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New tech aids human connections

Cannes Film Festival 2012 - The People

High-tech gadgets like iPads and Android phones are doing more than providing alternative entertainment on the long flight to Cannes. They’re giving buyers and sellers better ways to connect while working the Croisette, plus allowing everyone to travel a little lighter.

But instead of eliminating face-to-face meetings, apps and gadgets are enhancing presentations and showcasing product during those meetings. Because, after all, there’s still no substitute for a firm handshake.

“To have someone there in front of you — living, breathing and explaining why they’re passionate about a project — is always ideal. You read so much about a person with body language and enthusiasm,” says Exclusive Media’s Lisa Perkins.

While Blackberrys, iPhones and flash drives are indispensable elements in an ever-growing digital toolbox, dealmakers have several other tricks up their sleeves.

The iPad: The latest version of Apple’s revolutionary iPad just hit the market in March, but it is a game-changer for presentations. Though the easy interface has been a favorite at Cannes for years, the higher-resolution screen has taken things to the next level for color fidelity and video quality.

“It’s a dream,” Perkins says. “We spend so much money and time making sure our concepts get relayed the way we want them to be relayed. Being able to show them in the best way possible is what we always strive for.”

3D monitors: For an outfit peddling a 3D film, being able to show buyers exactly what the product will look like for viewers is a crucial part of generating enthusiasm. Instead of explaining the concept and asking buyers to visualize, Lightning Entertainment’s Audrey Delaney says 3D monitors and headphones do the trick.

“Sometimes we have been able to show footage in 3D before we had the completed feature for people,” she explains, adding that the immediacy has been good for business.

Skype: Although this video-conference service helps eliminate the need for face-to-face meetings, Radiant Films Intl.’s Mimi Steinbauer says it’s a step above email for maintaining contact outside of markets. “It doesn’t replace seeing people by any stretch. (But) I’ve closed some deals and have been able to finish negotiations on Skype,” Steinbauer says.

MacMini: Perkins says, “Apple is our best friend,” and adds that she swears by the MacMini during Cannes.

“All a sudden we have an entire presentation just by plugging something into a television,” Perkins says, adding that the MacMinis have replaced the PlayStations Exclusive Media that many used to use.

QR codes: For Perkins’ social media-themed film “Disconnect,” the marketing team developed a poster that was a QR code. Buyers could scan the code with their phones to get to the trailer and the Facebook page, which got the message out and reinforced the plot of the film.

“A lot of people wanted to test it out,” she says.

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