The HPA Tech Retreat, a pivotal gathering of those supporting the creation, management and dissemination of content for the dynamic landscape of distribution environments, made its global debut in the UK last month, 13 – 14 July at Heythrop Park Resort, Oxfordshire. The HPA Tech Retreat is produced by the Hollywood Professional Association and was presented in the UK in association with Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).
The Tech Retreat UK event was structured around two days of topical presentations where projects and industry trends were explored by experts in diverse fields such as visual effects, broadcast and software development. Both days took place alongside an Innovation Zone in which attendees explored the latest technologies from top companies. In keeping with HPA Tech Retreat tradition, social events encouraged on-going conversation and networking before the day’s sessions at breakfast roundtables, over lunches and dinners and at sponsored social gatherings. More than 200 attendees from the UK, US and EU participated in the first HPA Tech Retreat UK. In advance of the Tech Retreat, the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) presented its first Plug Fest and John Watkinson and Peter Wilson delivered a seminar, Practical Aspects of HDR: Implementation and Deployment Seminar.
Richard Welsh, former SMPTE Governor, was the force that helped make the HPA Tech Retreat UK a reality. ‘We have a high bar to meet bringing the HPA Tech Retreat to the UK. For more than 20 years, the Tech Retreat has pushed the boundaries of exploration of the latest technologies and creative practices, selling out nearly a week of solid conference content and events. We had a great model to follow and top quality content to target, and were especially pleased to showcase some of the great work done in movies and TV shows that span UK and Hollywood production and postproduction communities. With the Innovation Zone full of leading companies, a programme that included the most impressive productions of today and jam-packed social events, we surpassed the goals that we set out for this first event in the UK. We are more than on our way to building a genuinely viable and long-lived event here’.
Welsh worked in close collaboration with HPA VP Jerry Pierce as the Tech Retreat UK unfolded. He added, ‘Clearly, an event like the Tech Retreat took a dedicated team to pull it off. Andrew Johnston, Katie Charles, and Richard Stockdale played invaluable roles in the success of this event, and it was an honour to work with them alongside the SMPTE and HPA teams who helped make this week come to fruition’.
The Tech Retreat UK presented insights from the most technically advanced entertainment being created today. Programmes explored the ground-breaking processes behind a diverse group of projects including Finding Dory, The Jungle Book, Game of Thrones, and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
A Who’s Who of speakers attended the conference. Steve Beres (HBO), Phil Crawley (Root 6), Tim Davis (ITV), Tony Davis (Tessive), Sean Durkin (Netflix) Alan Freir (Game of Thrones), Simon Gauntlett (DTG), Toby Glover (Deluxe Technicolor Digital Cinema), Matthew Goldman (Ericsson), Dave Goodbourn (Milk VFX), John Graham (EDF), Seth Hallen (HPA), Mark Harrison (DPP), Brian Hawkins (RealD), Hans Hoffmann (EBU), John Ive (IABM), Graham Jack (Double Negative), Jeremie Lasnier (LiveLike VR), Steve MacPherson (Framestore), Gustav Markowitz, Richard Nockles (Sky VR Studios), Chuck Parker (Sohonet), Tim Porter, ACE (Game of Thrones), Matt Provost (Avere Systems), Andy Quested (BBC), Steve Schklair (3ality), Cynthia Slavens (Pixar), Roy Trosh (The Mill), Adam Valdez (MPC), Klaus Weber (Grass Valley), Kate Wendleboe (BT), Mike Whipple (Netflix), and Tomasz Witkowski (Éclair) all shared their experiences with attendees.
Seth Hallen, President of HPA, noted ‘The HPA Tech Retreat UK illustrates that our community heartily embraces learning and sharing with peers, and also enjoys spending time together in lively discussion and debate. The line-up of experts, companies, and projects was impressive and highly informative. I was heartened by how appreciative the community was in our bringing this event to them, and I am so proud of the incredible work that Richard, the staff and volunteers put into ensuring this launch of HPA into a global arena was a great success’.
The Tech Retreat’s Innovation Zone was home to companies who are working on technologies that matter to the industry, including Avid, BlackBox, Dell, Emotion Systems, Grey Meta, Leader, Omnitek, Ortana Media Group, Pixspan, Portrait Displays, Rohde & Schwarz, Root6 Technology, Snell Advanced Media, Sohonet, Southampton Solent University, Sony DADC New Media Solutions, Sony Digital Cinema, Sundog Media Toolkit and Teledyne Lecroy.
Barbara Lange, Executive Director of SMPTE and HPA concluded ‘The successful launch of the HPA Tech Retreat UK is a testament to the hard work of Richard and a group of motivated teammates as well as the interest from the community. We’re grateful to our sponsors who made this first event possible, and are looking forward to continuing to present HPA events outside of California’.