SMPTE Readies for Tech Conference

SMPTE’s annual technical conference returns to the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel
The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers is all set for its annual three-day technical conference, Oct. 26-28, with a mix of technical presentations, tutorial sessions, technical exhibits and social events all aimed at narrowing the gap between television and the cinema.

The Hollywood Renaissance Hotel once again serves as the backdrop for the conference, with the adjacent Mann Chinese Theatre also hosting some of the conference activity.

According to the Society's new executive director, Barbara Lange, this year's gathering of cinema, television and IT movers and shakers surpasses all previous conferences in the number of scheduled presentations.

"We have more papers than ever before—we're chock full with more than 80," said Lange. "We're all very excited about this."

Lang is also very enthusiastic about the day long pre-conference seminar that will take place at the Hollywood Renaissance one day prior to the official conference startup ribbon cutting on Oct. 26.

"It's called 'Digital Media Ecosystem Essentials,' and we think that this is a good descriptor of what's going on in this world of rich media content," said Lange. "It's going to address digital journalism, content delivery, business models, digital rights management, as well as other elements of the digital media ecosystem and I think that it will be a nice lead-in to the conference that follows."

Barbara Lange The pre-conference event will address such crucial challenges as multiple delivery and display environments, repurposing of video content for small screen viewing devices, IPTV and more, and will feature presentations by a number of experts in the digital video field.


The SMPTE technical presentations this year mirror the industry's push to high definition, 3DTV and file-based workflows, with several papers devoted to each of these topics, as well as to television display devices, compression, station infrastructure, and cloud-based architecture. Other topics include restoration and archival storage of film stocks, audio issues and new cinematography tools and trends.


One element of this year's conference is unprecedented and that's a meeting for members to vote on the adoption of a newly tailored set of bylaws for the 94-year-old organization.

"This is a very, very important event," said Lange. "We're updating the SMPTE bylaws. The last update was in 1916. The new bylaws have already been approved by the board, but must be presented to the membership for a vote. Our conference registration shows that we will have enough of the membership present for a quorum. We're very excited, as this is an opportunity for SMPTE to upgrade its structure and to be much more flexible in the future."

2010 SMPTE Session HighlightsTuesday, Oct. 26
• "BXF Integration to an IT Based Automation System" 10:00 a.m.
• "A Codec for Content Masters" 1:30 p.m.
• "Designing a Film for Multiple Recorder Capability" 2:00 p.m.
• "Comparing Digital Camera Performance" 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 27
• "Filling the 3D Pipeline-Production" 8:00 a.m.
• "Status of Ultra High Definition Television (UHDTV) 8:00 a.m.
• "Audio Issues" 10:15 a.m.
• "Service-Oriented and Cloud-Based Architectures in Media" 1:30 p.m.
• "Station Infrastructure" 1:30 p.m.
• "Filling the 3D Pipeline-Distribution" 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 28
• "Filling the 3D Pipeline-2D to 3D Conversion" 8:00 a.m.
• "Processing Architectures" 8:00 a.m.
• "Audio Loudness" 8:00 a.m.
• "Compression and Delivery Methods" 10:15 a.m.
• "Status of Display Technology" 2:00 p.m.
• "Video on the Go: Status of Mobile/Handheld" 4:00 p.m. THE SOCIAL SCENE

The annual conference is not just about technology; it also includes opportunities to socialize. Chris Carey, executive vice president of technical operations at Paramount Pictures, will keynote an industry luncheon, Oct. 26, and a welcoming reception is also slated that evening. The organization's Fellows luncheon is set for Thursday, Oct. 28, with Clyde Smith, senior vice president of global broadcast technology for Turner Entertainment Networks delivering the keynote. The gala annual honors and awards ceremony will also be held that evening. In addition to the award presentations, nine SMPTE members will be elevated to the rank of Fellow of the Society.

Exhibition of the latest in broadcasting and cinema equipment is a regular part of the annual conference and according to Lange, the exhibits space will be packed with vendors.

"We are pretty much sold out now in terms of space," she said. "We have a number of new and returning exhibitors and have rearranged the floor to accommodate additional organizations who wanted to be part of the conference."

Event sponsors this year include Christie, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner Brothers.

Complete conference details and registration may be found on the SMPTE organization's Website.

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James E. O'Neal

James E. O’Neal has more than 50 years of experience in the broadcast arena, serving for nearly 37 years as a television broadcast engineer and, following his retirement from that field in 2005, moving into journalism as technology editor for TV Technology for almost the next decade. He continues to provide content for this publication, as well as sister publication Radio World, and others.  He authored the chapter on HF shortwave radio for the 11th Edition of the NAB Engineering Handbook, and serves as editor-in-chief of the IEEE’s Broadcast Technology publication, and as associate editor of the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal. He is a SMPTE Life Fellow, and a Life Member of the IEEE and the SBE.