So, you open the show directory, and you take a long look at the floor map. After you get over the sheer size of the show and number of exhibitors, you try to formulate a plan to see as many of the exhibitors as possible in the short time that is LDI. It is a record year for the size of the show floor, and there promises to be a lot of product introductions. If you are completely at sea, here are a few suggestions to hone your list into something manageable and still have time left to attend some seminars, get a drink(s) with friends, and possibly scarf down some food.

It is always good to have a meeting spot where you can rendezvous and take a break. The Live Design booth (#871) is a great place to get your bearings as well as take an opportunity to bid on some amazing silent auction items for the Behind the Scenes charity. Speaking of Behind the Scenes, the Behind the Scenes booth (#414) is also a great place to make a donation and try your hand in the raffle for a brand new Harley Davidson bike. The ESTA booth (#309) is right around the corner, where you can pick up information on the latest technical standards, new programs, as well as information on ESTA-member companies.

In between looking for the next hot product and picking up fun swag, be on the lookout for opportunities to win—after all, this is Las Vegas. One such chance is at Tomcat (Booth #271), where you can register to win one scholarship for the company’s Annual Hoist and Rigging Workshop to be held February 21 to 24, 2007 in Midland, Texas.

Don’t forget that this year is Vari-Lite’s 25th Anniversary, so wish them a Happy Anniversary at booth #1015 and get a glimpse of history. To celebrate its 25 years of automated luminaires, Vari-Lite will feature a diverse display of fixtures from its illustrious history. The company has a Legacy Truss, which will include such luminaires as the VL1, VL2C, VL3, VL4, VL5B, VL5 Arc, VL6, VL6C, VL7B, VLM, and VL2416; all eleven fixtures will be fully operational during the show. Additionally, the one and only VL0 will also be on display. This is the original prototype that paved the way for VL’s first luminaires and created the automated lighting industry as we know it today.

The show floor is where many of us find the interesting product launches, the tools that may eventually become the industry standards, new friends, and this year is no exception. Here are a few that are sure to have the floor talking:

The new InfoTrace system from Wybron (Booth #1731) definitely is a must-see and well worth an in-depth demonstration. If you work with lighting systems—as a technician, lighting designer, or as a rental house—this product will radically improve your life. By using Remote Device Management (RDM) with new Wybron products as well as legacy equipment, you now have easy control and management of DMX-controlled lighting devices. You can set-up, configure, and troubleshoot in a brand new, much easier, way.

Main Light Industries (Booth #221) continues to grow the Soft-LED™ product line with the introduction of Soft-LED™/Scrim, a see-through RGB LED scrim that incorporates the Color Kinetics Chromasic™ LED node and drive technology attached to an indoor/outdoor heavy-duty mesh scrim. The mesh and nodes appear transparent in normal production use, and the scrim folds and travels the same way as the Soft-LED curtain.

The JR Clancy (Booth #1827) PowerAssist allows you to automate your counterweight sets as well as improve safety by eliminating the need to adjust weights. This joins other new Clancy products including PowerLift™ automated rigging system and SureGrip™ theatrical rope with a wear indicator telling you when the rope needs replacing.

I realize that most of you will automatically go to the major players as well as companies that you deal with everyday, but I urge you to stop by some of the smaller companies as well. Some are new in the entertainment technology field, but you never know when you are going to find the next big thing or cool product that solves a problem. In all my years at LDI, I never cease to be amazed at what there is to be discovered just walking around.