If I am counting correctly, this is my 19thLDI show. We’ve all come a long way since the days of the noisy hall, the black box booth concept, and of course, who could forget Reno and Phoenix! Over the course of a generation, I’ve witnessed the rise of many manufacturers, and I’ve forged some strong friendships with lighting people at all ends of our food chain. Our industry is intoxicating, and like so many of you, I’ve never really considered a career outside the professional lighting realm. When we travel to LDI we have considerable expectations of what we’ll encounter at the show. Through the course of these columns I’ve attempted to enlighten new and seasoned attendees alike with the joys of our technology. It is truly an honor to be included in this journalistic circle, and please don’t misinterpret my light-hearted style for any disrespect. I think it is clear I love this show and all its ingredients.

Speaking of ingredients, friends and expectations, one “perk” of my LDI experience is running into Bob from Eggshell Lighting, who distributes a special blend of coffee straight from his stomping grounds in Hawaii. For LDI 2008, I was honored to receive the very first bag of ground heaven to escape from Bob’s backpack. Now it’s tradition. Well, enough stalling…Here’s a full cup of technology you can enjoy on the show floor.

Elektralite is introducing Paint Can 2.0 this year, a welcome offering from a familiar name in our industry. PaintCan 2.0 offers a new set of designer selected super saturated dichroic filters to compliment the full CMY mixing that made the original so versatile.
 Achieving reduced noise levels due to an intelligent fan system that operates response to internal temperature, the PaintCan 2.0 can be used in the quietest of venues. And despite using the powerful GLA or GLC 3200K lamp with integral electronic dimmer, changes to the transformer and circuitry have produced an even more efficient low power fixture.

From the prolific R&D department at Robe comes the StageQube 324, a new-generation LED panel that is designed as a plug and play application. StageQube does not require any external power supply or control boxes. The complete electronic brain is located in the unit’s IP54-rated housing. Due to its integrated rigging system, even large scale applications can be built very easily. Equipped with an optional foot plate, the system is self-sustaining, but can be flown at any venue. With a resolution of 18 x 18 pixels at a size of 80 x 80 cm, conventional DMX pixel mappers run out of capacity rapidly. That’s why the StageQube 324 system uses a VGA video input that is connected to the StageQube server. The server grabs the input signal and distributes it via Gigabit-LAN to each StageQube 324.

From my good friends at Syncrolite come a bevy of new technology, including the MX4, the SXB-7/3, the XL10 and the OmniColorB. The first three are automated Xenon Skylights in the Syncrolite tradition; these babies have beautiful saturated dichroic color, and more power than you’ll probably ever need. Mr. Calmes and his posse also are showing the OmniColorB, a biaxial color changing system that is big news for pro productions. This revolutionary color scroller allows simultaneous control of hue and saturation with a single scroll of conventional or DichroFilm color filter material. It allows highly repeatable color mixing, as well as precise beam shaping using VFL light shaping diffuser lenses. Because the beam is shaped after light passes through the dichroic color filter in the DichroFilm, halation is minimized and high color purity is maintained. Currently available in a 7” format for ETC Source Four PARs and similar fixtures, they come in an AC powered version or as a DC powered unit using a standard 24VDC external power supply. A backup battery allows for addressing and other menu functions.

And in my final tip for the day, check out Total Structures, who are touting their AIRroof, Totalite truss and other innovatioins. AIRroof combines a conventional ground support system with an inflatable canopy. The canopy incorporates a series of inflatable trusses which provide rigidity and smooth contours, while retaining shape under wind load and providing fast run off water channels to shed rain loads quickly and effectively. The surface areas also provide improved acoustics on stage. The blowers for inflation are housed within the skin itself, removing them from sight, and also helping to keep noise to a minimum. The canopy can also be split into smaller sections allows a number of smaller roofs to be combined to create one larger system.