The PLASA Awards for Innovation were presented the other night, revealing the most ground-breaking products of PLASA London 2014. It was a night of celebration and of remembrance, as the prestigious Gottelier Award was awarded posthumously to Clay Paky founder, Pasquale ‘Paky’ Quadri, who recently passed away.
Clay Paky’s Chief Operational Officer, Pio Nahum, graciously accepted the Gottelier Award on behalf of his friend and colleague. The other nominees – Richard Belliveau, David Cunningham and Dr Christian Heil – withdrew from the running following the sad news. The lighting industry has lost a great character and a true pioneer.
Every year, PLASA recognises products that demonstrate progress, through attributes like a new style of thinking, an improvement in technical practice, new technology, materials or techniques, or an improvement in safety. The entries were considered by an expert judging panel comprising Tim Atkinson, Scott Burges, Jonathan Burton, Richard Cadena, Jenni Harris, Tapio Ilomaki, Steve Moles, Nick Read, Ben Rogers and Ed Manwaring.
The team of judges faced a real challenge in whittling down the contenders, eventually deciding on eight awards for innovation, and one award for sustainability. Due to the extremely competitive nature of the field this year, the judges took the extra step of making two additional commendations. They also awarded the Gold Award, which is an optional award that is reserved for industry-changing product innovation.
This year’s winners of the 2014 PLASA Awards for Innovation:
Clay Paky Mythos
The judges said: “In the Clay Paky tradition, it’s a real winner. Paky would be proud.”
The judges said: “The Sniper beam light, scanner, and laser simulator adds a unique effect to the lighting toolbox. It fills a gap in the market for a huge number of venues.”
Philips Vari-Lite VL4000 Spot
The judges said: “The judges were impressed by the VL4000’s colour animation wheel, the ‘intuitive timing’ feature and the quietness of the studio mode.”
Philips Strand Lighting Emergency DMX Bypass Switch
The judges said: “The judges feel that the Philips Strand Lighting Emergency DMX Bypass Switch addresses an important safety issue that have previously been overlooked. It’s a well-designed turnkey solution for using DMX in an emergency system.”
The judges said: “In 2011, GDS won a Sustainability Award for their ARCSystem of LED auditorium lighting fixtures. By following it up with the ArcLamp LED candle lamp, the judges feel they deserve another award for innovation in general service lighting.”
RC4 Wireless DMX4dim Series 3
The judges said: “The DMX4dim Series 3 4-channel dimmer uses clever technologies to pack a variety useful features in a tiny package. One judge said the only thing it doesn’t do is zip up your pants.”
Neutrik XIRIUM X
The judges said: “The XIRIUM X wireless audio link solves a problem neatly and without compromising audio quality. It offers low latency with full spectrum audio, and it can take a line level signal or a mic with or without phantom power.”
The judges said: “BMFL raises the bar on automated lighting by increasing brightness, decreasing size and weight, and providing all of the effects you would expect in a top-of-the-line moving light.”
The Award for Sustainability goes to a product or products that the judges feel will have a positive impact on the environment. This year’s winner:
The judges said: “If all the West End theatres alone switched to the ARCLamp system, it would translate to a significant reduction in carbon footprint, reduced heat load, lower maintenance costs, and the increased lamp life would result in less landfill. Multiply that by the number of theatres across the world and the potential impact of this product is tremendous.”
The judges felt that the number of award contenders made it extremely difficult to narrow down the field. Although the following products did not win outright, they felt they should be commended.
This year’s Honourable Mentions:
Data Strategy Power-Check
The judges said: “The Power-Check is not a sexy product but it’s one which insures the safety of every product that is connected to mains power. We at PLASA wish to recognise those who toil to insure the safety of our work force.”
LumenRadio CRMX TiMo
The judges said: “The TiMo is an implementation of the CRMX Chip, both of which will have a profound impact on our industry.”
The winner of the 2014 PLASA Awards for Innovation Gold Award:
LumenRadio CRMX Chip
The judges said: “If ever there was a game changer, this is it. The low price point and incredibly small dimensions mean that there is now no excuse for not making wireless DMX a standard feature of every lighting product that uses DMX. The only option now should be whether the application calls for copper or air, not whether a light has the in-built option. This could be the beginning of Skynet for lighting.”
Christopher Toulmin, PLASA’s Director of Events, said: “Due to the level of competition, the judging of this year’s awards has been extremely difficult. The Awards have again proven that the entertainment technology industry is abound with innovation and continues to break new ground year after year. I’d like to thank all those who entered and give my congratulations to the winners. After such a high level of innovation this year, we’re really looking forward to seeing the entries for next year’s Awards.”