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Laser Show News

Rimini Fair Entertains
With Laser Shows and Products
By David Lytle

The SIB International Exhibition in Rimini, Italy, is famous for dazzling visitors with lavish displays of laser, lighting and sound products. This year was no exception, with top European laser companies performing spectacular shows and  exhibiting the latest laser equipment. Laser show companies occupied some of the largest booths inside the mammoth exhibition space and drew a constant stream of visitors, despite the many competing attractions on the show floor.

The March 23-26 fair featured over 600 exhibitors, and visiting just a fraction of the booths was a challenge given the 50,000 sq. meter size of the Rimini trade show complex. This year, SIB was held in conjunction with the DISMA Music Show, which occupied five of the complex’s 12 exhibition halls and contributed greatly to the 70,000 visitor total (up from 35,000 in 2002, when the biannual SIB was held without the music show).

One of the highlights of the fair was the LOBO electronic exhibit, which occupied about 850 sq. meters in a  connecting area between the two main exhibit halls for lights and lasers. The location of the booth assured a constant stream of passersby, most of whom stopped to enjoy LOBO’s new Billabong graphics and beam show. Laser graphics stretched wall-to-wall across the vast space, while  multiple scanner sets and bounce mirrors showered the audience with beams and atmospheric effects. Two pairs of live dancers added the final element to the show.

LOBO’s new Zaphir moving head laser projectors scanned beams throughout the exhibit space, while potential customers enjoyed refreshments at a large central island. Products by LOBO and its audio and lighting partners were positioned along the edges of the hallway. LOBO’s booth was not only the largest laser exhibit at SIB, but also one of the largest, most attention getting exhibits at the fair.

The second largest laser booth at Rimini was hosted by Laser Entertainment SRL and Laser System Europe (LE/LSE). The exterior of the booth was encased in white fabric, creating a darkened theatrical space perfect for laser performances. Audiences were treated to a show of approximately 20 minutes in length that included a room-filling beam sequence, graphics, water screens and fountains (courtesy of  Magical Water), and a performance by Laserman Theo Dari, a Paris magician who manipulates beams, tunnels and sheets of laser light with his bare hands.

Pangolin Laser Systems was also inside the booth, demonstrating its SMS phone system for displaying cellular text messages in video or laser light. The LE/LSE booth featured a bar and seating area, plus huge light fixtures shaped like gigantic jellyfish. Every time I visited, crowds were standing-room only.

More lasers were on hand at the HB-Laserkomponenten booth. The German company’s 260 sq. meter booth gave visitors an eye-popping laser show thanks to 44 Watts of laser power distributed through 14 scanner heads.  HB’s booth offered visitors a close-up look at laser gear, partly because all of it was in plain sight and easy to get your hands on.  Laserists also had the chance to create their own shows at a console that featured HB’s live touch-screen control software, plus MIDI keyboards and a second touch-screen for controlling theatrical lights (all in real-time, of course).

HB’s newest product was also on display, the Lightcube 5 RGB. It’s billed as the world’s first 5-Watt RGB solid-sate laser, but consumes less than 1,000 watts of power.

Although the staple of  a laser display booth is beams and more beams,  one company proved the exception to the rule. RT-Laser, from Slovakia, showed that an eye-catching laser booth could be created using top-quality video playback of laser shows along with an excellent collection of still photos.

A pair of flat-screen monitors displayed great-looking video of lasers shows, all done by a company that was started in 1994 and has gone on to do shows in stadiums, concerts halls and sports arenas.

A dozen other laser booths were scattered throughout SIB, displaying products that ranged from high-powered  OEM lasers to small, 5mW graphic projectors.

There was even a booth for ILDA, where I met ILDA members from throughout Europe and the Middle East. The ILDA booth was without any actual laser displays, although the November issue of The Laserist , with “Laserman” Theo Dari on the cover, was extremely popular.

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It was a large white box on the outside (top) but inside, the Laser Entertainment/LSE booth treated guests to multimedia laser shows (above).

LOBO's booth, seen at top during setup, was one of the fair's largest. Lasers and dancers (seen above with black-light illumination) drew  large crowds.

ILDA's booth was good place to meet laserists and for those new   to the industry to learn more. Theo Dari, also known as  "Laserman" when performing at the nearby Laser Entertainment/LSE booth, is seen above with David Lytle, ILDA's executive director.