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SMPTE Announces 'Ambitious' 2015 Calendar

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2014 was a very productive year for SMPTE and much of the work over the past year will fuel further growth and progress for the Society in 2015, writes Peter Weitzel, Hon Secretary and Treasurer of SMPTE UK Section.

Among the most important developments in 2014 was the new partnership that SMPTE forged with the Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA). The partnership ultimately will culminate in the merger of the two organisations in the spring, uniting two leading organisations serving the media and entertainment industries. This new relationship will enable both SMPTE and HPA to extend their reach and expand their membership while better serving the whole industry.

For the second year, the 'Entertainment in the Internet Age' (ETIA) conference, jointly sponsored by SMPTE and Stanford's Center for Image Systems Engineering (SCIEN), showcased the state of the art in technologies for providing entertainment over digital infrastructures. On 17-18 June, more than 50 industry experts shared their insights on best practices and future challenges for serving the entertainment needs of consumers worldwide over IP-based infrastructure — most commonly using the Internet.

July marked the launch of a new Pittsburgh Section, which means that the UK Section is no longer the youngest. Continued growth both in membership and worldwide representation has brought the Society's overall numbers to more than 6,000, with nearly 2,000 of those members outside the US. Here in the UK, rising membership from all parts of the industries allowed the SMPTE UK Section to go from 100 members just two years ago to 400 members at the close of 2014.

The Society's ongoing growth is also reflected in new and augmented collaborations with other key industry bodies. SMPTE became an Association Partner for the 137th Audio Engineering Society Convention, held in Los Angeles 9-12 Oct. by the Audio Engineering Society (AES). As part of this collaborative effort, speakers from SMPTE's professional membership presented 'Cinema Standards Review and the Road to Implementing Changes' and 'Audio Issues for Live Television — Overcoming the Challenges of Live Television Broadcast in Today's Wild, Wild World'.

During a SMPTE UK Section meeting in London the same weekend, Roderick Snell presented the Bill Lovell Memorial Lecture. Snell looked back to childhood passions, and the many great influencers — including Bill Lovell — who inspired him. Snell's lecture can be viewed at:

The SMPTE 2014 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition (SMPTE 2014) took place just two weeks later. The popular SMPTE Symposium, this year titled 'Making Do With More', was hosted for the first time by the HPA. This day-long event complemented the SMPTE 2014 technical program and exhibitions that followed, bringing attention to the craft of the industry and creating the opportunity for valuable dialog between delegates, from the purest researcher to the most creative cinematographer.
While SMPTE 2014 offered many notable moments, the inaugural SMPTE Student Film Showcase demonstrated how the technical and artistic talents of young filmmakers result in meaningful content. The short films were contributed by students from universities and featured wide-ranging themes, from 'Calibration Conundrum', which discussed display matching and the human visual system, to 'Light', a beautifully photographed ballet sequence. All the movies were screened in the SMPTE digital cinema package (DCP) format, courtesy of Sundog Media Toolkit.

The recognition and addition of John Logie Baird to the SMPTE Honor Roll during the SMPTE 2014 Honors & Awards Ceremony was among the most meaningful presentations. Baird's son, Malcom Baird, wrote the Society to express his family's appreciation of the award. He wrote: "We are all happy and proud that SMPTE has recognised not only his historic breakthrough with mechanical television, but also his later achievements with electronic colour and 3D television."

During the SMPTE Honors & Awards Ceremony, UK Section member Andy Quested was named SMPTE Fellows. Phil Tudor also received the Workflow Systems Medal, while Neil Beagrie — a recent addition to SMPTE's membership — received the Archival Technology Medal, and I was honoured with Citation for Outstanding Service to the Society for my work in re-establishing the SMPTE UK Section.

Earlier in October, the Society itself learned that it had earned the esteemed Philo T. Farnsworth Award from the Television Academy. The award, which will be presented at the 66th Primetime Emmy® Engineering Awards Ceremony in January 2015, honours an agency, company or institution whose contributions over time have made a significant impact on television technology and engineering.

A further look ahead into 2015 reveals a great deal of SMPTE activity. Here in the UK, those events include regular SMPTE UK Section meetings in London, as well as in Salford, Birmingham, and Cambridge, and along the M3 corridor. At such SMPTE UK section meetings, after networking over ample refreshments, members have the chance to discuss timely topic areas with expert speakers.

The calendar of SMPTE UK events offers all members, new and existing, a variety of compelling educational and social opportunities. On 15 Jan. in London, researchers from the University of Essex will present their work on the flow of media over software-defined networks, which is key to the transport of audio and video over IP, as well as research on new types of image coding models that might follow HEVC. On 9 and 11 Feb., respectively, the section will hold Regional Seminars in London and Salford, followed by a 17 Feb. section meeting at Birmingham City University. Titled 'Delivering Local Television Throughout the UK', this presentation will describe the challenges, the difficulties, and innovative solutions adopted by the Comux team taking the UK's first digital terrestrial l local TV service, Estuary TV, on air.

A SMPTE UK open mic social on 5 March will be followed by the 17 March section meeting at Semtech in Romsey. The latter event will feature two presentations: one on IP live production by Paul Gardiner of Sony and the other, by Nigel Seth-Smith of Gennum, on genlock and time code in a multiformat world. From March into May, SMPTE meetings in London and beyond will address topics including immersive audio research, immersive audio in cinema and home, TV in events coverage, systems integration, satellite operations and MCR, and others, as well as an update on the first six months following the official requirement of DPP deliverables to the UK's major broadcasters.

Participation in regional seminars and section events is limited to SMPTE members. To make both membership and participation in educational and social offerings more attractive for new entrants to the industries, the SMPTE Graduates Initiative offers 'escalator dues' that ease membership dues in the first few years following graduation. New industry members who advantage of this initiative will have the opportunity to attend one of the landmark events scheduled for 2015: the Forum 2015 'Entertainment Technology in the Internet Age: A European Perspective' from 7-8 May.

Produced in partnership with the Fernseh-und Kinotechnische Gesellschaft (FKTG), with collaboration from the EBU's Technology and Innovation department, the first-of-its-kind Forum will be held at the Fraunhofer-Forum in Berlin. Experts will address how factors as diverse as EU policy, net neutrality, copyright, and mining 'big data' are shaping the possibilities in the complex European market and redefining how the industry engages its audience.

The article is also available to read in BFV online.

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