Meeting Report - May 20, 2008

On May 20th, the Hollywood section had a visit from our nation’s Army.  While this may seem to be a bit odd for a SMPTE section meeting, the message they brought forward actually fit nicely.   The meeting was held at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, with a pre-program reception hosted by the Army.  About 20 SMPTE members plus some Raleigh staff members attended.

Our military and Hollywood share a rich history, dating back to the early days of the newsreels shown in the theaters, and the war movies that told stories of our brave men and women in key battles over the last decade.  The wars fought were different than the battles we see today, therefore the way our troops are trained also must change to reflect the new battlefield.

The Army presented a short movie entitled “The New High Tech Army”. This started out by reflecting on the history between Hollywood and the Army, then giving us a view of how motion picture technologies are applied in their everyday training activities, and even more important, how technologies such as motion capture are used to help heal the injured.

Fort Irwin California is a national training center for all units of our military. Here in days past, the Red Army vs. the Blue Army used to dig in and battle it out to simulate field battles as we have seen on many movies in the past. Today, Fort Irwin (along with other locations) are made up of villages and staffed by individuals that come from these countries along with returning soldiers who act out the exact scenarios that the troops under training may expect to encounter when deployed.   Our men and women must learn the culture, be negotiators, ambassadors and understand the subtle danger signals when the need requires them to go into a village and engage in any assigned activity. This activity may be to find a stash of weapons, interrogate insurgents or simply to patrol the area. Both Warner and Disney set designers have been employed to bring realism and accurate set design to these villages adding to the overall effect.

This training is conducted with life like accuracy, engaging pyrotechnics, skilled acting and even unfriendly news crews that go out and try to catch damaging shots of the troops in action. The sobering view of how our medics must treat a solder loosing a limb from an IED are often played with a volunteer trooper who reflects back on their actual experience.  The result, a well trained solder who is prepared to carry out a task better than ever before. Motion picture technologies contribute heavily to this success and this event was the Army’s way in thanking us for the technologies we standardize, and refine in our industry.

Leading this project and the discussion was Col. Walsh; Commander of the  6th Recruiting Brigade.  He brought a team from Army Intelligence, SSG Cameron; 309th MI and  SFC Swanson; 309th MI who spoke on how they use images gathered in training and in the field.  In attendance also was SGT Salvador; B Company (UAV) and  SSG Scibelli; B Company (UAV) who spoke on the use of the unmanned aircraft in surveillance and tactical activities. Dr. Wilkens, Center for the Intrepid gave a very interesting discussion on how motion capture technologies, coupled with video game scenarios are helping the healing process. The Center for the Intrepid is an advanced site located at Fort Sam Houston.  This facility was privately funded and is now operated by the Army.  It is recognized for its innovative and successful treatments of injured solders.

In closing, the Army has implemented many programs to address another growing problem. Our nation’s defense now requires a highly qualified recruit. The growing high school drop out rate threatens the ability for a successful all volunteer armed forces to be maintained. Therefore programs such as March For Success are provided free of charge to help high school student academically, no requirement of enlistment or monitoring by the army is performed. Other programs to help kids stay in school are found across the country.  With only 3 out of 10 students qualifying for military enlistment, this presents itself as a social problem as much as it is a Army problem. We also heard about these programs that can help our kids, which not only serve the problem the Army is trying to address, but we as employers must also find ways to contribute as well.

SUBMITTED BY:

Name:_Rick Dean
Section Officer Title: Governor
Company Affiliation & Contact Tel. No.:  THX Inc.