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SMPTE UK Media Technology Conference 2023: A Retrospective

July 10, 2023

             On Friday June 30th, SMPTE UK held the Media Technology Conference in collaboration with Rise Up Academy. The event showcased technology, solutions, and educational efforts from some of the brightest minds in the world and was a chance for these industry titans to transform the future of media in a collaborative and sustainable way.

              “The SMPTE Summit in Hollywood is a world-class technology conference, but few people in the UK and European media industry are able to go,” says John Ellerton, the Chair of SMPTE UK. Ellerton opened the conference along with SMPTE Executive Director David Grindle and SMPTE UK Education Director Polly Hickling. “We wanted to bring the very best of the SMPTE Summit to London and establish the SMPTE UK Media Technology Conference as the conference of the year in the UK to hear about the latest technology across film, production and TV.”

              The conference was broken into three main sessions: The Future of Contribution, led by Russell Trafford-Jones, The Future of Production, led by Polly Hickling, and Future of Distribution, led by Yvonne Thomas. Other presentations included IBC Accelerators and The Future of Education, presented by Rise Up Academy. “The most satisfying part was hearing students say things like ‘I’m studying computer science and never knew I could have a cool career like the people here in the media’ and ‘my favorite talk was from Tim Borer covering holographic light field displays’,” says Polly Hickling, the SMPTE UK Education Director. “Hearing that these students were inspired by the content and potentially join our industry was by far the most satisfying part of delivering this event.”

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              This year’s conference was a major success. Attendance increased from last year’s conference by 10%, and there’s been an uptick in SMPTE membership as a result. SMPTE knows how to throw an event which is why the hands-on demos, networking breaks between sessions, and even the food were incredibly well received. The event was immensely diverse too, with people from all walks of life, and from ages 16 to 80+, feeling right at home in the event space.

              “The UK Section Technology Conference was a great day of learning and networking,” says SMPTE Executive Director, David Grindle. “People from across the industry at all levels were learning the latest and refreshing the basics. This kind of gathering is an expression of everything SMPTE means for its members and the team who put it together and presented it are incredible assets to the Society and the Industry.”

              It will be hard to out-do this conference in the future, but SMPTE UK plans on doing just that. “Next year, we want the conference to be bigger - double the number of delegates if we can,” says Ellerton. “We're thinking about the time of year because we want a lot more students to attend.” This focus on students and education is sure to keep this conference, and this industry, healthy and strong. Keeping that in mind, we celebrate this year’s conference and look forward to the next.

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