As another ETS-LDI show arrives, this issue of SRO pays homage to innovations in the live-event lighting industry. Our SRO Interview chats with California-based LD Christian Choi, who exemplifies a new breed of lighting designer. By “new breed,” we mean young pros who design and operate not just lights but also video, and who work in multiple disciplines — from live events to film.

An interesting point Choi makes in the interview is that limited budgets are no reason for failing to innovate in our industry. This is a point that lighting columnist, Nook Schoenfeld, has made in recent issues. This issue, Nook checks in with LDs on major rock tours. He offers their observations on researching, plotting, and executing practical yet innovative schemes on major shows.

In keeping with our mission to provide you with soup-to-nuts coverage of the staging and rental industry, this issue also dips into the LED world with a new display column from Brent Watson of Lighthouse Technologies. Watson provides a primer on LED issues, but in particular he offers words of wisdom on the relatively mundane — but crucial — issues of electrical power and maintenance. If you have a major LED presentation and are planning bright and entertaining bells and whistles for the audience to enjoy but fail to consider such basic concepts as circuit breakers and spare parts, you aren't doing the audience, your client, or yourself any favors.

Columnist Alex Artaud continues his ongoing examination of audio system tools. This time, Meyer Sound's SIM 3. In this issue are also tips on picking rental management software technology and a sampling of some of the major educational programs available to industry professionals.

It's this kind of information, across all major disciplines, that we hope makes SRO a useful resource for readers needing a comprehensive approach to finding equipment and techniques to stage events of all descriptions. Such resources are needed now more than ever before, especially when you consider the startling pace at which industry technology is evolving.

For example, take the cover story about Sun Microsystems' JavaOne 2004 conference. Writer Stephen Porter explains how that event's use of Vista Systems' Montage widescreen video processing technology has evolved in the last 12 months. It was only a year ago that we ran a story explaining how JavaOne was one of the first corporate events in the nation to utilize Montage. Producers this year went far beyond the 2003 application and made JavaOne an all high-definition affair for IMAG presentation.

Mark Pederson, CEO of PMG, San Francisco, the production company for JavaOne in recent years, says in the cover story that “going all-HD this year was a natural evolution.” Yet, in the same article, he explains that less than a year ago the cost of HD cameras, processing power, and other associated tools to perform such a feat at an event such as JavaOne was cost-prohibitive.

All of which brings us back to ETS-LDI, an event presented by SRO's corporate parent, Primedia Business Magazines and Media. Over the years, LDI has evolved into a true entertainment technology show — a term that is now officially part of the show's name. Expect to find all the latest flavors of lighting, projection, audio, and rigging technology on the show floor, and more important, use the show to help you figure out how to best fit these technologies into your agenda in an affordable way.

As always, between now and the forward leaps that will be on display at next year's LDI, feel free to use SRO as a useful tool to help keep you abreast of this evolution.