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Report on Presentations 97

The Presentations 97 show was held at the Wembley Conference Centre on 18-20 November 1997 in conjunction with Digital Media World. In addition to the 50 exhibitors and a special Projector Comparison Area, seminars on various topics relating to presentations ran on all three days.

The Projector Comparison Area comprised three different rooms, each displaying different ranges of projectors. The three rooms were all of similar size, but laid out to imitate a meeting room, training room and boardroom. Projectors were on display from 10 different manufacturers, with a good deal of overlap between the meeting and training rooms. The boardroom featured higher specification projectors, such as the Barco BD2100, that deliver larger, brighter images. All of the projectors supported 800x600 resolution, and a number supported 1024x768 without compression, reflecting the trend towards higher resolution projectors. Most of the projectors used polysilicon LCDs, which have largely replaced the older amorphous silicon panels which were larger and less transmissive. The Seleco DLP was an exception, as it is based on Texas Instruments' Digital Light Processing Technology. DLP offers brighter, clearer images than LCD panels. While this may well represent the future of projectors, it is currently only a very small portion of the market.

Despite claims by all manufacturers that their products can be used in normally lit rooms, the three comparison rooms were darkened. In these conditions all the projectors, which were specified at least 400 ANSI lumens, performed well. When buying a projector however, it is most important to try a projector in the situation it will be used in, displaying real data. For a guide to some of the issues involved in selecting a projector, see the AGOCG report: Choosing an LCD Projector (

An interesting projector on display elsewhere was the Avio MP-200. The MP-200 provides the usual data projection facilities, with a polysilicon LCD panel supporting resolutions up to 800x600, or 1024x768 compressed, and a good brightness level of 550 ANSI lumens. The main difference is that this projector also incorporates a high resolution CCD camera (1.31 million pixels), allowing printed material, acetates or other solid items to be projected in full colour. At the exhibition the projector was used to display a variety of items, from a flower to a colour brochure. All were displayed very clearly, with good colour reproduction, excellent zooming and sharp focus. The MP-200 is priced to be in direct competition with standard models such as Epson's EMP5000.

At the other end of the scale, Barco and JVC were demonstrating their large scale projectors. JVC launched their newest Superprojector 12K. With a brightness of 12,000 lumens and the capability to project images up to 60ft wide this is only for the largest venues.

Several companies were providing seminars on their products and general presentation issues. The Billco Multimedia presentation was entitled 'The Complete Presentation Solution', and aimed to demonstrate how to create good multimedia presentations using its presentation management tool, Showcase. Unfortunately bugs in the beta version of the software, which was due to go live a couple of weeks after the show, and missing CD-ROMs, turned it into how not to give a presentation.

Presentation management software featured on several stands. This type of software provides a framework for developing presentations, allowing the author to import media, documents and existing presentations from many different applications and incorporate them into a single presentation. Examples of this type of software include Billco's Showcase and Advance's Presentation Pro.

The seminars running in conjunction with the exhibition looked at presentation techniques and technology. Presentation Techniques was delivered by two consultants from The Industrial Society, a company specializing in providing training courses to industry. The Presentation Technology session featured talks from several companies, covering control systems, videoconferencing, using multimedia in marketing and professionally developed presentations. All the seminars were sold out, a sign of how seriously the business world takes presentation issues.

Sue Cunningham
Manchester Visualization Centre
Manchester Computing
University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PL

Tel: +44 (0) 161 275 6095
Fax: +44 (0) 161 275 6040