Even without an Entech or international SIB to consider, the lighting industry glimmered with multiple shows this past spring, which kept exhibitors and attendees alike plane-hopping from March till May. Lighting Dimensions looked at NAB last month; full coverage of Lightfair is scheduled for our September issue. In between these two exhibitions came the second edition of PLASA Shanghai, held April 13-15, and the first-ever ExpoLatina, which occupied the Miami Beach Convention Center May 3-5. Selective coverage of these two events follows.
PLASA Shanghai, sponsored by Britain's Professional Lighting and Sound Association and P&O Events, enjoyed a buoyant sophomore session, fortuitously scheduled before the war in Kosovo spilled over into China following the embassy bombing incident. More than 110 exhibitors filled the halls of Intex Shanghai, as attendance jumped 15%, to 5,713. A broad mix of British, American, and Asian manufacturers and distributors were on hand with their latest products, all eager to gain a share in this huge emerging market. Show floor buzz indicated that attendees came from a wider geographical area in China this year, including locales such as Beijing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Guandong, Sichuan, and Fujian.
A snapshot of products on the floor begins with ADB-LSI Projects, which had plenty to show, including the Phoenix family of lighting consoles, featuring ISIS (Integrated Software for Intelligent Systems). American DJ Supply (Asia), a first-time exhibitor from Taiwan, had president Jason Echols in attendance to learn more about the Chinese market. Another first timer, Columbus McKinnon, sought local distributors for products including Lodestar electric chain hoists.
DHA focused on its custom gobo line, which is distributed worldwide by Rosco, its next-door neighbor at the show (in its own booth, Rosco emphasized its Alpha 900 fog machine). LCI, which puts together spectacular shows involving lasers, "dancing water" effects, waterscreens, digital video projections, and pyrotechnics, announced its participation in the Stone Forest project in Kunming, China. This includes a walk-through experience and a 56-seat simulation theatre, a lake show, and a garden with sound and light effects.
Lowel-Light was on the floor, thanks to its local distributor, Shanghai Dong Run Film, TV, and Stage Equipment Center. Thanks to Macostar (Wuhan) Ltd., a Chinese company, companies including NSI Colortran, Compulite, Fly, Lee, Ushio, Robert Juliat, Teatro, Lutron, Panther, and CamMate Systems were shown in Shanghai. Similarly, MGC Lamps Ltd., the Suffolk, England-based distributor, featured lamps from GE, Philips, Bell, Radium, Osram Sylvania, and Crompton Lighting, among others, at this show and later at ExpoLatina.
The British companies Mad Lighting and Lighting Technology shared a booth; on the Mad side, the TM-250 scanning projector was on display, while Lighting Technology jazzed up the booth with several of its famous Wiggle Lights. Martin Professional featured the MX-1, a compact scanner that is the first in a line of lightweight DJ products. China also got its first look at the MAC 250 and MAC 300 automated luminaires. Nu Light Systems Ltd., based in Cheshire, England, showed its full line of lasers, hazers, accessories, and control software, and Osram Sylvania showed its range of lamps here and at ExpoLatina.
Hong Kong-based Prosperity Lamps and Components Ltd. distributes High End Systems products in the region, and that company's Studio Spot(R) and Trackspot(R) automated luminaires were prominently on display. Recent projects serviced by Prosperity (which also handles James Thomas Engineering products) include an ice-skating rink in Hong Kong and a food court at Hong Kong International Airport.
Pearl River Light and Acoustics Industrial Ltd., a Guangdong-based company, debuted Tornado and Rainbow, a pair of moving lights placed in plastic housings of different colors. Pulsar Light of Cambridge had one of the larger booths, with the company's whole range of products on display, most notably the prototype of the Masterpiece 216 console, which should be available this month. Also on the stand was the Clay Paky line of lighting products.
Stageline Mobile Stage of Canada, which later exhibited at ExpoLatina, reported that its Stageline Sam was the winner of a Staging Innovation of the Year nod at the Live! Show in London in February. Stage Technologies, the British specialist in the design, manufacture, and installation of power flying and stage automation control systems, showed off major projects such as the London musical Martin Guerre. Strand Lighting was represented by local distributor Shanghai Tai He Trading Development Company; recent projects include the Shanghai Convention Center and the aforementioned Stone Forest.
Tarm, the German laser company, showed off its full range of products and services; its laser displays are part of the Rojam nightclub (see "Shanghai surprise," page 64). Total Fabrications Ltd. was in Shanghai to interest visitors in its full line of trussing, ground support systems, outdoor roof systems, arena stage decking, and fully engineered custom constructions. Speaking of trussing, Tomcat was also a presence, with a booth displaying its full line of products; the company is one of the primary vendors for the grid structure at England's Millennium Dome.
Zero 88 was in from England to introduce its Alcora and Elara consoles to China, along with the venerable Sirius 250. Zuhai Tai Theatre Light featured a new product, the Satellite 6 dimmer pack, a rugged touring rack designed for Chinese army entertainment corps.
Happily for overburdened entertainment corps from other countries in the early spring, PLASA Shanghai will see a shift in dates next year, with a run scheduled for June 7-9, 2000, again at the Intex Shanghai. For more information on the exhibition, call Marcus Bernie at 44/171/370-8837.
To an already bustling season came a new entrant: ExpoLatina, a co-production of Intertec Exhibitions, Intertec entertainment industry publications including Lighting Dimensions and Entertainment Design, and the US-based Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA). The twist is in the title: The trade show and conference program, held May 5-7 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, was dedicated to the needs of the Latin American market. While in appearance a sort of mini-LDI, with 200 booths, its accent was distinctly Spanish--the conference program was presented entirely in that language, and approximately 832 of the show's 2,488 registrants hailed from south of the United States.
A highlight of the show was the Music Producers Forum, presented by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and featuring Emilio Estefan Jr., Rudy Perez, and Bebu Silvetti. Audio production professionals made up the bulk of the attendees, at 36%, with lighting-related visitors not far behind at 34%. With product introductions largely in siesta mode after the NAB, NSCA, and PLASA Shanghai shows, ExpoLatina was an opportunity for cross-borders exchange of industry happenings, gear appraisals, and distributor meetings in sunny surroundings across a range of industry disciplines.
A.C. Lighting showed the entire range of Chroma-Q M1 and M2 color changers, including the new Broadway line, designed for the ETC Source Four. Catering to attendees, American DJ Supply published a Spanish-language edition of its catalog. American Harlequin touted its sprung panel system, made up of pre-manufactured panels joined together by a pivot joint, with shock-damping elastomer blocks at regular centers on the underside. Showgoers got a lift, and stage roof systems, dimmers, and other gear besides, from the Applied Electronics booth. ATM Fly-Ware featured its Aluminum Yoke truss, which can be used with any size enclosure with pivot mounting points and trimmed to size on-site.
Atlas Specialty Lighting was also on hand to acquaint show visitors with its custom design business. The news at the Avolites booth was that the Sapphire console, seen in prototype at LDI, is now in production; the company also showed its new Borealis luminaire.
Fresh from NAB, a number of companies, including Arri, Barbizon, Bogen Cine, Digidesign, Lee Filters, Matthews Studio Group/ESS Media Lighting, and NSI Colortran, highlighted their overseas distributors and rebroadcast their goods and services at ExpoLatina; other companies, like Kino Flo and DeSisti, shared booth space to test the waters for future expansion at the show. B&H Photo-Video-Pro Audio-Lighting, known for its telephone-book catalogs, has reconfigured its city block-sized showroom in New York City to include a new used-equipment department on the second floor.
Bravo Group Industries, a Camden, NJ-based manufacturer, importer, and exporter of pro sound and lighting, featured lighting from Strong Fresnel S.A. Tecnologia; Chauvet featured a number of new club moving lights, including the Mensa full-function nine-channel DMX luminaire, the Navigator DMX512 scanner, and the Z-1000 Fog FX generator.
Miami-based distributor Cinevideotech touted film and TV lighting gear from companies including Arri, Hydroflex, and Kino Flo. CIS Group, another Miami-based distributor, was on hand to promote the Avid Xpress desktop editing system, an affordable option for in-house editing geared to corporate and educational markets in Latin America. Coast Wire & Plastic Technology showed its UL/CSA-approved electronic wire and cable for the entertainment industry, and Columbus McKinnon its range of hoists, chains, and fall protection equipment.
Lightwright 3, the EFX Plus2, and the complete range of accessories for the ETC Source Four were on display at the City Theatrical booth. Coherent products on display included the Star II Entertainment Ion Laser System, which is water-cooled and available in different wattages, including a 3.5W argon model.
Dazian showed off its French Lame line of reversible fabrics, which comes in several colors, as well as several extra-wide fabrics which are flame retardant, making them useful for cycs, exhibits, and club applications. Electronics Diversified displayed its Bijou console, with DMX512, 1,024 dimmer control, and 288 submasters.
ESTA was on hand with members of its sibling organization PLASA. News from ESTA includes the development of the Electrical Power Working Group, co-chaired by Bob Luther of Lex Products and Ken Vannice of NSI Colortran. The group's first meeting will be held this month, and they are looking for participants. Contact Luther (203/363-3738; RobertLuther01@snet.net) or Vannice (503/404-5500; KenV@nsicorp.com) for more information.
ETC put the spotlight on its Source Four 750 luminaire and Express console, and its ownership of Irideon. Expo Night-Life promoted its trade show geared to the club market in Latin America. Scheduled to take place February 23-25, 2000, in Guadalajara, Mexico, Expo Night-Life will host exhibitors showing audio, video, lighting, and a range of club products and services.
To fulfill Spanish translation needs for catalogs and the like, reps from Bellingham, WA-based Elucidex walked the show floor. F.A.L. of Italy's new products for 1999 include the Promo 4 promotional projector. Custom water walls and water columns enhanced by neon lighting were the attraction at the booth of Fiero Tri-Star. The company primarily markets to department stores, casinos, clubs, and restaurants. Foglite from Buenos Aires broughtin its range of fog fluids.
GAM Products rolled out its GAM Floor self-adherin g vinyl flooring in multiple colors, including Chromakey Green and Blue. A vogue act from a nearly nude, silver-painted gentleman and similar spectacles at the Gemini Sound Products booth, home to the Lytequest, Ness, and Showpro brands, reminded exhibition veterans of LDIs past (a Gemini and Ness distributor, Miami's Intermark Industries, was also at the show).
New from High End Systems was the Studio Spot(TM) 250 and its new Powerline(TM) range of club lighting equipment. Jeamar Winches showed a number of new hand winches for theatre applications, while J.R. Clancy brought along its catalog of theatrical rigging gear. Kabuki made a fiesta of the show floor with its streamer and confetti systems.
Italian manufacturer La Novalight distributed English- and Spanish-language catalogs of its featured products, which included Next, its latest line of lighting gear. Laser Production Network's website, www.lasernetwork.com, has material in English and Spanish. Leprecon showed its new VX and MX series touring racks, incorporating a patch bay accessible from the top and power distribution at the rear, including 220V for moving lights.
Lightronics showed its new AR-1202 architectural series, which consists of a processor and 12 dimmer channel circuits of 2,400W each, as well as a prototype of the DB 612 dimmer. Lycian Stage Lighting showed its standard line of followspots and 1290XLT 2k, 3k, and 4k xenons, the company's newest units.
Aside from the news that it had been bought by the Danish firm Schouw & Co. as ExpoLatina commenced, Martin focused attention on its moving lights, and hosted a typically wild party at the local nightclub Club Cristal. MDG, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, showed its Ice Fog Low Fog Generator, which produces a very dense, ultra-slow-dissipating fog.
Las Vegas-based Protech Theatrical Services, a manufacturer and installer of motorized rigging, featured two LDI Award-winning products, the SmartMotion rigging control system and new Nysteel Sheaves. Both products were used at the newly constructed Aguada Municipal Theatre in Aguada, Puerto Rico.
Rosco featured its whole line of products, with special attention paid to the Horizon lighting console system. Rose Brand introduced a 120" spandex and promoted its Encore Synthetic Velour, available in 15 and 22oz. weights. The company is an ongoing supplier for the Conservatory at the Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Space Cannon of Italy featured its Millenium 4000, an all-environment, economically priced searchlight with a 4,000W xenon lamp. Germany-based Steinigke Showtechnic manufactures Futurelight moving lights for the European market and is looking for distributors in the US and South America. Rocketerias, based in Mexico, and Fort Lauderdale, FL-based Abba Trading Corp. introduced themselves to visitors as distributors of products from a number of audio and lighting companies.
Strand Lighting unveiled for Latin American audiences its Quartzcolor range of studio lighting, and its new SL series of stage luminaires. Super Vision focused on its SideGlow and EndGlow fiber-optic products. Lighting manufacturer and distributor TEI Electronics featured the MiniDMX, a small portable DMX console, the Flashtron DMX-addressable matrix strobe, and the Stagescan DMX-controllable intelligent light fixture. Also sharing the booth was TEI's export division Telexport.
TechniCaribe and the US company Pook Diemont & Ohl shared a booth (the two companies are associated); recent projects include supplying the rigging, lighting, and sound for the San Juan Museum of Art, renovation of the theatre at the University of Puerto Rico, and rigging for Teatro Barceloneta, also in Puerto Rico. Techni-Lux featured a range of Techni-Scan intelligent lights and promoted their use in various club installations throughout the world. On the product side, the Techni-Scan Tracker moving-yoke light now has increased light output and is 2.3 times brighter than the previous model.
Miami-based Theatre and Video Products provides sales, installation, and service to theatres and cinemas throughout Latin America. TMB Associates displayed its range of production supplies and services, while James Thomas Engineering showed its truss products. VJ Rendano, an importer/exporter of musical instruments and accessories from Youngstown, OH, brought a different beat to the show floor.
It's a small world, but it needs employees: Walt Disney World scouted ExpoLatina for production personnel for its many international ventures. Wenger showed its Vision line of platform-type stages, designed with a special truss system that enables clear, column-free spans of up to 12' (4m), while Wybron centered on the new CX-1 Color Fusion. Xenotech-Strong International featured the Truss Trouper followspot with a new head-mounted power supply. Currently in use on the Aerosmith tour, the spotlight also features a 1.2kW HMI source with fixed optics and multiple lens options.
Encouraged by the response to ExpoLatina, show organizers have scheduled a second edition, for May 23-25, 2000, again in hospitable Miami Beach. Check www.etecnyc.net for details.
Rojam, Shanghai's newest nightclub, is one of those groovy spots where the bar staff are hipper than the customers, with their silver outfits and oh-so-cool headsets. With a total floor space of over 20,000 sq. ft. (1,900 sq. m), Rojam definitely offers something for every serious clubber, whether on the dance floor, in its 11 private lounges, its gaming area, or in Club Jam, a New York-inspired, "underground" space at the rear of Rojam. There is also a nonstop buffet for a quick hit of energy or an a la carte restaurant for a more leisurely meal.
The club, a joint Chinese/Japanese venture, was two years in the planning, opening in January with the direct involvement of famous Japanese music producer Tetsuya Komuro. His plan is to use the venue as a launchpad for new music in China and throughout Asia. Australian DJ and sound producer Anthony Pidock (or "DJ Antman"), has been involved in the club project from its inception, traveling throughout the region to specify and source the audio, video, and lighting systems for Rojam. With a total budget of around $1.5 million to play with, "We finally settled on a Martin Professional system for two reasons: We liked the gear, and Martin's Shanghai agent, Sanecore, is excellent to deal with, which really tipped the contract in Martin's favor."
The dance floor is a rectangular space with a stage at one end and the lighting/AV control booth at the other. Solo dancers perform around the room on raised platforms to get the crowd motivated, and it doesn't take long for the dance floor to fill with gyrating bodies. Bonnie Sun, the club's resident light jockey (LJ), enjoys her work and it shows: The sophisticated lighting contributes heavily to the club's atmosphere.
Sun has only been involved in lighting for a short time; her initial inspiration was a visit two years ago to the Beijing Sound and Lighting show with her boyfriend, a Rojam DJ. While there, she began talking with British LD Snowy Johnson on the Pulsar stand, and after she expressed an interest he offered to teach her how to operate several of the control desks. Her learning curve was steep as she pored over desk manuals and visited clubs to speak to LJs to get a feel for club lighting styles.
Sun's first job was at the 99 SuperDisco in Shanghai, where she was LJ for six months. But when she saw the lighting position advertised for Rojam, she thought the Martin Case Pro II 512 control desk would be a challenge, which it has proved to be, though a challenge Sun is happy to meet.
The Martin desk controls around 150 moving lights which include MAC 500s, MAC 600s, and four new additions to the rig in the form of MAC 250s. The main rig is situated above the dance floor and based around a circular, scrim-covered truss that allows for some great effects. Columns around the venue are lit by Martin Robocolor III color changers which add dimension and visual interest to the space. The Robocolors are controlled by the Martin 3032 controller. The rig also includes PAL 1200FX and Pro 1220RPR effects scanners, Pro 518 and Pro 918 scanners, and Pro 400 color changers. Martin fiber-optic cable further sculpts the venue.
A JEM 1200 Hydrosonic fogger fills the dance floor and beyond, allowing Sun to use the lighting rig to slice through and create stunning effects for the dancers and onlookers to enjoy. A 5W full-color laser system from Tarm and a 5'x5' Toshiba 41" videowall system make Rojam's equipment the most sophisticated of any club in Shanghai, a reputation further enhanced by the recent addition of 12 NEC Plasmasync 42" plasma monitors.