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.

New this year was the Technical Director of the Year Award, designed to honor someone who dedicates his/her life to taking the show from concept to reality. This year's winner, Bill 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 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. The Bonniols are also regular contributors to Entertainment Design magazine.

Ken Lennon of Walt Disney Imagineering, winner of the 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.

The 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 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.

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 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 that combined moving-light and digital media technology into what is clearly the next wave of lighting.

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

Product of the Year, Lighting/Architectural: iLight Technologies' 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 is designed and manufactured for attaching moving, static, and specialty lighting fixtures to tent poles or any ground-supported column.

Product of the Year, Lighting Tools and Software: John McKernon's Lightwright 4, distributed by City Theatrical, 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.

Product of the Year, Projection: Barco's MiPIX Modular Intelligent Pixelblock 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 3D video.

Product of the Year, Sound: Yamaha's DM1000 Digital Production Console. A compact, cost-effective version of the popular DM2000, the DM1000 sports new software features like 6.1 Surround, User Assignable Layer, and Global Recall Safe, as well as amenities found on the DM2000 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. This 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 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 is a flexible cable with six outlets distributed along its length. Each outlet has an LED indicator showing if power is present.

LDI honors in the Debuting Project/Promising Prototype category those products that were just introduced or are not yet on the market. They may be considered in future years for product of the year awards. This year's prototype winners are:

Lighting/Entertainment: Electronic Theatre Controls' Revolution;

Lighting/Entertainment, Honorable Mention: Arri's Sky Panel;

Lighting/Architectural: Color Kinetics' Chromasic Technology;

Lighting/Architectural, Honorable Mention: OptiLED's Chip LED Lamp Line;

Lighting Tools and Software: High End Systems' Catalyst Version 3 Software;

Projection: Element Labs' Versa TILE;

Projection, Honorable Mention: G-LEC LED Curtain;

Scenic Effects: Rosco Laboratories' X-Effects Visual Projector;

Scenic Effects, Honorable Mention: Lightspace Corporation's Club Scene Dance Floor.

Mark your calendar for the next show: October 22-24, 2004 at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas.