We managed to make it along to this year’s Live Design International 2018 (LDI) at the Las Vegas Convention Center which showcased products and solutions from a wide array of manufacturers and production service companies. Media server innovations, rigging products, myriad visual effects and lighting fixture offerings, lighting consoles, tracking software, as well as a notable range of audio solutions for installed as well as live sound were among the offerings and innovations on show.
This 30th anniversary of LDI enjoyed an attendance of over 14,000 visitors, and hosted nearly 400 exhibitors, as well as over 100 training sessions, from hands-on software, media server, and lighting console training, to rigging and electrical boot camp programs and tours of some of Las Vegas’ most vibrant night clubs. Attendees were treated to a large variety of courses on Entertainment Production-centric topics, called LDIntensives, as well as manufacturer-specific trainings on some of the industry’s most popular software suites and design packages, branded under LDInstitute™. Live Design’s LDInnovation™ Conference, which featured “three days of essential sessions on the latest issues, production tips and techniques, lighting applications, lighting console programming, projection practices, design concepts, and live-to-broadcast,” was again heavily attended, bringing relevant courses to interested parties in the industry.
Of course Las Vegas presents the best showroom and demo space in the world for many of the exhibitors with events and installs up and down The Strip and all around town in some of the most iconic venues and shows on the planet. But even so, there were plenty of impressive demos at the Convention Center including four impressive stages erected in the car park outside the North Hall featuring systems by db Technologies, EV, Coda, SSL, Allen&Heath, DiGiCo and AG amongst others.
We enjoyed a well-needed relaxing beer on Friday evening with the team from CODA who were proudly providing sound on the main stage for the outside end of show party with their impressive AiRAY™ High-Output, Full Range Line Array system.
In addition to the Expo Floor at this year’s show, the LDI Show produced several attendee-centric events, such as the New Technology Breakfasts, which is a great starter to the expo day, with breakfast and introduction to emerging technologies: Lighting and Projection, sponsored by AV Franklin and Christie; Audio, Staging, and Rigging, sponsored by ModScenes and DAS; and Special Effects and Lasers, sponsored by Ultratec. Friday night, October 19, the LDI Show threw a massive party for the 30th anniversary of the trade show, featuring a massive lighting rig and music by 80’s throwback bands The Spazmatics and Metal Shop, along with LDI After Dark, which gave conference attendees free attendance to three of the hottest clubs in Las Vegas – Jewel, Hakkasan, and Omnia, which feature massive lighting and video packages that are the envy of many designers worldwide.
Saturday evening saw the much anticipated opening of the Knights of Illumination Awards Show, which replaced the Parnelli Awards show; the Parnelli Awards show has moved to the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show in California, and is expected to continue to be exciting and highly attended.
On the product side, Production Resource Group (PRG), who recently purchased Video Equipment Rentals, or VER, exhibited their newest luminaire, the SuperRay, which is a hybrid spot/wash/beam and GroundControl™-ready luminaire. PRG’s GroundControl™ Remote Followspot System, recently awarded an Emmy Award for Innovation, was also in the spotlight at this year’s show. PRG’s technology allows followspot operators to control their followspots remotely in a safe location, alleviating the need to fly operators on trusses, maximizing safety. A few additional companies have brought remote control spotlight systems to the market as well: AC Lighting released their Follow-Me product at LDI 2018, and Robe Lighting showed their RoboSpot, a multi-fixture remote control spotlight system.
Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) released their newest offering, an automated spotlight, Releve, as well as products from their recent purchase of High End Systems, manufacturer of automated lighting, lighting consoles, and media servers. And AirStar America, a very popular producer of soft film and broadcast lighting fixtures, released their newest offering, the NEO line of tube-shaped lighting fixtures that can be connected together or used separately. AirStar America is known for its high-quality lighting balloon products that have been used in myriad film and broadcast productions for incredible soft glow illumination for many years.
Chauvet Professional released a new IP65 rated automated luminaire, the Maverick Storm 1 Wash, featuring pixel mapping, and a large variety of built-in pixel configurations, making it a great choice for outdoor events. Chauvet’s OVATION series products also saw new arrivals, in both fresnel and PAR formats.
Martin by HARMAN brought a very unique fixture to LDI 2018, the MAC Allure Profile, which features an incredible RGBW light engine with 7-segmented beam control, giving new way to aerial effects, segmented pixel mappable beam, and Martin’s new P3 control protocol.
Philips Entertainment (Strand/Vari*Lite) showed several innovations at this year’s show, including the VL10 BeamWash. Strand Lighting brought the SPX LED, an LED ellipsoidal created to replace your standard 575W tungsten halogen spotlights, featuring an outstanding dimming curve and controlled by DMX or your existing forward-phase dimmer.
California based touring supply company TMB won the LDI 2018 Debuting Product Award for their ProPlex IQ Tester LV, a full-featured ethernet tester geared towards the Entertainment Industry. ProPlex IQ Tester LV has an array of features that are geared to save time on the show site, including network data analysis and performance, DMX, RDM, timecode, and PoE.
Of particular note to us at the show was the high-profile presence of many of the specialist media server hardware and software manufacturers including Arkaos, Disguise, AV Stumpfl and Green Hippo following their very recent acquisition by Spitfire Group and TV1. Clearly the convergence of IT storage and networked control is now the heart of show technology and as with the broadcast and media production sector interoperability and ease of configuration and set up combined with military levels of reliability and redundancy are increasingly at the heart of solution requirements and ongoing product technology developments. Increasingly, display, lighting, projection, FX and sound are coming together in a way that makes it easy to forget how these media used to function.
As we left this incredible town behind us, and drove west across the desert, a few dollars lighter but much enlightened, and after three trade shows in one week on both sides of the country we mused about how industry events seems to be doing a much better job these days of identifying their audience and engaging with their core market. We just sometimes wish there were a few less of them to get around.
We hope to see some of you at the next one!
Photo Slideshow: LDI 2018
Coda and EV stages
CODA AiRAY on display and in action
Wedge anyone - monitor shoot out in the car park
Disguise getting natural
FOH for the outside main stage
Green and large with Green Hippo
More jungle fever with Robe
Bardy and Luke at LDI30 party
Bardy and Richard - Arriving from a cold and early start in New York
Coda and EV stages