SMPTE 2013 NAB Show Report

Company Overview

The Oscar® and Emmy® Award-winning Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), a professional membership association, is the worldwide leader in developing and providing motion-imaging standards and education for the communications, technology, media, and entertainment industries. An internationally recognized and accredited organization, SMPTE advances moving-imagery education and engineering across the broadband, broadcast, cinema, and IT disciplines. Since its founding in 1916, SMPTE has published the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal and developed more than 600 standards, recommended practices, and engineering guidelines. SMPTE members include motion-imaging executives, engineers, creative and technology professionals, researchers, scientists, educators, and students from around the world. Information on joining SMPTE is available at www.smpte.org/join.

SMPTE Sparks Interest, Raises Profile at 2013 NAB Show

The SMPTE booth at the 2013 NAB Show buzzed with traffic and enthusiasm about the society’s current work. Projects underway over the past year generated high interest at the show, where SMPTE announced key advances in standards development, including the formation of a task force and the results of the society’s latest quarterly standards meetings. With a conference produced in partnership with the NAB Show, SMPTE also demonstrated its ability to offer dynamic educational events featuring leading figures in the motion picture business. While keynote speaker Jon Landau, the Oscar®-winning producer of “Titanic” and “Avatar,” attracted a large audience to the conference session, word of mouth and social media posts brought a huge crowd of students to the SMPTE booth for the fourth annual Student Ice Cream Social.

Conference Session: 2013 NAB Show’s Technology Summit on Cinema

The 2013 NAB Show’s Technology Summit on Cinema, produced in partnership with SMPTE, provided two full days of insight into how advances in cinema image and sound are shaping the motion picture industry. The summit brought together an array of industry leaders and experts, who shared unique insights into the evolution and future application of motion-imaging technologies. Highlights included a discussion of high-frame-rate (HFR) technology and an insider’s look at the HFR release of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” an exploration of topics including innovations in 4K and 8K, evolving postproduction workflows, and the latest in immersive sound technologies and laser projection systems.

Jon Landau Keynote at Technology Summit on Cinema

Acclaimed producer Jon Landau served as the keynote speaker at the NAB Technology Summit on Cinema. Landau offered his perspective on the use of high frame rates, the state of the 3D market, and on technology’s impact on storytelling. “Stories that could be conceived a few years ago could not be realized because the technology did not exist,” he said. “Now, if someone can dream it, someone can find a way to realize it. But let's not lose sight of why people go to the movies. They don't watch for technology; they watch because they make an emotional connection to a story.”

Giving attendees a glimpse into the future of blockbuster motion picture production, Landau described some of the new technologies that will serve as storytelling tools. He is working with a team of digital artists to test underwater performance capture for use in “Avatar” sequels.

SMPTE Activity and Announcements

SMPTE announcements during the 2013 NAB Show reflected the breadth and depth of the society’s work in supporting standards development and education. SMPTE Executive Director Barbara Lange announced the formation of the Joint Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM) in collaboration with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Video Services Forum (VSF). Working with stakeholders, the JT-NM plans to map out a strategy for developing a packet-based network infrastructure for the creation, storage, transfer, and streaming of professional media.

Looking ahead to SMPTE’s 100-year anniversary in 2016, Lange also announced the launch of the Society’s Centennial Predict-the-Future Contest. During the show, SMPTE also released the latest outcome report from the March Standards Update meeting in Hong Kong. The complete report may be downloaded at www.smpte.org/standards/learn-about-standards-committees/meeting-reports.

SMPTE President Receives Leadership Award

During the 2013 NAB Show, SMPTE President Wendy Aylsworth received the 2013 Women in Leadership Technology Award from TVNewsCheck magazine. The award recognizes women who have contributed significantly toward technologically advancing the industry. As the senior vice president of technology at Warner Bros. Technical Operations, Aylsworth is known for her work overseeing creation of the first digital cinema standards and her role in validating and rolling out high-frame-rate projection systems for the opening of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” She is the first woman president of SMPTE and earlier served as both SMPTE executive vice president and as SMPTE engineering vice president.

SMPTE Student Support: Ice Cream Social and Sponsored Memberships

About 70 students from colleges and universities all over the U.S. and Canada 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 President Wendy Aylsworth, who began her career in the aerospace industry and today has reached the heights of the entertainment industry, addressed the group and shared a bit about her own background and career path.

SMPTE’s support for students goes well beyond offering expert advice and free ice cream. Through a $5,000 challenge grant established in 2012 by Mr. William Miller, a SMPTE member, the society has been able to put nearly $10,000 of donated funds toward the sponsorship of student memberships.

SMPTE Quote:

“Attendees responded very positively to the SMPTE presence at the 2013 NAB Show. The energy focused on our work — everything from the Technology Summit on Cinema conference to kicking off our Centennial Celebration to new SMPTE initiatives and standards announcements — giving our very busy booth a great vibe.”

— Barbara H. Lange, Executive Director of SMPTE