After two jam-packed days of inspiration, learning, and an abundance of networking, the Media Production & Technology Show (MPTS) attracted a record 10,000+ visitors from 47 countries.
Staged at London’s Olympia on 10 – 11 May, the carefully curated programme comprised of over 100 live sessions, 250+ hours of free content across six theatres and featured more than 300 speakers. Combined with a packed show floor of 300+ exhibitors and sponsor partners, the event showcased the depth and breadth of the UK’s creative and technical excellence.
No stone was left unturned in terms of the material covered, with sessions spanning from sustainability in the industry to the recent explosion of AI and its growing impact. Virtual production remained a hot topic as the specialism continues to boom with old and new faces coming together to discuss the technology’s remarkable potential.
Amongst the six stages dotted around Olympia to host the incredible amount of talks and panels was the Keynote Stage right in the middle of the action. Here was where the two day event started with an in-depth discussion with Steven Knight MBE. The industry legend inspired awe with tales from his illustrious career. Knight also outlined plans for his Digbeth Loc. Studios which is aiming to provide a studio hub for productions in the West Midlands, providing jobs to postcodes with typically less socioeconomic prosperity.
Elsewhere on the floor of day one, a panel including Roy Heath-Callow (Head of Technology Lifted Entertainment), Charlotte Layton (Founder & CCO – Racoon), and more, came together for Technology: State of the Nation where disruptive and emergent technologies from AI to 5G were discussed. Over at the Virtual Production theatre, Ace Ruele of Creature Bionics gave an impassioned demonstration of creature bionics and the nuances of acting with the specialist equipment.
Another highlight of the show saw Dan Walker take to the Keynote stage to discuss the changing faces of news broadcasting with TV presenter Ria Hebden. Simultaneously, crowds gathered at the Technology Theatre to hear key members of the BBC VR team to hear how BBC News co-operated with their colleagues in BBC Sport to virtually tell the story of Nasa’s groundbreaking mission to return to the moon.
An all-female panel engaged many MPTS visitors as Karla Young (Head of PR – MISC Studios), Alesja Surubkina (Lead Compositor – Vine FX), Tamara Toppler (Head of DMP – BlueBolt), and Arpita Venugopal (Head of FX – One of Us) joined forces to offer up a VFX masterclass from all different stages of the VFX workflow. The panel offered sage advice on how to cope in the industry, and how it has become more welcoming to women in recent years.
Other stand out discussions included Filmlight’s His Dark Materials colour grading breakdown and 80six’s brief history of rear projection in cars with cinematographer Buffy Dunton. Dunton also took to 80six’s impressive virtual production stand to give hands on tutorials throughout the two day event. Brompton Technology also showcased their new True Light products on 80six’s stand.
The Thursday kept up the scintillating, jam-packed schedule by kicking off with a production masterclass from the executive producers of the mega-hit The Traitors. Toni Ireland and Sarah Fay offered incredible insight in to how they adapted the show for a UK audience and the idiosyncrasies of shooting such a mentally straining show for the contestants.
More highlights from day two included John Wick 4 editor Nathan Orloff taking to the stage to discuss his mantra when shooting the unique, action-packed movie, describing his process as “Letting the stunts sing”. Mary Nightingale reflected on a 35 year long career in the TV industry and a fascinating discussion on inclusivity saw Stephanie Hirst (Radio & TV Presenter), John Whaite (Cook & TV Presenter), Jackie Adedeji (Broadcaster, Writer & Podcaster), and Riyadh Khalaf (Broadcaster, Author, Podcast Host and LGBTQ+ Activist) talk about the highs and lows of being minorities in the industry and how the landscape is changing – for good and for worse.
It really was a riveting and vibrant event which British Cinematographer were happy to be a part of and thank everyone for popping by the stand over the course of the two days. See you again next year!
First time exhibitor, Dawn Bochenski, marketing director, CVP, said: “It’s been our first time exhibiting at MPTS and we will definitely be coming back. The quality of the customers and panels was perfect for us.”
Lexie Morgan, marketing & communications leader, HHB, said: “MPTS has been really wonderful, it is great to see how much the show has expanded this year. In my opinion, it just seems to be getting better and better every year and I can’t wait to see what next year brings.”
Aura Popa, marketing manager, 80six & Virtual Production Studios by 80six, said: “We had a fantastic show, with so much interest in our in-camera visual effects solutions for car shoots. It was really impactful to give producers and creative directors the chance to see the workflow in action.”
Charlotte Wheeler, event director, Media Production & Technology Show, said: “This has been an incredible show this year, packed to the rafters with visitors who all seemed so keen to engage and learn with seminars and visiting the exhibits. We’ve heard what it takes to put together world class award winning productions, had the veil lifted on disruptive technology like AI and not shied away from tackling topics that challenge our industry like diversity, skills shortages and sustainability. We thank everyone who gave their time and expertise to make MPTS such a thrilling success and rest assured – We are already working on MPTS 2024!”