Issue: August 1, 2008


With so much information available at our fingertips via the Web these days — from product updates to user forums — and travel costs through the roof, are trade shows becoming obsolete? While some might say yes, others believe it's hard to beat the advantages of a good old-fashioned trade show... foot pain and all.

Why is Vancouver-based Frantic traveling to Los Angeles for SIGGRAPH? "One word," says VFX supervisor Chris Harvey: "Relationships! Sure there are a lot of online dating services these days, but in our world good-old face-to-face talking over a beer is still the best way to build relationships."

And he says this point shouldn't be taken lightly: "Its not just what you know, its also who you know. SIGGRAPH offers a great opportunity to mingle with some of the most experienced veterans, some of the newest and most passionate up and comers... in both the technical and artistic fields. Few events offer this kind of diversity."

New York-based UVphactory is attending SIGGRAPH this year with multiple staffers. "There are six of us in total," says principal/co-founder Damijan Saccio. "For us, I still feel that SIGGRAPH is an important convention to attend in person because it's more than just a normal convention. For something like NAB, you can find out almost as much information over the Internet as you can from being there. I feel that SIGGRAPH, however, is special because it's a convention as well as an art show, an academic gathering [with many lectures and panels], an 'Academy Awards of CGI' presentation [the Animation Festival], and finally, an opportunity to see your colleagues from around the country, and the world. For these reasons, I believe that it is still relevant to be there in person, despite the pervasiveness and prevalence of information available online."

And what about the Amsterdam-based IBC show coming up next month, which carries a hefty price-tag for those traveling from the US?

"Now that Post Logic is part of Prime Focus Group, we're an international company with staff in England, India and across North America," explains Prime Focus North America CEO Larry Birstock. "IBC provides a perfect meeting place and venue, not only for us to get together to share our global vision, but also to scope out new methods to facilitate more efficient global workflows.

"Since representatives from every geographical location of the company will be at IBC, it will provide a good opportunity to strategize together with vendors on the best ways to move forward in furthering and improving our global pipeline in a synchronized way."
So start saving your pennies people, trade shows are still relevant…and expensive.