You're heading for Orlando in early November to check out LDI2001, but the show has gotten so big that you don't know where to start. You look at the listings and are boggled at the number of exhibitors. You're definitely hitting the big companies because there's usually something new. Needless to say, you'll also go see your friends and colleagues. But after that, what do you target to get the most out of your limited time? We've highlighted a few trends and products to look for on the show floor in Orlando this year. These picks come from the exhibitors' pre-show mailings of what's new and planned for exhibition.
One of the ongoing trends is the expanding product range dealing with carrying DMX512 over ethernet and standard ethernet distribution. Pathway Connectivity is expanding on its award-winning Pathport product range. Artistic Licence has developed the Art-Net protocol, a public domain standard with multi-vendor support including Artistic Licence, ADB, MA Lighting, Doug Fleenor Design, and Goddard Design Co. ETC is expanding its Net2 products and Strand has its ShowNet up and running.
Another trend to keep an eye on is the development of software for the Palm OS range of handheld PDAs. There are quite a few companies developing or expanding software to work with the Palm, the Handspring Visor, and any other PDA that supports the Palm OS. High End Systems is polishing up its Handshake that operates as a DMX tester and remote lighting controller as well as its path to upgrading the software on the High End fixture line. Interactive Technologies is up to version 5.0 of its Figment DMX, an EDDY Award winner in 2000. Billed as a handheld DMX console, Interactive Technologies has packed a lot of features into a small package. The Figment DMX also runs on a wider variety of handheld devices using Palm OS 3.1 or greater, whereas the Handshake currently only runs on Palm III and Palm VII using Palm OS 3.3 or greater.
On the lighting and production track, Eric Cornwall of West Side Systems is moderating a session called “Palm Readers: New PDA Technology for Lighting,” which will cover the evolution of new software for pocket-sized hardware packages, including various lighting applications, from remote control to design software that fits in the palm of your hand, and job management tools to databases for schedules, lighting paperwork, using custom and over-the-counter software with your PDA. This session will also look at new palm-sized products. This session is number 127085 and runs Sunday, November 4, 2-3:30pm. Soon, every technician is going to be carrying a PDA as part of his or her tool kit. All of this Palm software is making things look a bit bleak for Windows CE handhelds, although ETC will be showing its wireless ethernet Remote Focus Unit for the Obsession II console using a Compaq iPaq handheld.
Among the rumored new products slated for launch at LDI are the High End Systems and Flying Pig Systems Wholehog III console and CAST Lighting's revolutionary new version of its WYSIWYG software. The Wholehog III was introduced at PLASA in September and has had a number of redesigns and upgrades. I got a brief glimpse at what CAST has done with WYSIWYG and I highly recommend that you check it out at the show.
Lamps are another area where new developments are cloaked in secrecy. Ushio America and General Electric are planning on showing their lines of HPL lamps with a tighter, more compact filament. Both companies are working with ETC on these new lamps for the Source Four line of fixtures. Ushio is calling its line HPL+ Ultra Compact Filament; it will be available in 375, 575, and 750W. The new compact filaments coupled with the Source Four's optics promise up to 20% more light than the previous lamps.
Philips will be showing its recently announced Broadway line of entertainment lamps as well as a new technology, called P3, which allows lamps to operate with pinch temperatures up to 500°C, where current lamps only operate in the 350-400°C range.
Osram is planning on exhibiting entertainment lamps with longer average lamp lives. The rim-mount ELC-7/x is a 250W lamp with an average life of 700 hours and the EKE/X is a 150W lamp with an average life of 1,000 hours.
None of the lamp manufacturers have listed LED lamps among their exhibits, but this is a trend to keep an eye on. The US government is spending a lot of money in aiding in the development of a good, long-life white LED lamp, as well as keeping the newest developments in LED lamps in the US. The potential for decreasing electricity consumption, as well as HVAC demand, while increasing lumen output promises to be the hot (or, rather, cool) lamp technology for the coming years.
This is not a rumor, but an LDI exhibit listing that caught my eye: Hubbell Lighting is launching a division called Hubbell Entertainment, Inc., which is showing a new line of eight automated fixtures in its Helux line. Hubbell is billing itself as a “one-stop shop for indoor, outdoor, and entertainment lighting.” OK, they have intrigued me; I am definitely stopping by to see the Helux line.
And now, on to the products to look for at this year's LDI.
GRANDMA ON A DIET
AC Lighting/MA Lighting will be displaying the grandMA ultra-light console, a 1,024-channel version of the popular grandMA console. MA Lighting is also premiering a real-time 3D visualizer for the whole grandMA range. This software tool works directly with the console to make the programming of complex shows easier and more realistic. The visualizer is based upon Microsoft Direct X standard and links to the console via ethernet.
AC Lighting, Inc.
Agoura Hills, CA
UPS AND DOWNS
Artistic Licence from the UK has a series of new products dealing with DMX over ethernet. Art-Net is an ethernet communication protocol developed by Artistic Licence. The protocol has been placed in the public domain on a royalty-free basis. Other manufacturers are now supporting the Art-Net protocol. Art-Net is a TCP/IP-based protocol, which means that it can coexist on the same cable with most proprietary protocols. The company is launching two new products: Down-Link is an ethernet-to-DMX converter. Up-Link is a DMX-to-ethernet converter. Both products are Art-Net-compliant and are housed in a standard three-gang cover plate. The front panel provides DMX connections, address switches, and indicators.
Artistic Licence (UK) Ltd.
Harrow, Middlesex, UK
Wybron, Inc. jumps into the pattern rotating business with the new Moiré (right), a dual-pattern rotator designed to fit the ETC Source Four and the Altman Shakespeare 600 ellipsoidals. The Moiré allows the designer to spin two metal or glass B-size patterns independently. Use of a toggle switch allows the patterns to move in opposition, together, or one pattern static and one moving. The unit plugs into a non-dim AC output for power. Wybron will also be showing the newly improved Goboram II, which will change, index, and rotate three different patterns. It is designed to work with the Source Four and the Shakespeare ellipsoidals as well, but the fixture does require a modification, since the unit runs through the body of the unit. It gets its power and control from a standard Coloram power supply.
Colorado Springs, CO
Tracoman (which at PLASA announced that it would acquire a controlling interest in Coemar) will be showing the new Coemar iSpot, a 150W automated yoke fixture that uses the Philips MasterColor CDM150SA lamp, with an average rated life of 6,000 hours. The iSpot has internal storage of up to 144 scenes with master/slave playback capabilities, geared indexing for metal or glass patterns, and a continuously rotating color wheel.
WHAT'S ON THE HORIZON
Entertainment Technology Inc., which recently was acquired by the Genlyte Thomas Group and has shed the Rosco/ET name in favor of its original name, is showing the Horizon Integrated Control Environment, the most comprehensive Horizon software release to date. This software update adds new features, streamlines others, and makes operation easier. Among the new features are more detailed moving light control, advanced effects and chases, linkable cue lists, and improved features for advanced show control applications. You can still get the company's products through Rosco Laboratories.
Entertainment Technology/Genlyte Thomas Group
FADE TO BLACK
If you have not seen or played with a Selecon 90° ellipsoidal, you have to stop by Selecon's booth and try it out. Okay, so the fixture was introduced two LDIs ago, but it needs to be seen to be believed. There will also be two new products from Selecon worth checking out. The first is a mechanical dimmer for the Pacific MSR fixture range. This dimmer is controllable via DMX. The second product is the HiPort, which is a range of recessed fixtures that use 70W or 150W CDM/CMH metal-halide lamps. Features include high-output pattern projection, a slot for color, and beam-shaping shutters. There are three beam angles of 40°, 24°, and 10° for throws from 15' to 60'.
Auckland, New Zealand
AN EMPHASIS ON CONTROL
Emphasis™, from ETC, is a brand-new console that combines the control of ETC's Expression® and Express™ consoles and the next level of WYSIWYG's lighting visualization software. This product is the next logical step in the creative alliance of ETC and CAST Lighting. Last year they developed WYSILink, which allowed feedback from Sensor dimmers to flow back through the console to the WYSIWYG light plot. It monitored the dimming and lighting system and graphically represented everything from blown-out lamps to tripped circuit breakers. Now Emphasis will handle the whole lighting process from start to finish. In the past, you had to draw the plot on one piece of paper, do your dimmer selection, channel selection, and color selection on another piece, and then enter the data into the console. If you made a change, you had to correct and synchronize all the data. With Emphasis, you make the change in one place and it automatically updates everything. For automated lighting, you no longer need to know the fixture number; just point at it on the plot and point it where you want to focus it and it goes there.
All current Expression and Express control console users using the 2X systems or better can upgrade and get Emphasis capabilities. Emphasis is fully scaleable to your needs; you can start with a 500-channel system, and later move up to 1,000 channels. You can start with WYSIWYG 2D and later add 3D capabilities. Emphasis will include WYSILink as well as be able to integrate with all of the ETCNet2™ networking equipment, like Unison™ architectural lighting control systems, Obsession® control consoles and new networking nodes, which included Video Node, DMX Node, Two-port Node, and Touring Node.
Electronic Theatre Controls
HOW TO BE A GOOD MANAGER
Pathway Connectivity's Pathport Manager is a user-friendly method of remotely configuring Pathport smart nodes. Pathport was LDI 2000 Product of the Year in the lighting tools and software category. Pathport allows for cost-effective DMX distribution over ethernet. The Pathport Manager provides direct PC access to all of the Pathport functions, including soft labeling, universe and channel patching, merging, and input prioritizing. Pathport has support for up to 64 universes of DMX and includes powerful DMX routing capabilities.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
CATALYST FOR CHANGE
The High End Systems Catalyst combines video projection and automated effects lighting. It is an orbital movement system that mounts to the front of a video projector, and works best with projectors that have at least 12,000 ANSI lumens. It allows static images or moving video to be projected anywhere within a 360°×180° area. Images can be manipulated in real-time from a standard lighting control console via DMX512.
The unit includes the orbital movement system, a video-processing computer, and the accompanying control and effects software. It can also be used with most high-powered single-lens video projectors. The Catalyst was developed for High End by UK design company Wynne Wilson Gottelier (WWG) and the first production to use it was the New York Rangers season home opener on October 7.
High End Systems
CASE IN POINT
Calzone and Anvil Case Companies will be introducing the new XLT-1 series case line. These ATA-type transit cases are designed to provide the strength of traditional plywood laminate cases while employing durable, lightweight polypropylene tri-laminate that is over 30% lighter and 100% recyclable. A cellular center layer provides strength. The cases are available in Calzone Patented Double Angle or Anvil Original Riveted designs and are available in 1/4" and 3/8" thickness. Current color choices are black, blue, and silver.
Calzone Case Company