SMPTE's Centennial Hall Offers View of Past, Present and Future

Both celebrating the past and exploring the future of entertaining technology (and toasting both in the Beer Garden), SMPTE's Centennial Hall highlights the organization's continued focus on innovation and collaboration.

Francis Jenkins' research and development yielded such inventions as the Film Duplicator. Next to a Dolby exhibit comparing astonishing displays, for example, are early televisions from the collection of SMPTE co-founder Charles Francis Jenkins, on loan from the Wayne County Historical Museum in Richmond, Indiana and presented by Belden. Behind a case filled with Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences--since its founding in 1916, the Society has earned an Oscar and multiple Emmy Awards for its work in advancing moving-imagery education and engineering--are demos of SMPTE Standard 2059 for Internet Protocol Precision Timing, the next generation of time code, from multiple vendors.

As SMPTE Education Vice President Pat Griffis said, "SMPTE's centennial year is an ideal time to explore the path we've taken so far, as well as the new and emerging technologies that will drive us forward."

In SMPTE's Live Studio environment, conference speakers are being interviewed for videos viewable at, while across the lounge area, conference attendees from around the globe meet in person for the first time, exchange ideas, review presentations and maybe have a beer (or all four). In other words, activities in the hall perfectly illustrate how SMPTE connects multiple generations of engineers, creative and technology professionals, researchers, scientists, educators and students.

The Centennial Hall, explained SMPTE Executive Director Barbara Lange, was designed "to be inviting to exhibitors and attendees alike" and offers "many features that enrich attendees' experience. Special exhibits provide a look at some of the industry's oldest and newest technologies, while the beer garden provides a great space for a quick meeting, enjoying a beverage or just relaxing and socializing." This corresponds to one of SMPTE's longtime objectives, what Lange described as "promoting a healthy network of like-minded, smart individuals."

A steady stream of conference-goers weaves through the diagrams and prototypes from C. Francis Jenkins, a marked (and remarkable) contrast to the advanced demonstrations from companies such as IBM Cloud Video and Elemental in the Centennial Hall. Jenkins' research and development yielded such inventions as the Film Duplicator, a device that combines a film projector and film camera on display in the Hall. ("In terms of film projection, Jenkins was the catalyst," said Dr. Donald G. Godfrey, a Jenkins biographer and the author of “C. Francis Jenkins, Pioneer of Film and Television,” in a recent interview with PBS.) Numerous other inventions, including early televisions and cameras, as well as schematics and detailed descriptions, can be viewed as part of the exhibit.