Autodesk — Alex Micallef, Media & Entertainment Manager, EMEA

Alex MicallefQ. What broad technology trends do you think will be front-and-centre at IBC2009?

I think this year we'll be seeing a focus on efficiency and productivity. Autodesk will certainly be demonstrating how we can help companies boost productivity, expand their businesses and handle more projects.

It won't be a show that's focused on individual products, but on workflows and interoperability, ensuring companies have pipelines that are tailored to their specific needs.

Stereoscopy will also be a hot topic with visitors looking to see what advancements have happened since last year, especially in the broadcast sector. 3D TV is advancing slowly, but it will be interesting to see when it's going to catch up with 3D films which are already proving very successful.

Q. Any thoughts on how the current economic climate will affect the show?

I think there will be fewer people at the show than last year but, as a result of this, what we will see is more of the right people in attendance.

For Autodesk the current economic climate has made us think about new ways of innovating our products and offerings to accommodate companies with smaller budgets. Earlier this year we released Autodesk Flare, a subset of Flame and Inferno, which offers the same essential tool kit to Flame and Inferno customers at a fraction of the cost.

For those who can't make it to the show we'll also be posting extensive content on AREA (, our design visualisation and digital entertainment online community. AREA lets us expand the tradeshow experience exponentially by presenting the tradeshow content to the virtual audience.

Q. What's new that you will show at IBC2009 and that broadcasters should look for there?

Autodesk will be showcasing the latest versions of its creative suite of end-to-end visual effects, finishing, colour grading and 3D animation solutions

Flare 2010 will be a key highlight at the show and we'll be demonstrating how Flare can easily fit into post-production pipelines, help train junior artists and be instrumental in creating efficient workflows.

Q. How is your new product offering different from what's available on the market?

Flare 2010 offers a cost-effective solution for Flame and Inferno customers to help boost productivity, expand their businesses and handle more projects as well as develop the next generation of creative talent.

As a software-only product, it's intended for use on advanced creative tasks like compositing, sophisticated graphics and interactive design, as well as support tasks such as rotoscoping, retouching and dust removal, project set-up and keying.

Flare exposes young creative talent to the same toolsets they'll eventually use when they become Flame and Inferno artists, providing more opportunities for them to train and develop their skills.

Q. Where are you based, and how many employees do you have? Anything else we should know about your company?

I'm based in Autodesk's Farnborough office in Hampshire, but Autodesk's Media & Entertainment headquarters are in Montreal. The M&E division has over 500 employees.

People are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of tradeshows and the broadcast industry as a whole. Autodesk has a sustainability strategy, which has led to us being listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability index and the FTSE4Good Index.

At all of the tradeshows we attended last year we were the only company to have a stand that was made up almost entirely of sustainable materials, such as recyclable cardboard and plywood and non-formaldehyde glue and we re-using and repurposing the stand at tradeshows internationally. We'll be doing that again this year.

Q. How many years have you been going to the IBC show and what's your fondest memory? What's your favourite restaurant or pub?

My first IBC was 1995, and as you can imagine the industry has changed so much in that time. My fondest memory of the IBC conference, if I had to choose one, would probably be in 2003, the year we first showcased Lustre. It had such a great reception and seeing it develop over the years has been great.

I've got a couple of favourite restaurants. De Belhamel is a great place to take clients. It's very cosy and the food is great. And if you're looking for more of a party atmosphere, Odessa is a great place.