Q&A — Barbara Lange, SMPTE Executive Director

HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.—Shortly before the start of the SMPTE 2015 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition, Digital Video magazine spoke with Barbara Lange to get her thoughts on the upcoming conference program. 

TV Technology: What shifts or advances — technical or business — would you say are driving the content for the conference component of the SMPTE 2015 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition?

Barbara Lange: The rapid shift to IP-based media ecosystem is written all over SMPTE 2015. From papers on cloud, to facilities infrastructure, to new forms of color management to the new OTT frontier and big data, it’s all about how the media landscape has shifted to being nearly all virtual and digital. We are excited to be the place where the industry turns to learn about the latest technology in media.

Barbara Lange
TVT: Have any new events have been added to this year's program? Are there any "can't-miss" presentations, sessions or events you'd recommend?

Lange: Oh my, where do I start?! Our newest and most exciting event this year is the SMPTE-HPA Student Film Festival, which takes place on Tuesday evening. This event embodies what SMPTE is all about — delivering the quality images that meet creatives’ artistic intent — and we are highlighting young people. I am thrilled with the enthusiasm these students exude because being part of SMPTE is a very big deal to them. Another new event is the demo room associated with our Symposium, which took place on Monday. The demo room highlighted those working in virtual reality, complementing the Symposium’s topic.

We were delighted to be working with the HPA’s Women in Post group, once again, to host the Women in Technology luncheon where Cheryl Boone Isaacs told us all about how she is expanding diversity at AMPAS. Other events include the Opening Night Reception in our expanded exhibits hall and our Industry and Fellows Luncheons. We close out the week with our very special Honors & Awards Dinner and Ceremony where we will be recognizing more than 40 individuals on their many wonderful contributions to SMPTE and the industry. All of this is along side a superb conference with more papers than ever. It’s a very busy week, indeed!

TVT: How has SMPTE worked to generate new interest and involvement in this year's programs?

Lange: It begins with a group of dedicated volunteers who labor for months to develop the program in a way that addresses the industry needs. Of course, the current SMPTE work on UHD and 4K with its associate attention on high-dynamic range (HDR) imaging, wider color gamut (WCG), and higher frame rates provides a great deal of fodder for the conference. The SMPTE Annual Technical Conference, by definition, covers the gamut of media technology and we rely on the expertise of our industry leaders to produce a world-class educational experience.

TVT: What do you want attendees to take away from this year's event?

Lange: We hope that attendees will leave Hollywood with a better understanding of the technology through the conference and exhibition, stronger ties with old and new colleagues that they’ve met, and a greater appreciation of SMPTE and what the Society provides for them. All while enjoying the wonderful SoCal sunshine in the heart of Hollywood.

TVT: How has SMPTE's partnership with the Hollywood Post Alliance evolved over this past year?

Lange: It’s evolved a great deal to the point that all the necessary legal work is all behind us now and we can get to work! The staffs have been working together on projects already, which has helped both organizations prosper. The HPA and SMPTE Boards are also working together as we plan our new relationship going forward. HPA is busy planning its 10th Awards event (November 12, 2015 at the Skirball Cultural Center in L.A.), the 2016 Tech Retreat and expanding its Board with new members. I am particularly excited having HPA in our family as we celebrate our Centennial next year.

TVT: How are you feeling about SMPTE's role in the industry as the organization heads to its centennial year?

Lange: I am feeling great about SMPTE’s role as we approach our Centennial and plan for the next century. I often refer to us as the “100-year old start-up” because everything is new again and we have to act like a young, nimble start-up as we embark on the new challenges ahead. SMPTE is as relevant today as we were back in 1916. We are setting standards that truly influence the media landscape and this work is making a difference in how people make, produce and consume motion imaging. I am honored to be a part of SMPTE during this momentous occasion and look forward to even greater things in the years to come.

Lange joined SMPTE in January 2010 as executive director following 13 years at IEEE where she was responsible for developing and managing new online subscription products with revenues in excess of $150 million, including digital periodicals, conference proceedings, standards, e-books and education products – all of which were delivered from IEEE’s digital library platform IEEE Xplore.