Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Enjoying a slice of InfoComm

The annual InfoComm conference and trade show took place June 10-16, 2023, with the trade show running June 14-16 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The show alternates between Orlando and Las Vegas. The show was last held in Orlando during the fall of 2021, after the pandemic caused the cancellation of the 2020 show and delayed the 2021 event from its typical June dates. Looking back, it was very much still a time of recovery for the industry. The 2022 show in Las Vegas felt closer to pre-pandemic energy, with busier trade show aisles and the return of mega-sized booth displays. This year many attendees proclaimed that the industry “was back” and the crowds on the show floor reflected that sentiment.

In addition to education tracks and networking events the show floor hosted several specialty exhibits. First, an interactive display, created by Moment Factory in partnership with Nanolumens, tracked visitors as they walked past a large LED screen, impacting the art being displayed. Creative lighting and comfortable seating areas completed the space.

In another corner, InfoComm set up an eSports gaming area, outfitted with high-tech AV equipment and announcers providing commentary on the game play.

Perhaps most popular special booth was a partnership between InfoComm and the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. Half a dozen playful puppies romped around the Press Paws Playground, delighting show attendees with their antics and providing a cute and cuddly respite from the digital deluge that is InfoComm. Hopefully, some even got adopted. The takeaway was clear: every trade show needs puppies.

With over 36,000 visitors and 700 vendors it’s nearly impossible to see everything at InfoComm. We met with a select group of vendors to learn more about their offerings for the visitor attractions market.

7thSense showcased their Reactive Projection Mapping technology

7thSense

Concealed in a dark fabric-draped booth, 7thSense’s new Reactive Projection Mapping impressed attendees. The system uses motion capture technology to triangulate an object in real time. Projectors then map images on the object and follow it around the space. The effect is a projection-mapped object that can move freely and maintain perfect images on the surface.

Applications could include projection mapping an animatronic character or ride vehicle, both of which tend to vary from initial programmed movements over time. Reactive Projection Mapping automatically adjusts for every movement.

Wouter Bonte, VP Product IX at Barco, shows their new G50 projector

Barco

Barco officially launched their new G50 projector, the latest in their popular G series. At 6-8k lumens it’s one of the most energy efficient projectors on the market, with 18 lumens/watt. It utilizes the same lenses from the G series, can be lifted by one person, and is ideal for museum applications.

Also shipping this month is the UDM projector, now available in a 30k lumen option. The 4k laser 3DLP projector is one of the smallest for that many lumens. It requires only two people to lift and is perfect for projection mapping and special events. It also is energy efficient and received an EcoScore of A, an internal ranking of sustainability audited by Ernst & Young.

Seth Johnson and Cody Crossland at the Blackwire Designs booth

Blackwire Designs

Blackwire is a value-add wholesale distributor. They don’t make hardware, but they do write software and provide tech support for their clients. For example, a museum might need robust Wi-Fi coverage, so Blackwire offers a heatmap service that gives the integrators a roadmap for where they need to install equipment. It makes installation easier and gives the client confidence in what they are purchasing.

They also offer unboxing, firmware updating and equipment preparation services. They then ship the reboxed equipment to the site (along with a box of snacks) for the installers to complete the job.

Joel St-Denis, Director of Product Management at Christie Digital Systems, shows off Christie’s flagship Griffyn 4K50-RGB projector

Christie

Christie showcased the Griffyn 4K50-RGB, their flagship RGB pure laser projector, achieving 98% of the Rec. 2020 color space. It’s one of the smallest 50k lumen projectors on the market and is ideal for themed entertainment applications. Christie’s LiteLOC system easily controls power to the projector to keep a steady brightness level for the life of the light source. The light source is also fully replaceable. Typically, they are rated at maximum brightness for 25,000 hours to 50% brightness (meaning, after 25,000 hours of use at maximum brightness it will have dimmed by 50%). By setting the brightness at less than maximum, the life can be further extended.

Christie also has released new accessories for their GS Series projector line including a new 0.37-0.4:1 ultra short-throw lens and a redesigned rigging cage that accommodates the lens. The Christie Intelligent Camera can be used with select Christie 1DLP® projectors, and accounts for different colored surfaces, automatically adjusting the color output based on the projection surface color. It can also automatically color match up to three projectors in a horizontal array when used with Christie’s Mystique Lite software.

On the LED front, Christie MicroTiles LED are now available in a .75mm pitch, which allows for better resolution at closer viewing distances. All MicroTiles LED use the same chassis system, so it’s easy to combine different pitches based on the distance to the viewer, creating a more cost-efficient LED wall.

Just Add Power CEO Taft Strickland showing their Warp Engine and Tiling Transmitter

Just Add Power

Just Add Power’s MaxColor 4K60 Series 2 transmitter and receiver now come with a fiber port for super long distance. While traditional copper wiring makes sense for distances less than 330 feet, fiber can extend that up to several miles, making the product ideal for a theme park. 

The company also showcased the Wall Plate Transmitter, which came out last year. It’s a plug and play port for control of digital screens. Users simply plug into the outlet and the display automatically switches to their laptop screen. When unplugged, the display quickly returns to its default program. The small outlet unit doesn’t get hot even when used for long periods. 

Finally, Just Add Power’s Warp Engine and Tiling Transmitter systems provide functionality for digital displays, such as in a museum. The tiler allows multiple feeds to be displayed on one large screen, which is better for energy consumption. Warp Engine allows a feed to be displayed in a certain orientation on a screen, even if the screen is moved or is positioned non-traditionally, such as on an angle.

Karen Smidt, Sr. Marketing Director at Legrand

Legrand | AV

Legrand | AV’s Chief line is the company’s mounting and storage solution, frequently used for mounting digital displays or protecting them in kiosks (think wayfinding stations). 

Their Da-Lite SightLine product connects a projector screen to a cable system (rather than fabric) allowing it to raise and lower quickly. The advantage to cable is its flexibility. Because the cable attaches to the screen and comes in rolls, there is no need to spec an exact amount of fabric needed for the precise distance needed for the screen. SightLine is ideal for art displays and museum exhibits.

Finally, Legrand | AV’s Middle Atlantic brand is a line of user-friendly equipment racks. There are a variety of sizes and types of racks available for just about any application.

LynTec

Fresh off their acquisition by Chauvet lighting, LynTec recently released updated switching sets and sequencing relay panels for audio, video and lighting control systems. Through a redesign process that included swapping out to different relays, they actually lowered the price by 25-30%.

Kim Brown of Matrox Video

Matrox Video

Matrox Video says their ConvertIP is the first standards-based encoder/decoder for projection and immersive experiences. They partnered with Panasonic during ISE 2023 to create just such an attraction, where the walls and floors were covered in projections of various artworks. The transmitter and receiver can handle both compressed and uncompressed content and comes in 1G, 10G and 25G options.

Francesco Fanicchi, Corporate and Marketing Communications Manager for Powersoft

Powersoft

Powersoft showed the Unica cloud-based amplifier platform first revealed at ISE 2023. The name has two meanings. First it means one, because the one product covers many applications. Second, it means unique, because Powersoft believes the product will stand out in the industry thanks to unique features.

Unica is designed to reduce points of failure and its cloud-based technology provides a safe, consistent user experience. The amplifier’s configuration is stored on a flash card, so that if anything needs to be replaced, the flash card can be quickly transferred to get the system back up and running quickly. Additionally, integrators can easily configure and deploy the system.

Smart Monkeys Owner Stefan Villet shows the small-yet-powerful Foundation ISAAC.

Smart Monkeys

Being released in July is the newest member of the ISAAC show control and content delivery platform family, the Foundation (100 series). 25-times smaller than the Prelude 210 series, Foundation is industrial grade and comes with nearly everything ISAAC is known for. It was created for customers that don’t need the full range of features of ISAAC’s larger siblings but want something small and compact.

ISAAC continues to interface with new industry partners, including Nanolumens (which will start shipping ISAAC Foundations with their LED products), Vertex and ETC…with many more in the works.

Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki owns and publishes InPark Magazine. Started in 2004, InPark Magazine provides owners and operators the perspective from "in"side the "park." Martin has also written for publications like Sound & Communications, Lighting & Sound America, Attractions Management and others. Martin has been featured in Time Magazine, CNN.com and Folio. Martin lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

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