HPA Tech Retreat UK: Navigating the frontier of media and technology

TVBEurope finds out what's on the agenda for this year's event
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This year's Hollywood Professionals Association's Creative Tech UK 2018 event takes place on 27th June. Event chair Richard Welsh tells TVBEurope what attendees can expect to get out of the day.

Tell us some more about the HPA, the London event in particular and who you are targeting for the event?

The HPA is something really special in the industry. Across all its events and awards, it strives to bridge technology and creativity in a way that shines a light on the best of this partnership, where both work together (and learn lessons about how not to get in each other's way). The UK event is something distinct compared to the week-long HPA Palm Springs conference. For the London outing we want to concentrate the most up to date and relevant learning into a one day hit of high value information and standout speakers. It is an intense day, but also entertaining and will ultimately provide essential information for anyone in the creative and media technology space.

What is the core theme for this years Creative Tech Event from the HPA?

We're focusing on change - so many technologies are impacting creative practice now and the landscape is shifting quickly. We'll look at how connectivity is moving the editor on to the set and technology is enabling directors to interact with their remote shoots. We'll also look at AI, cloud and technology trends overall. I'm particularly excited about our live hacking demo from real life hacker and reformed bank robber FreakyClown with his partner in (anti) cyber-crime Dr. Jessica Barker, who investigates the human social side of hacking and cyber-attacks.

How does it differ from last year?

We have switched up the format to really concentrate the content and information - we want to cover as much of the most interesting topics at the intersection of creativity and technology and this one-day event will be laser focused on those technologies and practices poised to disrupt the industry.

What is the motivation for the HPA to bring this event to London?

So much of the cutting edge work that Hollywood does is centered on creative teams and technology companies here in the UK. It's a natural extension of the Palm Springs event to explore how we do things here in the UK.

The Innovation Zone - is it curated? Can you talk us through what visitors can expect to learn here?

YES! The Innovation Zone is not just "pay and play", and that's what makes it special. The companies exhibiting have to show something new and innovative (hence the name) that you most likely won't have seen elsewhere and certainly isn't their "run of the mill" commercial offering. It's not a trade show floor - more like an advanced science fair!

Do you plan other events in the UK or Europe?

At this point there are no plans to expand the offering. We have been refining the UK event over the last few years to really offer the spirit of HPA with relevance and practicality for the local market. However, we certainly continue to actively look at running more events in Europe and the rest of the world so although this is your only chance to experience an HPA conference in Europe this year, watch this space in coming years!

What do you feel are the key creative technical challenges coming down the line for the UK industry? 

My personal feeling is automation enabled by cloud and AI are the really big game changers, and it does raise questions about the role of the creative. My view is that it is a positive opportunity to get rid of the "boring" repetitive work that ties up the creative's time, but another view is that it is a threat to jobs and traditional pathways through from junior operator to senior creative. This is something we will certainly be exploring at HPA UK.

Tell us the top three reasons why key execs in the creative space must attend this event?

First and foremost, the technologies and practices we will discuss at HPA are real and here now - this is your opportunity to hear from trailblazers on how they do it and what this brings to the process. Second, it is about survival, particularly in an increasingly connected world, where security threats are no longer confined to the casual hacker and can even extend to nation state action, which is scary stuff to say the least. We'll be looking at how you can best protect yourself and what the real threats look like. Last but not least, we offer a window into the future of the industry and insight into how creativity and technology can work harmoniously together on this journey of change, to bring ever improved and immersive experiences for the audience.

Registration for HPA Creative Tech UK 2018, which takes place on 27th June, is now open at www.hpaonline.com.

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