On the eve of LDI, it’s time to pause for a second and consider what new goodies might be on the show floor, especially in the lighting field where advances in technology and product design happen at a rather rapid pace. Live Design asked the LDI speaker for "Working in an LED World," lighting designer Steven Rosen, who in turn polled his office mates to see what kinds of innovations they are secretly hoping will make their way to the LDI2017 exhibit hall. We are happy to share their wish list with you—exhibitors take note!
Steven Rosen, President & Creative Director, Available Light
Ah, what new, innovative, thought-provoking, and fun products await us this year? The speed of innovation over the last decade has been both breathtaking and inspiring so, like you dear reader, I gleefully await the Agamemnon portal doors of LDI 2017 to pivot open, revealing the dreams of so many clever people realized. As I work with an amazing group of lighting designers, I polled my team about what they would like to see coming to market. Here then are a few of the morsels we hotly debated:
Boy, You’re Gonna Carry that Weight
As we have one foot in the live entertainment lighting world and the other in permanent installations, we are always thinking about gear that can be dependably consigned to tasks across the spectrum. Yes, I get that LEDs will eat themselves alive if the heatsinks do not wick all that heat away, but damn, full-size LED profile spots are heavy! Can we put these babies on a diet?
While we are on the subject of ellipsoidals…in many ways, LED technology has allowed us to shrink the size of many conventional luminaires—Hooray! But for those of us working to create immersive environments in everything from a shopping mall retail outlet to a museum gallery to a cramped dark ride, we need more profile spots in a variety of sizes and lumen packages. We are always looking for tools properly scaled to the task—give us options!
Isn’t it time to develop a product that “mops up” all that unsightly light that falls on walls, floors, people, wings, et al.? We need Spray Light Suck in a Can! No muss, no fuss; if we all invest in this, perhaps we’ll be close to having that product, and we’ll be gig economy billionaires!
Spiderman Lighting Communication (DMX Mesh Networks)
In the civilian world, we have mesh networks. Lighting a parking garage where you want to track occupancy? Use a mesh network so that all the luminaires are talking to one another to both help motorists find that prime available spot and save energy! Designing a space where asset tracking is critical? No problem, use a mesh network in a hospital so you can find that misplaced crash cart to save a life! Designing a citywide arts festival where everything from wide-area network communication to locating an errant mover is mission critical? Doh, sorry. DMX: It’s time to evolve!
Light where you need, when you need it. No small light “fixture” has changed the concept of light-on-demand more than the ubiquitous LED tape. Cool light/warm light, standard output/high output, dynamic white, interior/exterior, color-changing, and pixel tape this tool is a fabulous concept that we cannot imagine living without. But, oy, is it delicate; breathe on this stuff, and it can stop working. We need a theater lighting innovator to develop a robust system of connectors, jumpers, power supplies, etc. that can stand up to the rigors of the entertainment world. And while we’re at it, please give us RGBA and RGBW LED pixel tape.
Light the Night
We are slowly seeing a manufacturer or two dipping their toes into the world of exterior automated luminaires; I say bring it on! If we can build a rover to explore the surface of Mars, surely many of you out there can give us fully functioning profile automated lights with powerful LED engines. The gauntlet has been thrown down.
In the museum/theme park/retail-tainment arenas, we depend on programming shows on high-end lighting desks and then “streaming” a real time DMX signal into a recording device for long term show playback. But most of these devices are counter-intuitive to operate and do not offer enough options to make them more useful. Help!