The Entertainment Technology Show-LDI 2003, held at the Orange Country Convention Center in Orlando, Florida November 21-23, once again highlighted the newest products and some of the most accomplished people in the entertainment technology industry. The show’s highly coveted awards were given at a special ceremony held onsite on Saturday, November 22. What follows is a recap of the winners.

Designer and Technical Director of the Year Awards

New this year is the Technical Director of the Year Award, designed to honor someone who dedicates his or her life to taking the show from concept to reality. The 2003 ETS-LDI Technical Director of the Year Award went to Bill Ballou. Ballou has been technical director for the experimental theatre company The Wooster Group, the choreographer Elizabeth Streb, and the regional theatre Center Stage, as well as numerous film and theatrical productions, including the innovative King Lear at CalArts (where he is on the design faculty) in addition to exhibits at the Field Museum in Chicago and eHenge in England.

The 2003 ETS-LDI Projection Designer of the Year Award went to Bob Bonniol and Colleen Bonniol of Seattle’s MODE Studios. They were cited for their work on the recent Seattle Opera production of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal, for which they created enormous, mountainous panoramas that emerged from hazy, dream-like backgrounds, as well as ominously lit crimson cliffs, and idyllic, almost psychedelic, English gardens. The Bonniols are also regular contributors to Entertainment Design magazine, one of the founding sponsors of ETS-LDI.

Ken Lennon, Walt Disney Imagineering, winner of the 2003 ETS-LDI Lighting Designer of the Year Award, has combined three categories of lighting--themed, entertainment, and architecture--into one fantastic futuristic project that is guaranteed to send you to outer space. The project, Mission:SPACE, at Disney World’s EPCOT Center, is one of the most talked-about attractions of the year, with cool architectural lighting grazing the outside, and an enticing mix of entertainment and architectural fixtures on the inside.

Sound design, which is honored at the ETS-LDI show and at the EDDY Awards (but not yet the Tonys), is an increasingly important part of every entertainment production and installation. The 2003 ETS-LDI Sound Designer of the Year is Simon Baker, who has been sound designer at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Court, and National Theatre in London. His recent credits include sound designs for Closer and The Play What I Wrote on Broadway, as well as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Closer to Heaven in the West End. He has also been on the design staff at Autograph Sound for the past four years.

2003 ETS-LDI Best Booth, Best Laser Display, and Creative Use of Light Awards

The Best Booth Award, Small Booth went to G-LEC for an eye-catching display of LED graphics technology. It was bright, colorful, flexible, and multi-functional.

The Best Booth Award, Large Booth went to Robe America for displaying products in an immersive projection environment.

The Best Laser Display Award went to first time exhibitor Laserwurx, LLC, for the exciting use of the LX1 Laser, a fully programmable unit that looks like a laser but acts like a light and runs off a lighting console.

The Best Creative Use of Light Award went to High End Systems for an entertaining 60s flashback (complete with incense) that combined moving-light and digital media technology into what is clearly the next wave of lighting.

Product of the Year Awards

Awards judges at ETS-LDI consider products in two categories. To quality as a Product of the Year, an entry must have been released in the past year and be currently shipping to customers. If a product is introduced at ETS-LDI, it is considered as a Debuting Product/Promising Prototype; this product may be a concept or prototype as long as there is sufficient documentation showing what it will be. This award will honor originality and daring conceptual leaps. Products in this category can be considered for Product of the Year at the next ETS-LDI.

Product of the Year

Product of the Year – Lighting/Entertainment: Martin Professional’s Maxxyz Console
The Martin Maxxyz Control Console offers programmers and LDs a string of impressive new features as well as feature enhancements. Among the features offered are fast processing powers, direct fixture access, effects generator, motorized faders, and quality touch screens.

Product of the Year – Lighting/Architectural: iLight Technologies’ Plexineon
Plexineon is a new linear LED lighting system that offers moisture and high-temp resistance using far less energy than glass neon. Easy to install, Plexineon combines the long-life benefit of LED technology with the classic look of exposed neon.

Product of the Year – Lighting Accessory: Tent Tec’s ML Bracket
The ML Bracket is designed and manufactured for attaching moving, static, and specialty lighting fixtures to tent poles or any ground-supported column. The high-finish aluminum parts, safety cable and formed banding strap shows the innovation Tent Tec brings to the real world.

Product of the Year – Lighting Tools and Software Award: John McKernon’s Lightwright 4, distributed by City Theatrical
Lightwright 4 represents a giant leap forward in theatrical lighting paperwork software. In addition to its ease of use, this new version allows the user to make and archive focus notes, as well as to communicate and administer work notes within one piece of software. It retains the ability to be customized to the user’s needs. The judges were taken by the large advancements in Lightwright 4.

Product of the Year – Projection: Barco’s MiPIX Modular Intelligent Pixelblock
The Barco MiPIX is a brand-new, flexible tool for the visual designers’ toolbox. The judges found this “Lego” of LEDs to be a very cool product and envisioned many projects with 3-D video. Truly a revolution in the LED market, its small size and shape allow for it to create intelligent lighting effects on large-scale backdrops of any form, shape, or size.

Product of the Year – Sound: Yamaha’s DM1000 Digital Production Console
A compact and cost-effective version of the popular DM2000, the D M1000 sports new software features like 6.1 Surround, User Assignable Layer, and Global Recall Safe, as well as features found on the DM200 like 96 kHz audio, Surround Monitoring, Studio Manager, and DAW Control.

Product of the Year – Scenic, Staging, and Effects – Martin Professional’s Jem ZR 24/7 Hazer
The Jem ZR 24/7 Hazer is a high precision, continuously operating DMX haze generator capable of delivering an optically translucent canvas of light-enhancing haze for long periods. It features a 900W heater with three positions of temperature control, continuous operating ability, and uses water-based fluid to produce varying levels of atmospherics.

Product of the Year – Rigging and Hardware: Hoffend & Sons’ Vortek Rigging System
The Vortek represents a fully engineered and economical system for stage house rigging. Significant features include a secondary holding brake that is variable-load and constantly applied, as well as a bold touchscreen user interface with intuitive features. The complete system, in all its speed and load-capacity configurations, has been designed for high-volume manufacturing and ease of installation.

Product of the Year – Widget: Lex Products’ E-String
This year’s clever solution is the E-String from Lex Products. The E-String is a flexible cable with six outlets distributed along its length. Each outlet has an LED indicator showing the power is present. It is ideal for orchestra pits, backstage scenery, and tradeshow applications.

Debuting Product/Promising Prototype

Debuting Product/Promising Prototype of the Year – Lighting/Entertainment: Electronic Theatre Controls’ Revolution

Debuting Product/Promising Prototype of the Year – Lighting/Entertainment, Honorable Mention: Arri’s Sky Panel

Debuting Product/Promising Prototype of the Year – Lighting/Architectural: Color Kinetics’ Chromasic Technology

Debuting Product/Promising Prototype of the Year – Lighting/Architectural, Honorable Mention: OptiLED’s Chip LED Lamp Line

Debuting Product/Promising Prototype of the Year – Lighting Tools and Software: High End Systems’ Catalyst Version 3 Software

Debuting Product/Promising Prototype of the Year: Element Labs’ Versa TILE

Debuting Product/Promising Prototype of the Year, Honorable Mention: G-LEC’a LED Curtain

Debuting Product/Promising Prototype of the Year – Scenic Effects: Rosco Laboratories’ X-Effects Visual Projector

Debuting Product/Promising Prototype of the Year – Scenic Effects, Honorable Mentiom: Lightspace Corporation’s Club Scene Dance Floor

We want to thank all of the exhibitors for another year of great products, new technologies, and fun swag. We will see you all in Las Vegas. Mark your calendar for the next show: October 22-24, 2004 at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas.