Change was afoot at this year's ETS-LDI, and we're not only talking about our own changes, either. The show, held November 11-13 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, seemed in many ways an event in transition, as the proliferation of moving lights gives way to LEDs, as the show expands its outdoor ET Live! event, as video and projection continue to make their presence felt. In keeping with that theme, the show also announced it would be returning to the original LDI name, partly as a gesture of solidarity to this new magazine.

There were some concerns that traffic was lighter than normal, but according to show director Sharon Morabito, pre-registration was just about where it was the last two years. LDI undergoes a fairly rigorous verification process of attendee numbers, so full numbers weren't available at press time, but Morabito conjectures that the number would be around 11,000. She also pointed out that the show floor covered a larger area this year than in years past, which can sometimes give the illusion of lighter traffic (we know it felt bigger to our feet). There were concerns in the weeks leading up to the show that regional traffic might be lighter this year, due to the various hurricanes that struck the area in the months prior to the show. There was no hard data to confirm that at press time, though with slightly lighter traffic than expected on Saturday, usually the day for locals, there might be some weight to that.

But what's a few hundred people when those who were attendance came to buy? Mood among exhibitors was generally upbeat. Anecdotally, there was talk of an influx of houses of worship professionals this year, and most manufacturers we spoke to felt that traffic was steady, and better yet, those who came had projects that needed gear, from new facilities to tours to theme parks, cruise ships, and more.

As for the gear itself, it was generally another year of quality improvements in existing products over groundbreaking new technology. Vari-Lite showed off the VL500, a return of sorts to the company's popular VL5 line of luminaires, with some sweet enhancements. Martin showed off its Maxxyz PC software to the US market. The biggest talk of the show seemed to come out of nowhere: Japanese company Komaden's Image Mesh and Kappas II LED screens are thin, lightweight, and submersible. We heard additional raves about AVStumpfl's Wings Platinum software, the Spiralift from Gala systems, Western Startlight's Fogscreen, and Colormix Flex from Osram-Sylvania. For a list of LDI Award winning products, see page 25.

There was also, we felt, an increase in the quality of booths. Lots of good looking displays, from Rose Brand's clever integration of its various products, to Elation's round hipster panels, to those crazy human soft goods at Pink Inc.

Of course, there's much more to LDI than just the floor; the conference program continues to be a big draw. This year's program kicked off on Monday, November 7, with both the LDInstitute and Backstage Orlando. The 2005 version of the LDInstitute offered a variety of hands-on courses, from software including WYSIWYG, LD Assistant, and Vectorworks, as well as in-depth training on lighting consoles and cutting-edge media servers and the LDInstitute's first-ever collaboration with Syn Aud Con.

Backstage Orlando took an avid group of attendees behind the scenes at four of Orlando's leading theme parks, including Wet ‘n Wild, Universal, SeaWorld, and Walt Disney World. Wet ‘n Wild was definitely wet as Tony Hansen of Techni-Lux and Andy Graves of Pulsar showed off their dynamic LED lighting in the new water ride, Disco H20.

At Universal, SeaWorld, and Walt Disney World, the Backstage attendees rode the new rides, toured the backstage areas of theatres, and met with a wide variety of producers, designers, and technicians. This was all made possible by Scott Trowbridge and his staff at Universal, Scott McMurtrie, Jason Tart and their team at SeaWorld, and Wendy Abraham of Walt Disney World with the help of at least 50 Disney “cast members,” including a photo op with none other than Mickey Mouse.

Next year's show will be held October 16-22 in Las Vegas, with the show floor open October 20-22. Mark you calendars.

LDI 2005 Award Winners Announced

The 2005 LDI Awards took place on Saturday, November 12. The ceremony opened with PRG's Jere Harris honoring his friend and colleague Larry Kellermann, who passed away earlier this year. High End's Richard Belliveau (pictured) accepted the 2005 Wally Russell Lifetime Achievement Award, and then it was on to the people and product winners listed here.

Outstanding People

Lighting Designer of the Year: Richard Pilbrow

Projection Designer of the Year: Michael Clark

Sound Designer of the Year: Buford Jones

Technician of the Year: Brad Schiller

Outstanding Booths

Best Big Booth Design: Martin Professional

Best Small Booth Design: Dataton AB

Best Laser Display: Omnisistem Lights & Effects
Pulse Laser Products Division

Best Creative Use of Light: Cyberhoist

Outstanding Products

Honorable Mentions

Lighting/Entertainment Product: Entertainment Technology-Genlyte
Marquee Console ILC Series

Rigging & Hardware Product: Pook Diemont & Ohl, Inc.
Carbon Cub

Products of the Year

Lighting/Entertainment: Strand Lighting C21 Dimmer Rack

Lighting/Architecture: Altman Smart Track System

Lighting Accessory: Phillips Lighting Company
MSR Gold 1200 SASE (Single Ended) Lamp

Rigging and Hardware: Cyberhoist

Projection: Dataton AB Watchout 3

Lighting Tools and Software: Goddard Design Company
Virtual Magic Sheet

Special Effects: Le Maitre Special Effects Inc.
Radiance Hazer

Widget of the Year: Lex Products
LSC-19 Weatherproof Flip Cover for 19-Pin Receptacle

Promising Prototypes

Lighting Accessory: Wireless Solution W-DMX IP65

Lighting Tools & Software: High End Systems Catalyst V.4

Rigging & Hardware: Fisher Technical Services
F515 High Speed Winch

Special Effects: Rose Brand Theatrical Fabrics
Goo Systems Screen Goo

Lighting/Entertainment: Komaden Corporation
Image Mesh