand-new exhibition center next year, which means fresh corridors for firms and the Fellini-esque to inhabit when the show returns in 2002.