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Looking Back On Inter BEE 2016

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There's certainly no shortage of trade shows for film and video production, but Inter BEE, Tokyo is an experience like no other, admits Rod Aaron Gammons, MD, Rotolight.

Held over three days at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba City, Japan, Inter BEE is an annual event that focuses on high-end camera and lighting equipment. It plays host to hundreds of companies from all sectors of the industry looking to get a foothold in the Japanese market.

So far, so normal; but it's when you entered the show that you realised these weren't the same companies you'd normally see at most Western trade shows. Instead, there was a wide variety of domestic companies that specialised in everything from cameras to lighting equipment, many of whom are totally unheard of to a Western audience.

It was also fascinating to compare and contrast a Inter BEE with the kind of show you'd attend in countries like the US and UK. The Japanese business culture is discussed in fabled tones, but as you quickly discover when you're there, it's very much a reality. There's a more 'softly-softly' approach to discussion – there's usually lots of informal chat over dinner or drinks before serious business is brought up. In order for Western companies to thrive at these trade shows they must learn to navigate this unfamiliar terrain, and small touches such as printing off Japanese brochures and manuals can go a long way towards achieving success.

Of the many things on display, camera stabilisation systems seemed to be the hot topic of conversation. Filmmakers in particular are now demanding increasingly intelligent and reliable stabilisation systems to minimise motion blur when shooting footage, and the wealth of options on display was impressive. There were at least 10 different companies at the show with various different takes on the technology.

Another interesting takeaway from the show was the sense of trepidation from the Japanese market in adopting LED lighting. Despite the country's technological expertise and keen eye for innovation, it has a very conservative attitude when it comes to the technology – go to a trade show such as IBC and you'll find hundreds of LED lighting companies, but there couldn't have been more than 20 at Inter BEE. In a scenario like this, it's vital to clearly demonstrate the wide range of advantages that come with LED technology and, for us, to demonstrate the benefits of Rotolight products.

The recently launched Anova PRO is a case in point, representing the pinnacle of LED lighting technology. The LED delivers versatility, superior colour rendering and soft light output, making it ideal for use by cinematographers, videographers and photographers. The Anova PRO also features five patented industry-firsts, including CineSFX™, a powerful suite of customisable lighting effects for television production and film applications. Lighting effects like lightning, TV flicker, fire, sirens and gunshots can be easily recreated without the use of a costly flicker box that is traditionally used. As a result, gaffers and DoPs are more flexible, can be more creative and can save both time and money.

Up until now Rotolight has done little in Japan, so Inter BEE 2016 represented the perfect opportunity for the team to demonstrate those features and functions of the Anova PRO, as well as stimulate demand for other products, such as the NEO. We knew this was going to be initially tricky, especially as it's widely accepted that the Japanese market is a very closed one, with a preference to support domestic brands. In addition, there are lots of technical standards and regulations that need to be met in order for a product to go on sale in Japan. It is, however, a worthwhile market with great potential, and being on the ground at shows like Inter BEE is imperative to getting that elusive breakthrough.

It goes without saying that Inter BEE 2016 was a great event for Rotolight to be a part of, and is certainly an event manufacturers in the industry should give serious consideration to. Not only was it a hugely significant step towards breaking into a new market, but it was also a priceless opportunity to learn about the distinctly Japanese business culture and way of working.

We were particularly delighted to conclude a deal at the show with the widely-renowned Japanese systems integrator Media Garden, who is now offering Rotolight's award-winning products for both sale and rental in Japan. We are looking forward to working with the company to develop the market in 2017.

For more information on Rotolight, visit

This article is also available to read at BFV online here, page 14.

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