ILDA Cruise Conference 2010

ILDA Cruise Conference 2010

September 6, 2010 Day 1 Boarding

I got in to Miami at noon totally wasted from working three long nights at a rave in Texas. I was able to get on the Carnival shuttle to the ship, which made things very easy from then on.  With my passport and pre-downloaded boarding pass, I was soon in the long line waiting to board the ship, the entire process took under an hour.  I registered my credit card, picked up my “Sail & Sign” card/room key, passed through security, and went on board.  I bypassed the usual picture in front of the fake scenery, and found my room. What a big confusing ship!  I am rooming with Todd Rogers of Beamin’ Lasers from Phoenix, we are on the 2nd floor completely aft on the port side of the ship.

At 3 PM we had a quick ILDA Board meeting in the library to finalize the agenda for the meeting tomorrow, and then it was outside at 4 as the ship left the dock and headed out to the open sea.

At 6:15 I found the “Downbeat Lounge”, a really cool room with giant musical instruments as the decor.  we had the Welcome Reception with three Blisslights shining all over the place, an hor d’eurs buffet, and open bar.  Soon it was time to head out and find the “Universe” dining room where we had assigned tables for our late seating dinner each night.

All I can say is, I had a great steak tonight!  Then I went to the room and passed out.  Much as I wanted to see the LaseOff/Awards theater, and see lasers being aligned, I had no energy left.  (I would regret this the next day)

September 7, 2010 Day 2 at sea, ILDA Meeting day

We had a continental breakfast brought to the room, which was good, because I don’t think we would have awoken at all, I slept right through my alarm.  The waiter called on the phone and woke us to say that he was outside the door, please open it.

At 9 we began the business meeting (OK, it was maybe 9:10) and quickly went through the usual introductions, ethics readings, etc.

Committee Reports:

Safety Committee, Greg Makhov – We are debuting the new ILDA LSO course tomorrow on the cruise;  laser pointer incidents are on the rise and threatening us;  Karl Rothweiler has joined the committee.

Technical Committee, Tim Walsh – We lost Daniel Cohn, Technical Committee Chair, a few weeks ago; he passed away from a brain tumor.  A moment of silence was observed for Daniel and three other laser show people close to ILDA that have died recently – Chris Livingston, Fascination Laser; Dan Lauritsen, Lasertainment; and Jack Horkheimer, Miami Space Transit Planetarium.  Tim has contacted Joachim Mueller about reorganizing the committee to take any action needed and prepare for a committee meeting at the Conference in Moscow next year.

ILDA Professional Committee, Christine Jenkin – This work has gone on since voted in by the membership in 2004, and we are about to present the first ILDA PRO certificates during the cruise.

ILDA Conference Committee – Hayden Hale has joined the committee.

Awards Committee, Tim Walsh – Awards categories face further refinement in the coming year, after seeing how the Awards turn out this year;  some of the categories are still confusing.  We did have new members come on board the committee last year, helping the discussion, and held the judging in South Africa for the first time, adding to the international flavor of the organization.

Ethics Committee, Paul Berthot – The committee resolved seven ethics complaints in the past year, and we had to lose two members in the process.

Then the meeting took up unfinished business, we ratified the changes and clarifications to the ILDA Bylaws (3 & 9?) regarding Board membership made by the Board earlier in the year.  Unanimous vote.

We then discussed new business of some possible changes to membership catgories, including Individual membership, possible hobbyist membership, leading to a good discussion of membership categories, possible abuses, and changes thereof.  Adding banner ads to the website, elimination of published gross receipts, commercial activities of individual members/corporate, naming of corporate membership, membership management site, FDA/CDRH/ were among the subjects raised and discussed.  Patrick showed the results of the Mebers poll on the Quorum/Proxy question (keep the system that we had been using), and made to some of the wacky inquiries the ILDA web site brought to us.

On to election of new board members.  Peter Broerse’s nomination was announced and his memo was projected on the screen, and key points were raised from it.  Christine and Hayden announced their desire to continue serving, and made short speeches, and then Alex Henning was nominated and agreed to run.  Ballots were cast, collected, and counted, and soon the new board took their seats.  Elected were Christing, Hayden, and Alex.

I announced my desire to serve as ILDA President for one more year, and was unanimously voted in.

Finally, we had presentations about upcoming ILDA Conferences.  Alex Timofeyev of Orion Art will host Moscow in 2011, and showed us pictures of the headquarter hotel Hotel Borodino and its facilities and estimated costs for everything.  Then I showed pictures and discussed the possibilities for ILDA San Antonio 2012, I want to plan a big “LaserFest” wit opportunities for “laser orchestras” to perform indoors and outdoors, open to anyone who will attend the rehearsals.  Alex Hennig told us about the possibilities for ILDA 2013 to be held in LOBO’s headquarters and the town of Aalen.

The meeting was adjourned before 12:30, and we all went to lunch on our own.  The ship provides multiple lunch options, really it is fun to see the choices, but I always go for the Chinese….

At 2 PM we reconvened in the Point After Disco meeting room for the ATW.

1) We first heard from Pangolin, who anounced the following:

* New screen brightness controller for PC’s, PangoBright, free for anyone (not just Pangolin users) to download – makes it easy to make your screen dark and less obtrusive in a laser show environment.
* – Registered Pangolin users can join this site for access to free shows and frames/animations to trade.
* QuickShow 2.0 update to be released soon with many improvements and refinements.  See at the Pangolin User Meeting tomorrow.
* Beam Brush available by the end of this year, cost estimated to be less than $1,000.00.
*Long awaited Pangolin laser engine, Beyond 3D, to be released first quarter of 2011
*LD2000 5.5 update out any time

We saw a new show “Tom Sawyer” by Rush, programmed by Mike Dunn.

2) Next up was new member DigiSynth, featuring ILDA faces from a few years ago, Matt Polak (once headed the Tech Committee), and Chuck Rau (long time with AVI, and now at the Planetarium in Killeen, TX) made a presentation about their new laser show control package, DigiSynth.  Key points are:

*It is a digital synthesizer, the most powerful abstract image synthesizer ever created, the only true digital replacements for the analog synthesizers that some of us used in the 80’s, and remember fondly.
* New GUI framework, modules are patched together to enable the user to create their own complex and unique imagery.
*This program is not limited to a specific hardware device.
*70 unique module components, including MIDI and DMX
*Program beam shows, too.
*Can use external performance enhancer Behringer BCF2000 ($250 MIDI controller)
*record funtion to capture your live performance
*output to ADAT lightpipe via M Audio ProFire Lightbridge, Presonus device, or Raven Systems Transcoder (used extensively for Disney’s new “World of Color” fountain/light/video/laser show in California)
* Price special now $3,000; will go up to $4,000 after cruise.

3) Finally, we heard ILDA member Adam Burns (“Buffo”) speak about the laser hobbyist event “SELEM” (pronounced se-leem),  the South East Laser Enthusiasts Meeting held in Newton, North Carolina a few weeks ago in an old 500 seat theater rented for the purpose of a gathering and celebration of laser display.  This has grown from 25 in attendance in 2007 to 70 persons this year, with 20 computers and laser projectors in attendance, ideas shared, and great comaraderie among all.  We saw slides of the event’s setup and laser shows, and Adam spoke with great enthusiasm about his experience organzing the event.  Next year scheduled for August 18-22 – ILDA will be there, I hope!

Then we switched gears in the same room for the Artistic Seminar.

1) First up, Alex Hennig from LOBO, showing their project to create a multimedia ride in Europa Park, one of their long time clients.  This featured a very cool setup in which the seated audience is rotated by motorized seating area around a circular stage in the center, all separated into 4 sections like a pie, so the audience can witness four tableaus as part of the entire experience.  This concept theater has been there running the same show for 12 years, it was time for an update.  The theme of the new show focused on the history of Europa Park’s owners and history for the past 250 years – it has been family owned by a family 250 years in business!  It was called “Europa Park Historama” – used 9 lasers, 1 robot laser, 27 video projectors, water screen, writing water screen, fountains, a holo-flo screen, and other physical effects, all controlled via LOBO Lacon 5 w/ wifi network and optical signal distribution.  Whew!  They did a lot of work in just a few months to realize this vision.

2) Alex Timofeyev from Orion Art presented pictures and discussion of their show in Turkey for the Mardan Palace Inaugaration.  Forty lasers, multiple laser companies in cooperation, fire jets, fountains, uncountable smoke machines, all these contributed to an unbelievable looking show.  The other Alex Panini presented some concepts to use video with lasers – no swuare edge on a video, just black around the objects, and they try to work all in 3D on the Lasergraph DSP to take advantage of its soft blanking capability, to keep their customers happy.

3) Tom Harman, our conference host from LaserNet, showed what can go wrong at a show setup – at their recent show in Mayaguz, Puerto Rico for the Caribbean and South American Games, a huge scaffold was blown over and destroyed over half a million dollars worth of equipment (not LaserNet’s, fortunately!), it made quite an astounding video.
4) I got up and spoke about seeing a recent laser show with no heart – by that I mean all of the elements were there to make a professional show, but i was bored nonetheless, and I brought up ILDA Member Malcom Hignett’s work with his university laser display classes, and a new way to judge laser shows.

5) Chuck Rau of DigiSynth showed a fractal raster photo he made with a HeNe and PhotoShop.  He spoke about Analog and synthesizer changes, he is of the opnion that a laser is best at abstract graphics and beams.  If you want great representational laser art, find an out of work Disney animator (tell us who and where please, Chuck!) to hire; he wants to see no more “three frame animations” in the laser display industry, those days should be long gone.

6) Next Tim, Alex H. and Chuck sat in the front, and Tim asked a simple question about what people are doing with mirrors in their laser shows, which started a great discussion of different approaches to targeting mirrors etc. which took up the rest of the allowable time (Patrick had a big countdown clock running so we all knew exactly how much time we had – it worked well!)

7) Finally, Patrick Murphy explained about US bill H.R. 5810, already passed by the House of Representatives, and soon to be taken up by the Senate, that makes a law that could unintentionally severely restrict the use of lasers in outdoor shows.  ILDA has proposed a clause to be added that would clarify this in our favor, and urged all members to write to their Senator about this.

We broke for a few hours and all met at dinner once more at 8:15 PM, after stopping by the “Captain’s Reception” on the promenade to meet the captain of the ship.  He is a charming Italian man, and Todd and I had our picture taken with him.  Tonight’s dress for dinner was elegant; everyone wore their best clothes.

At 11 PM the gathering began in the Palladium, a very nice large theater, to set up the LaseOff.

By 11:30 no one was ready, but soon Matt (with his spiked mohawk hair) and Chuck from DigiSynth began entertaining ILDA members and interested parties from the general public with their outstanding abstract graphics shows.  Matt really got into the spirit and MC’d the show, even sharing with the audience the proper way to order a Long Island Iced Tea onboard the Carnival Destiny.  Then Alex Panin ran several nice shows on the Lasergraph DSP, especially the James Bond themed one.  Unfortunately, I only saw about 20″ of beam shows, that is all there was!  When all eyes turned to Pangolin, it was not to be;  the LaserNet computer would not speak to the network boxes, and we saw no Pangolin shows this evening; it was a very unusual situation for the ILDA LaseOff!  After some more DigiSynth shows, including one featuring “Mai Tai Lumia”, we called it to an end at 1:30 AM, and retired.

Sept. 8, 2010 Day 3 – in port at Grand Turk

Members had plenty of free time to explore Grand Turk all day today, while Todd and I, and three more from LaserNet, were taught about laser safety from Greg Makhov in the first ILDA LSO course, before and after lunch, for five hours.

At 3 PM or so, the Pangolin User Group set up and we explored the intricacies of QuickShow, and saw a preview and demos from the new Pangolin “Beyond” software.  This allows the user to work in 3D in an environment similar to 3ds max.  Watch out for this software, due to be released in 2011.

Pangolin also passed around the housing for their new Beam Brush product, to be introduced by the end of the year, featuring dynamic focusing of the laser beam.

Then it was time for some of the ship’s great sushi, and work on this writing until dinner at 8:15 (yes, every night dinner is the same time and place;  the waitstaff quickly learn your preferences!)

At dinner this evening I spotted “Chile Relleno” on the menu, I ordered it, and was pleasantly surprised by an excellent huge stuffed poblano pepper.

Sept. 9, 2010 Day 4 – moored off Half Moon Cay

We got up and had breakfast served in the Universe Dining Room, and then headed via ferry into Half Moon Cay.  this turned out to be a tiny island with a long curved beach, and little roads through the jungle.  We wandered around for an hour until the heat was too much, and headed back to the ship and the bar and food.

At two the ILDA Awards production crew met in the Palladium show room, and set up for the ILDA Awards.  We had a tech rehearsal, and then a run through, and ran to change at 5:15.  Doors opened at 5:30, and we ran through the Awards presentation without a hitch.  Well…. almost.  At one point a circuit breaker flipped and cut power to the graphics and one beam projector.  But Patrick’s new approach to incorporating video into the presentation worked great, and will be expanded upon in the future.  We also watched a video from this year’s Career Achievement Award recipient, Lothar Bopp, who recently underwent some pretty serious surgery and could not attend in person.

Dinner at 8:15 as usual, only it was very relaxed, due to the Awards being just finished, and everyone in high spirits.

After dinner LaserNet set up their two beam projectors on the Lido Deck and added lasers to the party, jamming with the Filipino cover band.  The smoke machine worked pretty well considering that the ship was at sea and moving briskly.  I enjoyed it.

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3 Responses to “ILDA Cruise Conference 2010”

  1. Christine says:

    great report Tim, thanks!

  2. John Faith says:

    Even though I was unable to attend, I appreciated all of your information. Thanks

  3. Patrick says:

    Very nice diary — it evokes the cruise well!

    Here’s the info you requested on the other laserists who passed in 2010, for whom we had a Moment of Silence:

    Chris Livingston, Fascination Laser
    Dan Lauritsen, Lasertainment
    Jack Horkheimer, Miami Space Transit Planetarium

    In addition to Daniel Cohn of Technological Artisans whom you mentioned.

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