In the wake of SXSW, here are some winners, sinners, and things I’m thinking about for next year.
Hybrid-Entry Official Venues
Music badges and wristbands had more value. Meeting up with friends in various states of badgelessness
and RSVP got easier at venues like Hype Hotel, Viceland, & Spotify House
After the mid-conference fleet overhaul in 2011, and car communication blackouts in 2012,
Daimler did it right this year. The cars were more reliable and available.
Lytro gave away cams and talked about their technology during interactive. Their
DP Eric Cheng gave us a future-glimpse proof of concept for
light field video. Meanwhile, during Film, Black Magic Design staff and gurus were on hand almost daily to show off
and talk about Davinci Resolve and the Black Magic Cinema Camera. I went outside with filmmaker Josh Diamond
(of The Diamond Brothers) to try out wide angle lenses on the recently-in-shipping MFT mount version. Too bad
Black Magic waited a couple weeks to announce the 4k cam at NAB instead of SXSW. Canon threw a party via a PR firm,
but weren’t as immersive as last year, with Ron Howard and the Imagin8ion projects.
Austin Convention Center
The lounges were rarely full (except with free snacks & beer).
Gotta hand it to Scott Wilcox’s team at SXSW for putting together fast and reliable Wi-Fi coverage. Also,
badgeholders got to see acts like Vampire Weekend in the intimacy of the Radio Day Stage without the lines
of Stubb’s, Mohawk, etc.
When it comes to Music, the entire downtown is the venue, and you can find space to play or listen if more space is needed.
Film is harder though, and not just any space makes a good viewing experience. With the big turnout Film has,
not getting into a screening downtown made for hard decisions on whether or not to make the haul to Slaughter
or The Village Alamo Drafthouses.
They did an ok job, all things considered. The stops were better marked and the drivers were better
about announcing detour info. But just like previous years, there weren’t enough Night Owl busses and there
weren’t enough UT E-Busses. Revelers trying to get home were packed like sardines. One of
the West Campus E-Bus drivers just stopped dropping people off for half of West Campus (perhaps to avoid
people trying to get on?).
Venue and Vendor Hangovers
Food trailers and bars were ready for SXSW this year. Fully stocked, efficient menus, well-staffed,
and the commerce flowed. As a local, this comes to bite you in the wake. It was days before
Kebabalicious had their felafels back and Cheer Up’s had their full beer selection. Popular add-ons like Avocados
and Luxardo cherries were in short supply town-wide.
Oh yes, have some more photos…
We managed to get Wade a nice camera this year, so be sure to check out the slide show in his post as well!