Looking back on the BSC Expo 2020

By Richard Andry, AFC

par Richard Andry La Lettre AFC n°306

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January 31 was the fateful date of Brexit and it fell smack in the middle of the BSC Expo 2020. Thankfully, our British friends had gratified us with a “preview” opening on Thursday the 30th from 16:00 to 19:00. Three “fluid” hours reserved for BSC members and VIPs to be able to walk around the expo, discuss with the exhibitors, and meet a few colleagues.

I was one of those “happy few”, which was pretty “cool” given the “rush” of the next day.
On Friday, 31 January : 5,500 visitors in one day, packed in like sardines to visit the 147 exhibitors ! A record.
At the entrance of the Battersea Evolution, we were welcomed by our friends from the British Cinematographer Magazine, whom I’d like to recognize here (Hello Alan, Stuart, Ron !) and congratulate both for the quality of their images and for the content of their articles. Just next door, the Camerimage stand was held by Dariusz and Mateusz, the wandering ambassadors of this marvellous festival, who, knowing that I hadn’t been able to attend either Toruń or the AFC Micro Salon this year, kindly gifted me their 2019 “black book” honouring John Bailey, ASC. I really like the mindset that animates the entire Camerimage team, whom I’ve known for over a dozen years. They are humble, generous, and they do great work, no matter the level of their responsibilities in the organization.
On the mezzanine, the BSC stand was next to a bar where visitors could have a few drinks and buy some souvenir BSC-logo merchandise. There, also, Harvey Harrison, BSC, was signing copies of his book Check the Gate.

Entering the main arena of the Battersea Evolution, the ceiling was constellated with a mesh of mini LEDs that looked like the celestial vault and, since there are no windows, you really feel like you’re under the stars… Of course, now that LEDs have pretty much flooded the market, the exhibitors go a bit over the top with them. So, depending on where your stand is located, it’s going to be in a darker or brighter spot. Personally, after a few hours, I found it wearisome and I know that other people suffered from this.
A lot of new LED spotlights equal to 6K HMI, with modulable ranges, spots, or diffused (Space X by CreamSource, by LCA, our associate member, and Cineo Lighting ReFlex R15). Also, the Maxi Switch and the MixBook by DMG Lumière by Rosco. The young LED Joker 300 by K5600 Lighting is beginning to meet with rapid success and it was also featured on the Zeiss stand to demonstrate the quality of the flare of the new “Radiance Prime Lenses with controlled flare” series, which Christophe Casenave, the product manager, demonstrated for us in a black room next to their stand.
The trend towards “un-coating” seems to be getting more popular and we also noticed this at Sigma’s stand, where I met my friend Kees van Ostrum, president of the ASC, on Thursday evening during the “preview”.

This startles me a bit when I remember how much time we used to have to spend looking for “good lenses” and how hard we had to manoeuvre to put together an acceptable Kinoptik series ! That was really the Middle Ages.
This “flair” operation is not on the agenda at Leitz Cine Wetzlar, where we were welcomed by Dr. Ranier Hercher, Tommaso Vergallo and the whole team presenting the superb VistaVision 55-125 T2.8.
The Arri, Panavision, Soynet LCA stands were also must-visits in our opinion because of the size of their stands and the wealth of the equipment on display for cameras, lenses and equipment.
Like any expo, the BSC Expo, despite the number of people crowded together, is a place for meeting others. A Swedish duo (Ingrid Domeij and Lars Petersson, FSF) was filming a reportage. It was possible to run into Chris Menges, BSC, and his daughter, Oona, as warm as ever. As well as Christine Maier, AAC, and Alexis Castagna, ASC, Philippe Ros, AFC, and German colleagues who were there to hold a workshop. The “food village” was as welcoming as it could be and extremely well-frequented. It was possible to sample a beer at the Panalux stand, where our friend Dick Pope, BSC, was inveighing against Brexit, as were Ron Prince and Nigel Walters, BSC. Brexit didn’t seem very popular. Hugh Whittaker of Panavision and Nick Shapley of LCA and I preferred to discuss rugby, as usual, and the “Crunch” that was going to happen the following Sunday, February 2d, between the French team and the English team. We won : “Sorry, good game !”

Watch a video from the BSC Expo 2020