As part of our educational series, we’d like to bring up one of the questions we get most frequently: “I keep hearing ILDA mentioned when people talk about laser light show projectors: Who or what is ILDA?”
This is a good question for anyone getting into laser light show projection as ILDA is both a “who” and a “what.”
ILDA stands for International Laser Display Association. ILDA is the trade organization dedicated to supporting the “laserist” community. ILDA does everything from laser safety standards to technical standards to industry awards. ILDA also works with government regulators when regulations are proposed that would restrict the use of laser projectors. For example, when pilots first reported being temporarily blinded by lasers, it was ILDA who kept U.S. outdoor laser shows legal and safe. ILDA is also the organization that sends out requests from those outside of the industry in need of a laser show company. ILDA is currently working on new standards for professional projectors and for laser light show safety guidelines. ILDA’s annual conference and awards show is the biggest gathering of professional laserists in the world.
Defining ILDA becomes confusing for many folks who are new to the laser light show industry, because most of the time when someone brings up ILDA regarding laser projectors, they are talking not about the organization, but rather the standard communications protocol and connectors developed by the ILDA Technical Committee years ago to ensure that all laser projectors and software packages could be compatible with each other.
The ILDA communications protocol is a specification for the electrical signals sent from your computer or laser light show playback device through an ILDA cable to your laser projector. Without a standard for this signal, all laser projector manufacturers and control hardware/software creators would probably have different signal types, so you would only be able to use your laser projector with the software the manufacturer specified. Thanks to the ILDA standard, almost every laser projector on the market since 1996 has used the same ILDA connector, cable and signal levels. This is a huge victory for you as the laserist, as you’re not being locked into any single hardware or software solution for your show, and you don’t have to buy multiple types of communication cable.
Thank you, ILDA: for the last 20 years in our industry the ILDA projector communications standard has kept costs down and guaranteed compatibility among all major brands of laser projectors and controllers.
If you would like to learn more about ILDA as an organization and its benefits, please check out www.ILDA.com.