Launched in 1988, LDI turns 16 this year, and it's a whole new ballgame. First, there's a new name: The Entertainment Technology Show — LDI and Beyond, a name that indicates the show's maturity, as well as its growth into the dynamic areas of audio and projection. The industry is experiencing a convergence of disciplines and the show is following suit, both on the show floor and in the expanded educational programs.

One of the most exciting things on the agenda this year is Backstage Orlando 2003. With visits to The Holy Land Experience, SeaWorld Orlando, where LD Jason Kantrowitz recently completed a re-design, (see story page 8) and Walt Disney World, plus Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba, this year's Backstage event will be one of the best, but please note: it has been scheduled for all day on Wednesday and Thursday, November 19 and 20, with La Nouba on Friday evening, November 21, making Backstage Orlando a pre-show event (instead of post-show as in past years). By taking an insider's look at the new attractions at these venues, attendees can see today's best entertainment technology at work in challenging settings that really put the products to the test. Backstage Orlando is fun, educational, and a great networking opportunity to boot.

Speaking of boots, kicking off the show this year is the LDInstitute, a kind of “boot camp” for techies and designers, with intensive training courses beginning on Monday, November 17 and running through Thursday, November 20. This is your chance to learn real-world skills in small, informal classes tailor-made to meet your needs. Consultant Jim Waits will return to host courses in automated lighting systems and design, both basic and advanced, held at the state-of-the-art Full Sail educational facility. Rich Rose of UCLA is back for his always-sold-out courses in AutoCAD and 3D Design. Rufus Warren of Design And Drafting is back as well, with his full-day course on AutoCAD and LD Assistant. WYSIWYG, both beginner and intermediate/advanced levels, will be offered, taught by Laura Sellors and Danny Tancou of Cast Software. VectorWorks Spotlight Training, with Frank Brault, is available in full- or half-day sessions, while Vickie Claiborne of High End Systems provides an intro to the Whole Hog III console. And John McKernon will teach the ABCs of Lightwright 4.

Hot new courses include a two-day Tomcat Motor School held at Fourth Phase Orlando; pyrotechnic training at Le Maitre Special Effect's Orlando facility; Basic Sound Blocks with Bill Magod; Architectural Lighting: God is in the Details, taught by award-winning LD Domingo Gonzalez, and Working with Live Power.

Once the show floor opens on Friday morning, November 21, the real excitement begins, but the educational programs are just ramping up. For three days, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, November 21, 22, and 23, you are invited to participate in the Entertainment Technology Show conference, designed to let your imagination skyrocket with three exciting avenues of entertainment design and technology: lighting, audio, and projection.

Some pretty meaty sessions are on the schedule this year, featuring the members of ESTA (Entertainment Services and Technology Association) Technical Standards Committees. Join them and other industry leaders for important updates that impact every aspect of the industry.

The ESTA sessions include: the IESNA Theatre, Television, and Film Lighting Committee meeting and discussion; Photometrics: Light On The Subject; Clearing the Air: Fog and Smoke Update; Raise the Roof: Considerations for Temporary Stage Roofs; DMX512-A: Explanation and Update; The Ups and Downs of Manual and Powered Rigging Systems; RDM: FAQs and a Demo; ACN — A Report to the Industry; Can Pyro Effects Be Used Safely?, and Fire Safety Curtains: More Than Decoration — or Its Curtains for You!

The core of the Entertainment Technology Show focuses on lighting design and production techniques, with an extremely rich vein of sessions to be mined for up-to-date trends and information about the products, projects, and people who sparkle in the lighting industry. To name a few: Julia Tell of Rose Brand explores the world of digital imaging and the use of large-format digital printing to create custom backdrops; Paul Dexter tells all about keeping up in a fast-past techno-environment; the award-winning Ken Billington tells wonderful and insightful stories about his career in lighting design; a panel of LDs explore previsualization techniques with the folks from Prelite; Richard Thompson rolls back the clock to assess an article written in the 1940s by Donald Oenslager; Jay Glerum talks about how to inspect your rigging; Jim Waits leads a historical look at the path of the moving light programmer; and Brad Schiller follows up with a look at automated lighting programming today.

Additional lighting sessions include a look at creating theatre in non-theatrical venues, Cindy Limauro discussing the magic of light on fabric, low-cost solutions to design problems, a primer on LEDs, an accent on architectural lighting featuring Domingo Gonzalez, Christien Methot's look at Light For Light, and Michael O'Brien's case study of lighting the El Dorado furniture store in Miami.

On the audio front, sound designer extraordinaire Jonathan Deans talks about his designs for Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba, and offers insight into sound problem-solving. Bill Whitlock offers solutions for clean sound and understanding, finding, and eliminating ground loops in audio and video installations. Tour Link, co-located with LDI again this year, offers three special sound sessions on microphones, monitors, and front-of-house mixing techniques.

Designer Leni Schwendinger kicks off the projection sessions with her vision of “brilliant, passionate cities” by means of creative light projections, and is followed by Charles Green, who demonstrates low-cost projected “scenery that fits in your pocket.” A projection portfolio presents a panel of projection designers who will share their recent projects, from conception to creation of images and the technology used for the best results. John Huntington and George Kindler host a special three-hour session on show control and projection with three presentations of complex projects, and Vickie Claiborne reveals all that's new with the Catalyst digital media system.

Since convergence is the latest buzz word when it comes to entertainment technology, these sessions cross the boundaries of lighting, audio, and projection: Bill Magod looks at increasing profitability in the rental and staging industry; sound designer Jon Gottlieb moderates a case study of the experimental production of King Lear at CalArts with set designer Chris Barreca, lighting designer Chris Akerlind, co-sound designer Leon Roth-enberg, and video director Lap-Chi Chu; Anne Valentino moderates a panel of top talents who reveal how they got started in this crazy business in the first place; and Arnold Tang and Rob Halliday explore backstage networking: practical Ethernet and networking for the stage.

Add the new technology breakfasts, the annual Women In Entertainment Technology breakfast, and the Designer Round-table (a very popular session!), as well as the annual Award's Ceremony, and this year's show will be hard to beat. Click onto the website at for a complete rundown of all sessions, including moderators and panelists, and you'll be amazed at the roster of talent involved. Register today and join us as LDI celebrates Sweet Sixteen!