SMPTE Annual Conference Opens in Hollywood

James Baldwin
A Microsoft executive told TV and film engineers at a Hollywood gathering this week that television’s future lies in connectivity.

“The lines between television, video games, social interaction and movies are all starting to blur a bit,” said James Baldwin, CTO of media platforms business at Microsoft. “Entertainment is becoming more of a continuum. Television now is a connected device. It’s about bringing you closer to other people, and once you’re connected you can do so much more.”

Baldwin was addressing a capacity crowd at the opening session of the annual Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers Tech Conference & Expo event being held here. His keynote presentation followed official conference opening remarks by the Society’s new executive director, Barbara Lange, and those of Ken Fuller, SMPTE president.

"We’re very excited not only with the increase in attendance, but also by the sold-out exhibit space,” said Lange. “We are this year trying to do things a little differently this year in terms of social media. We are posting messages on our blog site… and will also be using Twitter.”

Fuller called special attention to a general membership meeting set for Wednesday, where completely rewritten society bylaws and articles of incorporation will be presented to members for their vote. This complete updating of the organization’s rules is the first since the organization was established nearly a century ago.

Jerry Whitaker, SMPTE conference program chair, highlighted events awaiting participants during the three day event.

“We have on the schedule 81 presentations in 14 sessions,” said Whitaker. “Some of those are triple-track—three running simultaneously. The top of the list is 3D; we have at least four sessions focusing on that. File-based workflow continues to be very important in the industry, [along with] cinematography, TV station infrastructure, and advanced technologies such as ultra-high-definition television.

The conference also includes a special Thursday evening ceremony in which industry awards will be presented, along with recognition of SMPTE members who have been newly elevated to the grade of Fellow. -- James O'Neal