SMPTE Historical Seminar to Celebrate VTRs 50th Anniversary

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers is holding an All-Day Historical Seminar on Saturday, October 21, as part of its Technical Conference and Exhibition being held from October 18-21, 2006, at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel in Los Angeles, California.

"Because this year marks SMPTE's 90th Anniversary, we originally planned a look back at the society's own history," explains Peter LudÈ, SMPTE Editorial VP. "However, because SMPTE has played such an important role in so many facets of the development of motion imaging technology, we decided to expand the breadth and scope of the event."

The day-long history celebration will feature speakers who were present at many of the key events in film and television history. Areas to be covered include the early days of movies, film sound and Vitaphone, kinescope and pre-VTR video recording, and SMPTE's contribution to film and television. Attendees can also enjoy a display of vintage equipment dating back to the earliest days of the industry.

This year marks both 90 years of SMPTE's industry leadership and the 50th anniversary of the first commercial professional videotape recorder (VTR), and the society plans special sessions on Saturday to mark those milestones. Presentations and panels will feature video engineers who designed and built the early equipment, including Ray Dolby of the original Ampex VTR development team, Bill Barnhart of Ampex and Grass Valley Group, and TV network engineers from CBS, NBC, and ABC who installed and utilized the first VTRs in the mid- to late-1950s.

"We're delighted these distinguished pioneers can be with us to celebrate, reflect, and reminisce about their early accomplishments," says Tom Scott, Conference Program Co-Chair. "This year marks an important anniversary in the development of television. These people were key participants, not only in the development of the VTR, but also broadcasting as we know it."

Conference Co-Chair Bill Hogan adds, '"The innovations these individuals and companies produced decades ago profoundly changed the television industry. Their seminal ideas are present even in the devices we use today. The pioneers' perspectives and remembrances will enhance what is going to be a fascinating day-long look at motion picture and television history."

Go to SMPTE's website at for more information about the All-Day Historical Seminar and the SMPTE Technical Conference and Exhibition, October 18-21, 2006, at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel, Los Angeles, California.