ETC makes rock ‘n’ roll history at LDI

Date Posted: 10/28/2015

Photo © Neal Prestony

ETC makes rock 'n' roll history at LDI

ETC hit a major chord in the world of classic rock at the 2015 LDI tradeshow. With its sponsorship of photographer Neal Preston's In the Eye of the Rock 'n' Roll Hurricane photography exhibit, and Fred Foster, Steve Terry and David Cunningham being honored with awards, ETC rocked and rolled all weekend long.

Source Four Mini is picture perfect

Visitors to LDI 2015 got a rare glimpse into concert touring history through the iconic photography of Neal Preston. The poster-sized photographs of rock's legendary bands - from Led Zeppelin to Queen and The Who - were artfully suspended from a black truss in a massive exhibit occupying possibly the largest booth on the show floor. Using a backdrop of Rosco screens lit top and bottom by LED striplights, the design team brought energy to the exhibits through constantly shifting color washes. Conventional ETC Source Four® Mini fixtures were the perfect choice to light the over 70 mostly black and white artworks. The sleek theatrical profile of the instruments was as important to the design as their light output. Carefully shuttered to eliminate spill on the screens, the Source Four Minis added to the effect of ethereal suspension. 

Exhibition creator and founder of Lightpower GMBH Ralph-Jorg Wezorke explains: "We knew from the start that lighting would be the key element. For the early shows, we did not have the ETC fixtures, but now - through the generosity of Fred Foster and ETC - we have the perfect light for the job." 

The touring exhibit was a huge hit at the Frankfurt Musikmesse show, and for its U.S. debut, the designers called for more than 300 ETC Source Four Mini profiles dimmed individually by ETC Sensor® dimmer packs. "In some cases, we used only one fixture per photograph, but the larger Jimmy Page photograph required four to do the job," says Wezorke. "We really like the punch we get from these little units, especially running at 110 volts. That is how we run them even over in Europe."  

Following the success of the Hollywood costume exhibit held earlier this year in Los Angeles, the Source Four Mini is fast becoming the designer's choice for topnotch touring exhibits. All the proceeds from the exhibit go the Behind the Scenes foundation.

Fred Foster honored with Paky Award

Fred Foster earns Paky Award

Fresh off his award win at the Knight of Illumination ceremony in the U.K. earlier this month, ETC CEO Fred Foster picked up another honor at LDI 2015. He was chosen as this year's recipient of the Paky Award, which recognizes recipients for making technological contributions to the industry.

Clay Paky CEO Pio Nahum presented the honor at LDI, which Foster accepted via video. Foster talked about the history of ETC, giving credit to the group who founded ETC with him - Bill Foster, Gary Bewick and James Bradley - and their sky-high goal of equipping the Met. Ever humble, Foster explained that he shares the Paky Award with his family, all of ETC's employees, and the "larger lighting family" that includes designers, programmers and manufacturers. "Along the way, we embraced great people, and this is the true reason for ETC's success," describes Foster. His entire thank-you video can be watched at .

The Paky Award is named for Pasquale "Paky" Quadri, founder of the Clay Paky lighting company, who passed away in 2014. Quadri was posthumously honored with the award last year, with Foster becoming the second recipient of what will be an annual tradition.

Steve Terry earns Swan award

Steve Terry garners PLASA's highest honor

PLASA kept the party going at its annual general meeting, held alongside LDI. There, ETC Vice President of Research and Development Steve Terry was presented with the Eva Swan Award, which PLASA awards to individuals who have gone above and beyond in their dedication to the organization.

PLASA selected Terry to receive the award, based on his "significant impact on the Association during his many years of service with the Technical Standards Program" and "unparalleled contributions to the lighting industry, leading the team responsible for the development of the original USITT standard for DMX512 and the formation of the original ESTA Technical Standards Program." 

Terry was a founding member of the ESTA (Entertainment Services and Technology Association, now PLASA) Technical Standards program and co-chaired the ESTA Control Protocols Working Group that developed the state-of-the-art ACN and RDM control protocols. He is also a member of the PLASA Governing Body, the PLASA Technical Standards Council, the PLASA Electrical Power Working Group, and many Underwriters Laboratories Standards Technical Panels. 

David Cunningham wins Parnelli Award

David Cunningham honored at Parnelli Awards show

Now in its 15th year, the Parnelli Awards honor the best and brightest in the world of live concert events. Operated by PLSN magazine, the awards dinner attracts nearly 700 of the world's top concert touring professionals - lighting designers, video creators and production managers. This year's recipient of the prestigious Visionary Award was Source Four fixture designer David Cunningham. 

The challenge of getting the attention of an audience that has seen almost everything wasn't too difficult. After an introduction by ETC Vice President of Research and Development Steve Terry and a witty video of Cunningham's colorful life, Cunningham jumped on stage with two glamorous female 'bodyguards' and laid to rest any fears that he might be intimidated by a room full of rock and rollers. A wig change and a pink feather boa added to the black-leather base costume, transforming David into the retro 80s rocker. 

Opening with the line "I would not be here without my parents," David did not shy away from standup comedy. The crowd was enthralled by his blend of science and whimsy, soon realizing that this kindred spirit had made a huge impact on lighting and set designers in theater, concert and retail applications. In an awards show where the bizarre is commonplace, the image of a guy looking like a cross between Dracula and Alice Cooper explaining dichroic coatings and filament technology will forever hold a special place in the memory of those lucky enough to have been there.

ETC was also sponsor of the after-show cocktail party, where the celebration rolled on until 1:00am, a time when theater folks go to bed and rockers get ready for an evening out.

Top photo: Freddie Mercury at Wembley Stadium, London 1986. Photo © Neal Preston.