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ETC celebrates biggest CUE conference yet

ETC celebrates biggest CUE conference yet

USA – From Friday 26 June to Sunday 28 June, more than 200 people from around the world joined ETC in Madison, Wisconsin, for lighting education, console training and certification, networking and special events. The third professional development conference that ETC has hosted, this CUE event included more classes and events – and was attended by the largest group of lighting professionals and students representing several countries and all segments of the lighting industry – than ever before.

CUE kicked off with a keynote address by CEO Fred Foster, in which he talked about the growth of ETC over the last four decades, and the company’s focus on customer service and product innovation. Foster also unveiled new products, including the affordable ColorSource Spot profile LED luminaire and console programming wings that will officially debut in July.

Josh Allen, an award-winning lighting designer from Theatre Consultants Collaborative, and Al Crawford, lighting director for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company and CEO of arc3design, also gave keynote addresses during CUE. Allen covered the history of electricity in an entertaining and enlightening presentation that featured influences from pop culture, on-the-street interviews, and little-known conspiracy theories. Crawford talked about his time touring with the iconic Alvin Ailey troupe, and how he and his tech crew have worked in a constantly changing array of theatres in many different countries.

Both Allen and Crawford taught master classes to attendees. Allen partnered with GDS by ETC product manager Chris Patten to discuss easy ways to upgrade a theatre with modern products like LED houselights. Crawford’s master class touched on lighting for non-traditional installations. To demonstrate the possibilities, Crawford used images from some of the projects arc3design has designed, including corporate events, weddings, and building exteriors. Emmy Award-winning lighting designer Patrick Boozer also taught a master class at CUE about using the ETC Eos console for live music events. Packed with footage from concerts, the class gave practical advice on busking, device management and other console features that are crucial to effective live-music lighting.

ETC and media partner LSA (Lighting&Sound America) expanded the reach of the CUE conference even further by live streaming several of the sessions, including the three keynote addresses and Crawford and Boozer’s master classes. Hundreds of people around the globe tuned in to watch, and the sessions are now available for on-demand viewing at

CUE attendees had the opportunity to choose a specific track to follow at the conference, with console training and certification classes available to users of all levels, and a track designed specially for educators and students. The console track gave attendees the opportunity for hands-on learning with real-world simulations to improve their programming skills. “CUE is an incredible learning opportunity for both aspiring and experienced programmers. In programming 1, we were able to develop our own programming philosophy alongside current industry professionals. The instructors were extremely well prepared to oversee each course. Even after the all day courses, employees of ETC and the featured guests of CUE happily shared their experiences and expertise,” says Alex Stevens, a CUE attendee from Carnegie Mellon University. Those who participated in the education track were able to take home new ideas and materials to use in the classroom. CUE also included a range of other classes on a variety of topics, such as pixel mapping, OSC control, maintaining a lighting system and Magic Sheets.

Throughout the event, a product showcase featuring a range of ETC products was set up for attendees to drop in and get demonstrations and experiment with new products. And ETC’s HR department had a stand with information for attendees about internship, externship and career opportunities with ETC in locations throughout the world. During breaks and meals, attendees had the chance to talk with ETC staff to share ideas and feedback on products, and to get to know the people who make the products they use every day.

On the Friday evening, ETC opened its headquarters for a picnic and entertainment. CUE attendees enjoyed a meal with ETC employees and got tours of the iconic factory. They also went head to head with each other – and some ETC employees and Al Crawford – in a 'Tech Games' competition, where they had to assemble a Source Four fixture, put together a puzzle of Ion console keys, tie knots, hang and focus a fixture, and participate in a cable relay. The winners took home a Source Four Mini fixture as a prize.

On Saturday night, ETC hosted a banquet at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, complete with a chef-prepared meal and Crawford’s keynote address. The banquet also fell on the same night as Madison’s community fireworks display, and CUE attendees got a front-row seat to the massive pyrotechnics show.

“After attending all three conferences, this was the most diverse and most entertaining,” says CUE attendee Kearston Dillard-Scott, lighting supervisor and overhire manager for Virginia Opera. “The opportunity for learning was amazing and the certification classes were very informative. I will continue to attend the conferences and I look forward to what the conference may bring in the future.”

ETC’s next CUE conference will take place in 2017. Information about other ETC training opportunities is available at

In picture: ETC CEO Fred Foster gives an opening keynote address at the 2015 CUE conference.

7th July 2015

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