Launching a new trade show is like starting a new jigsaw puzzle; there are hundreds of little pieces to fit together before the full picture begins to take shape. This was certainly the case with ExpoLatina, a cutting-edge entertainment technology event set to launch May 5-7 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, FL. The object of this new show is to present the best in today's entertainment design and technology to Latin American audiences, with hot new technology on the show floor and an information-packed program of seminars, panel discussions, and hands-on training sessions in Spanish and Portuguese. Hillel Resner of Mix magazine and I put the pieces of this puzzle together to create a thought-provoking workshop program designed to meet the needs of the Latin American market.

The in-depth tutorials include a two-day Spanish-language version of the NSCA's course in the Technical Fundamentals of Audio, which has been developed for ExpoLatina. Hands-on training sessions in state-of-the-art lighting technology will be presented in conjunction with ETC (at Barbizon's Miami office), by Martin Professional at its Miami showroom, and by Chuck Gomez for High End Systems. A full-day session on working with lasers will be organized by Laser Production Network at its Miami headquarters, and a day-long workshop on designing with fiber-optic lighting will be led by Paula Vega of SuperVision International. A design charette for themed environments rounds out the tutorial program.

The lighting design and production techniques sessions at ExpoLatina are sponsored by Lighting Dimensions and TV & Video Latin America magazines, and open with an industry-wide standards update presented by Karl Ruling of ESTA (one of the few English-speaking panelists at ExpoLatina). He will be joined by Hiram Perez of Barbizon's Miami office, who will provide the Spanish version of this session. Other sessions include club design, concert touring in Brazil, an international lighting design portfolio, and film and television lighting techniques with leading lighting directors such as Eddie Reyes, Henry Link, Peter Gaspar, and Jose Scheurun. CM Lodestar will present a session on working with chain motors and Le Maitre Special Effects will teach a session on the basics of pyrotechnics. There will also be a sneak preview of the renovation of the Teatro Universidad de Puerto Rico and a look at the design of Latin American television studios.

On the audio side, a special series of workshops will be sponsored by Mix magazine's Spanish-language edition, and offer in-depth explorations of subjects such as the correct use of microphones, digital signal processing, designing recording studios, and a producer's forum presented with the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Two additional sound sessions, one on audio production for large-scale outdoor events and one on theatrical acoustics, are sponsored by Sound & Video Contractor and Entertainment Design magazines.

Selected audio manufacturers who are exhibiting at the show will examine cutting-edge technology in the following sessions: Digidesign on digital audio workstations; Apogee on computer control systems; Meyer Sound on polarity and phase in sound reinforcement systems; JBL on systems design for discos and more, and on sound system optimization with JBL Smaart Pro System; and DAS Audio on optimizing acoustic enclosure design.

A Latin American advisory committee for ExpoLatina has been established and includes representatives of companies based in Miami and others doing business in the Latin marketplace. The chair of this committee is Hiram Perez. ESTA, the US-based Entertainment Services and Technology Association, is a sponsor of ExpoLatina and will help promote the show to its 300-plus member companies.

Of special interest to ESTA members is the Business Practices Committee's two-part session entitled "Trading Across the Borders," a day-long session scheduled for Tuesday, May 4. The morning session, "The Business Part of Doing Business With Latin America," will deal with issues such as site drafts, letters of credit, wire transfers, shipping, and the logistics of moving product to the end user. "Production Services: Dealing With Customs, Currency, and Insurance," is the theme of the afternoon session. Panelists for these sessions include representatives from Marine Midland Bank and the US Department of Commerce in Miami.

ExpoLatina is produced by Intertec Exhibitions, the producers of LDI (Lighting Dimensions International), 5680 Greenwood Plaza, Suite 100, Englewood, CO 80111, USA; phone: 303/741-2901 and 800/288-8606, fax: 720/489-3101. News updates about ExpoLatina can also be found on the World Wide Web at www.etecnyc.net.

Ellen Lampert-Greaux is the conference director of ExpoLatina.