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What's New > ESTA News | May 2017

ESTA News | May 2017

posted on 8:53 AM, May 24, 2017

INNOVA, a joint initiative of ESTA and USITT to provide online on demand learning, is in the beta testing process and will be launching soon. 

Initial courses that have been created for this new venture include the first of a four-part series by Shawn Nolan, P.E. titled “Introduction to Engineering for Riggers” and Mitch Hefter’s “Understanding Emergency Lighting Control.” Three of the sessions cover key basics, Tracy Nunnally presents “Entertainment Rigging Basics,” Mike Garl covers “Basic Truss Theory,” and Bill Sapsis presents “Fall Protection: The Right Gear for Right After the Fall.”

This is a great start, but we need more. Do you have expertise in training or know someone you want to recommend? INNOVA’s aim is to offer a range of courses that will cover all skill levels and the many types of entertainment events. Contact Lori Rubinstein at  to find out more about becoming a presenter or recommending content.  

Check it out at: www.innova.usitt.org 


Introducing the ESTA Lifetime Technical Achievement Award

The ESTA Board of Directors and Technical Standards Council have created an important new award to provide recognition to individuals whose technical contributions have had a significant impact on our industry. The criteria for the ESTA Lifetime Technical Achievement Award include dedication and long-term commitment to improving the products and processes used in the technical entertainment industry.

The criteria for the award include significant and sustained technical contributions to the entertainment industry over at least 25 years; contributions may be related to the development of innovative products, tools, technology, safety improvements, interoperability, or processes; contributions may be in any entertainment-related discipline including but not limited to lighting, sound, automation, rigging, projection, facility design/construction.

And the first Award goes to....Robert Goddard!

On July 23rd at the ESTA meetings in Westlake, Texas, Bob Goddard will be the first recipient of the ESTA Lifetime Technical Achievement Award. The selection of Bob was an obvious one; his work is everything this award was created to recognize. 

Bob started at the Fillmore East in the late 1960’s and from there, went on to design some of the earliest truly robust touring control equipment for See Factor Industry. This included the first pulse-width-modulated split/dipless crossfader—for which he received his first US patent. Bob and John Chester went on to design one of the first high performance and reliable intercom systems, produced by Chaos Audio. 

After forming Goddard Design, Bob quickly became known as the go-to resource for electronic engineering solutions. Bob worked on one of the first computerized lighting control systems to use a video display, early scenery automation, the first use of a wireless DMX512 system, and numerous custom control solutions for concert touring and nightclubs.

Perhaps the device that Bob is best known for is the “Li’l DMXter.” This was the first widely available DMX512 Tester/Analyzer. This device has become an integral component for DMX512 interoperability solutions and helped create the billion dollar market enabled by E1.27, ESTA's standard for portable control cables for use with DMX512. The device is having a new life today as manufacturers work through implementation of the E1.20 Remote Device Management standard.

Throughout his career, Bob has been generous with his expertise, time and talents, including his work on ESTA standards and at the Control Protocols Plug Fest (more on this in TSP news below.) We are privileged to have Bob in our industry and honored to give him the first ESTA Lifetime Technical Achievement Award.

 The BRG Clearinghouse - To Help You Grow Your Business


ESTA's Business Resource Group is launching a clearinghouse for interesting and informative articles and books to help you improve your work practices. BRG members are always striving to improve and want to share some of the reads they find helpful with you. If you have a book or an article to recommend, send the title, author, link if available, along with a brief explanation of how it helped you to .

This month's offerings:

Feeling overwhelmed with the number of emails in your inbox? Tom Siko, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Intelligent Lighting Creations, shared a short but fascinating article from billionaire business man Tony Heish called Yesterbox. Tom says "If you’re not familiar with Tony Heish, he’s the founder and CEO of Zappos. This is one of the most culture centric and forward thinking companies out there today. This article dives into Tony’s workflow for managing email. We all suffer from inbox disaster from time to time. This is about discipline and personal accountability for email management." Go to http://www.yesterbox.com/ to find out how to take control of your email.

From Paul Vincent, President of Vincent Lighting Systems, "I have a recommendation on a very good book that I recently read.  What Got You Here Won't Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith. This is about improving business and personal relationships as well as new methods to help grow your business in a changing world." An excellent review of the book may be found here http://jamesclear.com/book-summaries/what-got-you-here-wont-get-you-there; an excerpt "Smart people know what to do. They need to know what to stop.” At 256 pages, this is a quick read and it is also available as an audiobook.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” Dr. Seuss I Can read With My Eyes Shut!

RENTAL GUARD Successfully Fights Fraud and Theft


RENTAL GUARD has surpassed all expectations as a tool for pushing back against theft. We estimate that RENTAL GUARD has helped our members avoid roughly $1.5 million in attempted (fraud) thefts, and the system has played a role in more than $1.4 million in recovered equipment.


The system is clearly working, but, we need to make some upgrades to help improve the user experience, increase utility, and improve the system’s reporting capability which is especially important to law enforcement. In addition, the upgrades will allow us to make RENTAL GUARD and its associated New Customer Inquiry and Questionable Customer Alert functions available to the full ESTA membership. Additional filtering capability will ensure that members receive only the inquiries and alerts that are relevant to them. 

The cost for the needed upgrades is $35,000. PERG has launched a GoFundMe campaign which has already raised $5,000 toward our goal. We are appealing to everyone who has ever used RENTAL GUARD, and to all ESTA members and associates, to please make a donation in the name of your company. Broader use and greater awareness will make RENTAL GUARD an even more powerful tool in the fight against fraud and theft.


PERG Publishes Digest of Fraud and Theft Prevention Measures

Over the past three years PERG has gained significant insights through discussions with rental houses of all types and sizes, through our work with law enforcement, discussions with insurance experts, and others. We have collected data from 192 thefts reported to RENTAL GUARD. The PERG 2017 Digest of Fraud and Theft Prevision Measures gathers together all this real-world, industry-specific knowledge and sets down the measures that have been found effective to address potential weaknesses in company procedures and physical security. It also addresses ways you can communicate with your customers to increase their awareness of theft.

Topics include:

  • Assessment of new customers: tips and techniques
  • The “Slow Down” strategy
  • Red flags
  • Insurance exemptions to watch for
  • A layered strategy for physical security
  • Alarms, camera systems, and notifications
  • Vehicles and generators
  • What to do if a theft occurs
  • Buying used equipment
  • Customer outreach
  • RENTAL GUARD User Manual

The digest is free for ESTA members to download at www.esta.org/digest

 ETCP Launches New Website


ETCP is pleased to announce the launch of a new, redesigned version of its website: etcp.esta.org.

Key features of the site include a cleaner and more modern design and a more engaging user experience with enhanced search and navigation. The site’s refreshed and simplified look, combined with enriched content, improved search functionality, and optimization for mobile devices allows users to better interact with ETCP.


Three ESTA Standards in Public Review

Three ESTA draft standards are in public review at http://tsp.esta.org/tsp/documents/public_review_docs.php. The review end dates and descriptions are below.

BSR E1.51 - 201x, The Selection, Installation, and Use of Single-Conductor Portable Power Feeder Cable Systems for Use at 600 Volts Nominal or Less for the Distribution of Electrical Energy in the Television, Film, Live Performance and Event Industries in Canada, is intended to offer guidance, in the context of applicable standards and regulations in Canada, on how to select, install, use, and maintain single-conductor portable feeder cables used to supply power for television, film, live performance, and special events in Canada. This review ends at the end of the day on 5 June 2017.

BSR E1.58 – 201X, Electrical Safety Standard for Portable Stage and Studio Equipment Used Outdoors, offers guidance in identifying and ameliorating hazards associated with the outdoor use of portable stage and studio lighting equipment and portable power distribution equipment that is not identified (i.e., “listed”) for outdoor use. NEC clause 520.10 allows portable equipment not identified for outdoor use to be used outdoors if the equipment is “supervised by qualified personnel” but says nothing about what practical supervision might be. This document is being written to help fill that advice vacuum. BSR E1.58 is open for public comment through 19 June 2017.

The review documentation for all these draft standards—including the draft standards, review forms, review explanations, and review instructions—is available to download from http://tsp.esta.org/tsp/documents/public_review_docs.php. Please download the review forms and fill them in off-line (not in your browser) and then email the completed forms to .

 ESTA Plugfest v14.0

The ESTA Control Protocols Plugfest, the event where manufacturers and developers test their products for interoperability, is scheduled to take place from July 21 to July 25 at the D/FW Marriott Solana in Westlake, Texas. Attendees bring controllers, intelligent lights, control protocol analyzers, and various other network components. At the Plugfest, attendees have a unique opportunity to connect their products with those of other manufacturers, in an effort to look for and resolve interoperability challenges. People attend from around the world to pursue improving their products. Everyone is welcome to attend the 14th version of this event.

For additional information, please contact the event organizers at  or visit the Plugfest web page at http://tsp.esta.org/tsp/news/plugfest.html for a full schedule and an FAQ.


Help Support the Technical Standards Program

The Banner above will take you to a place where you can make a difference in the future of our industry. Attaching and linking this banner to your signature or adding it to your newsletter or website shows your support for TSP and can encourage others to do the same. Simply download this banner and link it to TSP.ESTA.org/donate. Standards are all around us; invest today.


The 2017 Spring issue is hot off the presses!

For the online version go to: esta.org/protocol.

This issue is full of articles to help you operate your business, work more safely and understand the ever evolving technologies in our industry. You will also find the always entertaining reports from ESTA’s Technical Standards Manager Karl Ruling as he navigates the trade show floor. And so much more…

Please let us know if we can create an ad plan for you to meet your business’ needs. Receive up to a 30% discount on Protocol for ESTA members and concurrent LSA advertisers. View the Protocol Rate Card. Protocol is ESTA’s highly-respected business and technical journal that mails to 6,500+ readers four times a year, including all of ESTA’s members in North America, Europe, and Asia. 

Protocol’s Winter issue and full archive are online (now available in HTML5!) at esta.org/protocol. Protocol is available as for iOS and Android. Like us on Facebook to receive ongoing updates.

 Support the Long Reach Long Riders 2017 Charity Motorcycle Ride


There is less than a month left before the Long Reach Long Riders begin their 14th annual charity motorcycle ride. All LRLR riders and chase car drivers are required to raise at least $1,000 to join the ride and everyone pays all of their own expenses so all of the money donated goe4s directly to the charity. Please support the riders of your choice by making a donation today at www.behindthescenescharity.org/lrlr.

Dubbed the “Avocado Adventure,” it begins in Escondido, California on June 16th and returns to Escondido on June 25th. This year’s route will give the riders a view of Southern California not found on the homes of the stars tour. Trips are planned to the Mt. Palomar observatory and through Palm Desert as well as time spent on the ever popular California Route 1.

 The Amazon Smile Foundation Will Donate When you Shop


Thank you to everyone who has been using Amazon Smile to support Behind the Scenes. To date, we have received just under $1000, so just think what it could mean to our colleagues in need if we all did our Amazon shopping to benefit our industry charity.

The Amazon Smile Foundation will donate .05% of every eligible purchase you make. As of February 2017 over $46 million dollars have been donated to various charities.

If you have an Amazon account (regular or prime) just go to www.smile.amazon.com to get started. When it is time to choose your charity, look for Behind the Scenes Foundation. Bookmark Amazon Smile to make sure you use it to shop.

If you are already an Amazon Smile member, log-in to your account, scroll to settings and make sure you've selected Behind the Scenes as your charity of choice. Make your purchases count!

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