The ILDA Awards are the laser display industry's equivalent of Hollywood's Oscars. Each year, they honor companies and individuals from around the world for their achievements. These awards were bestowed during the 2020 ILDA Cloud Conference that took place online:
• The Artistic Awards cover virtually all aspects of modern laser displays, from the creation of individual laser graphics to the production of huge outdoor shows.
• The Technical Awards, named for pioneering laserist Fred Fenning, honor technological achievements that advance the industry.
• The Special Achievement Award is given for significant achievements that are not already sufficiently covered by existing ILDA Award categories. It has only been given twice in ILDA's history, in 2013 and this year in 2020.
• The Career Achievement Award is ILDA's highest honor, given for work spanning many years in the area of show quality, innovation, and industry service.
In addition to the above Awards which are given annually, in 2020 there were two other ILDA-related contests just for 2020. The ILDA Offline and Offline-Connected contests were held in spring 2020 during the early pandemic. These gave locked-down Members something fun to do. More about these contests, and the winners, are at the ILDA Offline contest and Offline-Connected contest pages.
For more details on the winners, download the 2020 ILDA Awards booklet (PDF format). The booklet lists all winners, plus credits and a description of the work.
(Note: The version online is updated from the printed version which was mailed to ILDA Cloud Conference registrants. The version online includes winners whose names were not known in advance of printing.)
Videos of the winners (1st, 2nd and 3rd) are available on YouTube. Links are below, in the list of winners. You can also go to the ILDA YouTube playlists for all Award-winning videos or for just the 1st Place winning videos.
(Note: A few Award winners may not be at YouTube either due to copyright issues with the video music tracks, or because a photo or written text was submitted instead of a video.)
If you want to get a quick overview of all of the winners, below is a video compilation of the 2020 Award winners. This 45-minute video contains short 15- to 60-second excerpts from each of the 49 Award-winning entries.
Christine Bernat, Brad Billet, Theo Dari, Mike Dunn, Olga Eser, Derek Garbos, Tobias Gebuhr, Marco Hoyer, David Kumpula, Dave Nash, Theo Petrides, Marc Rubin, Merlin Schaadt, Markus Steblei
Every year PV Automotive, a supplier of car workshop equipment, invites their customers to a big private exhibition with a big party. This year's show had to be a combined intense & modern intro with a product introduction of a new released software. Therefore we started the show with a custom made 3D sport car animation with overlapping laser lines using some special grating effects on the projection. After that 3D car intro we pointed out the new key features of the software with combined video/laser projections, always with beam show and lighting support to a room-filling experience.
Credits: Storyboard: Merlin Schaadt; Laserdesign/ Operating: Merlin Schaadt; Sounddesign: Andreas Hillesheim; Video/3D: Thomas Knispel, Tilmann Finner, Merlin Schaadt
Music: Custom Version of Colossal Trailer Music, "Octane"
This multimedia show was made as an introduction to the evening program of the Interface festival. Interface is a joint conference of the associations of entertainment industry eventors and the association of technical show business companies. The conference was held in the original form of a duel of speakers. Therefore, the theme of dueling pistols runs through the entire show. Topics for discussion are also presented allegorically.
Credits: Laser and video graphics: Kirill Nikitochkin, Alex Panin; Beamshow: Sergey Maltsev; Water design: Michael Smirnov; Art Director: Alex Panin; Technical director: Taras Viter; Producer: Alexander Timofeev.
Music: Sarah Brightman, Woodkid
To launch their re-brand and new brand ambition 'Beyond Limits', BT held an epic World-Record-breaking indoor drone show with a performance from pop star Jess Glynne at Wembley Arena. We provided 83 laser fixtures, 48 of which were on a 3m ring that created a focal laser display in the centre of the stage. The technological showcase was coded by young school children to promote BT's Skills for Tomorrow programme, and who were able to control the colours and effects of our lasers themselves, live on stage!
Credits: Laser Design: Ryan Hagan & Ben Couch; Laser Programmer & Operator: Oliver Jenni
Most or all of theYouTube video above is blocked in many countries due to copyright claims.
We were proud to supply and operate a stonking 66 fixtures for the finale show of Strictly Come Dancing. During the opening number, RGB scanning lasers enthralled the audience as they tracked with the dancers in an immaculately choreographed, interactive routine. Light-weight interconnecting lasers then brought the energy up with a dazzling display as the entire cast took to the floor.
Credits: Laser Design: Ben Couch, Laser Programmer & Operator: Oliver Jenni
Music: Kygo & Whitney Houston, "Higher Love”; Sister Sledge, "We are Family"
We provided the lasers for the dramatic finale of The Voice UK for singing legend Tom Jones and the talented Bethzienna.
Credits: Laser Design: Ben Couch, Laser Programmer & Operator: Tom Vallis
Music: Bethzienna & Sir Tom Jones,"'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"
International volleyball match opening show
Credits: Programmer: Jakub Dibdiak; Videoprogrammer: Vladimir Stefanek, Jakub Gavalier
Music: Mike Reed & Marrhew Robertson "The Alarm; Midtro & James Stailey "Andromeda"
Created in my closet - which is my "studio". This is my hobby. Setup details:
• RGB laser projector through diffraction through bumpy glass dish (lumia) then refocused by a small glass sphere for the background (what you see "through" the centerpiece).
• Three beams reflected behind 405nm (violet) 505nm (water green) 488nm (pretty blue)
• 488nm (blue) + 495nm through starfield diffraction grating
• Second RGB laser projector used for some background effects
• First surface mirrors salvaged from rear projection TVs.
Credits: Created, recorded and edited by Lewie Wilkinson
Music: FC Kahuna, "Hayling"
Created in my closet - solo - my hobby. Setup details:
• RGB laser projector through diffraction through glass (lumia) sometimes rotating, then refocused by a semisphere for the background ("behind" the centerpiece).
• 488nm (blue) + 638nm (red) being redirected by PBS cubes
• 520nm (green) going horizontally, behind
• 638nm going through star field diffraction grating
• 488nm through spiral diffraction grating + diamond diffraction grating or 300 lines/mm diffraction gratings
• 495nm (cyan) through starfield diffraction grating
• First surface mirror salvaged from rear projection TV
Credits: Created, recorded and edited by Lewie Wilkinson
Music: BORNS, "10,000 Emerald Pools"
Lasers were used in a few key segments during the shooting of Expo 2020 promotional video. Even though each element is seen for fractions of seconds, in reality it was days of prep work followed by two shooting days in studio.
In this live planetarium concert we dive in the depth of cosmos with deep ambient music. The music is not a written composition, it is a live improvisation. Both lasers and visualizations on the dome are not prerendered either, they are live controlled. Lasers do not play the main role, they are there to emphasize the mood and match the visualizations on the dome. They are ascetic yet powerful, following the rule 'less is more’.
Credit: Mateusz Wyszynski
Music: Andrzej Karalow, Jerzy Przezdziecki - improvised concert
Leonardo Il Genio Immortale is a video mapping and laser show created for the famous market exhibition in Bienno to celebrate the 500 years of his death.
Credits: Laser & videomapping: Marco Inselvini, Light designer: Kevin Vielmi.
Music: Alan Lennon, “Bitter Sweet”, Jeremiah Pena, “Temporal dimensions”, 2WEI, “Neptune”
Multimedia laser travel takes audience to different parts of our planet, allowing them to see the life of their inhabitants.
Credits: Alice Soboleva, Olga Saveleva, Catherine Studenova, Yulia Belyakova, Evgeniy Kudryaytsev, Sergey Zabosin, Alexey Kozin
Music: Audiojungle + SFX
Following the music, this show travels through various worlds, which evoke different emotions. The feature is complemented by a fountain flame, which combines the elements of fire and water in an equally astounding manner as the show combines calm and tension. Thanks to the matching ambient lights of the moving heads, the show journeys further into an inspiring artificial realm. Of course, this category is not lacking in accents provided by flame jets.
Credits: Michael Leimann: show designer; Florian Skrzypczak: creative director
Music: Juno Reactor, “Conquistador", "Feel the Universe"
Video footage of an all-night event taking place in a closed hall. The show included pre-programmed elements as well as a live performance.
Credit: Maciej Lukaszewski, laser designer
Music: Acues "Hope Original Mix", Markus Schulz, Venom One "Crashed & Burned feat. Adina Butar Markus"
A live EDM indoor concert. The beams were sharp and bright with excellent color balance. Lots of projector delay effects were used to add to the great timing.
Credits: Installation: Nicolas Squire, Cameron Garbos; Laser Operator: Nicolas Squire
Music: Above & Beyond, Cedric Gervais, Shaun Frank.
Everything bigger and better than before, the Lost Lands venue is saturated with laser for maximum sensory overload.
Credits: Programming: Dave Hauss, Anthony Garcia; Laser Technicians: Neal Nance, Jarren Drew.
We supplied Swedish House Mafia's 'Save The World' Reunion World Tour 2019 with an amazing three tons of laser and SFX equipment. This sleek show is complemented by an impressive 53 laser fixtures. Thirty-six laser fixtures create a stunning visual of their iconic three-dot logo (12 laser fixtures per ring).
Credits: Laser Design: Ryan Hagan, Laser Programmer & Operator: Alex Oita
Music: All tracks by Swedish House Mafia
Most of all of this video may be blocked due to YouTube copyright claims
We supplied Coachella's Saturday night headliner, Tame Impala, with a spectacular laser show, using 34 laser fixtures with 1,020 watts - one of our most powerful shows to date! Tame Impala wanted to make a big impact at Coachella and the SFX production had to be impressive and build upon the buzz already surrounding their upcoming album. We played a key role in the design and programming of the show, more than delivering on the ‘modern day take on 60s psychedelia’ brief to create a visually spectacular, mind-blowing set.
Credits: Laser Design: Marc Webber, Laser Programmer & Operator: Ross Marshall
Music: Tame Impala, “Elephant”, “The Less I Know the Better”, “Eventually”, “New Person, Same Old Mistakes”
Alan Walker wanted to do a live tour together with a band and a massive stage show. The whole show had around seven tracks with laser.
Credits: Programming: Love Karlsson; Laser tech: Johan Lindell, Anders Edström
Music: Alan Walker, "Lonely", Alan Walker, "Play"
This laser show is a typical example of a routine job, that is when we create new shows that can then be used for our customers' events or for demonstrations of our skills in our show room.
Credit: Lorenzo Pompei, Programmer
Music: Junkie XL “God of War”
Jubilee 100 years of AGH Presentation on a 40m water screen at the base combined with laser show and pyrotechnics. The place of the show is the Vistula River in Krakow.
Credits: Mateusz Wolski, visual content designer; Bogdan Hanusiak, technical manager; Maciek Bubula, live laserist; Jarosław Musiał, Robert Bubula, Marek Nosek, technicians; Marek Nosek, photo, video; Dron Witold Nogieć
Music: Mark Ronson, “Uptown funk ft Bruno Mars”, Hans Zimmer, “Time”, Cash Cosh @Rozen Matches
A fun positive laser show about March cats dedicated to the International Women's Day on March 8.
Credits: Alice Soboleva, Olga Saveleva, Catherine Studenova, Yulia Belyakova, Sergey Zabosin, Alexey Kozin
Music: Audiojungle “Uplifting Strings", Beyonce "Single Ladies”, Smooth Jazz Tribute
A short story about Jungle Boy and Fairies, inspired by the story of Tarzan created for a child's day.
Credits: Scenario: Maciej Lukaszewski, Laser designers: Anna Nadolna, Jakub Walus
Music: Baltimora "Tarzan Boy"
An animation about little Samir who got lost. While searching for his parents, he finds a magic lamp. From this moment on, the most beautiful day in his life begins.
Credits: Scenario: Maciej Lukaszewski; Laser designers: Jakub Walus, Anna Nadolna Music: Diogenes, "Diogenes"
This show was created by using our vision of the topic of New Year 2020. We used variable-focus laser beams, which helped us to change the divergence of the beam on different objects. As a result we highlight certain areas of the show, and to increase the cinematic feel.
Credits: Alice Soboleva, Olga Saveleva, Catherine Studenova, Yulia Belyakova, Sergey Zabosin, Alexey Kozin
Music: Audiojungle + SFX
An experiment using new beam brush technology in an abstract show. Also the world needs more laser shows to Yes music.
Credit: Programming: Mike Dunn
Music: Yes, "Rhythm of Love"
Leaving the audience spellbound with abstracts.
Credit: Programming: Mike Dunn
Music: Siouxsie And The Banshees, "Spellbound"
This is live UV abstract recording as part of a collaborative presentation for “The Bunker” record label. These abstracts were played live through a custom control system I created that runs on an iPad and Raspberry pi. I wanted the sequence to feel like the viewer was inside an atomic cloud chamber.
Credit: Christopher Short
Music: Blue Dot Sessions, “Drone Lemon”
Super Wubtendo is an artistic laser show that utilizes carefully choreographed movements and colors throughout the song. The fog is carefully sculpted to accent certain effects like liquid skies and tunnels. This fast paced and energetic show is one you won’t want to miss!
Credit: Theo Petrides - Laser Programmer, Operator
Music: MDK, “Super Wubtendo”
This year we chose the song "Auslaender“ (German for "Outlander“) from the German rock band Rammstein. It is a song about the topic of sex tourism. We created a very fast and powerful show with this special kind of music.
Credits: Markus Voggenberger, Programmer; Helmut Gruber, Setup and Laser Operator
Music: Rammstein, "Auslaender"
Sebastian Böhm covered the 1966-released Rolling Stones single "Paint It Black“ and created a fascinating piece of music. Here we created a fast and powerful show with precisely timed effects.
Credits: Markus Voggenberger: Programmer, Helmut Gruber: Setup and Laser Operator
Music: Sebastian Boehm, "Paint It Black"
To use the new variable-focus laser beam system in such a way as to to trick the brain and compel someone to not look away.
Credit: Creative Director: Lyra Letourneau
Music: Seven Lions and Echoes ,"Cold Skin"
The designer produced this show to the music of a friend of his. The tune is intense, a puristic electronic track, which makes it a perfect match for the high-tech expression within the medium of lasers. With the designer being a stickler for detail, there is no doubt that he managed to find the perfect match between effects and musical mood, despite the restrictions of only using one scanning head.
Credits: Lorenz Winkler, show designer; Florian Skrzypczak, creative director
Music: Junior Boys, "The Equalizer"
“Death and Desire” creates a fast paced upbeat atmosphere with vocals and other electronic elements that are accented through the fog. There are 16 carefully-placed mirrors which allow the artist to expand their creativity with only a single projector.
Credit: Theo Petrides: Laser Programmer, Operator
Music: Knife Party (feat. Harrison), “Death and Desire”
To push the envelope of laser shows for a wide audience, by incorporating the right amount of lasers and an epic song that anyone can get behind.
Credit: Creative Director: Lyra Letourneau
Music: Xan Griffin, "Aquarius"
Planet URF is a total different, mystic, crazy style of music and for that reason i wanted to design in a total different way. After hearing the sound for the first time i got some very custom pictures in my head and so i had to create a very custom made setup. The new arrangement gave me the possibility to create much more deepness in the room, new moods and some new effects fitting to this spacey sound. The aim was to be beamed to another planet.
Credit: Laser Design, Merlin Schaadt
Music: League of Legends, "Login Screen" (2018 World Championship); League of Legends, "Welcome to Planet URF"
To create a futuristic trailer music style show, using an epic hybrid song merged with the future of laser shows powered by variable-focus laser beams.
Credit: Creative Director: Lyra Letourneau
Music: Varien ,"Born of blood, risen from ash"
Brand new showroom full of the newest laser and multimedia technologies serves as illustration of our skills and technological forwardness for our clients.
Credits: Programmer: Martin Gabčo, Video: Jakub Gavalier
Music: Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike & Ummet Ozcan "The Hum"; Adam Beyer & Bart Skils "Your Mind"; Mike Reed & Matthew Robertson " Time Means Nothing"; TV NOVA "Jingel; Disclosure Feat. Eliza Doolittle”, You & Me (Flume Remix)”
When the organizing committee of the Sestriere women's ski World Cup competitions asked us to offer a show instead of the classic fireworks, in addition to the lasershow in the main square, it came naturally to propose a laser mapping intervention on the mountain in front the village, the projection varied from a minimum of 350 meters up to 1.3 km. from the projection point of our laser truck ... a huge natural screen that we could not leave without a signature!
Credits: Lorenzo Pompei and Federico Colombo, programmers
Music: Dan Phillipson, “All That Remains”; Little Red Church “Full Allure”
The installation was realized at an international festival of audiovisual art. We were inspired history of space, where before located a prison for political prisoners. It was important to create immersion in the mystical atmosphere of the place and draw public attention to the cultural heritage of the building.
For three days laser beams enveloped the space and system of mirrors allowed the length of the basement to be deepened. The musical accompaniment was created specifically for the installation, creating a mystical mood and further immersing the viewer in the context.
Credits: Alice Soboleva, Ilya Boguk
Music: Anny Ly,”Q"
The experimenta is Germany's biggest science center. Its most notable feature, the Science Dome, has a projection surface of 726 m² for 6 360° full-dome video and 6 fiber-optic laser projectors, as well as a 10 m wide, 5.000-nozzle stage mode water screen – for laser graphics shows, beam shows, and shows with actors and special effects. To keep the audience safe from getting hit by any lasers reflected off the 56 effect mirrors, the lower end of the dome is equipped with LIDAR sensors fanning out IR light over several meters, immediately shutting off the projectors in case of an obstruction.
Credits: Mario Janzon, CAD laser installation planning; Peter Bastian, head of laser installation; Werner Most, full dome laser adaptation; Roman Schütz, head of laser design. Architecture design by Sauerbruch Hutton; building construction by Schlaich Bergermann Partner; concept and development of Hybrid Dome by Kraftwerk Living Technologies
We took the challenge to illuminate the tallest statue in the world, the “Statue of Unity” in Gujarat, India, by a permanent 3D laser and video mapping show. The biggest challenge was the distance of 600 meters (2,000 ft) from the statue, to illuminate the 182 meter (597 ft) tall statue. At the end, we solved the challenge by using 51 25k video-projectors and 6 laser systems with OPSL technology and special beam collimation to get a clear image on the bronze statue. The content of the show tells the story and history about Sardar Patel and the construction of the statue.
Credit: Harald Bohlinger
Music: Various musical shows
North Forest Lights is a night walk through nature with an immersive multi-media sound and light experience. The creator had a vision to amplify one of the primary viewing points by adding a laser system. Under their artistic direction, we designed, installed and programmed a permanent laser projection solution. Atmospheric effects swirl under the feet of the viewers as they cross the footbridge. The natural setting of the night forest and the view point from above, bring a magical fresh perspective to the beauty of laser light.
Credits: Creator and Producer: Moment Factory for the Crystal Bridges Museum, Laser System Design: Derek Garbos, Laser Installation and Programming: Nicolas Squire and Moment Factory
Music: Custom soundtrack
Winners selected by ILDA Members viewing photos online and voting via email
See photo above
Created in my closet. This is my hobby. Wavelengths used:
• 505nm (water green) through starfield diffraction grating
• 488nm (blue) reflecting off mirrors at bottom of pic
• Backdrop patterns by RGB laser through a glass plate (lumia) refocused by a glass ball. Glass plate in center dielectric glass
• 1st surface mirrors making pyramid are salvaged from a rear projection TV
Credit: Created and photographed by Lewie Wilkinson
Different materials have been researched to make the laser beam visible. The most intriguing result was achieved using the tiny droplets from a spray bottle, creating the effect of a strange, wild galaxy in the deep blue swirls of an ocean. The turbulent twist of a silken thread within the laser fan additionally obfuscates the process in which this photograph was created.
Credits: Florian Skrzypczak, creative director & photographer; Nadine Mirza, fog/water spray operator; Dennis Bopp, setup; Lothar Bopp, idea
Created in my closet - which is my "studio". This is my hobby. Setup details:
• Magenta fan made with RGB laser projector, going under and then reflected back through pyramid after bouncing off concave mirror.
• Lines going diagonally are 488nm (blue) and 495nm (cyan).
Credit: Created and photographed by Lewie Wilkinson
Performed live online, and judged by attendees viewing at the ILDA Cloud Conference, November 21, 2020
1st: Derek Garbos, LaserTech Canada
2nd: Nicolas Squire, LaserTech Canada
3rd: Tim Walsh, Laser Spectacles, Inc.
For more information on how the judging and scoring was done, see the "2020 judging and scores" section below.
A low-cost, compact, opto-mechanical system that is placed in the beam path just before the scanners, which is capable of rapidly changing the beam divergence, under precise software control. This system offers continuously-variable projected beam diameter, and thus, tremendously expands the degree of artistic expression of laser projectors. It is applicable to all uses of show lasers, including overhead beam effects, audience scanning, and graphic projection.
Pangolin has been pursuing the idea of continuously-variable beam diameter projection since 1992. At that time, we coined the term “Beam Brush” for this effect, and put it into every software and hardware system we developed ever since.
In this fifth-generation system, a rotary retroreflector is placed between two lenses. This can focus (actually make the laser spot smaller) and defocus the laser beam in real time, and at the speed of scanning. Beam diameter control is very precise due to the embedded position sensor in the scanner. Beam diameter increase is completely linear with rotation of the retroreflector. The system can be made very affordable – at an incremental cost that is a bit more than the cost of a single scanner and servo driver. Moreover, given that all of the parts are small and take up little space, this opto-mechanical arrangement can be placed right next to the X-Y scanning system, thus taking up very little space, and not requiring an increase in scanner mirror size.
The Radiator Laser Synthesizer is a unique new abstract performance console. It requires no host computer, has a built in display, supports presets, and video output.
The KB2D is a sensor that enables to interact with lasers, for Laser Harp or Laser tracking for instance.
It is very compact, versatile, and does not require any synchronization with the laser. Thus, it can work with any laser projection system.
The KB2D detects in two dimensions: angular position + height variation. Thus, it can be used for discrete applications (laser harp) as well as continuous (laser tracking) for all kind of interactive shows. Thanks to height detection, it also implements pitch variations.
The IDN-Laser-Tester is intended to provide basic functionality to test an IDN setup. It enables you to easily test your IDN enabled hardware (adapter or projectors) in the local network from anywhere at the event location you want, just using your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
It is able to generate very simple pre-configured test graphic frames on a laser projector, like RGBW colored circles. It also has an integrated IDTF Player which can be used to play pre-configured or own imported IDTF frame sequences. Several parameters for IDTF playback can be selected beforehand or in real-time while playing.
Presented to Bjorn Schaller, creator, director and producer of the feature-length documentary "Laserium, The Gods of Light." This labor of love traces the rise, and fall, and rise again of commercial laser light shows, focusing on pioneers Ivan Dryer and Elsa Garmire — who are not widely known to the general public — and the company they founded, Laser Images Inc. The film is entertaining for general audiences, while bringing wonderful memories back to laserists who lived through those exciting times.
An ILDA Special Achievement Award is given for significant achievements that are not already sufficiently covered by existing ILDA Award categories. It was instituted in 2013. Nominations are made to the ILDA Board of Directors who then vote on whether to give a Special Achievement Award for that year. Thus far, it has only been awarded in 2013 and this year in 2020.
In 2015, Bjorn Schaller filmed a collaborative performance between Laser Images Inc. (then run by Jon Robertson) and the Laguna Art Museum. He edited the four-hour event into a one-hour show which was shelved. But he felt the story of laser shows was interesting enough that he contacted Laser Images with the idea to make a film.
Part of his enthusiasm for the project was his own personal inspiration related to Laserium®. In 1978 he attended a Tangerine Dream concert which included Laserium-created backgrounds. This inspired him to move from being a classical pianist to working with synthesizers and eventually into film composition and editing.
Schaller’s idea was audacious since, though he worked in post-production, he had never before made an entire film. He put together a budget and timetable in December 2015. He projected that it would take one year, full-time, to produce a 90-minute documentary on laser shows and Laserium.
He contacted ex-laserists who were very helpful. For example, Ron Hipschman had digitized 30 years worth of Laserium video clips and stills. It took Schaller six months to watch every one of the over 4,000 clips and images.
He also was able to document the last year of Laser Images in their Van Nuys location, and to film the last Laserium show there. He spent significant effort to have the laser imagery look as good as possible within the non-coherent, lower dynamic range of film and video. In one case, he spent hours adjusting settings to get minutes of good-looking footage.
Schaller was able to meet Ivan Dryer, who unfortunately was not healthy enough to be interviewed. Schaller recalled “I kept visiting him while progressing with filming and watching his decline. The last time I was with him, I played a few scenes from the film on my laptop, holding it over his bed. Ivan said: "it looks much better than I expected" and "I can't even walk, but you make me fly." That made me feel so good about what I was doing, I started to ignore that it was taking longer and longer.”
He was ready to start editing in mid-2017 but suffered a series of personal setbacks including a three-week period in which his closest friend, his closest family member, and Ivan Dryer all passed away.
During 2018 he edited the film, and wrote and recorded the music. Then in November 2018 his home burned down in a California wildfire. Fortunately for the film, the footage and materials were at his studio, which was untouched. He moved into the small, windowless studio and worked 24/7 for eleven months to finish the film and a trailer. Schaller recalled “It was like being at a laser show for almost a year.”
His goal was to complete the documentary in time for the November 2019 ILDA Conference in Orlando. He did make that goal, after 80 days of filming, 500 days of editing, and 5,000 hours of recording, mixing, color correction and “thinking about it.”
"Laserium, The Gods of Light" had its world premiere in front of a closed, private audience of ILDA Members. Many who had lived through the events were misty-eyed at seeing their passion finally captured on film.
The result is an artistic and technical achievement:
Therefore, for his tireless devotion and personal sacrifice in bringing the Laserium story to the general public and our Members, the ILDA Board of Directors votes to honor Bjorn Schaller with the 2020 ILDA Special Achievement Award for Documenting Lasershow History.
In April 1989 I moved to Miami. At this time, I had many years in theater and lighting, so when I was looking for work, I answered an ad for an administrative assistant at a laser company. That is how I came to work for Tom Harman’s company, then called Laser Productions. After a 1993 merger it became Laser Production Network – “LaserNet” for short.
LaserNet is a founding/charter member of ILDA. In 1995, LaserNet hosted its first ILDA conference, in Miami. I was very involved in producing this conference. In many ways this was my introduction to many members of ILDA.
In 1996, I was made Vice President of the company.
In 2003 I decided to become more involved with ILDA. I joined the Conference Committee. In 2004 I worked to achieve ILDA’s first self-hosted conference, in conjunction with the LDI show in Las Vegas.
Due to this success, LDI worked with us again in 2007, assisting us with a large demo room. LDI in Orlando had its own Laser Theater! I recall it was here that most of us saw real 60k scanning for the first time!
I continued to work as Conference Committee chair. Every year, planning the conference, getting the hotel, food and beverage, working with the Awards Committee so they had what they needed, etc.
During this time, LaserNet continued its support by hosting additional conferences: In 2008 we hosted that year's Conference on board the Carnival Imagination; 2010 we hosted again on the Carnival Destiny; 2014 again in Las Vegas; and assisted again on 2019 in Orlando.
In 2008 I was first elected to the ILDA Board of Directors. In 2011 I was elected President and kept that position until 2016. During my term as President, I incorporated many changes to ILDA. Education and branding were very important to me. Giving the members value for their membership fee was also important to me.
Being a long time Girl Scout troop leader, my personal goal for anything I do is to "leave it better than you found it". I feel that is what I have done with ILDA. As ILDA's president from 2011-2016, I feel I left ILDA in a much better place than I found it. (And of course I continue to work for ILDA as Conference Committee chair.)
Steve Heminover, Aura Technologies, Former ILDA President, Board member, and 2011 CAA recipient had this to say:
"Here are a few things that make Christine Jenkin an outstanding candidate for the Career Achievement Award.
• Only the second woman elected president of ILDA in 2011.
• Served as president for 5 consecutive years!
• She led the team that created the first "No Host" ILDA meeting in Las Vegas in 2004, which many thought impossible.
• She was able to get LDI to join with ILDA for a combined conference in Las Vegas, also in 2004.
• She has been a shining resource to many people over many years for promoting Laser Safety.
• She is one of the pioneers that have helped to make this an industry that is known throughout the world."
In conclusion, I would like to say thank to the persons who nominated me and to those who decided to vote for me. I consider this a great honor to be included among so many fellow ILDA CAA recipients who I have long admired.
Voted by the ILDA Membership, via email ballots
Every year it is exciting to see the creative and innovative laser work that you, the Members, have done. Maybe it’s the coronavirus
And, this says especially good things for the future of our industry once we can get back to public shows.
Here are some highlights:
Laser drawing on photoluminescent (UV-sensitive) screens continues to improve. The amount of detail on these drawings can be astounding. And for abstract shows, the effect of leaving glowing trails increases the visual density and gives a "trippy" effect.
We have a number of entries using variable-width laser beam technology. This augments graphics by allowing things such as fluffy clouds and depth-of-field effects. But surprisingly to me, it also gives some new looks to beam shows. It is nice to see beam brush finally working as well as we had envisioned in the early 1990s.
There are some amazing beam sculptures, where the beam forms words, or forms universes by going through glass and mirrors.
Related to this is the increasing use of beam line and circle arrays. These "beam bars" give a nice variety and counterpoint to the "V"-shaped beam emissions we've had for so long coming from X-Y scanners.
There were entries focused on educating and involving people, especially children. I’d like to propose to the ILDA Awards Committee that there be a category for works like this. The purpose would be to highlight work that teaches, that allows the public to interact with laser shows, and which inspires the next generation.
At least one entry was synchronized to the camera frame rate so that shafts of laser light shot out like Star Wars blaster effects. I know this effect has been around a while, but it was nice to see it used in a live TV competition show application. (I think Joe Picard and Adam LaBay pioneered the laser banding effect, and I know Seb Lee-Delisle has done impressive work with it. My apologies if I’ve missed other significant users.)
With our May 31 deadline, we did get entries that reflected the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, livestreamed laser performances, and outdoor displays with health messages. At the start of the pandemic, it was odd to see laser operators in masks (odd but safe!).
This year we had the fewest entries with safety concerns - thank you! There is still a problem with entrants not supplying our required safety documentation. But I saw no entries that would immediately upset regulators or safety experts.
The technical award entries were all really solid. It will be hard for the judges to pick the top three; I admired them all.
I saw one set of graphic shows where there was a diffuse glow around the vector graphics. Artistically, it looked like a watercolor wash. It gave additional visual complexity to what would be otherwise simple outline drawings. Technically, I believe it was from a second set of scanners doing the same, overlapping graphics but the laser went through diffusing material. The material may have been irregular since some parts of a drawing had the diffused glow and others did not. Perhaps this is an old technique but it’s the first time I recall seeing it, and I loved it.
A few entries had footage filmed from a drone. This gave a good wide-angle perspective. I hope it's possible to see more of this. Also, the flying of the drone emphasized the 3D-ness of beams. With a fixed camera, beam patterns can look flat; but when flying through them their three-dimensional essence comes alive.
Another entry set atmospheric laser beams in a forest. Normally we see lasers in human environments: rooms, arenas, stages. To see planes of laser light in nature gave an otherworldly, ethereal look.
I am gratified by how improved most of these videos have become over the past decade. For example, a few people doing studio work have put up a black cloth background and have the scanners output through holes in the cloth. This gives a solid black background that hides equipment, labels and indicator lights.
A majority of the entries had really beautiful camera work, especially entries that were done in a studio. Inky blacks; no distracting lights, equipment or reflections; bright saturated colors; varied camera angles, little or no flicker, clear audio. Great work!
In 2020, ILDA received 197 artistic entries from 36 different Member companies and six technical entries from six different Member companies. There were three new nominations for Career Achievement Award; the other three CAA nominees were carry-overs from previous years.
• Most of the artistic entries were judged in June 2020 by an online panel of 14 judges (listed earlier on this webpage). Each category had three judges assigned. This was done to ensure judges did not evaluate any category where they had entries, and to spread out the workload of viewing so many entries.
• Laser Photography and Career Achievement Award entries were judged by ILDA Members voting online, June 15-22, 2020.
• Fenning technical entries were judged via online discussion of a three-member panel (listed earlier on this webpage) that reached its decision July 16, 2020. They evaluated six entries from six ILDA Members.
• Laser Jockey entries were viewed and judged online by attendees during the ILDA Cloud Conference on November 21, 2020.
The 2020 artistic judges viewed the entries in their assigned categories via a secure, private Vimeo link. They rated each entry on a 1-5 scale according to four factors: Technical Competency, Artistic Competency, Quality and Variety of Laser Effects, and Visuals Following Music (sync). The scores were added up.
The highest scoring entry in a category won First Place, the second-highest won Second Place, and the third-highest won Third Place. In case of a tie, judges were asked to review the tied entries and express their preference. The entry with more judges' preferences won the higher placement.
Artistic awards results
For the artistic awards (including Laser Photography but not including Laser Jockey), in 2019 there were 65 winning entries, from 23 different ILDA Members. This means that about two-thirds of Members who submitted for an artistic award won First, Second or Third Place.
Below is some information about the entries' scores. This may be of interest to persons who submitted in 2020, as well as those submitting for future Awards:
• The "Results for all entrants" spreadsheet lists all of the 2020 artistic Award entries, and the scores they received from the judges. (For this public version, the show names and entrant names have been removed.) The most important column is "AVG. SCORE". This has been color coded, so that green means an entry received an above-average score in its category, yellow indicates an average score, and orange & red indicates a below-average score. The Average Score is used to determine the First, Second and Third Place winners.
• All Members who entered the 2020 Awards were emailed their row numbers and entry names. Here is an example, using made-up information. They can match this information with the row numbers in the anonymous "Results for all entrants" spreadsheet, so the Member can know how his or her entries did, relative to others in the same category. If the judges made notes on the entry, those notes are included.
• The Laser Photography category was voted on by Members sending an email listing their favorite entries in descending order. Forty Members voted. The vote count method was changed since previous years. This year, a vote for First favorite gained 26 "points" since there were 26 entries. A Second favorite gained 25 points, a Third favorite gained 24 points, a Fourth favorite gained 23 points, etc. Only the names of the First ("Celestial Photons" by Lewie Wilkinson), Second ("Oceanic Galaxy" by LOBO), and Third ("Core Reactor" by Lewie Wilkinson) Place winners are publicly released; the other entries remain anonymous.
Laser Jockey competition scoring
The Laser Jockey competition was voted by persons attending the online ILDA Cloud Conference on November 21, 2020. Each of the four contestants played live to a randomly selected piece of music, from their home or office studio. The video and audio was streamed to the online viewers.
All ILDA Cloud Conference Full Stream registrants were emailed a ballot. Voters ranked the contestants, who were anonymous to them. Since voters did not know who each contestant was, they voted for "LJ performer #1", "LJ performer #2" etc. in the order of show presentation.
Scoring was done where a voter's highest ranking received 4 points (as there were 4 contestants), the next-highest ranking received 3 points, etc. The First Place winner, Derek Garbos of LaserTech Canada, won with 52 total points. Second Place went to Nicolas Squire of LaserTech Canada with 31 points. Third Place went to Tim Walsh of Laser Spectacles Inc. with 17 points.
ILDA requires its Members to perform safe and legal laser shows, and to acknowledge basic principles of laser show safety.
Beginning with the 2014 Awards, all entrants submitting videos have explicitly certified that their laser effects depicted met safety standards, as well as all applicable laser safety laws and regulations (including laws for audience scanning) in the location where the show was performed.
• Entries filmed in a studio, with no audience, can use any power and can scan anywhere, even if the original show was intended for an audience.
• However, if the video depicts an audience watching the laser show, or has lasers near performers, then the show must be safe for the audience and performers, and must comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Documentation must be provided to ILDA about the show’s irradiance at the point of closest audience access, and any other safety measures that were implemented.
• The above documentation is also required if an entry depicts beams in an area where an audience might be, such as an empty tradeshow floor or an empty auditorium. This is because a video of unsafe beams in an audience area gives an impression that the same show would be run with an audience present.
Since 2014, ILDA has reviewed every entry for any potential safety issues.
ILDA has the right to remove or disqualify an entry if, in our sole opinion, 1) the show violates or appears to violate safety standards, laws and/or regulations, and/or 2) the show does not have sufficient documentation of safety and legal compliance.
Note that despite ILDA’s review process, ILDA cannot absolutely certify that an Awards entry is safe and legal. This is ultimately the responsibility of the entrant.
IMPORTANT: If you have a laser or a laser projector, do NOT attempt to perform the type of audience-scanning effects seen in ILDA Award-winning videos 1) without qualified expert safety planning and supervision and 2) without prior written permission from appropriate authorities. These authorities may include federal, state and local laser safety regulators, venue operators, and insurance companies.
Other ILDA websites: ILDAmember.com for membership database and event management (including joining ILDA), and LasershowSafety.info for safety information.
No reproduction of the text or images on this website is allowed without written permission of ILDA or other copyright holders. "ILDA" and the ILDA logo are trademarks of the International Laser Display Association.