Itʼs a SMPTE Century

ALEXANDRIA,VA.—The pace of technology change is rocketing at warp speed, and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, now celebrating its 100th anniversary, stands in the middle of that change. Over the century, SMPTEʼs technology universe has seen a heck of a lot of change, much of which will be on display and under discussion at this yearʼs SMPTE Conference.

SMPTEʼs 2016 Technical Conference and Exhibition, held Oct. 24-28, 2016, in the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood, Calif., is actually several events in one. It includes educational sessions, an exhibition and even a student film festival that received more than 250 submissions from nearly 50 countries. In this 100th year of the organization's existence, the SMPTE Conference will also feature its annual Honors & Awards Ceremony, where technology leaders are highlighted for their contributions to the industry.


For all its looking forward, SMPTE puts forth an effort to remain familiar and accessible to its members, as well as to the attendees at its annual conference.

Jim DeFilippis, SMPTE Conference co-chair

“We have similar sessions to ensure continuity from last year,ˮ said Jim DeFilippis, SMPTE Conference co-chair and blogger for “Focus is on the topics that were new last year and are becoming mainstream, such as high dynamic range video, interoperable master format development and virtual reality, while also continuing the tradition of color management, file workflows, network media infrastructure, cinema, image processing, storage, audio, displays, security, compression and new distribution methods.ˮ

Attracting new blood to the technical side of the business will also be a feature of this yearʼs conference.

“For the second year, we have a special session on diversity in the workforce, focusing on millennials and their early experiences in the workplace,ˮ DeFilippis said. “We focus on providing the latest topics for experienced SMPTE members, and are also mindful that we need to address the younger audience. With the addition of the student film festival as well as the diversity session, we are attracting younger people to the SMPTE Technical Conference.ˮ

The conference location in the Loews Hollywood Hotel is in the middle of Californiaʼs massive film and television industry.

“The location is key and is the epicenter of the Hollywood community,ˮ DiFilippis said. “The venue fits well for SMPTE 2016 with access to dual-session ballrooms, exhibit areas as well as cinemas.ˮ


The Loews Hollywood Hotel, at the intersection of Hollywood and Highland, is a location that has allowed the SMPTE Conference to expand. A few years ago, the conference was mostly contained inside the Loews Hollywood Hotel, which is within the complex.

With the event growing, it has expanded into the facilities on level five of the hotel. There will be a second exhibit hall this year, Centennial Hall, complete with a beer garden, broadcast studio and an exhibit of artifacts from SMPTE founder C. Francis Jenkins. Also being used for this yearʼs conference is the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the hotel, named for the industry icon and multiple SMPTE honoree.

This yearʼs conference will use the Egyptian Theatre, only a block and half away, for the SMPTE-HPA Student Film Festival on the night of Oct. 26.

Barbara Lange, SMPTE executive director

SMPTE celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and this milestone will be highlighted at the conference. One event with a retro look will be the Honors & Awards ceremony and its after party, which will feature a “Roaring 20sˮ theme. SMPTE is encouraging attendees to dress in their 1920s-inspired cocktail attire.

The 100th anniversary is a big deal to the organization, which started well before television was even demonstrated in a laboratory and when silent films still had a future.

“SMPTE has lasted 100 years because it has played a critical role in the technology development of the industry,ˮ said Barbara Lange, SMPTE executive director. “As an internationally recognized standards body, we bring industry experts together to hash through the tough technical problems that result in interoperability that brings high efficiency to the system. In addition, we educate the industry on these important aspects and technologies, while promoting a healthy network of like-minded, smart individuals. Through these three pillars—standards, education and membership—we remain a relevant organization to this day.ˮ


The conference will have a wide range of presentations and sessions, and it includes a symposium that consumes the first day (Oct. 24) of the conference. Some of the symposium titles include “Want to Know How to Preserve Digitally? Play a Game,ˮ“Enhanced Formats Need Enhanced Archival Brainsˮ and “Why Restore Films Anymore?ˮ

VR will be among the hot topics at this year's SMPTE

The exhibition begins on the second day (Oct. 25) and the next two days are filled with presentations and sessions, as well as action on the exhibition floor. Some of the topics for these presentations include “Networked Media Infrastructure 1 - Topics on IT-Based Media Infrastructure,ˮ “Perceptually-Based Gamut Extension Algorithm for Emerging Wide-Gamut Display and Projection Technology,ˮ “Adapting Content to Different Display Capabilities and Viewing Environments,ˮ “A Modern Approach to HDR Color Timing,ˮ “Broadcast Infrastructure: Cable - Even Less Dead Than Last Yearˮ and “The Special Challenges of Offering High-Quality Experience for VR Video.ˮ

Being recognized by SMPTE for a special achievement, invention or contribution to the industry is a great honor. At this yearʼs SMPTE Conference, the following people will be recognized for their achievements and contributions: Daniel Teruggi, R. Norman Hurst, Peter G. M. Centen, Paul Kellar, Michael F. Korpi, Neil A. Shaw, Johannes Steurer and Thomas G. Edwards. In addition, one paper from this past yearʼs issues of the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal will be singled out for recognition: “Source-Timed SDN Video Switching of Packetized Video,” which was published in the May/June 2016 issue.

To a SMPTE insider, the conference covers so much ground in so many ways that itʼs impossible to pick a favorite.

“From the SMPTE Symposium on preservation to the Women in Technology lunch to the SMPTE-HPA Student Film Festival to an expanded exhibition floor, including a Centennial Museum, to special student events and three days of technical papers, it’s a week full of competing activities,ˮ Lange said. “We will also be delighted to honor the best in the industry at SMPTE’s Honors and Awards Ceremony on Monday, Oct. 24. Last but not least, we end the week with the Centennial Gala, our tribute to this great organization and the people in it.ˮ

For more information on the conference, visit

Bob Kovacs

Bob Kovacs is the former Technology Editor for TV Tech and editor of Government Video. He is a long-time video engineer and writer, who now works as a video producer for a government agency. In 2020, Kovacs won several awards as the editor and co-producer of the short film "Rendezvous."