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HD Expo Chicago was lame

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Mark Suszko
HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 12, 2009 at 5:20:27 pm

I got in for free, and I felt like I wanted a refund.

The "2-hour intensive training" about how to wrangle data from HD cameras into a Final Cut Pro environment, which would have cost you over a hundred to attend if you registered day-of-show, turned out to instead be a one-hour lame sales pitch for a particular archival and storage product. And they didn't even seem to have the product at the show. The stuff I came expecting to hear about, they teased that they would tell at a 3-day paid training. In LA. To me that's a bait-and-switch.

I came expecting tips on how to wrangle P2 cards without wasting lots of time how to organize, tag, and enter metadata, how to make sure the shots are saved and not lost, how to share them on set and with clients at a distance. Instead it was like sitting thru a condo time-share sales pitch.

I took a day off from work and drove 400 miles, eight hours, round-trip for that. I'm not a happy guy, and as far as that product and that vendor, they are dead to me now.

The show was also very tiny, made the old Swiderski or DV expo look like NAB Vegas in the heyday, by comparison. The brochures on the vendor tables were mostly generic stuff, I could have done better surfing company web sites or the COW. It is stuff like this that's killing trade shows.

Go ahead and gloat, Boomer, you called this trend quite some time ago. I still think there's a place for physical get-togethers like trade shows though, but this expo was a bad experience for me. I think smaller local gatherings run and vetted by user groups would be more productive than what I experienced.



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walter biscardi
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 12, 2009 at 5:43:56 pm

[Mark Suszko] "The "2-hour intensive training" about how to wrangle data from HD cameras into a Final Cut Pro environment, which would have cost you over a hundred to attend if you registered day-of-show, turned out to instead be a one-hour lame sales pitch for a particular archival and storage product"

That's just bad business plain and simple. Sorry you had to experience that.

400 miles round trip for nothing. That's very lame.


[Mark Suszko] "I still think there's a place for physical get-togethers like trade shows though, "

I definitely agree with that. As long as they provide what is advertised, then it's good for all parties.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

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David Roth Weiss
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 12, 2009 at 6:08:54 pm

At the HD Expo here in L.A. last September, I pulled into the entrance to the Burbank Marriot only to be greeted by a fellow handing out maps to an offsite parking area ten blocks away. He said parking at the Marriot was full, but that shuttles were running continuously from the alternate lot. Right!!!

Needless to say, it was 95-degrees that day, and when I finally found the alternate lot, there was a line of other unfortunate people, who like myself, were now stranded, baking in the blistering afternoon sun of the San Fernando Valley.

I waited 45-minutes until a bus finally came -- the others had been in line before me for God knows how long. In any case, when the bus finally arrived, as my turn came to board, the driver looked back and noticed the seats were all full, at which point he refused to let me and the one other unlucky person behind me onboard, citing a Marriot company policy forbidding the carrying of unseated passengers.

After quickly attempting to get the lot manager to fix the problem, I realized that it was all up to me. I jumped in front of the moving bus and forced the driver to stop. Then, I forced open the door of the bus and pulled the other guy onboard as well. I then put my face only inches in front of the driver, and I told him in no uncertain terms that he had best get the bus moving immediately, and that my friend and I were going along for the ride whether he liked it or not. There was no argument this time...

Later, at the end of the day, I had another 45-minute wait to get a bus back to the alternate lot. Trust me, I called the organizers the next day and let them have it with both barrels, and I will never go to HD Expo ever again...

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Mark Suszko
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 12, 2009 at 6:48:51 pm

I could forgive a screw-up between the show organizers and the hotel over parking and shuttle bus service. If there actually was a SHOW to go to.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 12, 2009 at 7:09:42 pm

[Mark Suszko] "I could forgive a screw-up between the show organizers and the hotel over parking and shuttle bus service. If there actually was a SHOW to go to."

I realized after I wrote the post that I left out the part about the show, which was indeed far less educational and/or entertaining than 30-minutes spent on the Cow.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Mike Cohen
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 12, 2009 at 8:18:50 pm

This makes me think of the AVID Roadshow event I went to in the Boston area circa 1993. The event kicked off with a blank screen, as the PowerMac would not boot. Once it got going, the tech spent about half an hour showing all the cool backgrounds he could put on the Mac desktop. Eventually they got to the AVID software itself, but I don't recall any specifics, since the dog and pony show for the Mac itself permanently scarred my frontal lobe.
I did get a free t-shirt.

A few weeks later I went to the SGI Roadshow, and had a similar experience. An audience watching someone type UNIX commands on a projection screen - exciting! No t-shirt - bah!

A similar experience with the Radius Telecaster and the IMIX VideoCube also went down soon after.

All of these events had one thing in common - showing something that was probably not quite ready for the public, just to get it into the public.

Despite the non-starter nature of these events, they all came into play early in my career as we went about the following activities:

- Researched replacements for the aging 1" edit bays
- Toured the country with our SGI computers displaying cutting edge Virtual Reality simulations
- Demonstrated not-yet-ready-for-primetime technology and presentation methodologies in front of large audiences
- Developed a large collection of customized Anvil cases

Mike Cohen


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cowcowcowcowcow
Craig Sommerer
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 13, 2009 at 9:45:15 pm

Mark,

I'm sorry to hear of the experience but I'm really not surprised at all. I had the day off, I'd registered and gosh darn it, I'd found far more important things to do in my house, like watching some freshly applied paint dry.

I live in Chicago, I know the small venue they had the booked and I wasn't up for a constant sales pitch. I work in live television, last thing I care about is a sales pitch for the latest and greatest heavily compressed, pixel-shifted 15k resolution ultra-hd yet proprietary prosumer piece of gear that is the new miracle tool for the next great American documentary.

I am sorry of hear of your experience and now I'm really glad I didn't waste my time on the train to go. NAB was great this year. Lots of people believed the hype of the demise of the trade show and I could talk to any product manager I needed to talk to, no waiting. I'm hoping the hype continues on to next year.



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 14, 2009 at 3:36:35 pm

[Craig Sommerer] "Lots of people believed the hype of the demise of the [NAB] trade show and I could talk to any product manager I needed to talk to, no waiting. I'm hoping the hype continues on to next year."

Er, um, excuse me. As someone who actually pays to have booths at tradeshows, I don't think I would call that a raging success from the exhibitor's point of view.

Placid relaxed grazing may be nice for cows and end users at a tradeshow, but it is not as advantageous for *many* of the companies on the show floor of NAB. Some benefit from it -- usually those with higher mark-ups and tougher products to pitch, ones requiring more hand-holding to introduce -- but most exhibitors would prefer a larger rather than a smaller audience. (Well, as long as it was an audience that really was targeted to their product. I remember when we went to the New York DV Show back in 2002 and we found out the promoters had people walking the rainy streets of NYC giving out passes to visitors who wanted out of the rain and came in to ask questions like: "So what is DV?" After about the 10th time of being asked that, I started pointing those people to the promoters information desk and told them that they would be quite happy to explain the focus of the show to them.)

Concentrated is nice but you need numbers too. Especially for the kinds of exorbitant fees that trade shows charge vendors.

Oh, and the demise of tradeshows is no hype. Like magazines, they are struggling hard to survive in today's world where the internet is at everyone's fingertips. The need for them is just not as great as it was before the internet came along.

The ones that survive will be the ones that have a real connection to their audience. Shows like DV Expo have dropped to the point where they are 1/50th or less, (from what I can assess from memory), of what they were in their halcyon days. Why? There was no genuine connection to the audience.

NAB has a connection. Cinegear has a connection. But from what I can see, many others are struggling to find a connection. Some, like DV Expo, have completely lost that connection and few companies even bother attending anymore.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry






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Craig Sommerer
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 15, 2009 at 2:31:21 am

I guess I wasn't clear. I was not an exhibitor at this year's NAB, I was an attendee and quite honestly, my experience this year was one of the best I've had in many years due to the decreased attendance.




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Ron Lindeboom
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 15, 2009 at 9:26:44 pm

[Craig Sommerer] "...my experience this year was one of the best I've had in many years due to the decreased attendance."

"Your Honor, the prosecution rests..."

Ron Lindeboom


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Alan Lloyd
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 14, 2009 at 3:50:10 pm

Howdy, Mark. Pity about that - I used to live in Chicago and while a trip there for me would still be worth it (family there) I feel ya, man, they stung a lot of people is what it sounds like.

I wonder if we're not going to be looking at "virtual" trade shows at some point soon.

Why do I say this, you ask?

A client of mine is developing a virtual conference center. They are one among several. A live presentation can be made by one or several people, show varying content ranging from simple PPT slide decks to multi-camera product demos, and archived to view at any time for those unable to attend in person. The need for physical space interaction can be reduced significantly this way - and while it's no substitute for all of life, it's a good part of the winnowing process for decision-making such as what you're in the middle of at the moment.

It could let you reduce your range of possibilities from 15 down to three or so. And custom content can be made at the presenter's end easily enough, given the right motivation.

I know it doesn't help with this one, though it may be a real option for things in the future.


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Kristin Petrovich
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 15, 2009 at 8:36:48 pm

Hey Guys - I am the HD EXPO organizer - actually the HD EXPO founder - Kristin Petrovich.

So sorry that your experience in Chicago was less than expected and that you considered your time and efforts a waste of time. I take all of your comments to heart and will address how we can insure that we not repeat them and prove ourselves better to you, our community and attendees. Hearing this sort of feedback, while never pleasant, is how we improve.

Honestly, the Midwest is the hardest region for us to gain traction, with both content creators and technology companies. It is also a more restrictive situation for trade-shows than other parts of the country, due to union rules. We are the only technology tradeshow to keep at it in Chicago, and this was our 6th year. Some of our competitors have only stuck to it for 2 years, then departed out of frustration or giving up on a rewarding bottom line. We have persevered, maybe with some flaws, but with commitment. This year presented its own struggles - the economy, political issues in the community, and other pressures, BUT our onsite attendance grew at its most significant rate -- 67%. While our Chicago event is still much smaller than our LA or NYC expos, it's been a very important part of our community and we have tried hard to make it a responsive and valuable event for the Midwest.

David - yes we had huge parking issues two years ago at the LA HD EXPO - but rectified it with the hotel and delivered a much smoother show last October. Can I make it up to you this year? The next expo is set for November 4th & 5th @ Burbank Marriott - I would love to buy you a drink if you are willing to give us a try again. We will once again have 3D Day on the 5th in addition to the HD EXPO.

We pride ourselves on presenting technologies and speakers/panels that are valuable, informative, career advancing and FREE for all attendees. Speakers like Wally Pfister, ASC, Patrick Lussier, Eric Brevig, Peter Anderson,ASC, and Vince Pace, to just name a few have joined us over the years. Might want to pop on and see many of our panels streaming : http://hdexpo.net/virtual/panels.htmlstreaming

I will take all of your thoughts, comments, venting and reflect on what we can do to "step it up" for all of our expos and workshops for that matter. Live events are ever evolving and we are committed to delivering an even better experience every time. Give us a chance to take in your feedback in and evolve.

I would agree that the business of trade shows is changing and we hope to also be changing with the times. We are in the midst of a major name/brand change to Createasphere. We have outgrown a name that is connected to a technology and we offer so much more from exhibitors and technology than just HD. Createasphere is a better reflection of who we serve - content creators. One of the news aspects is to have monthly evening events around the country. We kicked these off with an evening of 3D at 3ality Digital and this Thursday in NYC at Mega Playground.

With all this being said, I apologize and hope to serve you and our community better with your comments. We want to hear from you -- so please feel free to contact me Kristin@hdexpo.net
Learn, evolve & create!
Kristin


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 15, 2009 at 9:52:42 pm

Hi Kristin,

We are honored to have you swing by. As you said, it is never easy nor fun to have to address the negatives but it is a learning experience.

For the record, Kathlyn and I have known you and watched you build this from the very first show and know that you work very hard to try to build something of value.

As you also attested to in your post: it is a rough market today and it isn't just union regs, or the perils of trying to build in tough times. As you hinted at, there are political pressures as well, and that is true with us and Creative COW Magazine, as well. We are always being pushed on to run a story about some company before they will support our magazine. We have to tell them no. In fact, we have begun telling them: "Let's get this clear, you want us to do the same kind of thing and create the same kind of stories that has destroyed the reputation of many of the other magazines out there? That is what you want, right?" They get the point quick.

As you said, there are no easy answers and you do the best you can. We tried doing tradeshows -- once. ;o)

As you know, Kristin, our own show was successful but we looked at all the time and effort that went into it and concluded it was far too much work to ever want to do it again.

One of the things you left out of your equation and which I will add to mine, is egos. This industry is full of them and not only do you have the perils of the market, the unions, the sponsors and advertisers to deal with, and the attendees, but then you also have to factor in the egos of some of the people you have to work with in the conferences, etc. That was one of the hardest things for us as Kathlyn is very mellow, as you may remember, and she was getting kicked all over as I was busy with many other areas of the show.

There is a lot that goes into an expo and conference and as I said elsewhere in this thread, the ones that succeed are the ones that find a real connection with their audience. I have never heard anything negative about the Los Angeles show -- well, except for the parking situation that David pointed out -- and know quite a number that have attended it.

But as you pointed out, Chicago is a cow of a whole other color, and we once tried to get a show going there ourselves but gave up, humbled by the resistance and hoops and hurdles we had to jump through. That you have pulled it off six years in a row is no small feat.

Tradeshows get harder by the year to pull off, that you have grown amidst it all is a testament to your tenacity and vision.

Thanks for coming in here and "walking the gauntlet," Kristin.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry






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Mark Suszko
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 16, 2009 at 1:20:35 am

In the spirit of constructive criticism, here then are my suggestions for a better show.

1: Bring actual hardware. I understand that it is a scary thing to demo real products in a show environment and risk showing hangups and lock-ups and embarrassing breakdowns. But the new deal is, we can get pretty much everything about a product online, one way or another, except for hands-on physically touching and handling an item. That's why you bring more than one. No hardware=no reason to physically come. So bring the toys.

Corollary to number 1: Real-world demoing. I will NEVER forget the awesome demo I got from Paul Holtz on the then-new Alladin; instead of a canned presentation designed to only show the best of what the thing could do, Paul just asked me to stump him, and I threw various "can it do this?" questions at him, whereupon he built the asked-for effect demos from scratch, in full view of me. I practically flew home to tell my boss we needed to buy TWO of these things. And we did! Not only that, but we then went looking for Paul when we began shopping for an NLE.

So if you're going to do an "intensive training" on working on-set with HD content and mac FCP laptops, by Farnsworth, you need to bring or borrow a P2 camera and a laptop with FCP on it and whatever other hardware you want to demo, and go thru the actual motions of wrangling data on a set: capturing, metadata, archiving, turning the cards around for re-use, and sending selects to a distant viewer for approvals. Shoot five minutes of the presenter goofing off, hook the projector up to the laptop, and show what you're doing with those cards. It also happens to make a fine P2 demo for Panasonic, they were at the show, should have been added-into the demo. I would have been very glad to sit thru a spiel about The Vault in conjunction with such a demo. But I didn't get that. I got a lame slide show that was only about selling The Vault, and overly preoccupied with transfer speeds of various competitive digital media, making a bit too much of a 2-minute difference in speed between some types. Everybody likes fast turn-around. But c'mon. You can't make a round trip to the craft services table for coffee in that extra two minutes, that's an "advantage" that's irrelevant. More so when one of the points in the spiel was that the Vault product also backs up to LTO, "because the insurance companies like that". Well, that's fine I guess, but why dazzle me with the stats and charts on ESATA and SAS transfer rates, when I'm still going to be stuck on the set four hours after the martini shot, watching the LTO drive crawl along?

Rule 2: anyplace else but Vegas, don't pretend you're Vegas. Meaning, I'm not impressed by an expensive downtown venue for the show: it actually is MORE of a PITA to fight downtown traffic, parking, etc. to go to a Navy Pier or McCormick Place for a small show. The best shows I went to, the location was usually a pit, nothing fancy at all, and nobody cared, because we were there to see the hardware and talk to the vendors. Do come back to Chicago, but look for more appropriate venues and synergies. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Columbia College, which has a very strong video and film program, would jump at hosting such a show, seems a natural fit. Ditto for Northwestern. I want cheap parking, good CTA access, an oasis away from traffic. Cheap grub on or nearby the grounds a plus, someplace we can sit and talk over what we just saw.

Those two points I think would make a killer show. Brochures and powerpoints and 50-dollar parking don't do it.


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walter biscardi
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 16, 2009 at 1:36:35 am

[Mark Suszko] "Meaning, I'm not impressed by an expensive downtown venue for the show: it actually is MORE of a PITA to fight downtown traffic, parking, etc. to go to a Navy Pier or McCormick Place for a small show"

This is the very reason I'm not attending the AJA Ki Pro tour when it comes to Atlanta next week. It's scheduled for 2-4pm in the heart of downtown. Atlanta competes with L.A. for the worst rush hour traffic in the country. What would normally take me 45 minutes to drive home will be a minimum 2 1/2 hour drive home trying to leave the city after 4pm.

Anywhere but downtown would be great, or better yet, a 7 to 9pm event would have been even better.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

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David Roth Weiss
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 16, 2009 at 12:54:26 am

[Kristin Petrovich] "David - yes we had huge parking issues two years ago at the LA HD EXPO - but rectified it with the hotel and delivered a much smoother show last October."

Kristin,

Sorry to disappoint you, but my experience was not two years ago, it was this past October.

I'm very surprised that you are under the assumption the problem was rectified, and I feel somewhat badly that this is coming out in public, because it does seem so apparent that the right hand does not know what the left is doing at your organization. I spoke with Steve in your office shortly after my experience, and I promise, I was very hot under the collar, both literally and figuratively at the time. He assured me that my experience would be reported at the highest levels, but clearly this was not the case.

[Kristin Petrovich] "Can I make it up to you this year? The next expo is set for November 4th & 5th @ Burbank Marriott - I would love to buy you a drink if you are willing to give us a try again."

Frankly, while I am glad you came here to speak with us directly, and while I appreciate your attempt to make it up to me, my experience last year left such a foul taste in my mouth that enticing me to HD Expo again will take far more than a cocktail. I do hope you will take this as an opportunity to investigate the 2008 parking fiasco, and that you find out how and why it escaped your attention.

Thank you and good luck,
David




David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Chuck Pullen
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 17, 2009 at 12:49:17 am

Hey Kristin, I too was registered to come to the Chicago event, but after hearing from colleagues that everything I wanted to see or demo wasn't there, I too decided to stay home and watch my freshly painted deck dry... Anyway, here's my nickel's worth of free advice:

Like some people who attend your events across the country, I cannot make it out to NAB, so I look to your Expo as my NAB... I spend all year researching and comparing various products, so when your event comes around, I just want to do one thing, and that's to get my hands on some new toys!

Now obviously it's not up to you to tell the exhibitors what to do or how to do it, but for the past couple of years I only remember Panasonic as having a "functional" demo booth, and even then it was nothing more than a couple of cameras pointed at a cute girl playing pool? I remember having to BEG the Canon guys last year to answer some questions about their XLH1 camera, even after I told them I was in the market for three or four of them (I decided to pick up more 250u's that day, thanks in no small part to their attitudes, BTW)

As far as Chicago is concerned, as someone who works in this city, I can tell you your best bet is to set up your next event in Rosemont, or some other suburb off the tollway that actually cares about business and doesn't try to bend over anyone who requests the honor of holding an event in their shell of a formerly great city. I would rant longer, but thanks to the mayor selling off the parking meters, it now costs like $10 an hour to park downtown, so it's time to move my car again…

Thanks for putting on the Expo Kristin, and since you took the time to get some input from actual people on this user forum, I promise to come to next years Expo…And you won't even have to buy my a drink ;)


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Mark Suszko
Re: HD Expo Chicago was lame
on Jun 18, 2009 at 3:56:12 pm

Well, while I think you're a *little* harsh on Chicago, Chuck; I still love my birthplace city, I have to agree you're on a right track I think with Rosemont or any of the suburbs around O'Hare airport; that area is rife with meeting and convention spaces.

The trick to an economical venue I think is to be near one of the arterial tollways or expressways, and outside of the Loop, but not so far out that you can't use CTA or METRA/PACE to get there from downtown. This also opens up a lot more choices for hotels, from thrify dives to nicer suites, something for every budget.

They should also follow up on the idea of being hosted by a university or college with a heavy media curriculum. I see a lot of synergy possible there with the kids just learning these new tools and wanting to put book learning into practice on real equipment. I would run that concurrently with one of those make-a-movie-in-24-hours contests.

Most of all, vendors have to bring the toys. Hands-on Hardware is the key, backed by actual workshops and live interactive demos.

What kinds of demos? If I was king of the forest, to shake things up, I think I'd try to add a contest/production component, perhaps by bringing in some amateur improv actors and letting attendees light and shoot short improv scenes in the ballroom with these actors in a "pro-am" manner with the vendors as the DP's and operators. You could probably wrangle a trade-out deal with the actors' services and their talent agency, I suppose.

Use that setup to demo vendor's prompters, jibs, cameras, lighting gear, audio gear. If there are editing gear vendors there, perhaps draw a lottery from attendees and use one of those attendee's raw footage to get a start some post work, maybe a green screen shot. If there are streaming services vendors, set them up to live-stream samples of the workshop action.

I'd very much like to come to such an event, as I'm sure I would pick up some new ideas or tricks as well as getting a feel for what the new products can do for me.


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