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ILDA founding meeting (1986)

ILDA's first meeting took place August 15-16, 1986 in Lake Tahoe, on the Nevada/California border. Below are edited notes taken by Tim Walsh of Laser Spectacles, who attended the meeting. Text in purple italics was added by Tim in November 2006.

Tim also provided audio files recorded at the first meeting: Track 1 and Track 2.

A list of the founding members who attended this meeting is here. For more information on ILDA's first year, see the History page; scroll down to 1986.

Background: Sometime in summer 1986, I received a letter from Ron Goldstein at Laser Media, announcing a meeting of Laser Entertainment Professionals (LEP). I heard that the idea came about from several laser professionals sitting around after completing a show. Who was there? Well, I assume Ron Goldstein was there, I think Walt Meador, and Richard Ballard. Please add to this list if you have more info.

Thursday, August 14 1986

I'm sitting in the Austin Airport for a flight to Reno in an hour. There I'll rent a car and drive to Lake Tahoe, where the first Laserist's Convention will be held. Actually the gathering is going under the name Laser Entertainment Professionals. It was called for officially in the form of a letter to all laser entertainment professionals.  I've decided to go because it's the first one, and I'm curious/interested/excited about what will happen there.

I wrote without thinking "can decide" and then scratched it out 3 lines up. My subconscious must be going to decide something on the data gathered at this gathering of laserists.

It would be fun to see the results of "lase-offs" (or "festivals") after a few years:
          1 LASER - Power Output Classes
          2 LASERS - "
          3 LASERS - "
          4 LASERS - "

     |Time limitations|
     |Any music|

To help bring the art to second plateau, to increase public awareness of the art as an art form.

Friday, August 15 1986

This was a good place to meet, with a good sized meeting room (8 ft ceiling). It was decided that we should all pull the tables and chairs into a big square, so everyone was seated facing one another, not all in one direction. It was a good situation for spontaneity! Ron led the meeting to start; first we listed all of the items we wanted to cover. Emily from Laser Dreams volunteered to write everything down on the “white board” while the ideas flowed. I switched on a small portable cassette recorder and recorded until my tape ran out.


ethical business standards
quality shows

Market Overview
Mission Statement
Requirements to join Organization
National Directory/Publication
Labor Pool
Review of Performance Standards
Assoc. Name
Pooling Recources
Big Shows for Convention
Common Vendors
Gross Sales

Then, we started right in and plowed through everything – this was a fast, productive meeting:


To Advance and Promote the Professional Applications of Laser Display:

  • By maintaing standards of safety and performance

  • By promoting a better understanding vetween laser display professionals and the CDRH

  • By servicing the entertainment and communications industries

  • By increasing public awareness

  • By fostering new technology

  • By promoting advancement of laser artistry


  • International Association of Laser Display   IALD

  • International Laser Display Professionals  ILDP

  • Society of Laser Display Professionals   SLDP

  • Chosen:  ILDA - International Laser Display Association

CDRH - New Regs  (Walt Meador)

Aug 20
- 7 mm to 50mm for audience scanning
- remote emission indicator must be on control panel (of shutter system)
- manual restart if power interupted
- scan safeguard if goes to a dot

-short notices
-complicated reports
-quality control w/reports
-renegade operators

Collaborate on safety training manual


Mitch Hartman
Fred Reed
Jim Martin (Peachtree Laser)
Dean Sedume (LaserMedia L.S.O.)

will check into:

Standardizing Notification Forms
Safety Standard and Certifying Operator
Samples of Everyone's paperwork
Find out How CDRH Works


  • Louis Brill offered to do it, includes CDRH column

  • The Scanner" suggested title


Ron Goldstein, President
Walt Meador - Secretary
Tim Walsh - Treasurer

I will note that, while I was elected treasurer (pretty much I volunteered as no one else was responding), Ron Goldstein made it immediately clear that there was no way he would allow any ILDA funds to pass through my hands (as he did not know me, and I was a “little guy” in the laser show world), so everyone was directed to send their money in to Walt Meador, Secretary.



3 Categories: 

Corporate - Voting $500
Affiliate - non-voting, lower fee $250
Individual - voting $100

Membership Fee

Document Signing - Code of Ethics

Fees: - Newsletter - cost of first one

tie corporate fee to gross sales?

Subscriber membership?


Saturday, August 16 1986


Press release to publications
     -announce formation
     -location of next meeting

list publications

hire a publicist

ILDA sends out packets or generic info on light shows

large laser show for world cause
     -donate airfreight
     -venue donated
     -cover expenses

list of commonly asked questions by clients



Scanners: General Scanning
          - specific complaints from technical people

trading images - format?

Change G100PD 15-pin connectors to 10-12 pin

-Voltage sent to driver (+-5 volts)

Image Engineering Video Recorder System Controls:

2 XY scanners
6 modulators
8 on-off switches
stereo hi-fi
Slide cues

Technical Committee:

Image Engineering
Laser Dream


$5,000,000 - cost $12,000 last year, $100,000 this year
include insurance in membership requirements


GROSS SALES - $11,171,000 business done last year



send information to Scott Blake at Image Engineering to be in labor pool list
send lists of hardware to Emily at Laser Dreams

send dues to Walt

This night several laserists and companies who brought in equipment set their stuff up, and we all hung out and enjoyed each other’s company. In retrospect, this must have been the first “lase-off”!
     Each person had a chance to get the floor to themselves and discuss what they were showing.
     One of the highlights of the evening was a Laser Media projector (single color – red) playing back a piece created by Image Engineering. This was coordinated between the two companies to demonstrate that standards and cooperation were possible.


Sunday, August 17 1986

Thoughts on the demos I saw:

  • Image Engineering - very nice stunning display. I was disappointed that the blanking wasn't perfect. - the consequences of using dichroic mirrors for splitting and recombining the beam cases a problem of differing beam sized per color when recombined. So you see a line, meant to be white, composed of a narrow red and a fat green and blue lines.  It may sound minor but the key to superiority is contained in these details.

  • Foresight - These are the guys with the SAGE/STRID based animation. Has full digital real-time 3D rotation,, with the beginnings of hidden line blanking in the 3D rotation. The blanking was not perfect here either. But in the analog stuff it was. I would say these were the most impressive graphics.

  • LaserMedia - some of the most "trippy" and "sparkly. Lasermedia has hired Disney animators and uses them. Each frame is done by hand. Some obvious blanking mistakes - lines not connected, etc. Totally the same, every time. No buttons to push at all. Period.

  • Laser Dreams - Presented on an oscilloscope, this Commodore 64 system shows promise for a basic animation system. The images were noisy, however, and the low quality KOALA pad images they showed were not inspiring.

  • Roctronics - Unfortunately, I missed Richard's demonstration.


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