Members of the International Laser Display Association (ILDA) honored the best and brightest in their industry with awards for outstanding technological and artistic achievement at the group's annual conference November 24-26 in Orlando, Florida.

In contrast to a gloomy 2001, when the events of 9/11 forced the cancellation of ILDA’s conference and most companies suffered through hard times, attendees at the 2002 meeting unveiled a host of new products and were cautiously optimistic about prospects for the coming year.

New Laser Products Introduced
Most new product introductions centered on laser hardware, as attendees saw new solid-state green lasers by Melles Griot, HB Laser Komponenten, Laser Entertainment/Laser System Europe, LaserAnimation Sollinger, Laser Quantum, and Omicron Laserage Laserprodukte. The new lasers were more rugged and less expensive than past units while offering features better geared to the needs of entertainment professionals.

Solid-state blue lasers produced by Laser Quantum and Melles Griot were also on display. Companies are eagerly watching the development of solid-state blue lasers, as it is the missing ingredient for an all solid-state red-green-blue color projector. In a step toward that goal, Lumalaser introduced its new Colorburst projector, which combines solid-state and traditional gas lasers to produce a projector rivaling more expensive all-gas systems.

In another first, Creative Laser Production of Munich introduced two new diffraction gratings for entertainment applications, the Machado and the Stargate, which represented technological breakthroughs in grating design and production.

Laser "Oscars" For Best Shows
Companies from America, Australia, Belgium, Germany and Italy received the industry's equivalent of Hollywood's "Oscars" for shows that included huge outdoor festivals, corporate productions, theme park installations, and special events. LOBO electronic of Aalen, Germany, took the most awards of any company, garnering seven awards, including first place for its "Cosmonautica" beam and graphics show and another first place for its "Seven Wonders" graphics-only show.

"SIB 2002 Multimedia," by Laser System Europe, 1st Place, Indoor Show

"Throbber," by Laser Spectacles; 2nd Place, ISP Graphic and Beam Module

Lightspeed Design Group of Bellevue, Washington, USA, challenged LOBO with a total of five awards, including a first place for its "One More Time" abstract show and another first place in the ISP computer animation. Other shows that received awards included a huge outdoor production by Belgium's Laser System Europe for the Moscow 2002 Sports Games, a thrilling laser-lit roller-coaster ride by Australia's Laservision Macro-Media, and an computer-generated virtual laser host created by Lighting Systems Design, Inc. of Orlando.

"Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster," by Laservision Macro-Media, 2nd Place, Special Application

"Seline," by Lighting Systems Design, Inc., 1st Place, Special Application

Technology Awards
ILDA's Fenning Awards for technical achievement honored advancements in projection equipment, projection software and a capturing laser shows on videotape. Winners included:

  • Pangolin Laser Systems'

    Projection Zone software feature that combines scanner selection, geometric correction, enhanced laser preview, scanner safety and other projector controls.

  • The Utopia Software Suite by Xarrin Advanced Technologies and HB Laserkomponenten, a powerful set of new frame creation and animation tools for Pangolin QM2000 users.

  • Pangolin's Dazzler, a lens/reflector device that makes it possible to project laser beams and graphics in a 360-degree pattern without the need for new scanner hardware or software.

  • Lightspeed Design Group's

    CineLase technology that transfers lasers shows to videotape without sacrificing the unique look and feel of laser light.

Projection Zones took 2nd Place, while the Dazzler and Utopia Software tied for 3rd Place. CineLase received Honorable Mention. The judging panel did not award a first place.

New President Elected
In other news, members of the organization elected Steve Heminover, head of Chicago-based Aura Technologies, as president. Heminover served as ILDA's president from 1993-1995 and has been a member of the board of directors since 1991. Members also elected William Benner, Jr., of Pangolin Laser Systems, and Jim Hardaway, of OmniSistem Lights and Effects, to serve on the board of directors. Neither has served before.

The 120-member organization approved new initiatives to more aggressively promote the use of laser displays and to coordinate the location and timing of the organization's annual meeting with other major entertainment conferences. "We look forward to 2003," says Heminover, ILDA's new president. "The association will be working hard to show the world that laser displays are still an exciting way to enchant audiences."

A complete listing of artistic and technical winners, along with high-resolution color photos, can be found at: