Training, training, training. In our industry it's every bit as important as location, location, location is to real estate. So what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone (or your turbo mouse) and register today for the most comprehensive training program ever at LDI.

Okay, okay. I know there's a giant show floor out there. I know everybody's short of bucks. But what better way to get the training you need than at LDI? Frankly, I wish I had the time to sit in on some of these classes myself. I hope you'll take the time and get some new skills under your belt.

The conference program at LDI2001 kicks off with four days of courses under the LDInstitute banner. This “boot camp” is scheduled Monday, October 29, through Thursday, November 1 (yes, we can wear costumes on Halloween!), followed by three days of roundtables and panel discussions Friday through Sunday, November 2-4.

What's new this year? For one thing, we've got more hands-on console training courses than ever before, ranging from the popular three-day Basics of Automated Lighting: Systems and Design, produced in association with ESTA and led by Jim Waits, technical marketing guru for Vari-Lite, to a two-day course on the grandMA console (taught by Mike Falconer of AC Lighting), and one-day courses taught on the Vari*Lite Virtuoso DX console, the Flying Pig Systems Wholehog II (taught by High End Systems' programming maven Vickie Clairborne), and the Fat Frog (Fixture Random Output Generator) from Zero 88, also taught by Mike “Frog Wrangler” Falconer of AC Lighting.

For those of you interested in sharpening your software skills, we've got a computer with your name on it. All of the LDInstitute software courses are taught one-on-one, or one student to a computer, in small groups that allow for highly personalized instruction. Back by popular demand is Rich Rose, associate dean at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television, with a condensed, two-day version of his Fundamentals of AutoCAD class. Rich will also teach a two-day three-dimensional design course with Autodesk's 3D Studio VIZ Release 3i.

Still in the software arena, the VectorWorks folks are back (that's actually Frank Brault, hiding behind the name Nemetschek North America) to teach full-day VectorWorks Spotlight courses during the LDInstitute, and half-day modules on the weekend. Also on the roster is a two-day WYSIWYG program, one-day beginner, the next intermediate/advanced (you can sign up for either or both days), with Ben Sanford and Laura Sellors of CAST Lighting in the driver's seat. Ben's promised to bring in some lighting consoles for the second day (so far we have five ETC Expressions lined up) so who knows what treats he has up his sleeve?

We also have a two-part projection section this year. First comes Anne Johnston of Fourth Phase teaching a course on Large-Format Projection Applications, using E\T\C Audiovisuel's state-of-the-art PIGI double-scrolling projectors as seen on the Rolling Stones and U2 tours as well as the Grammys and Academy Awards.

Following Anne is projection expert Pete Putman of Roam Consulting with his full-day Introduction to Large-Screen Video Displays, covering such topics as principles of luminance and chrominance; principles of light, optics, and screens; television and computer imaging systems; digital television and interfacing; LCD, DLP, and LCOS projection displays; plasma and LCD monitors, and setting up a flat-matrix projector or monitor. Manufacturers and designers will present case studies of innovative uses of such technology in the performance arena.

If you've ever seen Bruce Springsteen in concert, you've seen lighting by Jeff Ravitz. This year Jeff puts on his television lighting director's hat to teach a full-day Television Lighting Master Class, with a soup-to-nuts look at getting the job done, plus live demonstrations of getting the look you want and a hands-on chance to try it yourself.

To celebrate Walt Disney's 100th birthday, LDI has teamed up with the Walt Disney Resort to create a fabulous field trip: 100 Years of Disney Magic. It's a full day of fun with Mickey and Minnie and all the designers and technicians who have created four new parades and some of the new attractions at Disney.

Also produced in conjunction with ESTA are two electrifying courses: Jolts and Volts: Electrical Safety, a must for anyone who needs to know how to work safely with electricity, and Troubleshooting Techniques for the Lighting Industry. This is an advanced troubleshooting course for working field technicians, led by Frank Stewart of Specialty Tech Services.

And that's just the LDInstitute. Please register early as space is limited in some of these courses. If you can't make it to Orlando early or if you're looking for more hands-on automated lighting training, don't miss Martin University, a hands-on tutorial on Friday or Saturday.

If you like to graze, sign up for an LDI Conference Badge. This gives you access to a seemingly endless number of roundtable discussions on almost every subject under the sun. Sessions cover lighting design and production techniques, the art of projection, and architectural lighting (as well as professional audio for those of you who are into the sound side of things as well). Check out our website at www.ldishow.com for a complete listing of these sessions (or call the Primedia Business Exhibitions office in Denver at 800-288-8606 or 303-741-2901 to get a copy of the LDI2001 brochure).

¿Habla Español? If so, LDI2001 has an exciting new component. We've rolled the ExpoLatina concept into LDI, and along with it comes a full set of workshops en español, with lots of lighting sessions as well as a new technology day. It's muy caliente (and pretty hot too!). Martin Professional, Vari-Lite, ETC, Strand, Fourth Phase, and Arri are among the lighting companies sponsoring the ExpoLatina effort.

We also have the ever-popular New Lighting Technology breakfast, the Lasers and Special Effects breakfast, a Women in Entertainment Technology breakfast, and the second annual Lights of the Round Table session where you can meet top lighting designers in an informal setting. If you're up for it, we could keep you busy from 8am to 5pm.

It takes almost a full year to pull all of this together, with the help of a great many industry experts who are there just for you. Don't miss it--it's a great chance to light up your life.

I'll be looking for you in Orlando!

Contact the author at elgreaux@primediabusiness.com.