Chinese Lighting Manufacturers at LDI 2010

For the last few years, we’ve seen a rise of the Chinese lighting manufacturers at the lighting conferences in the United States – not just LDI, but LightFair International, the National Association of Broadcasters show, and others.  You can always tell where they are and who they are because of the giant cluster of little mini-booths with a red “CHINA” sign above each one, like in the image above here.

I do not want this post to be misconstrued for what it is not – it’s mostly commentary on the blatant re-engineering of products made in other countries of the world and their display at LDI.  I am seriously trying to understand the way that the Chinese lighting manufacturer booths are interacting with the rest of the LDI lighting community as a whole.  Not all lighting manufacturing that comes out of China is a bad thing – as a matter of fact, there are certain aspects of it that revolutionize manufacturing and engineering on a worldwide level.

It is no secret that the Chinese lighting manufacturers are a large (nay, HUGE) player in the world.  They make products that are cheaper than many, many of their international competitors – and many people purchase these cheaper products because, well, they’re cheaper than any other product in many instances.  Unfortunately as well, the ability of the Chinese lighting manufacturers to undercut the market is severe.  Also, and again, unfortunately, some of the products aren’t as high in quality, either.

What really gets me is the blatant copying and re-engineering of products that the Chinese lighting manufacturers exhibit at LDI and other tradeshows.  Two good examples would be the copies of ETC’s Source Four fixtures and the blatant copies of the Martin Mac 2000 units.  Like these:

Doesn’t that look just like a Martin Mac 2000?

How about this ridiculously blatant product, the “Mario 3000?”  I mean, WTF:

I’m sorry, but that’s just offensive.  There are stories that float around the lighting world about tradeshows where people from the Chinese lighting manufacturer realm will “borrow” a product, take it back to their booths, measure and reverse engineer the product before returning it.  Now how on earth does that happen, and how is this acceptable to the lighting industries?

Another thing on my mind with the presence of the Chinese lighting manufacturers is the blatant lack of care in both their booths and attitudes towards people who want to come and talk to them about their products.  I posted this image a while ago, of LightFair International 2010, and one of the booths with people simply sitting and ignoring all of the passersby:

On one hand, as a journalist, it’s nearly impossible to even get photographs of the products at the tradeshows from the Chinese manufacturers because they generally chase photographers away from their booths – I have had this experience seven times now, the last being at LDI 2010 in Las Vegas.  Nothing persuades these manufacturers to let you photograph their wares, the least of all being showing them your press pass.  Why do you think this takes place?  At LDI 2010, one manufacturer in the row of Chinese manufacturers told me that there “was no reason to take pictures of my product.”

I don’t understand!

I snuck this photo of a 10kW moving yoke fixture, after which I was essentially chased away:

Here’s another I snapped of a green laser, placed on a box in the aisle, shooting right directly into the eyes of passersby walking past that specific Chinese manufacturer’s booth.  How on earth was this an acceptable placement of a laser?!  Notice the junk piled at the back of the booth, not to mention the laser itself.  I would assume that if a company wanted their products to appear to be worthy of purchase that they would at least outwardly portray a level of organization and success, right?

What are your thoughts on this subject?  Please post below in the comments!  I desperately want to get a hold of the industry’s opinion of this very widely discussed topic.

LDI 2010: InLight Gobos iPod Giveaway, and $2500 for Breast Survival

More LDI 2010 shots – Adriana and Rick Hutton from InLight Gobos’ booth in the TMB Village this year.  InLight Gobos gave away a 32GB iPod Touch to the lucky miss Megan from Hoghes Theatrical.  I drew the name and InLight Gobos rocked the prize!

ALSO, in a glorious moment of success for breasts worldwide, InLight Gobos had a great thing running for Breast Cancer Awareness Month – they offered a $5 donation for every gobo purchased, and matched each donation.  InLight Gobos just donated $2500 to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure!  You go, guys!  I personally thank you for your donation for my friend Kory Jackson, who passed away a few years ago from breast cancer – she would have been thrilled for your support!

Pictures from the weekend:

Awesome!  Thanks to all who participated!

LDI 2010: Candids and Show Floor Shots

Writing this really made my morning, and I hope it brings at least a smile to your face as you browse these candid shots from LDI.  I took about 1200 shots over the 4 days, and I am working on sorting these all out.  I have to say that this was one of the most enjoyable conventions ever – there was something about the vibe this year that was just unbelievably awesome.

Click on an image in the gallery below for a full-sized viewing experience!

LDI 2010: Coemar’s Booth

Another installment of LDI 2010 on for those of you who couldn’t attend this year’s show, or just wanted to remember that which you had forgotten because of tequila.

Normally Coemar has one of my favorite booths – it’s always big, bright, and full of moving beam goodness.  I still appreciated the heck out of the Coemar booth, but someone placed a booth right in front of the Coemar booth – so all of the grandioseness of the Coemar experience was kind of hindered by the big truss dodecahedron placed right in the way!

Check out the few shots I got of the Coemar booth at LDI 2010:

LDI 2010: Martin Lighting’s Booth

Sorry for the bit of delay in my first post of the day, I’ve been trying to get Wicked Lasers to tell me why I paid for $400 bucks’ worth of lasers and optics in AUGUST and still haven’t received any product.  Awesome, huh?

Anywho – check out the first post of LDI 2010 highlights – MARTIN LIGHTING’s booth!  It’s always one of my favorites – these booths are often works of art, and I love seeing the new designs each year.  Check out some pics – gotta love those Mac 301s!

Click on any thumbnail to hit the gallery view – each image opens up to full size!

LDI 2010 – A Weekend That Kicked A Lot of Rear

I’m back from LDI 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I have to say that this year was one of my favorite LDI shows of perhaps my entire experience with going to LDI shows across the country.  Good people, good products, good experiences, and a lot of memorable moments.

This is kind of a teaser post -I wanted to say hi to the world, to tell you that I have eleventy katrillion pictures, videos, and other awesome LDI related stuffs to post this week for those of you who were out there rock-and-rolling and couldn’t make LDI.

I’ll elaborate more soon, but a short few of my highlights from this year’s show:

More to come, folks.  Get ready!

Jax’s Link-O-Rama: Space Case Edition

The countdown is in full force!  In less than 48 hours Jim and I will be in Las Vegas, preparing to rock out at LDI2010.  We’ve been making plaaaaaaaans.  Can.  Not.  Wait.

Meantime, here are some cool things you should look at.

Last week was the 31st anniversary of the publication of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Don’t panic.

What are YOU Hoping to Get Out of LDI?

LDI 2010 is obviously coming up at the end of this week.  I am so ridiculously excited!  Not only do I get to see the products and systems that are being touted as the top cheese in our industries as a whole, but I also get to see our brothers and sisters in these lighting industries that we love.  I mean, really – how great is that?!  This time of year is my favorite time of year.

For those of you who read and are going to LDI – there are a few things to remember about the conference if you’ve never been.  First and foremost – you’re gonna have a blast, see amazing light and lighting, and you’re going to meet people wandering on the floor and in company booths that you’ll get to know and see across the world for the rest of your life.  Make the best of it!  TALK to people.  VISIT with the companies.  CHECK OUT the gear.  PUT YOUR HANDS on the gear.  This is your chance to go shake hands with some amazing people.  Make sure that you do it!

There is going to be a LOT of really cool lighting to experience, from LED this-that-and-the-others to the High End Systems Intellaspot XT-1, PRG’s Bad Boy CMY, the Martin Mac 101, and Mac 350 Entour.  This is a good time to pay attention.  I’m a programmer out of necessity (I do love doing it, don’t get me wrong), but my brain leads me more towards the luminaire side of lighting – optics, light sources, color, reflectors, and output.  When I need something programmed like a master, I call professionals like Cat West and Benny Kirkham!

A special note about LDI if you’re looking for a job:
Make sure that you take lots of resumes and business cards.  Also, make sure that your whole experience isn’t about you looking for a job.  Some people are looking for people to hire, and some aren’t.  If you’re lucky enough to find a job opening, play it cool and offer your materials.

Also, here’s a special note for new companies exhibiting at LDI – and quite frankly, for some of the existing companies that exhibit at LDI:
People who come by your booth want to talk to you.  People want to know about your products, see your face, and actually feel like you give a s*%t about talking to them about your product.  They want to give you a card.  They also want to feel like you’re not too good to talk with them because you’re too busy looking for someone with the smell of money on them.  Try to keep this in mind when you’re on the floor and someone comes up to you.  The picture below is of a booth at LightFair 2009 in Las Vegas – now does this kind of atmosphere welcome someone to come up to you and learn about your products?

Yeah, me neither.  These people below actually sneered at us when we walked by (when they weren’t staring at their Blackberries):

This wasn’t like the end of the day or anything, this was 2pm during an afternoon Expo floor session.

Come over and say hi to me and Jax if you see us on the floor – we’re coming on Thursday, leaving Sunday.  I’m looking forward to seeing you all!