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Media in the Cloud: Ontology Guide
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United Kingdom 2022 meetings

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The UK Section holds monthly evening meetings, where we get together to socialise and discuss topics impacting our industry. Below are write-ups of our meetings in 2022.


SMPTE UK celebrates... Young Innovators and Emerging Talent

On Mon 5 Dec 2022, 170 SMPTE members and friends, including students from Portsmouth, Ravensbourne, Salford, Solent, Surrey and York Universities plus many apprentices and graduates met at the Sky Central Cinema at Osterley for a fabulous celebration of the achievements of young innovators and emerging talent.

We had lightning talks from Sophie Humphrey at Solent University, and Kendrick Foo and Oliver Simpson, both from Techex. We then had a panel discussion led by Emily Bergun of Sky, featuring Caitlyn Duthie at the BBC, Hollie Keen from BT, Lillie Fyfe from Sky, and Adrian Karmanski at Gravity Media.

Much of the evening's conversation was about young talent, and Andy Beale from BT Sport spoke about the new media sector T-Levels which are under development, and encouraged the media companies in the room to participate. Rich Welsh then spoke about SMPTE's strategy development and encouraged the younger members to participate, in order to help make SMPTE fit for the future.

We then finished with a great time of networking between the students and professionals across the UK's media sector, with lots of new connections made!

Huge thanks to Carys Hughes and her team of helpers for planning and executing this significant event. We're grateful to Sky for making their wonderful venue available to us for a second year, and for supplying the evening's ample refreshments!

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SMPTE UK South Coast event... The Rising Tide of Video Formats

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On Weds 23 Nov 2022, 40 SMPTE UK members and friends met at The Port House in Portsmouth on the UK's South Coast to hear all about video formats and standards conversion. The meeting began with James Shepherd from InSync Technology giving an entertaining and very informative talk about the history and science behind standards conversion.

The meeting then paused halfway for the SMPTE UK Intermission, encouraging attendees to 'talk to someone you didn't come with', aiming to make SMPTE UK meetings friendly and accessible to newcomers and existing members alike. There was really good discussion in the room with lots of new connections being made.

We then resumed for part 2: Ed Calverley leading a panel discussion with Ian Trow from Sky, Penny Westlake from Interra Systems, and James Shepherd from InSync which explored video quality and standards more broadly.

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The attendees were a great mix of industry professionals and young talent, with many students from Solent and Portsmouth Universities joining us. We had a great time of networking before, during and after the event, and are grateful to our event sponsors InSync Technology for the ample refreshments!


SMPTE UK Headlines... Polly Hickling

On Weds 16 Nov 2022, 75 SMPTE UK members and friends met at Ravensbourne University to hear Polly Hickling, superstar of the UK media industry, talk about her career in education. 

The SMPTE UK Bill Lovell Lecture 2022 featured Polly Hickling who gave us a view of Solent Uni life from the other side, student successes, projects during maternity leave, involvement with SMPTE, Rise, DTG, WSM, IET…and now, a move to industry!

Polly Hickling is the Learning and Development lead for Media at Atos. Prior to this she was the course leader for the media technology programme at Solent University in Southampton for 13 years. Her role included designing, developing and delivering curriculum in the field of media tech, seeing through two course validations during her time as course leader. Polly has strong connections with the media technology industry, particularly with the Solent course alumni which allowed her to develop work experience, placements and graduate positions with companies within the broadcast industry. This also then lead to wider connections and she currently sits on the SMPTE Education Advisory Committee and the UK Board of Managers, is the Head of Education for Women in Streaming Media and sits on the IET Media Network.

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Just like all SMPTE UK events, this meeting was open to existing professionals and students alike, and we were joined by students from Ravensbourne, Solent and Surrey universities as well as several recent graduates.

We trialled for the first time a new idea: the SMPTE UK Intermission halfway through the event, which encourages attendees to 'talk to someone you didn't come with', making the meetings friendly and accessible to newcomers and existing members alike. This seems to have been successful, with lots of attendees making new connections!

We're grateful to Ravensbourne University for hosting us, and to our generous event sponsors Atos and PHABRIX for the ample refreshments!


SMPTE UK visits... The National Physical Laboratory

On Tues 4 Oct 2022, 60 SMPTE UK members and friends had a wonderful evening of science and networking courtesy of the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, just outside London. We learned all about time and timing, and how it is so critical not only for broadcast but also for many other industries. We're grateful to NPL for their hospitality and the ample refreshments.

At SMPTE UK we like to explore a range of topics relevant to the motion picture and television industries and this was a great example. Here's a quote from one of the attendees: “I was expecting another presentation on how XX implemented PTP in a broadcast environment. This was different, thought provoking and I learnt things. Very unexpected”.

Just like all SMPTE UK events, this meeting was open to existing professionals and students alike, and we were joined by students from Surrey and Solent universities, including a group of First Year students from Surrey only two weeks into their studies. Welcome guys!

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What do radar, packet switching, the ACE computer and the Caesium atomic clock have in common?  They all originated from NPL!

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is the UK's National Metrology Institute (NMI), developing and maintaining the national primary measurement standards, as well as collaborating with other NMIs to maintain the international system of measurement. As a public sector research establishment, they deliver extraordinary impact by providing the measurement capability that underpins the UK's prosperity and quality of life. They develop the metrology required to ensure the timely and successful deployment of new technologies and work with organisations as they develop and test new products and processes.

In this digital age, NPL’s world-leading measurement science provides confidence in data, which enables innovation and international trade to flourish. NPL align their capabilities with the most important national challenges like energy, health, security, net zero and the prosperity of the nation, and lead major national programmes that deliver impact across the UK. The next generation of atomic clocks at NPL, using laser cooled trapped ions or atom should achieve accuracies around 100 times better equivalent to gaining or losing no more than one second in the age of the universe.

Over 120 years since they were first established, NPL still remains true to their core mission.


SMPTE UK drinks at the International Broadcast Convention

On Sat 10 Sept 2022 over 200 SMPTE UK members and friends gathered for drinks at IBC2022 in Amsterdam! We were joined by SMPTE Exec Director David Grindle and his team from Head Office in New York, and many SMPTE global members. We had a wonderful time of networking, and courtesy of our hosts BT Media & Broadcast enjoyed ample refreshments in the sunshine after the show!

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SMPTE UK visits... Amazon UK

On 6 Sept 2022, around 100 SMPTE members and friends had a wonderful evening's visit to Amazon UK's headquarters at Principal Place, London.

We had a presentation in three parts: Tim de Marco talked about how Amazon Prime Video delivers content to global audiences. Tim Burton of 7fivefive talked about practical media workflow deployments using cloud infrastructure. Thomas Edwards of AWS talked all about how the cloud makes a transformative difference to broadcast and media workflows.

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We were treated to ample pizza and beer, and enjoyed a great time of networking with many key members of the UK and global media industry.

Just like all SMPTE UK events, this meeting was open to existing professionals and students alike, with groups of students from Solent and Surrey Universities joining in and networking.

We are grateful to Amazon for their generous hospitality, and for the ample refreshments!


SMPTE UK... Goes to the pub!

On Tuesday 12 July 2022, to round off our successful series of in-person meetings in 2021-22, we gathered for an informal meet-up on a balmy summer's evening in the Crown and Sceptre pub, just a few minutes' walk from BBC Broadcasting House and BT Tower in London's West End. Conversation ranged from the importance of timing in all things broadcast, to where people will be staying in Amsterdam for IBC. Some of us wore our SMPTE UK baseball caps, flying the flag for the Society!

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SMPTE UK Media Technology Conference 2022

On 29 June 2022 we held a conference in London in partnership with the Broadcast Tech & Sport Group. 170 delegates from across the UK's broadcast and media industry met to learn, debate and network at the BFI Southbank, London.

It was a hugely successful event, with many hot topics raised and discussed. If you'd like to contribute to the SMPTE UK Media Technology Conference 2023, do get in touch with us!


SMPTE UK visits... The BFI Southbank

On Tues 10 May 2022, around 100 SMPTE members and friends visited the BFI Southbank in London for a truly wonderful evening explaining and demonstrating the technical operation behind the BFI's cinema exhibition programme.

The BFI Technical Services team has been supporting the BFI’s diverse and complex cinema exhibition programme since 1957 when the National Film Theatre first opened its doors. Critical to the success of the programme is the ability to screen every possible projection format and this is as true today as it was back then. With up to 1200 different titles screened each year on formats ranging from 16mm CinemaScope to 70mm Todd-AO, through to the latest D-Cinema laser presentation, this is always a challenge.

Dominic Simmons guided us through the BFI’s exhibition technical operation and highlighted the complexities and pleasures of working in this unique venue, including projection of some classic movie moments including Stanley Kubrick's classic '2001: A Space Odyssey', Steven Spielberg's 'Jaws', and Mike Hodges' 'Get Carter'. Adrian Bull of Cinelab completed the evening with a glimpse of the on-going role of film in movie production.

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SMPTE UK gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the BFI for hosting this event and Cinelab for supporting our ample welcoming hospitality.

Just like all SMPTE UK events, this meeting was open to existing professionals and students alike, with groups of students from Solent and Surrey Universities joining in and networking.


SMPTE UK debates… Cloud Live Production

On Weds 6 April 2022 at BT Tower in London, 70 SMPTE members and friends including students from Salford, Solent and Surrey universities came together for a high-calibre meeting all about Cloud Live Production, followed by drinks and views on the 34th floor. Many thanks to our generous hosts BT Media & Broadcast for the amazing views and ample refreshments!

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Hosted by Andy Rayner, Chief Technologist at Nevion, our panel of industry experts included:

  • Noor Hassan, Amazon Web Services
  • Robert Wadge, BBC R&D
  • Richard Friedel, Fox
  • Paul Briscoe, TAG VS

Together, they debated the evolution to an all-software live production chain and the ongoing journey to that point. Starting with the end-user requirements, our technology visionaries plotted the path based on what the creatives want to achieve. We heard from vendors who have actually built some of this, and exposed the challenges which remain. And we asked the question: Are these actually technology barriers, or issues that creatives have with the new ways of working?

Watch the recording of the event here:

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SMPTE UK debates… The future of Audio, Objects and the Cloud

On 8 March 2022 we held a Section meeting all about the future of the entertainment experience. 60 SMPTE members and friends met at Deluxe's UK headquarters, enjoyed wood-fired pizzas and good beer, and settled down for a thought-provoking evening exploring different aspects of object-based media.

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Personalising Audio for a greater user experience, Object-based media with video for enhancing story telling capabilities, and how cloud services can potentially help bring this to a reality.

Chaired by Chris Johns, Chief Engineer, Broadcast Strategy at Sky, our panel of experts included:

  • Simon Tuff, Senior Engineer at the BBC
  • Dr Lauren Ward from the University of York
  • Rich Welsh, Senior Vice President of Innovation, Deluxe
  • Elfed Howells, CEO of Macroblock Ltd

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Just like all SMPTE UK events, this meeting was open to existing professionals and students alike, and was a great example of how SMPTE enables people from all stages of their career to learn and mix together in a friendly environment.

We're very grateful to Deluxe for kindly hosting us for the evening at their UK Headquarters, and providing ample refreshments!


SMPTE UK visits... an On-set Virtual Production
On 2 - 4 Feb 2022 we held a spectacular three-day hybrid event at ETC in Ealing, London.

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A hybrid 3-day event with in-person demos of the real-time technologies used for In-Camera VFX and Virtual Production.

SMPTE along with supporting partners 80Six, ETC, disguise, Solent University and head Sponsor Mo-Sys, hosted an interactive 3-day hybrid event providing attendees the opportunity to experience first-hand the intricacies of on-set virtual production in the context of a mixed reality set up within a ‘pop-up’ LED Volume built by the team behind Virtual Production Studios by 80six at ETC Playhouse in West London especially for SMPTE and its members.

This included a tour of the VP workflow for creating in-camera VFX (ICVFX), supported by cutting-edge technologies from 80six' inventory: ROE Visual, Unreal Engine, Mo-sys camera tracking and Disguise media servers.

Lighting a production when using LED backdrops is undoubtedly a hot topic and debate right now given the lighting aspect of the LED itself. As part of this showcase, attendees had the opportunity to discover the ground-breaking fos/4 range of luminaires from ETC that introduced a patented deep red emitter into the LED array, filling in a portion of the spectrum we did not realise we were missing – a must-see for the technologically-savvy and those with a passion and interest in lighting and colour.

The event showcased these cutting edge technologies in a production-ready setting and was globally live streamed, offering a tour of the technology, that dives into the key components of OSVP technology and ICVFX. 

The global live stream included an update from SMPTE’s Rapid Industry Solutions group and their latest work on OSVP including the groups recently awarded Epic Mega Grant, and an expert panel Q&A for both our in person and virtual live audience.


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