ETS-LDI 2004 descended upon Las Vegas from October 22-24, transforming the Sands Convention Center into a visual and aural extravaganza as over the top as anything on the Strip. And a good crowd was on hand to witness the spectacle: preliminary figures indicated that attendance was up over 20% from the last time the show was held in Vegas, in 2002, and roughly even with Orlando last year.

In addition to the usual assortment of breakthrough gear on the show floor, there were other exciting things to be found this year, including Backstage Las Vegas, held prior to the show; a Technologies for Worship Pavilion located on the show floor; and ET Live!, an opportunity to see entertainment technology in action, on several outdoor stages adjacent to the convention center.

In fact, when the 2004 LDI award winners were announced, it was not on a crowded show floor, but rather outdoors on one of the ET Live! stages, providing a rock concert atmosphere more akin to Woodstock than a trade show. Though reviews of the event were mixed — younger folks seemed to like the flash, while some of the older industry vets found it a bit over the top — the event did honor an impressive array of promising new gear and established design talent, a worthy event no matter where you stood on the generational fence.

A wide array of talented individuals were the first honorees of the evening:

  • Legendary lighting designer and inventor George C. Izenour received the Wally Russell Award. Larry Kellermann of the Wally Russell board accepted the award on Izenour's behalf.

  • Jim McClellan, director of production with AEG Live Events in St. Louis, received the SRO Technical Achievement Award, which is designed to honor TDs in the staging and rental community who have shown tremendous skill and poise beyond the call of duty.

  • Marc Rosenthal received the Projection Designer of the Year Award based on such recent projects as Like Jazz and Talking Cure at the Mark Taper Forum, and a complete digital projection and UV black light installation in a dome for Burningman 2004.

  • Paul Garrity of Auerbach• Pollock • Friedlander was named Sound Designer of the Year for his work in supporting and enhancing the field of sound design on such projects as Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity theatre, with its unique and adjustable sound environment.

  • A new award — Technician of the Year — was presented to Jeanette Farmer for her many years of supporting the work of lighting designers and solving some of the toughest technical problems ever encountered in a theatre facility, even when the stage is a swimming pool, or whatever else Cirque du Soleil throws in her direction.

  • Another new category is the Lighting Director of the Year, which was given to Blue Man Group's Marc Janowitz, who has spent many years creating a lighting scheme to support the Blue Men in their various surreal shows around the world.

  • Marc Brickman was named Lighting Designer of the Year, not only for his legendary work with Pink Floyd that inspired a generation, but also for making Blue Man Group's German debut as sensational as possible.

Each year, exhibitors that go the extra mile to assemble an outstanding booth at LDI are rewarded. The winners of the ETS-LDI 2004 Booth Awards are:

  • Small Booth: N & N Productions/Gobo Xpress won for their display that was set in a backyard barbecue. Anne Norris and Chris Davis designed the booth.

    Honorable Mentions: Global Truss, James Thomas Engineering, Barco. Special honorable mention for “Best Use of Barbie Pink”: Rud-Chain and Lightspace.

  • Big Booth: ETC for its sly tribute to its new corporate headquarters in Middleton, WI, and for bringing theatre onto the Sands Expo show floor. Design duties went to Fred Foster and Sue McLaney.

    Honorable Mention: Robe.

  • Best Laser Display: Laser Net for its exciting use of its product not just within the booth but on top of it as well. The booth was designed by Christine Jenkins, Tom Harmon, Horacio Pugliese, Tim Ziegenbein, Steve Heminover, and Michael Solinger.

  • Most Creative Use of Lighting: XL Video for unique use of its products as the booth itself as well as much of the furnishings within. Marcel DeKeyser designed the booth.

    Since LDI is always about the latest and greatest in entertainment technology, there were outstanding winners in the product categories:

  • Widget of the Year: Data Snake with AC circuit by Lex Products Corp.

  • Sound Product of the Year: A joint award, going to two companies in the Harman Group, BSS Audio for Soundweb London and Crown for the I-Tech series of amps.

    Honorable mention: Gepco's Heavy Duty Cat 5E Cable.

  • Rigging and Hardware Product of the Year: Ballast Truss by Total Structures.

    Honorable mention: ProCommander PRO 5 with Varistar Hoists by CM Entertainment.

  • Debuting Product/Promising Prototype of the Year: JR Powerlift by JR Clancy.

  • Special Effects Product of the Year: Delta 6000 Fog Machine by Rosco, which uses a new dual-path heat exchanger to produce very high volumes of fog.

  • Projection Product of the Year: MAXEDIA by Martin Professional. Blending 3D effects and mapping, real-time layer manipulation and transition effects in up to 20 layers simultaneously, Maxedia allows programming onboard, with or without a DMX console present for playback.

  • Debuting Product/Promising Prototype of the Year: Brash by Lucid 3D, Inc. distributed by Sound Distribution, Inc.

  • Lighting Product of the Year/Lighting Tools and Software: ESP Studios' ESP Vision, which provides lighting designers and production teams with a very powerful tool for realistic and real-time lighting simulation, shadow casting, color mixing, moving set pieces, and more.

  • Lighting Accessory of the Year: Rosco Power Supplies by Rosco, an exceptionally useful power supply to reduce the growing number of black boxes required to drive the accessories designers love to use, from gobo rotators to scrollers and beyond.

  • Lighting/Architecture Product of the Year: SGM's Palco 3 and 5, a compact, super bright color-changing floodlight for outdoor use. The Palco 3 and 5 offer all the advantages of LEDs, combined with a high flux of 2,800 lumen and stand alone operation.

  • Lighting/Entertainment Product of the Year: Pacific 45 degree-75 degree ZOOM by Selecon. The latest in a unique and innovative series of stage ellipsoidals, Selecon's Pacific 45-75 degree provides the beam width of a Fresnel with unmatched pattern projection capabilities.

Honorable Mention: CS4 Spotline by Studio Due.

The final award of the evening was presented to Ellen Lampert-Gréaux, ETS-LDI conference director and consulting editor of ED/LD. Lampert-Gréaux was given the Starlight Award, for her contributions to not only the ETS-LDI show, but also to Entertainment Design and Lighting Dimensions magazines. She has been a tireless source of support, guidance, and inspiration from the very first year of the show. Lampert-Gréaux is the first ever recipient of the Starlight Award.

The entire awards ceremony — which received a standing ovation via a pyrotechnic display — was sponsored by Strong Entertainment Lighting, Stageline, QSC, Sound Image, Robe, and Yamaha, with special services provided by Matt Dillingham of Advanced Entertainment Services, Adrian Segeren of Le Maitre Special Effects, lighting designer Patrick Dierson, and programmer Rodd McLaughlin.

Look for complete coverage of ETS-LDI 2004 in the January issue of ED.

ESTA's 2004 Choice Awards

ESTA (the Entertainment Services and Technology Association) also awarded its Customer Service, Dealer of the Year, and Product Awards during the ETS-LDI show in Las Vegas.

The 2004 winners of the Dealers' and Manufacturers' Choice Awards are: Doug Fleenor Design, Inc., City Theatrical, and Apollo Design Technology, Inc.

The 2004 winners of the Manufacturers' Choice Dealers of the Year Awards are: Murphy Lighting Systems, Parlights, and Vincent Lighting Systems.

The 2004 winners of the Dealers' Choice Product Awards are:

  • Expendable Category: EZ Kleen Preventative Maintenance Fluid from Le Maitre Special Effects

  • Widget Category: Remote Addressing Device (RAD) from Doug Fleenor Designs

  • Equipment Category: SafeCam from Union Connector

Votes by dealers and manufacturers are cast in each of three categories based on their number of employees, 1-6, 7-25, and over 25.