Launched in 1988, LDI is celebrating its 16th birthday this year. The new name of the event, The Entertainment Technology Show — LDI and Beyond is an indication of its maturity, as well as its growth into the dynamic areas of audio and projection. The industry has been experiencing a convergence of disciplines and the show is following suit. This year's training opportunities represent the scope of the show, with a full week of courses to choose from and make your experience a rewarding one in terms of education.

One of the most exciting things on the agenda this year is Backstage Orlando 2003. With visits to The Holy Land Experience, SeaWorld Orlando, and Walt Disney World, plus Cirque du Soleil's incredible show, La Nouba, this year's Backstage event will be one of the best, but please note: it has been scheduled for all day on Wednesday and Thursday, November 19 and 20, with La Nouba on Friday evening, November 21, making Backstage a pre-show event (instead of post-show as in past years). By taking an insider's look at the new attractions at these venues, attendees have a chance to see today's best entertainment technology at work in challenging settings that really put the products to the test. Backstage is fun, educational, and a great networking opportunity to boot.

Speaking of boots, kicking off the show this year is the LDInstitute, a kind of “boot camp” for techies and designers, with intensive training courses beginning on Monday, November 17 and running through Thursday, November 20. This is your chance to learn real-world skills in small, informal classes tailor-made to meet your needs. Jim Waits (now consulting with InLight Gobos) will be back to host the courses in automated lighting systems and design, both basic and advanced, held at the state-of-the-art Full Sail educational facility. And Rich Rose of UCLA is back for his always-sold-out courses in AutoCAD and 3D Design. Rufus Warren of Design And Drafting is back as well, with his full-day course on AutoCAD and LD Assistant. WYSIWYG, both beginner and intermediate/advanced levels, will be offered, taught by Laura Sellors and Danny Tancou of Cast Software. VectorWorks Spotlight Training, with Frank Brault, is available in full or half day sessions, while Vickie Claiborne of High End Systems provides an intro to the Wholehog III console. And John McKernon will teach the ABC's of Lightwright 4.

Hot new courses include a two-day Tomcat Motor School over at Fourth Phase Orlando, Pyrotechnic training at Le Maitre Special Effect's Orlando facility, Basic Sound Blocks with Bill Magod, Architectural Lighting: God is in the Details taught by award-winning LD Domingo Gonzalez, and Working with Live Power, a must for anyone who works with power!

Once the show floor opens on Friday morning, November 21, the real excitement begins, but the educational programs are just ramping up. For three days, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: November 21, 22, and 23, you are invited to participate in the Entertainment Technology Show conference, designed to let your imagination skyrocket with three exciting avenues of entertainment design and technology: lighting, audio, and projection. With an emphasis on lighting and production techniques, plus increased exposure to trends and techniques in sound design and the ever-expanding field of projection art and technology, the Entertainment Technology Show Conference offers all the training you need to stay on the cutting edge of the industry. It's worth a detour from the show floor to catch up on what's happening in the world of entertainment design and technology today!

A number of meaty sessions are on the schedule this year, featuring the members of ESTA (Entertainment Services and Technology Association) Technical Standards Committees.

Join the members of the ESTA technical standards committees and other industry leaders for important updates that impact every aspect of the industry. These people put in hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of volunteer work to make your industry a safer, more productive place to work, and will be at LDI to share their recent findings and advances with you.

The ESTA sessions include: the IESNA Theatre, Television, and Film Lighting Committee Meeting and Discussion; Photometrics: Light On The Subject; Clearing the Air: Fog and Smoke Update; Raise the Roof! Considerations for Temporary Stage Roofs; DMX512-A: Explanation and Update; The Ups and Downs of Manual and Powered Rigging Systems; RDM: FAQs and a Demo; ACN — A Report to the Industry; Can Pyro Effects Be Used Safely? and Fire Safety Curtains: More than Decoration or Its Curtains for You!

The core of the Entertainment Technology Show is still lighting design and production techniques and this year's conference has an extremely rich vein of sessions to be mined for up-to-date trends and information about the products, projects, and people who sparkle in the lighting industry. These sessions are a great way to discover the inner workings of the industry through panels and presentation by the best minds in the business. Here's a recap of the sessions:

Julia Tell of Rose Brand explores the world of digital imaging and the use of large-format digital printing to create custom backdrops; Paul Dexter tells all about keeping up in a fast-past techno-environment; the award-winning Ken Billington tells wonderful and insightful stories about his career in lighting design; a panel of LDs explore previsualization techniques with the folks from Prelite; Richard Thompson rolls back the clock to assess an article written in the 1940s by Donald Oenslager; Jay Glerum talks about how to inspect your rigging; Jim Waits leads a historical look at the path of the moving light programmer; and Brad Schiller follows up with a look at automated lighting programming today.

Additional lighting sessions include a look at creating theatre in non-theatrical venues, Cindy Limauro on the magic of light on fabric, low-cost solutions to design problems, a primer on LEDs, and an accent on architectural lighting, featuring Domingo Gonzalez, Christien Methot on light for light, and Michael O'Brien's case study of lighting the El Dorado furniture store in Miami.

And that's just the beginning. With New Technology Breakfasts, the annual Women In Entertainment Technology breakfast, and the Designer Roundtable (a very popular session), as well as the annual awards ceremony and even more sessions on audio and projection techniques, this year's show will be hard to beat. Click onto the website at for a complete rundown of sessions, including moderators and panelists, and you'll be amazed at the roster of talent involved. Register today and join them as LDI celebrates Sweet Sixteen!