ILDA requires its Members to perform safe and legal laser shows. ILDA takes a number of steps to try and ensure that entries in the annual ILDA Awards are safe and legal. (This process formally began with the 2014 Awards.)

Entrants certify shows are safe and legal

All Members submitting ILDA Award entry videos explicitly certify that the laser effects depicted meet 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.

ILDA safety review of entries

ILDA also reviews every entry for any potential safety issues.

ILDA has the right to remove or disqualify an entry if, in ILDA’s opinion, the show violates or appears to violate safety standards, laws and/or regulations.

  • 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.

Do not try this without expert knowledge

Aiming any type of laser, even a laser pointer, directly at a person can be very hazardous.

Therefore, 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.

  • The more powerful the laser, the greater the chance of potential injury to a person’s eye. For Class 3B (visible light from 5 mW to 500 mW) and Class 4 lasers (visible light above 500 mW), a direct collimated beam could instantly cause a blind spot, even before a person can blink or move out of the way.
  • In addition, there are also skin and materials burning hazards with Class 4 lasers.
  • Outdoor shows where beams go into the sky require prior review and approval from aviation authorities, to keep beams away from aircraft. The light may be distracting or even flashblinding to pilots.

It is possible to create laser shows with safe levels of light. However, this requires special measurements, techniques and equipment. For example, a laser’s beam may be enlarged (spread out) so that not all of the light can directly enter a person’s pupil. For another example, shows with human exposure must be continually monitored for safe laser operation; in case of a problem, the laser light must be immediately terminated (e.g., emergency stop button).

A qualified laser safety expert must review the show’s production and supervision, to help ensure there is no deliberate or accidental exposure to unsafe light levels. In addition, in some jurisdictions or for some shows, an outside laser safety expert may be hired to double-check that the show is designed and operated in compliance with safety standards and laws.