Since it was founded in 1988 the primary focus of The Entertainment Technology Show-LDI has been on lighting, and while the show has expanded to include more audio and projection than in the past, this year's educational conference still has a strong accent on lighting.

Sessions include such topics as Working in Weird Spaces (the challenges of transforming unusual venues with lighting and video) moderated by Christien Methot of Design One. In Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork, moderated by Christina Giannelli, resident LD at the Houston Ballet, designers examine all of the necessary paperwork for repertory and touring opera, dance, and Broadway productions. With projection becoming more and more ubiquitous, from large-format to video, Bob Bonniol of Mode Studios will moderate a panel on the Integration of Lighting and Projection.

The process of programming moving lights and how the pros get the job done will be examined in a session moderated by Michael Nevitt of Martin Professional, with some of the top programmers in the biz (schedules permitting). LEDs are still a hot topic, and consultant Mike Wood will lead a panel of LED gurus to take a look at where this technology is heading.

Mary Poppins is the new musical sensation in the UK, and LD Howard Harrison and associate LD Rob Halliday will examine the lighting design process and projection elements used to bring this classic film alive on stage. Las Vegas wouldn't be Las Vegas without Cirque du Soleil and their state-of-the-art permanent theatres. A panel of Cirque du Soleil's theatre design and project management team, including Luc Plamondon, Don MacLean, Gabriel Pinkstone, Eric Liston, and Jeanette Farmer, takes us on their journey of birthing a new permanent facility, from concept to opening night.

In Roadcases, Paul Dexter of ELS and founder of the non-profit Roadcases organization, hosts a “talk show” with veteran road managers, production managers, and lighting designers who were in the pioneering era of concert production touring. And Mark White of ETC Europe presents a two-part primer on dimmer technology. Among the technical sessions presented in conjunction with ESTA is a hearty bowl of Alphabet Soup for Lighting, with a look at lighting protocols ACN, DMX512-A, and RDM. Easy Ethernet, a panel discussion featuring Michael Lay of Strand Lighting, Dan Antonuk of ETC, and Gary Douglas of Pathway Connectivity, debunks the mystery of Ethernet systems.

Those interested in rigging will be interested in the Product Primer: Winch and Cable Reel: Solutions for Motorized Rigging presented by experts from Thern, Inc. and Insul-8, while Jay O. Glerum — one of the most popular speakers at LDI over the years — will be back to present Rigging: Establishing a Maintenance and Operation Program, a look at how to set up an effective in-house maintenance and training program for the riggers and fly-men working in theatres, cruise ships, opera houses, theme parks or other permanent installations.

In addition to the workshops that are part of the ETS-LDI2004 conference on October 22, 23, and 24, there are also full-day or two-day intensive classes that focus on lighting in the LDInsitute (October 18-21), a boot camp for industry professionals ready to roll up their sleeves and tackle new technology head on.

LDInstitute courses this year range from hands-on (one person per computer) teaching of such essential software programs as LD Assistant, WYSIWYG, and Vectorworks. Hands-on console training is available on High End Systems' Whole Hog® III, Strand Lightings' 550 series desk, Martin Professionals' MAXXYZ console, and MA Lightings' grandMA (in conjunction with A.C.T Lighting).

Riggers should attend the Tomcat Motor School, while those interested in the design and architecture of permanent attractions should consider the two-day design charette led by experienced architect Greg Beck. Media servers will also be in the spotlight with a one-day course dedicated to the HES Catalyst, and a full-day overview of media servers and how to create content, led by award-winning projection designers Bob and Colleen Bonniol.

Complete details about these sessions and the entire educational conference, as well as the exhibit floor, ET Live, and registration for The ETS-LDI2004 can be found at www.ets-ldi.com.