Reporting from the PLASA Show 2014

 The PLASA Show has been running for over 35 years and is an annual exhibition connecting the international live entertainment technology industry and the events industry, presenting new technology from world leading suppliers, designers, and engineers to an international audience of professional audio, lighting, broadcast, AV, stage technology, and events experts. It is run by PLASA, the international membership body for those who supply technologies and services to the event, entertainment and installation industries.

Chiara from Julie’s Bicycle made a brief visit to the PLASA Show at the ExCel centre in London on the 8 October 2014 to see some of the new technology coming onto the market.

The winner of the 2014 PLASA Sustainability Award was announced at the show. The winning product was the GDS ArcLamp, an LED fixture for auditorium lighting that can be easily retrofitted to existing fixtures to replace tungsten/incandescent lights. 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. The handsome lamps can be retrofitted into existing fittings, are very reasonable priced, and they have an exceptional dimming curve with nice colour rendering. 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.”!arcsystem/cphx

 Chiara also toured some of the exhibitor stands to speak to manufacturers about their new products, and which ones might be of interest to the EE MUSIC community.

A particular highlight was the Flare Audio stand, a company with a new kind of loudspeaker design that significantly reduces distortion and loss between input and output and allows far more compact and efficient speakers (also requiring fewer units for an equivalent install).

A big hit at the show was Clay Paky’s Stormy: an LED alternative to classic strobe lights which uses less energy while offering more control – and the ability to change colour without the use of colour gels.  . Other manufacturers were also offering new LED strobe lights. 

A representative from Chauvet highlighted their Rogue R2 LED moving spot light, which can be used in applications to replace an equivalent 575w discharge light. It has fully integrated colour wheels and fully integrated gobo wheels, allowing a wide range of effects to be created using a single piece of equipment.

They also mentioned their EPIX range, which are low power low resolution pixel-mapping LED visual elements. 

Overall, the entertainment technology industry has made significant improvements in energy efficiency over the past few years – however, wandering around PLASA, there is a sense that there is still a long way to go to open up the conversation from purely functionality to one that also considers broader impact.

Ultimately, the above are highlights only – it is down to every venue, technical production professional, and equipment hire company to best understand what the most effective and efficient piece of kit is for their particular stage or space. The most efficient LED light or speaker is inefficient if it’s oversized, or if more of them are used than is necessary to achieve the desired effect. Efficiency comes from good design – and good design comes from knowledge that allows informed decisions about the balancing of function, efficiency, and budget.

For more information on how to calculate how much energy your equipment is using, and how to calculate the payback period of investments in energy-saving technology, see our Handbook for Clubs and Venues. 

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