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Do Events Like The Media Production Show Still Make Sense?

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In the UK we are fortunate to be blessed (not everyone agrees!) with a number of post and production focused events, both large and small throughout the year, as well as easy access to Europe's largest, IBC in Amsterdam, so you may ask, "do we need another one?"

The team at MBI certainly thought so when they announced the first Media Production Show would take place in June 2016 at the Islington Design Centre. The concept behind MPS is to bring the talent and the creative production side to the fore rather than focus on the tech, however like all events there was also a large technology presence. MPS got the ball rolling in the way social and digital worlds were incorporated for the first time in a TV and broadcast focussed event. This meant that content providers from all platforms, including YouTube and Facebook, to the main broadcasters and online digital providers were together in one space, probably one of the first times both worlds came together in a main stream media event.

Last year there was a heavy focus on seminars from industry experts and luminaries. In 2016 they had 160 seminars and there was a full house attendance, this years is expected to deliver another huge range of topics covering subjects as diverse as VR and editing master classes to Location planning and 8K case studies as well as our own seminars on the latest release of DaVinci Resolve and its collaborative capabilities.

After visiting the first show and being pleasantly impressed with the style, content and overall attendance across the two days, we at Soho Editors decided to attend this year's show and deliver our highly successful seminar theatre. It is as though we stepped back into the past to an industry more focused on creativity, not that the industry hasn't been driven by technology advancements, but the tech on show was an enabler, not a barrier to creativity.

At Soho Editors, what we witness when we deliver classes to a group of professionals is that they feed off each other's experiences. No two people think alike so the fact that people come together for a course from a hugely diverse range of media spurs conversations about how would you do this, etc., opening up a whole range of creative possibilities not covered by the course itself.

What is indisputable about these type of events, is they bring people together in much the same way as a course might do (they are there for the same event), and that can never be a bad thing. It's an opportunity to reconnect and engage with likeminded people, businesses and the wider creative community including the digital and social sides of the industry. The very nature of these events allow for learning in an abundance of unforeseen ways due to the collaboration of not only industry professionals, but more overlooked creatives with less experience.

The other side of the argument is there are too many of these events already and the information is readily available online pretty much as soon as it's available on the show floor, which in most circumstances is fairly accurate. However nowhere else can you meet all the main protagonists in one hall and make direct comparisons and evaluations, see first-hand how things work (or not) and often find about products or information that you wouldn't normally come into contact with.

An example of one area where the industry's understanding and trust is a bit thin is the Cloud and remote working. This sector is growing fast but is also an area that is relatively new and for some a scary place to work and to put faith into, so events like MPS prove invaluable as a source of knowledge and understanding.

So our take is that these events still have a place and a value but they need to continually readdress the rapid changes taking place in the industry, both from a creative, technological and delivery platform perspective. If they can achieve this while not losing sight of the fact that in the UK we work in a creative industry, the envy of most of the world and we stay at the top of our field by continually reinventing ourselves and breaking creative boundaries.

Author: Brian Cantwell, Soho Editors Managing Director.

This article is also available to read in the latest edition of Broadcast Film & Video here, page 26.

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