As we wrap up 04 and look forward to a new start on an old business--making our clients shine on stage--its hard to put our finger on major new technology or marketing trends. Or is it? While the economy as whole was a mixed bag this year--a typically cautious election year--there is now a confluence of trends that point to some very interesting developments in early 05 and beyond.
Markets are generally very healthy as we gear up for 05. A key indicator in our industry is very good: many in the industry report that a lot of the gear they were planning to cross-rent for scheduled events in Q1, 05 is unavailable. Maybe not great news for your manager looking for that particular projector or LED wall for a January show, but its great news for the industry. It means that our micro-economy is humming along. Its probably the time to purchase that major item youve been sub-renting for a while, waiting for a good reason to buy it.
Well, get out your wallet. Demand is heating up for high-end staging services, as a new generation of technology on the video and lighting side is now coming online and being increasingly demanded by savvy producers.
The push on the demand side is a result of exciting tech trends coming from both the consumer boom in HD and widescreen, and from our own industrys product development. A new generation of projectors is completing the link in the digital, high-definition chain--using 16 x 9 native chips running at 2048 x 1080 to support high definitions widescreen cinematic display capabilities, and allowing video images to be captured and displayed uncompressed, creating a brilliant, vivid image on the screen.
New generation control and windowing systems now allow for the kind of broadcast-style screen effects that were previously out of reach to all but the most high-budget shows and events.
LED walls, once only affordable for new car shows or major rock tours, are now seen in everything from temporary signage in subway stations to product roll-outs to mid-budget corporate shows in hotel ballrooms.
Plasma is everywhere, and now there are also LCD panel options and content routing systems that are building a new market--trade booth presentation systems--that did not exist just three or four years ago.
The revolution in stage lighting that has been brewing for several years is here, now. The fast-track roll-out of LED-based luminaires and digital lighting/digital video hybrid products is happening simultaneously (the latter is blurring the role between the LD and the IMAG/video provider on stage). LED walls were the first product to leap from the video to the lighting side of the stage, but now a variety of flexible (literally) and semi-transparent LED-based module, drapery, and tubing products that feature full color graphics and low-res video images are entering the market.
With the incredible array of technology we have at our disposal, if we cant up-sell a couple of thousand shows in 05 from pipe and drape to hard sets, and up-sell a thousand more from IMAG and Powerpoint to HD and ten moving windows on a sixty-foot screen, were not working hard enough--or smart enough. The demand from both the corporate events market and the entertainment sector is finally heating up. The technology capability that we have been nurturing in this industry for the past five years is now online. The script is written. Let the show begin.