Top designers. Leading technical experts. Backstage tours. Hands-on training. These are but a few of the aspects of the expanded professional training program at LDI2007, November 12 to 18, at the Orange Country Convention Center in Orlando, FL. LDI2007 marks the 20th anniversary of this trade show and conference dedicated to design and technology for live performances, houses of worship, clubs, concerts, and other applications that feature the professional use of audio, lighting, projection, staging, and rigging equipment.

Things get underway on Monday, November 12, with the start of the annual LDInstitute, a series of in-depth, personalized courses including hands-on training on consoles from ETC and Strand; the latest software releases from LD Assistant, Vectorworks, wysiwyg, and SFX; and this year for the first time, two half-day sessions on Vivien special-event software with entertainment applications. A three-day course on lighting for HDTV will be held off-site at Full Sail and will feature lighting designers Bill Klages and John Gates, as well as John Gresch from Arriflex.

This year's LDInstitute also includes three courses taught by Pat Brown of Syn-Aud-Con, hands-on training with the Green Hippo Hippotizer, and a special course on Medialon show control. There is also a series of rigging sessions — arena rigging math taught by G. Anthony Phillips and theatre rigging fundamentals by Jay O. Glerum — and electrical sessions ranging from the two-day Ohm's Law and Order to Tomcat's two-day hoist and truss workshop. Also new this year is a full-day session on setting up control systems, taught by Richard Cadena.

“It is interesting to note that most of the instructors for the rigging and electrical courses are ETCP-certified riggers or electricians, and their courses — some of which are presented with the ESTA Foundation's seminars and training committee — provide ETCP re-certification credits,” explains Ellen Lampert-Gréaux, LDI's conference director.

Also kicking off on Monday, November 12, is Backstage Orlando, an insider's tour of theme-park attractions and other venues of interest. This year, Backstage Orlando starts with a casual dinner evening at SeaWorld, following a nighttime look at some of the park lighting. Tuesday, November 13, and Wednesday, November 14, include backstage tours and panel discussions at Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba Theatre at Downtown Disney, the new Blue Man Group theatre at Universal Studios, and some new attractions at Disney World. Attendees will also attend performances of La Nouba and Blue Man Group with post-show discussions led by members of the technical teams. New this year is a houses-of-worship tour to the new, technically equipped Northland, A Church Distributed. “This promises to be a very interesting Backstage event,” says Lampert-Gréaux. “It is very exciting to add a new worship facility that has such extensive audio, lighting, and video systems.”

ESTA, LDI's association partner, is also celebrating its 20th anniversary, and will present a series of technical updates on subjects ranging from fasteners, photometrics, and floors to networking, GFCI, feeder cables, ACN, RDM, rigging, and motor control. Panelists include members of ESTA's technical standards committees. ESTA's BizEd committee will present a Marketing Boot Camp on Thursday, November 15, at the Rosen Plaza Hotel. The ETCP exams for certified riggers and electricians will also be held at LDI again this year, with full details available at http://etcp.esta.org.

Another 20th anniversary this year is that of ILDA, which will be hosting a laser theatre, open to all LDI attendees during the days that the show floor is open — November 16, 17, 18 — plus a series of three laser workshops, including one that examines the newly approved audience-scanning techniques.

LDI has once again partnered with Technologies for Worship magazine on a three-day series of workshops for those who work in the houses-of-worship sector. To sign up in advance for the TFWM free hands-on workshops, visit: www.tfwm.com/conferences-LDI2007.

The general conference sessions run from Thursday, November 15, through Sunday, November 18, with topics ranging from Building for the Future: Engineering for Entertainment to the Lighting/Projection Summit in a light lab supplied with gear by PRG. There are also two days of audio sessions, including a full day on training for those who teach sound design, coordinated by Jon Gottlieb.

One of the highlights of last year's LDI was the new Spend the Day With…, a chance to spend the day with a leading designer and a small group of attendees. Based on the success of that program last year, Spend the Day is back, with lighting designer Don Holder (of Lion King fame), London-based sound designer John Leonard, and projection designers Bob and Colleen Bonniol of MODE Studios.

“This is just a taste of everything that's happening and everybody that's taking part in LDI2007,” says Lampert-Gréaux. For complete details on the conference program and online registration options, visit www.ldishow.com.