LIPA and Lasers at the EDCF Annual Meeting

LIPA and Lasers at the EDCF Annual Meeting

This year’s annual European Digital Cinema Forum (EDCF) Meeting -– like so many 2020 annual get togethers, was virtual this year.  And LIPA and Lasers were on the program.  LIPA’s Chairman, Dr. Goran Stojmenovik, Barco’s Sr. Product Manager for Laser Projection, updated the audience on the latest applicable IEC regulations for EU deployments of High Brightness (HB) Laser Illuminated Projectors (aka: LIPs).  Though largely focused on LIPs for Digital Cinema, Dr. Stojmenovik explained that nowadays, all LIPs are subject to IEC regulations governing audience and employee exposure.  Furthermore, since the IEC has moved to regulatory criteria based on what radiance comes out of the lens and not the power of the Laser Light Source (LLS), regulations apply to Lamp-Based projectors as well.  If they have high radiance and fall into “Risk Group 3”, both Laser and Lamp illuminated projectors are subject to the same safety regulations. 

Dr. Stojmenovik focused on Risk Group 3 (RG3) projectors as they are the brightest and thus have the most complex and stringent regulations, use conditions, training requirements and documentation needed – for manufacturers, distributors/dealers, owners and operators.  He explained that eye hazard is a function of radiance, that is, the projected optical Power (watts), cross-sectional area of the projector’s illumination “pupil” and the beam divergence (throw-ratio) of the lens.  That is to say, not lumens, which is related to the eye’s sensitivity to different colors.  This is why the hazard level is the same for both laser and lamp illuminated projectors of equivalent radiance, spot size and beam divergence (solid angle).  This has been the contention and basis of LIPA’s successful regulatory rationalization efforts since it was founded in 2011.

After explaining the scientific rationale for the new regulations, Dr. Stojmenovik described the impact of these regulations on both Cinema and non-cinema applications.  The key figures of merit are the Hazard Distance (HD) – the point at which the light intensity drops to a non-hazardous level; Separation Height (SH) the distance above the floor (within the HD) that the bottom of the beam must be for patrons to be able to sit under it.  In Europe, this distance is 2 meters; in the US, 2.5 meters.  These “guard bands” around the lens are calculated based on radiance and lens throw (divergence) and determine if a Restricted Zone (RZ) is required. For more details, access the full presentation here.

Bill Beck, The Laser Guy

Why I Rejoined LIPA

Why I Rejoined LIPA

Around 10 years ago, a number of forward-thinking laser and projection types began to see and believe the promise of Laser Illumination for the next generation of Cinema Projectors. They knew, however that the existing laser safety regulations would not be appropriate for Laser Illuminated Projectors or LIPs – and that without an appropriate regulatory framework, the adoption of LIPs might be very slow, if not impossible.

LIPA was officially launched in 2011, and a complex revision of global regulations became its founding objective.  It took a lot of time and effort, but since then, new regulations for Digital Cinema and other high brightness LIP categories have been established and this exciting new illumination technology has seen widespread commercial adoption.

Recently, I decided to rejoin LIPA, the Association I helped co-found 10 years ago.  In 2020, our industry faces different challenges resulting from market shutdowns and (still some) regulatory issues.  But it also has seen accelerating understanding and acceptance of Laser technology and its numerous benefits.  This growing acceptance provides a focal point for new applications and business opportunities.

My new role at LIPA will be to help improve and increase our communications – to members, industry stakeholders and in the longer-term, to new entrepreneurs and developers who might learn from and be stimulated by our members’ past experience and success.

LIPA has had a number of successes over its first 10 years – successful regulatory rationalization for Digital Cinema and more broadly; market development and industry education, especially in the areas of user and viewer safety and the latest in design and performance trends.  But we need to achieve a broader and more business-oriented value-set for our members and industry stakeholders.

As part of our education mission, LIPA will be publishing articles and blog posts on important regulatory, business and technology topics.  We will be providing updates on detailed regulatory changes and compliance requirements as part of our best practices and training mission.  And, we will add more business development topics to our communications, including success stories, new technology trends and applications for LIPs and LIP-like products.

LIPA is also focusing attention on attracting more and different kinds of members, going well beyond our core of world class projector and laser makers.  We hope to attract start-ups, with new applications; architects and installers that wish to be Laser Projection savvy as part of their core competency; knowledgeable channel partners and new supply chain participants, all with the recognition that our industry is maturing and Laser is becoming the new standard

Finally, LIPA will work to help all of our members in their various markets to prepare for a high growth, post COVID future, keying off of the many qualitative and commercial benefits of LIP technology and its creative application.  This is the new business development initiative we are adding to LIPA’s original charter: to help all of our members grow, succeed, and prosper. Please check in periodically for more LIPA Blog Posts on regulatory, technology, business and application topics.  It is great to be back.

Bill Beck, The Laser Guy

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