by Jacques Lipkau Goyard
Rome, December 2021.
Micro Salon Italia was back, after its last appearance in 2019. It was just a few days after Amsterdam’s IBC was cancelled and BSC postponed to April 2022 due to the possible surge of the new variant in Europe. The Roman event was held at Ragusa-Off, an 11,000 sq m city bus depot built in 1929 and recently revamped as a trade show location.
As most of these industrial archaeological sites are not often used and have a few open windows, they tend to have permanent “flying residents” like the Roman pigeon (Columba Livia), a plump grayish bird with a small, blue-gray head and a straight thin beak. They possess a group of neurons that help them process changes in the direction, intensity, and polarity of magnetic fields around them. The sensitivity of the pigeons to these physical properties allows them to determine their directional heading and altitude by using Earth’s magnetic field. The physical structure within the pigeon’s body that collects this magnetic field information and sends it to the brain remains unknown.
Micro Salon Italia had a few of these curious flying creatures during the three days of the show. They gently flew over the exhibition hall watching what was going on. Were they perhaps attracted by the magnetic fields generated by transmitters, monitors, and LED lights?
This year’s Micro Salon Italia had 42 local and foreign exhibitors: Sony, Fujifilm, Canon, Cartoni, De Sisti Lighting, D-Vision & Movie People, Leica, Leitz, K5600, Angénieux, and Trans Audio Video (TAV), just to mention a few. The original two days were extended to three days, from Friday to Sunday. The attendance was approximately 3000 visitors, fewer than during two days two years ago. Possibly, the reasons for a lower attendance could have been because almost all local crews are working on several films and television series being shot in Rome. People today still tend to avoid travelling, and Ragusa-Off, being in the center of Rome, is not a parking-friendly location.
On the floor, we met with Daniele Nannuzzi, AIC, President of the AIC (Associazione Italiana Autori della Cinematografia), the Italian Society of Cinematographers, and one of the original promoters of the Micro Salon Italia. He told FDTimes:
“After two years of silence, we at the AIC managed to organize this new Micro Salon, which was like a rebirth and challenge to start normal life again. My main worry was the new location as we were not able to have Cinecittà Studios this year. The show was supposed to take place in May but had to be postponed again due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, November is a cold month in Rome, but visitors, many film students and film buffs interacted with exhibitors, cinematographers, camera operators, distributors, and rentals. All appreciated the “AIC Incontra,” an area for presentations and conferences for cinematographers, camera, and lenses manufacturers.
“Today, some cinematographers tend to use cameras that can shoot almost without light, but Vittorio Storaro, AIC, ASC and I are fighting against this new fashion to avoid young generations forgetting how to express their creativity by using and creating new forms of light. As per tradition, on Sunday, at the Salon’s closure Maestro Vittorio Storaro and his daughter Francesca, held a master class at AIC Incontra on The Muses of Light.
“In 2022, we’ll certainly be back at Cinecittà Studios, the original site for Micro Salon Italia and am sure they’ll give us a proper space. There I’ll have a presentation of Interno Giorno (Interior Day), my book about how my cinematographer father Armando Nannuzzi introduced me to the magic world of Light… a few decades ago”.
Talking about light, FDTimes had a chat with Fabio De Sisti (President, De Sisti Lighting):
Being back at a Micro Salon after two years was great. This edition was a small step towards normality. We need these meetings between manufacturers, distributors, rentals, and DPs; it’s fundamental and makes us hope for a smoother future. I had the impression that both exhibitors and visitors all had an urge to be back to normality and hope this first post-pandemic show is auspicious. We must make more efforts and show the world how we’ve reacted in Italy. In recent years De Sisti Lighting developed its R&D towards LED technology, which took us to the joint-venture with Vittorio Storaro and the creation and manufacturing of the The Muses of Light– a range of 10 advanced LED lights, among the most powerful, yet extremely versatile, LED lights on the market today, able to replace traditional HMI lights.
“At our Micro Salon booth, we exhibited the full range of our Muses, including an “Aurea”, similar to the ones used in Vancouver by cinematographer Bojan Bazelli on “Peter Pan & Wendy”, the adventure fantasy film directed by David Lowery to be released by Disney in 2022. By now it’s clear that lighting in the future will only be LED technology, also thanks to their drastically reduced energy consumption. Anyway, I hope next year we will be back at Cinecittà, the heart of Italy’s film industry”.
Followed by the eyes of an inquisitive Columba Livia (pigeon) perched on a scaffolding, we strolled around the exhibition hall. At ZEISS we received from Jacques Bouley (ZEISS Sales Manager Cinema Products, Europe) his comment on the Micro Salon:
“First of all, what a pleasure to talk again to users, partners and clients during a real, non-virtual event, keeping in mind that so many shows and exhibitions were cancelled during the past year and a half. So, for that one reason, thank you to AIC for putting this event together despite obvious constraints linked to the sanitary situation.
“Yet, we enjoyed the enthusiasm of the many students who came on Friday, met and had very nice chats with quite a few ACs on Saturday. But it seems that there weren’t as many cinematographers this year as in the past editions. Maybe it was an agenda problem while so many were possibly still shooting. Regarding the duration of the event, I think it is better to stick to the 2-day formula. In conclusion, if actual meeting tools are handy, Rome is unquestionably a much better place to meet! See you next year.”
Francesco Spisti (Fujifilm Sales & Marketing Manager/optical devices) in his new position at Fujifilm, gave us a brief comment:
“The Micro Salon Italia was a breath of fresh air after a difficult period for everyone and especially for the film industry, for almost 2 years without events or moments of live interaction. Having joined Fujifilm in April 2020 – after years at Canon & Vitec – it was my first official opportunity to meet former colleagues and people I’ve known over the years in the professional sector. It was also a way to show how Fujifilm is firmly within this market with a product line dedicated to the cinema world, providing zoom lenses compatible with all cameras on the market, also including the Large Format cameras with our Premista range.
“Surely, this different location from the usual Cinecittá meant that all brands had more space to show their products, enjoying a new interaction that created interesting partnerships and possible future collaborations. We at Fujifilm are now facing a new normality, with the wish of a safe, professional new future.”
The Paris, Rome and Madrid Micro Salon veteran, Benoît Brismontier (Angénieux Cinema Optics) said:
“The Roman Micro Salon finally happened after 2 cancellations and change of dates. Bad luck, the date chosen at the end of November which accidentally coincided with a new wave of Covid 19 in Europe, but fortunately was very limited in Italy. This would partially explain the lower attendance of the exhibition. I’ve been told by local people that marketing and communication for promoting the event was very limited, but another reason might be that most of the crews are very busy shooting, as film sets are booming in Rome and it looks like Italy has also nicely recovered after the forced Covid break. In any case, given the fact that the last Italian Micro Salon happened in March 2019, the attendance has been a bit deceptive for all exhibitors.
“The event took place in its 4th different location, after Cinecittà… and this one was not one of the best. We were in a 1920 building, a former bus garage – very cold inside and 4 °C outdoors — it could have been a beautiful place, if restored with a minimum of care. According to what I heard, this will be a one time location, as the AIC is strongly pushing for a new space at Cinecittà next year. Let’s hope the 2022 edition be back there”.
Luciano Belluzzo (Cartoni, Sales & Marketing Director) gave his feedback:
“Finally, after almost two years, the Italian film and broadcast industries meet in person and not through Zoom! This is also thanks to efforts made by AIC’s President, Daniele Nannuzzi, and his staff that got the Micro Salon Italia off the ground again. This show is the only professional one happening in Italy today, and it managed, along the years, to become a professional rendez-vous of both the film and broadcast professionals.
Certainly, this edition had to face several problems, as finding an available and spacious location during the ex-Sars-Cov-2 threat and last, but not least, the cold and rainy Roman November. Still, we appreciate this event as it’s the first, in a very long time, get-together between gear and camera manufacturers, distributors, and end-users. We all wish to be back next year at the only and appropriate location for the Micro Salon Italia: Cinecittà Studios. Another wish? AIC must enhance their marketing and communication strategy as this event deserves it!”
Trans Audio Video (TAV) Managing Director Marco Brighel made a few comments on this MS:
“Attending the Micro Salon Italia is always an excellent opportunity to meet friends and pros from the film community. The new Omicron variant did not discourage the visitors’ attendance and a good number of industry main players were at the show. Good to see everyone was wearing a mask. At our large Trans Audio Video – TAV booth, we displayed the latest products from our partners, highlighting cameras and lenses as the brand-new Sony Venice 2 8K with ZEISS Supreme optics, the ARRI Mini LF with ARRI Signature lenses and the new wireless Hi-5, Canon EOS C500 5.9K with Canon Sumire & Canon Cine-Servo lenses, along with great production accessories and LED lights.
“As per tradition, we gave space to moments of conviviality, encounters with clients and chats with friends. As an AIC sponsor, TAV, with its 30-year-old experience, is willing to help enhance Micro Salon Italia.”
Massimo Proietti, attending his first show as Head of Camera & Optical Department at D-Vision & Movie People:
“After 20 years at Technovision and Panalight, time was ripe for a new challenge, so I said “I’m back”- like Michael Jordan for his 1995 comeback to the Chicago Bulls – and joined D-Vision/Movie People, heirs of Rome’s glorious Technovision. Now am experiencing a totally new professional venture with a young and motivated staff focused on new technologies to satisfy cinematographers. D-Vision presently has locations in Rome, Milan, Venice, and Bari, provides our clients with outstanding film and television gear and Movie People has always been synonymous with reliability and precision.
“At Micro Salon Italia this year we had in preview a TLS Cooke Double/Duo Speed Panchro Vintage Set, optics specifically designed for large format 65mm and 1950/60s Vistavision, so popular today. Our ALEXA Mini LF, Sony VENICE, and RED MONSTRO had on the new Cooke Panchro Classic FF, the ARRI Signature Primes,ZEISS Supremes and TLS K35. An ALEXA Mini 4:3 had the timeless Anamorphic Technovision Cooke 2x attached. Remember those masterpieces on “Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor, Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and Besson’s Léon? To satisfy our visitors’ thirst, we offered a selection of beers, wines, and mozzarella!”
Kevan Parker (Leitz Regional Sales Manager EMEA, India) while presenting the Leitz Zoom 25-75 T2.8, commented:
“This year’s Micro Salon Italia was well attended with a good cross section of people, but maybe a three-day show is a little stretched; the original two days would be fine. Unfortunately, the location was a little cold in the main hall at times, although I understand the need to air out the internal space during the day with Covid in mind. The presentation schedule was good, with enough space for the audience, but the audio was weak. A suggestion for the next Micro Salon? Sponsored badges and lanyards with names tagged would be great plus a proper heating system.”
Veteran cinematographer and ex-President of the AIC, Roberto Girometti, AIC gave FDT his thoughts about “AIC Incontra,” the AIC presentation conferences:
“These Micro Salon presentations are always interesting for several reasons. The main is the product presentation presented by foreign exhibitors previewing new lights, lenses and cameras plus the opportunity for cinematographers not living in Rome to meet with colleagues they would otherwise not see. My presentation was focused on the transition from film to digital. The new digital world came up, not better or worse, just a new interpretation of light and filming.”
At the end of the third day, the pigeons were still there, flying from one end to the other of the exhibition hall, probably hoping for a more edible show next time. We all wish that next year’s Micro Salon Italia be held at Cinecittà Studios, the heart of Italy’s Film Industry since 1937, one of the largest in Europe with an area of about 400,000 sq m (99 acres) or select a proper professional location. But most of all, the Micro Salon Italia must invest in marketing and communication.