We chatted to some of the South African representatives that attended Prolight + Sound this year to get their opinions on the show. Here’s what they had to say

Theo Rood (MJ Event Gear)

I am very fortunate as it was my second visit to Prolight + Sound and I found it bigger and better than my previous trip. It is probably the biggest and best trade show for our industry in the world. Everything and everyone is at the show. You can see new developments, trends and designs and interact with industry friends.
One product I was most impressed with was the new lighting fixture by Clay Paky B-Eye. This fixture is just extremely versatile and can be used for multiple applications. I was also impressed by the new Varilite fixture, the VL4000, the new range of Martin units, the ROBE Pointe and the Ayrton Magic panels. Robe, Clay Paky, Phillips, DTS and Martin all had very impressive looking stands and the PRG demo room that absolutely blew everyone away. As company owners we all look at development of LED in lighting and how this will impact on the future of production and lighting rental by reducing the daily running costs and saving on power consumption.

Thomas Peters (lighting designer)

It was a great show, great to meet and catch up with all the manufacturers from all around the world, very interesting and informative conference sessions. I noticed a trend or movement toward ’pixels’ instead of ’lights’, and heavy integration of lighting and video. Products that stood out for me were: NA Company Multiflash, Expolite TourPanel FX 25, Lichttechnik Bag-o-light and Chauvet Nexux Aq5x5.

Nick Matzukis (AVL Productions)

It was as large and vibrant as ever, but perhaps with fewer product innovations than in previous years. Many brands seemed to be replicating the same trends as their competitors.

Brands that have unique patented products or systems, like Nivtec (which is the only company to have patented a stage-locking system that does away with the need for 60% of stage legs without sacrificing load), kept to their core products and reinforced them.

I saw an SGM moving head light that was completely waterproof, ie. operated with water spraying on to it all day. This was a very interesting innovation. Gerriets introduced an innovative device called a ’Batten Clew’ that allows for equipment to be hung from fly-bars of varying and moving height. The Gerriets Batten Clew allows heavy loads to be evenly distributed over several pipe battens using a venue’s existing overhead rigging system. The existing rigging system now becomes more useful and efficient with the use of the Batten Clew.

Gerriets also introduced a new range of projection screens that are very different. One, called the ’Optiblack’ is a black rear projection screen – that is a first. Another, called ’High Gain’ is designed for large screens with low-luminance projectors and gives a smooth and easy transition from front projection to rear projection, or both, without losing gain. In general, Gerriets’ range of screens and fabrics looked to be the most innovative on the show.

Richard Smith (Sound Harmonics)

I enjoyed this year’s show. It seemed a little quieter and slightly smaller than in previous years but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It seemed more focused and in general, the quality was higher.

Ayrton’s new Radical Series of LED moving lighting fixtures created a real stir, and their large show on their booth was very impressive! Ayrton are doing some amazing things with the optical systems on their fixtures and it is good to see them gaining the acceptance and recognition they so deserve.

The much anticipated official L-Acoustics K2 launch was heartily welcomed and signals a new era for large format Line Source Arrays. L-Acoustics is once again setting a very high benchmark with this product and its wide acceptance in the market already is an indicator of its high quality, innovation and the trust people have in the brand. (Over 230 K2s were used on the Winter Olympics recently.)
The PRG show was impressive as always and integrated a good deal of moving trusses, which we only see occasionally here. Lighting design and Video/LED have begun to merge and so it is great to see designers being creative and using structural elements as. (We were glad to see that MOVCAT variable speed motors were used, as it is a new brand we are importing.)

There are some interesting things going on in the digital mixing console segment, especially with some new innovation from smaller manufacturers. There are a few trends emerging that may fundamentally change the way people use them, but we will have to see if people accept the change in paradigm, or if the mega-manufacturers try and keep the status quo.

We also acquired some new clients; HazeBase smoke and haze machines (made in Germany), MOVCAT motors and hoists and CORDIAL cables (both also made in Germany).

Ofer Lapid (Gearhouse)

As always the show was very big and very busy, however I do not usually go to look at products but rather to maintain relationships and I have managed to do that.
There was a great variety of products. I have generally identified what and who I want to see before I go.

Having said that though, things that were of interest to me this time were new seating stand products, new Lighting boards and new LED screens. I went mainly to attend a conference with the global AV Alliance network, for which Gearhouse is the South African representative. The AV Alliance meeting is purposefully aligned with the Prolight+Sound Expo every year so that the Alliance is able to keep abreast of all the new developments and meet with manufacturers and suppliers at the same time. It is a very beneficial arrangement.

Duncan Riley (DWR Distribution)

The show was amazing and very informative, it was an opportunity to meet and greet old faces within the industry on an international scale. From a product point of view , I am starting to realise that most manufacturers in the pro segment are really coming to the party with new and innovative equipment – it’s all getting much closer and comes down to relationships , service and support when making decisions on new equipment.

Josh Oates (Tadco)

The most important facet of the show is that we get ALL our international suppliers in one place. It is further, consistently an event attended by many distributors and users from around the globe and to this end the networking factor is critical. This year did not disappoint.

The new Coda Audio TiRAY and NEXO GEO M6 are very exciting new products with the versatility and flexibility that you achieve with these smaller format line arrays can open up a host of possibilities.

We were appointed the rental, HOW and performing arts distributors for Clearcom, a division of HME.