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SMPTE 2014 NAB Show Report

SMPTE at the 2014 NAB Show

SMPTE has accomplished much over the past 12 months, with significant achievements in the three pillars of the Society: membership, education, and standards. While the Society was able to highlight progress in standards areas including ultra high-definition, cinema sound and immersive audio, and integration of information technology into the industry, SMPTE also showcased its ongoing work to provide both members and nonmembers with unique opportunities to engage with other professionals in discussion of the technical advances and business strategies driving the industry forward.

The 2014 NAB Show's Technology Summit on Cinema: The Future of Motion Imaging and Sound (TSC), produced in partnership with SMPTE, featured visionary technology innovators and acclaimed creatives from the realm of motion pictures. The fifth annual Student Ice Cream Social was also a draw, and word of mouth and social media posts brought a huge crowd of students to the SMPTE booth.

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Photo Caption: Crowd at 2014 NAB Show's Technology Summit on Cinema

Photo Credit: NAB/Robb Cohen

Conference Session: 2014 NAB Show's Technology Summit on Cinema

The 2014 NAB Show's Technology Summit on Cinema: The Future of Motion Imaging and Sound (TSC), produced in partnership with SMPTE, provided an in-depth global view of the current state and future of filmmaking innovation. Sessions touched on the human vision system and the potential impact of improved motion images, and TSC speakers highlighted the many ways in which new technologies are being used to enhance storytelling. Attendees had the opportunity to see a live demonstration of the latest laser-illuminated projector technology, as well as examples of the effect of high dynamic range on the cinema experience. The latter proved to be one of the hottest topics during the 2014 NAB Show.

One of the most anticipated sessions of the TSC, the "Gravity Gravitas" panel brought together Academy Award(R)-winning cinematographer Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki, supervising sound editor Skip Lievsay, colorist Steven J. Scott, and CG supervisor Harry Bardak, with David Cohen, senior technology editor for Variety acting as the moderator. Focusing on the technical innovations that enabled the movie "Gravity," the panel discussed how technicians push the envelope by using innovative, creative tools, which results in an audiovisual experience that enhances storytelling and shapes the future of cinematography.

During his keynote to a packed house, industry expert and technical innovator Chris Cookson envisioned a future in which, rather than acquiring images, storytellers instead create images based on acquired models and data. The possibility of using virtual environments to achieve an immersive experience was just one of the future advances Cookson addressed.

In another popular keynote, Elizabeth Daley, dean at the University of Southern California's School of Cinema Arts, discussed the challenge of educators as the art of cinema continues to evolve. She noted that, with technology changing, educating students at the university level has become challenging, and teaching fundamental concept is to teach students to adjust their skill sets to embrace innovations.

A complete summary of the TSC will appear in the May/June issue of the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal.

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Photo Caption: Gravity Gravitas: David Cohen, Skip Lievsay, and Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki

Photo Credit: NAB/Robb Cohen

SMPTE Activity and Announcements

SMPTE Executive Director Barbara Lange announced the availability of three SMPTE Technology Committee Study Group reports on the SMPTE website at The reports include "Cinema B-Chain and Distribution," the findings of the study group on immersive audio systems; "Beyond the Digital Conversion: The Integration of Information Technology and Professional Media"; and the report of the UHDTV ecosystem study group.

Lange highlighted SMPTE's expanded educational offerings, including new webcasts for SMPTE executive members and a series focused on emerging technologies that complements the Society's established educational and standards update webcasts. She also directed delegates to the SMPTE Booth, where they could try the new SMPTE mobile app for iOS, Android, and Kindle systems, in addition to a Web-based version for other operating systems.

Looking ahead, SMPTE Education Vice President Pat Griffis discussed the upcoming Entertainment Technology in the Internet Age Conference (ETIA 2014) at Stanford University in June and announced that The SMPTE Forum 2015, produced in collaboration with Fernseh- und Kinotechnische Gesellschaft e.V. (FKTG), will take place in Berlin on May 7-8, 2015.

SMPTE Members Honored at 2014 NAB Show

Ann Marie Rohaly, director of accessibility, policy, and standards for Microsoft's Corporate Accessibility Group, has been named one of TVNewsCheck's 2014 Technology Women to Watch. She received the award during TVNewsCheck's Women in Technology Awards presentation at the 2014 NAB Show. SMPTE Executive Vice President Robert Seidel of CBS received a 2014 NAB Engineering Achievement Award. Ericsson, a SMPTE Platinum Level Sustaining member, was recognized with one of the television industry's highest honors, the NAB Technology Innovation Award, for his pioneering work in Ultra High Definition TV (UHDTV) 4K. SMPTE member Thomas Edwards of Fox Networks received the NAB Best Paper Award.

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Photo Caption: TVNewsCheck's 2014 Technology Women to Watch Tania Paz, Ann Marie Rohaly, and Renu Thomas

Photo Credit: NAB/Robb Cohen

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Photo Caption: SMPTE Executive Vice President Robert Seidel

Photo Credit: NAB/Robb Cohen

SMPTE Student Support: Ice Cream Social and Sponsored Memberships

About 75 students from colleges and universities throughout the world flocked to the SMPTE booth to enjoy ice cream while hearing SMPTE members discuss their work in sound, digital cinema, cameras, broadcasting, and manufacturing. SMPTE Executive Director Barbara Lange addressed the group and informed the students about the Louis F. Wolf Memorial Scholarship and Student Paper Award opportunities.

Lange also invited nonmember students to join SMPTE and receive their first year of membership free through the Student Membership Challenge. Through a challenge grant established in 2012 by William Miller, SMPTE membership director and a SMPTE governor for the New York region, the Society has been able to fund 500 student memberships.

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Photo Caption: SMPTE 2014 NAB Show Ice Cream Student Social

SMPTE Quote:

"The 2014 NAB Show was an enormous success for SMPTE. During the show, the buzz surrounding so many of the initiatives and issues that are a focus of the Society truly reinforced the importance and value of our work. The pace of technological change today is remarkable, and we're proud that, through the efforts of SMPTE study groups and technical committees, and through conferences such as the TSC, ETIA, and the SMPTE Annual Conference, we're helping the industry as a whole to examine and take full advantage of this change."

-- Barbara H. Lange, Executive Director, SMPTE

Company Overview

The Oscar(R) and Emmy(R) Award-winning Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers(R) (SMPTE(R)), a professional membership association, is the preeminent leader in the advancement of the art, science, and craft of the image, sound, and metadata ecosystem, worldwide. An internationally recognized and accredited organization, SMPTE advances moving-imagery education and engineering across the communications, technology, media, and entertainment industries. Since its founding in 1916, SMPTE has published the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal and developed more than 650 standards, recommended practices, and engineering guidelines. The Society is sustained by more than 6,000 members -- motion-imaging executives, engineers, creative and technology professionals, researchers, scientists, educators, and students -- who meet in Sections throughout the world. Information on joining SMPTE is available at