ILDA logo with rainbow beams

Six ways ILDA Members make better shows

Our Members add impact to shows with the purest, most brilliant light in the universe

Proven experience as an ILDA Professional accredited company

ILDA helps keep shows safe and legal; free SKYZAN™ safety software for Members

Customers buy with confidence when backed by the Code of Ethics

The world’s best laser shows, at the yearly meeting of the world’s best laserists

Using new technologies and developing industry-wide standards

Our Members add impact to shows with the purest, most brilliant light in the universe

Proven experience as an ILDA Professional accredited company

ILDA helps keep shows safe and legal; free safety software for Members


Customers buy with confidence when backed by the Code of Ethics

The world’s best laser shows, at the yearly meeting of the world’s best laserists

Using new technologies and developing industry-wide standards


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ILDA remembers Ivan Dryer on March 7

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Ivan Dryer, pioneering laser artist and founder of Laserium® planetarium shows, was born on March 7, 1939. In recognition of his achievements, the ILDA Board of Directors in 2017 declared March 7 of each year to be International Laserist Day — a day for recognizing the people and companies who design spectacular laser shows and laser art, throughout the world.

ABOUT IVAN DRYER

Many older ILDA Members had their first exposure to laser displays at a planetarium running Laserium shows. Dryer’s example helped inspire these Members to get into the business, and often to found their own laser display companies.

Within ILDA, Dryer was known for his quiet, thoughtful and kind demeanor. He was a founding Member of the association, served on the Board from 1990 to 1994, and was ILDA President from 1990 to 1992.

Laser Images was host of the 1991 ILDA Conference, held in Los Angeles. The company won 43 ILDA Awards for artistic and technical excellence, in the years between 1988 and 2000.

A 2002 newspaper article summed up how laserists felt about him: “Dryer appears to be universally regarded with awe and respect.”

IVAN DRYER'S LIFE

Dryer received the first ILDA Career Achievement Award, in 1989. His CAA citation includes this: “Dryer is universally recognized as the father of the laser show industry. His selection by ILDA as recipient of the first Career Achievement Award underscores his unique place in the history of laser displays.”

When Ivan Dryer was 20, he joined the Griffith Observatory and Planetarium in Los Angeles as an astronomer. He also was an aspiring filmmaker. In late 1970 he collaborated with Caltech physicist Elsa Garmire, to film laser light patterns she had created. This became the short film LaserImage.

Filmed lasers, however, were flat. They did not have the vibrant scintillating coherent speckle of live laser light. Dryer and Garmire approached the Griffith with a proposal for a live show to be called “Laserium”. They were turned down — both by the Griffith and by banks.

Three years later, Dryer and Garmire put together a demonstration at Caltech, using a 1-watt krypton laser, This time the new head of the Griffith gave an OK for a one-month test at the planetarium.

Laserium premiered November 19, 1973. Four weeks later, 500 people a night were being turned away. Dryer’s company, Laser Images Inc., went on to do laser shows in 46 planetariums and locations in other cities as well. The shows were seen by over 20 million people. At its peak, Laser Images had 70 employees.

In 2002, the Griffith Observatory planetarium was to be closed for renovations. Laserium’s last show there was January 5, 2002. It had run for 28 years — the longest running theatrical attraction in Los Angeles, and the longest-running laser show in the world.

As new technologies such as bright, large, hi-def video screens and computer graphics improved, classic laser shows with their lo-res wireframe images fell out of favor. Laserium scaled back, while Dryer kept working with lasers and Laserium projects. He officially retired in 2009, when Laser Images Inc.’s assets were acquired by Jon Robertson of DayStar Lasers.

In 2013, Dryer received the first IMERSA Lifetime Achievement Award from the Immersive Media Entertainment, Research, Science and Arts association. IMERSA noted “In addition to his pioneering creative and technical achievement, he also did something unprecedented for planetariums and science centers: Laserium showed that these facilities could be used as entertainment venues, increasing attendance and generating revenue…. Dryer’s influence carries on with presentations where light becomes an actor.”

In his acceptance speech, which received a standing ovation, Dryer recounted the history of his laser work, with many humorous anecdotes. He concluded by saying “I’m delighted that we managed to enlist what was then a somewhat esoteric technological device that has been used to guide missiles and telescopes, to instead guide the neurons in millions of brains to dance synesthetically in a fusion of music and image that enhances both -- to create a machinery of joy. The compliment I most prize was from a woman who came up to me and said, ‘You know, I envy you, you’re spreading joy!’”

Dryer cared for his convalescent wife, Carol, through her death in June 2016. This took a toll on his health as well.

A documentary film on his life and work is in production, and is expected to be released later this year.

Additional background and reminiscences are at Laserium’s website, photos and text at the Leaping Robot Blog and the links at Dryer’s Wikipedia page.

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In 2017, ILDA honored Ivan Dryer by declaring his birthday, March 7, to be “International Laserist Day.” He was sent this plaque, to let him know how much he means to ILDA and laserists in general.

Ivan had been very ill at the time. His brother, David Dryer, presented it to him and told ILDA “Ivan had a big smile on his face when I showed him the plaque. That's the first smile in about a year!”


New! Online Laser Safety Officer courses, March 11 and April 10

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The next online Laser Safety Officer classes are Wednesday, March 11 2020, starting at 10 am Eastern (New York) time, and Friday, April 10 starting at 8 pm Eastern time.

There is about 6 hours of instruction, plus 2 hours to take the test. If you pass the test, you will get a Certificate of Completion.

The cost is $525 for ILDA Members, and $649 for non-members.

There is detailed information on the Laser safety courses webpage at this website; scroll down to the section "Laser Safety Officer (LSO) - Lasershows course."

To actually sign up and register, go to the Events page at our membership & event website.


2020 ILDA Awards competition now open. Deadline: May 31

It is now ILDA Awards entry season! Get your videos ready, and download the Awards rules and entry form.

There are three main categories of awards: Artistic, Technical and Career Achievement:

  • For the Artistic Awards, only ILDA Members may enter.
  • For the Technical Awards, anyone may enter the ILDA Digital Network Standards category; only ILDA Members may enter the General category.
  • For Career Achievement, only ILDA Members may make a CAA nomination; however, any person may be nominated (they do not have to be an ILDA Member).

Full details are on the Enter the 2020 ILDA Awards page.

The deadline for submission is Sunday, May 31, 2010. (Note that this deadline has been extended two months, from the past end-of-March deadline used in previous recent years.)


2019 ILDA Award winners announced

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The 2019 ILDA Awards booklet, a 68-page PDF document, has details of all the awards. A link is on the 2019 Awards page.

The 2019 ILDA Award winners were announced at a gala presentation November 10, 2019 — the finale of the ILDA Conference in Orlando.

Congratulations to all winners, and especially to the recipient of ILDA's highest honor, Alberto Kellner-Ongaro, the 2019 Career Achievement Award winner. A list of all the award winners are at the 2019 Awards page.

A PDF booklet containing all the 2019 ILDA Award winners is now online. It contains a list of all the winners along with a description of each winning entry.

Also, a compilation video is now at YouTube. It has short excerpts from each of the winners, giving a good overview of the best laser shows in the world. Click the image below to watch the video on this page.

If you can’t play the video: Because of copyright claims on some audio tracks, the video may not play on phones or other devices, or may not be available in your country. If you cannot play the above video, try a version with copyright-claimed audio removed. About six Award winners will have no audio.

The 31-minute 2019 ILDA Award winners compilation video includes work from the three top shows in each of these categories:

Corporate Show
Live TV Show
Edited Film / TV / Video
Laser Show with Added Effects/Multimedia
Nightclub / Disco / Music Festival Show
Live Stage Show
Multi-Effect Laser Show
Graphics Show
Abstract Show
Beams/Atmospherics Show for a Single X-Y Scanner Pair
Beams/Atmospherics Show with Outboard Effects
Beams/Atmospherics Show for Multiple Scanner Projectors
Innovative and Fine Art Laser Applications
Laser Photography
Fenning Award for Technical Achievement
Fenning ILDA Digital Network Standards Technical Achievement Award

2015-2018 ILDA Award videos

We also have the 2015 through 2018 ILDA Award compilation videos. Each one is about 20-25 minutes long, and has the best shows from those years.

2015 ILDA Awards compilation

2016 ILDA Awards compilation

If you want to see each 2016 winner as it was entered (up to 4 minutes maximum), go to the
ILDA YouTube playlists, and click on the “2016 ILDA Awards”. Every winning video is available at its full entered length.

2017 ILDA Awards compilation

If you want to see each 2017 winner as it was entered (up to 4 minutes maximum), go to the
ILDA YouTube playlists, and click on the “2017 ILDA Awards”. Every winning video is available at its full entered length.

2018 ILDA Awards compilation

If you want to see each 2018 winner as it was entered (up to 4 minutes maximum), go to the
ILDA YouTube playlists, and click on the “2018 ILDA Awards”. Every winning video is available at its full entered length.


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Photo credits: Large slideshow pictures, in order — “Rainbow” by ILDA; “X-Factor" by ER Productions, "Axwell Ingrosso Summerburst" by Laserimage AB, "Mukor Rules" by Christopher Short, "Transformations" by Visual Sensation Lasershow & Technologies, "Lasing Nang Talung Interactive" by Illuminatus Lasers, "FOL 2019" by Prolight, "Laser Light Synths" by Seb Lee-Delisle, "Orange Depth" by Lasershow-Creation. Green beams above column 1 (The universe’s most unique light) — “Scooter” by Lightline Lasertechnik.