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The REAL LDI Followup

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I know, I’ve made some pretty crazy posts concerning the show cancellation, and Elvis sightings. All in good fun. I figure though it’s time for some real information, or at least my real opinion on what went down.

First and foremost, I was quite concerned by what I saw. Not only was the show lightly attended by visitors, but the manufacturers stayed away too. On top of that, the exhibitors who were there, for the most part cut their budgets to a point where perhaps it did more damage than good. Take a look at Martin, Robe – and oh yeah, what about the hot new Varilite VLX sitting on the Philips booth. Huh?A release with this much potential and hype and you’ve got one on display at the parents booth?

Another observation worth mentioning is a fact I posted on Facebook last week. There’s a paradigm shift happening. You may not have taken notice as yet, but you will. Remember back when Martin, High End, Varilite and other US or European manufacturers ruled the show floor with massive stands and even bigger parties? Those shows also witnessed small “cheezy” booths brought in by the Chinese importers including American DJ, Elation and Chauvet. Did ya happen to notice who were the smallest and largest this time around? Both Elation and Chauvet not only showed strong, in fact, they duked it out for the best booth award, finally reeled in by Elation.

Product you ask? Sure, there were some promising new products. Here are a few I think are worth mentioning, and of course – my own personal opinion on each.

Sea Changer Plasma: Great food at the Sea Changer stand. I didn’t see anything I needed to have. Sure, the plasma technology shows promise but the efficiency of Plasma compared to LED is really not impressive. I thought the advancement though was interesting.

Robe Robin: Unfortunately, I was relatively under-whelmed with the Plasma technology on the Robe stand. I wanted to be blown away, but when the sales person told me that “using only 262 watts, we’re seeing output comparable to the 300 watt lamps out there”. Sure, the lamp is the size of a Tic Tac – I get it, but once again, it’s nothing I NEED to get my hands on, especially at more than $6000.

Elation Platinum Spot: Now HERE is a new lamp technology I “get”. It’s a 160 watt lamp with output that most closely resembles (or blows away!) a 575 watt spot. If you’re going to yell and scream about a new lamp technology, let’s make it something worth yelling about – and this one is. Not to mention the incredible price point they are able to achieve. I am certain that Elation will completely lock up the install market with this one – as long as it’s reliable.

Robert Juliat LED Profile: Speaking of disappointing, I didn’t actual get to see this new Profile, but I got the “pitch” from one of the company’s sales people. In his own words, “the fixture is the same as our standard Profile, and has output very similar to the CDM150 version”. Once again, why would I buy a 100 Watt LED fixture for a bunch more money when the output is only 50% better than a proven, long life and reliable – and cheap, lamp? Just doesn’t make sense to me. The answer I was given was that the field is better. Good luck with that one! If you’re only getting a 150 output from a 100 watt LED – you’re doing something wrong… but what do I know?

Color Kinetics Color Rave (rage??): I liked the working title for this product better. It was going to be called the “SpectraBlaze” but apparently that name was taken. Anyway, the product itself is excellent. In fact, at only 24 inches long, it puts out 500 more Lumens than the 48″ ColorBlaze with an awesome 6000 lumens. Additionally, it’s the first 5 color fixture to be released by CK. RGB White and Amber allow a huge number of new or improved colors to be produced. Lastly, the fixture features, for the first time ever, on board processing and power. You can even do Stand Alone programming! Sure, other companies have done that stuff before, but not the leader. They do now! This tells me that for the first time, Color Kinetics are really showing they are interested in producing product for the entertainment word. Not architectural products that are used in rentals.

Total Structures Lightlock: Very cool idea, just not sure about the market for it. I think the price was around $2500 (dont quote me) and I am just not certain there’s a market. The basic idea is that you cannot hang moving lights (or any light) on trapezes, lightweight automated bars or pantographs due to unwanted oscillation in the structure. Lightlock has a Gyroscope in it that offsets any movement. It’s cool as hell, but again – I just don’t know that people have been screaming for this. At a few hundred dollars, sure – but you’re asking people to pay almost what they paid for the light! Time will tell.

PRG Bad Boy: Just cool to finally get a look at this thing closeup. It is definitely a light that’s got a place in today’s touring biz. Jury is out on the new console though. Since they won’t sell it to anyone, they’ll have hundreds of competitors!

ETC Selador Fire and Ice: Come on guys… you bought this nice little fixture company. We get it… but do you really want us to think these are must have new fixtures? The rigging thing, I just don’t know enough about it to comment. Sorry.

Other than product, there is little to report on. The parties were lame at best, the Peabody Bar was relatively tame and uneventful. No nudity, fights, or dancing on tables. Huh?

I did manage to get out with the Upstaging folks – Don Carone, Robert Carone and John Huddleston – to see AC/DC the night before LDI opened. I wore earplugs, and it was still one of the louder shows I’ve been to. Otherwise, the lighting was awesome, and the band was actually still pretty rock and roll! Not that I expected them to stand still, but they gotta be pushing 60 and still rocking like they’re 30! God bless guys!! A funny side story. On my way up to LDI, I passed a yellow Lamborghini Gallardo with an AC/DC logo airbrushed on the back and custom plates that said “4-Rock”. Talk about a die hard fan.

Sorry I don’t have more to say about the show. Unfortunately, that’s what this show was to me. Rather disappointing. The scary thing was – the show gave me the impression that our industry is hurting quite badly – and recovery is not coming quickly enough. For the first time, I am concerned by what I saw. I hoped to see business as usual, but saw a business I didn’t recognize and too few people there to represent any sort of solid recovery.

Marcel

Author: Marcel Fairbairn

Our expert sales team, collectively, have over 50 years experience in the sound, lighting, production and music industry.

5 thoughts on “The REAL LDI Followup

  1. The RSC Lightlock has many applications. Many of those made it the best product of the year….via LDI. But wait and see the many issues the product will correct. It is an awesome idea and forward thinking product. But thanks for your review…..Chris

  2. Well we (Martin) were certainly very pleased with the show. Yes, we did it on a reduced budget and cut a lot of fluff but we had very good attendance the first two days. Sunday was slow for everyone.

    And yes, the industry IS hurting badly, sales are probably down on average 40-50% in the industry. And with the small margins we all operate at, this does not go unnoticed.

    Let’s hope that we’ve seen the worst of it and that 2010 will be a year of recovery for everybody!

    Mats

    • Glad it worked out. I stand by my comments though. It was depressing to see the Martin logo thats been displayed so proudly for so long – hanging on a vinyl banner at the premier North American Show.

      I agree with you – I hope that this is not a lingering effect and recovery is near.

      As always, thanks for your comments Matts and good luck over there. Martin needs innovation more now than ever.

  3. I didn’t make the show this year, but I’m glad that I stumbled on your blog. For the moment, we’re all hanging on through this rough patch. The economy and the business goes through regular cycles. This one will pass too.

    Thanks, Marcel, for the excellent blog!

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