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Laser F/X On-line Newsletter - Special Reports

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ILDA - 1998 Amsterdam Meetings

1998 ILDA Meeting and Lase-Off

Morning Session

The official 1998 ILDA business meeting started on Sunday morning when President Chris Ward delivered the annual 'State of ILDA address'.  Most of Chris's address covered financial matters. ILDA is in good financial condition with it's first small surplus that has been invested into an emergency fund against the day when it may be needed.

Chris Ward Chris also indicated that he felt it was time for ILDA to invest in a part-time web-master so that the ILDA web-site could be updated more frequently. Chris also discussed the need for increased professionalism in the industry. The newly created Design and Production Workshop is designed to meet this need by having top industry professionals present some of their projects and how they produced them.
There was then discussion of whether or not ILDA should join ESTA. ESTA is a non-profit trade association representing the North American entertainment technology industry. Members include dealers, manufacturers, reps, service and production companies, scenic houses, designers and consultants. One of the functions of ESTA is to adopt standards for the entertainment industry and ILDA's standards should be included. During discussion from the floor, the membership reached the opinion that the board should investigate this further and then report back to the membership on the costs and obligations involved.

Committee Reports

Committee chairs were then called up to present reports on their committee's activities over the past year. The membership first heard from Jack Dunn chair of the Planetarium and Science Centre Committee who indicated that they were still actively seeking out planetariums with laser show to recruit them as members.

David Lytle, Laserist editor, informed the membership that the quality of articles printed in the publication had been improved with many longer pieces on technical issues. He also reported that the 3 regular editions of The Laserist had been improved with more pages added for additional content and increased advertising opportunities.

Tim Walsh, Chair of the Awards Committee spoke about the large number of submissions in this years awards. He reminded members that the sale of awards tapes not only allows members to see all winning entries (they are not all displayed at the banquet) but also to help defray the cost of staging the banquet. Tim announced that at this year's banquet, a records number of winning entries would be displayed as laser shows with only a few videos. He thanked Michael Sollinger for the loan of much of the projection and control equipment, and ABC LaserEvents for their equipment and work in staging the Lase-off and Awards.

Bill Benner then gave a presentation on the work of the Technical Committee. Work on the ILDA standards is on-going and a small revision of the DMX standard is expected shortly so as to add some items brought to the Technical Committee's attention. Bill also indicated that experts in the laser industry were now showing more interest in laser display issues.

John Hare, chair of the Ethics Committee, told us that things had been very quiet in the past year with only two complaints needing resolution. He advised that this is good as it means that no major ethics problems are occurring and that he would be happy when he had nothing at all to report.

Greg Makhov, chair of the Safety Committee, reported that ILDA is still actively participating in the lasers in airspace issue. At a recent course, participants had included regulators from government agencies outside the USA. Safety issues surrounding audience scanning are being discussed and are working towards a consensus on the basics of defining measurements and measurement methods.

The floor was then opened for discussion of these issues and the presentation of motions from the membership. L. Michael Roberts presented two motions.  The first was designed to limit board members to a maximum of two 2-year terms in a row (four years maximum service before taking a break). In his rationale, Michael indicated that the reasoning was to allow more 'fresh faces' onto the board and to create opportunities for people to serve in these elected positions. There was a great deal of discussion about the issue and in the vote the motions were defeated.
Michael then introduced a further motion to amend the ILDA bylaws such that any changes made to those bylaws by the Board during the year, would have to be ratified by the membership at the next annual meeting after the change. There was considerable discussion of this "checks and balances" proposal and the resolution passed.



The election of Secretary was then brought before the meeting. There was some discussion of an interpretation of the bylaws that appeared to be a roadblock to holding the vote. The issue was resolved, with the Board agreeing that the bylaws needed improvement in the wording on that item. Page Hare was re-elected by acclamation to continue her good work as Secretary.

Nominations for Board were then taken from the floor. There were three positions to be filled due to expiring terms. The Nominees were; Dirk Baur, Craig Nelson, Michel Wenzel, Chris Ward, Mike Walsh, Alberto Kellner and the perennial Steve Heminover.
ILDA then broke with precedent by calling for the balloting immediately after nominations. In past years, nominations were made on one day, with elections scheduled for the next or a following day. This practice gave candidates the opportunity to campaign and to make sure supporters had the opportunity to vote as members often have other commitments and can't always be present in every meeting. With this unannounced change in procedure, it is not at all certain that a quorum was present for the voting.
The new ILDA board consists of Dirk Baur, Chris Ward, Tony Zmorenski, Steve Heminover and Stephen Harvey who was not present at the meeting despite being a director.

1998 ILDA Board
1998 Board (L to R): Dirk Baur, Chris Ward, Stephen Harvey, Tony Zmorenski, Steve Heminover

There then followed a call for nominations for President. Chris Ward was nominated. Dirk Baur was also nominated but declined on the basis that he felt he should serve on the board for at last a year before running for President. Chris Ward was re-elected by acclamation to a third term as ILDA President. The meeting then adjourned downstairs to lunch.


Afternoon Session

The afternoon was devoted to workshops and seminars and the trade show was open. The following were available to the membership:

  • International Laser Safety Seminar moderated by Tony Zmorenski, with Dr. Daniel Clark, Loughborough College, UK; John O'Hagan, National Radiological Protection Board, UK; Dirk Baur, MediaLas GmbH, Germany; Dr. Wolfgang Kichner, WKL, Germany; Greg Makhov, ILDA Safety Committee Chair; and Patrick Murphy, ILDA Airspace Issues co-ordinator. This proved to be an especially interesting session with an excellent handout covering tips for safe audience scanning (Click HERE to read the handout.)

International Laser Safety Seminar panel
International Laser Safety Seminar panel

  • Care and feeding of scanners conducted by Giovanni Aquino of Cambridge Technology Inc of the USA

After the coffee break:

  • The International Safety workshop continued with a focus on test instruments and methodologies.

Demonstration of testing equipment
Demonstration of testing equipment

  • Theory, applications and artistry involved in the use of gratings and fibre optics in the laser light show industry conducted by Peter Mayer of Creative Laser Production in Germany.
  • Promoting your company in the print media and on the web led by David Lytle, Editor of the Laserist.


The Lase-Off

ILDA again departed from tradition and held the Lase-Off on the second last night. (At first, the Lase-off was held immediately after the the Awards Banquet. As it grew in popularity and more works were shown from ADAT, it became a separate event usually held on the last night so members could relax and party.)
Large, modern busses arrived at the hotel to transport us to Claus! Hoffddorp about a 30 minute ride away. Claus! is like an adult play-land with restaurants, video games, a bowling alley and a beautiful two-story banquet hall where the ILDA events were held. There were two mirrored, fibre-fed scan heads situated on either side of the stage used for beams; and two fibre-fed scan heads at the back of the stage that were primarily used for graphics projected onto a motorised scrim.

Lase-Off graphic and beam show
Lase-Off graphic and beam show with colourful tunnels played from the Lasergraph DSP

After a modest buffet featuring some spicy dishes, laserists settled back while host, L. Michael Roberts from Canada, announced the shows. The following were presented (the info in brackets indicates the type of show and the source of playback):

  • The ever popular "Spam", which memorialises the 1995 ILDA meeting in Miami, by Laseronics Northwest of the USA (graphics from ADAT)
  • "Defcon/Castles" featuring the spoken word of Athur C. Clarke by Green Rose Lasers of the USA (graphics from ADAT)
  • "Aylnafysh", a driving dance piece by Dave Nash from Canada (Beams from ADAT)
  • "Perfect Sense" by William Moore of the USA (graphics from ADAT)
  • "Come on and Ride it" with lots of train graphics from Strictly F/X in the USA (graphics from ADAT)
  • "Carmen" an up tempo rendition of the operatic aria from LOBO in Germany (beams from ADAT)
  • "Air Force" using classically orchestrated military style music and featuring subtle colour modulation by LaserAnimation of Germany (beams from DSP)
  • "War" a graphics piece from Lightspeed Design in the USA (graphics from ADAT)
  • "Sound is Laser" an experimental piece using the signals fed to the galvos as the soundtrack by Tim Walsh of the USA. This unusual work was played back both on the screen and the beam heads simultaneously as it looks great in either mode (beams and graphics from ADAT)
  • "Monster Mash" by the team from Laser Fantasy in the USA. This module won First in the annual Pangolin Prize competition (graphics from Pangolin)
  • "Vivaldi" a beam piece set to classical music by Laser Entertainment of Italy (beams from ADAT)
  • "Hope" by Rob De Addizo of the USA (beams from Pangolin)
  • "James Bond" set to music from the movie by Jaye Neal of the USA (Beams from Pangolin)
  • "The Clapton Affair" with music by Eric Clapton from Muler Planetarium in the USA (graphics from ADAT)
  • "Chinese New Year" featuring lots of Asian graphics by Claude Lifante of France (graphics from Pangolin)
  • "Fun Factory" set to up-tempo dance music by Laser Image of Holland (beams from ADAT)
  • "Little Britain" a graphic piece with stunning beam effects and orchestral soundtrack from LaserAnimation in Germany (beams and graphics from DSP)
  • The finale was "Yamaha" a corporate production that began with graphics, then the screen rolled up for spectacular beam effects - created by our hosts ABC LaserEvents in Holland (beams and graphics from Pangolin).

ABC LaserEvents show at Claus! Hoffddorp
ABC LaserEvents show at Claus! Hoffddorp- image courtesy of ABC

Audience Scanning at ILDA

Audience scanning is legal in The Netherlands and we were all looking forward to seeing the laser shows presented in the European manner. A rumor circulated during the Captain Kok dinner cruse that the beam shows would use reduced power levels. There was much politicking to lobby for having the shows presented by our hosts in the European manner.
The morning after the cruise, Greg Makhov made a statement to the membership that audience scanning would be used at the ILDA events and that non-scanned seating would be available for those who wanted it. During the International Laser Safety Seminar, there was much general discussion of audience scanning and the appropriate power levels to be used.
Newly elected Board member, Dirk Baur, brokered a compromise where Dr. Wolfgang Kichner and John O'Hagan agreed to measure the audience scanning power levels. It was further agreed that our hosts would have the final say in accordance with local regulations and practices, the measurements were to be made for informational purposes to determine exposure levels.
The first few beam pieces presented looked adequate but were not that exciting. The output power of the laser had been set to 3 watts (before losses in the PCAOM and the fibres). Our hosts made an effort to extinguish all possible lights in the room so as to improve viewing. Interestingly, USA made beam shows looked good as the effects were often fans of beams and static beam effects projected above the horizon with no audience scanning. International shows that used lots of sheets, fans and tunnels for audience scanning did not fare as well.
After the break, an announcement was made to blow out the candles on the tables (a light source that had been overlooked) and the laser power was upped. This made a dramatic improvement in the quality of the audience scanning but it is not known if the scanning exceeded the MPE.
During the final module,"Yamaha" by ABC LaserEvents, the audience was enveloped in colourful tunnels of light that virtually made the venue disappear.

The event was somewhat more rushed than most would have wanted and not all submissions could be played. This was due to time constraints as we had to be back at the hotel by midnight to avoid overtime charges on the buses. The event finished at 23:05 giving us plenty of time to get our coats and get to the buses.



 In order to present as many pictures as possible, we have broken this special report down into a number of pages to speed access:

SPECIAL REPORT - Introduction and Background
7 Nov - ATW (Advanced Technology Workshop)
7 Nov - Canal ride and Dinner (NOTE: Large page long download time)
8 Nov - Meeting, Seminars and Lase-off
9 Nov - Seminars and Awards Banquet
ILDA Trade Show - A (NOTE: Large page long download time)
ILDA Trade Show - B (NOTE: Large page long download time)
Candid Camera (NOTE: Large page long download time)
Essay: Sex and Drugs in Amsterdam


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