Living up to its reputation as the industry’s premier launch pad, the PLASA Show saw a record 56 technical innovations new to the market this year nominated for the Awards. All entries were featured in the New Technology Gallery, sponsored by Lighting&Sound International, which attracted enormous visitor and exhibitor attention and certainly took centre stage.
The awards were presented for Design Excellence and Technical Innovation in four categories: Lighting; Sound; Audio-Visual and Stage Engineering. The winners were presented with a PLASA Award for Product Excellence trophy, specially designed by DHA Lighting. Talking about the Awards, MD of PLASA, Matthew Griffiths, said: "It is very encouraging to witness the high level of new product development and innovation within this industry. It is also heartening that so many manufacturers chose the PLASA Show to launch their latest innovations, demonstrating the Show’s position as not merely an exhibition, but as the major event in the entertainment technology industry’s year."
In the Lighting category, the Award for Design Excellence was presented to Clay Paky for its CP Color Range, a line of colour changers designed for the professional and architectural markets. There are four models in the range, including one specifically for outdoor applications. Each model adopts the CMY system and has a uniform mechanical dimmer from 0 to 100%. The range is ideal to colour wash theatre stages, TV studio sets, works of art and architectural or interior design features. The judges were impressed by the "versatility of the new range of practical cyc lights," and commented that it was "good to see investment going into such development in a neglected product area."
The Lighting Award for Technical Innovation went to Artistic Licence (UK) Ltd for Down-Link, a wall-mount Ethernet-to-DMX512 converter, presented in a two-gang panel that mounts to standard UK wall boxes and converts Art-Net to two universes of DMX512(A). The product is the first of its kind offering DMX512(A) distribution via Ethernet using a public domain protocol. The Judges felt the product was an "extremely practical and low-cost solution to the current and future problems of inter connectivity in installations wishing to run ethernet systems and DMX."
In the Sound category, the Award for Design Excellence was presented to Outline for its Kanguro 'Active', a fully active loudspeaker system with integrated digital PWM amplifier modules. The patented design allows the high/mid pack to be stowed in the sub bass for easy transport. The judges labelled the product as "a truly unique approach to a specific market niche."
Yamaha-Kemble Music’s AW4416 captured the Sound Award for Technical Innovation. The AW4416 is a 44-channel, 16-track hard disk recording system complete with full editing, sampling and mastering facilities. It boasts true 24-bit, 48kHz resolution with no compression of any type. All in all, the AW4416 was rewarded for offering an "intelligent combination of new technology with existing ideas all in one compact unit."
In the Audio-Visual category, High End Systems swept the board with Awards for both Design Excellence and Technical Innovation for the Catalyst, an orbital movement system, like a periscope that mounts to the front of a video projector and allows static images or moving video to be projected anywhere within a 360 by 180 degree hemisphere of movement. It can mix colour, select gobos, iris down and insert shutters all directly from a DMX lighting console. Judges felt that the Catalyst represented the "next generation of moving lights" and commented that its "well developed design brought video and lighting effects together seamlessly."
In the Stage