Seventy people filled Dolby‘s new headquarters in Soho London to Inaugurate the UK section of SMPTE on 18 October 2012. Members and invited guests drawn from across the media industries in the UK met and mingled over a drink.

Chris Johns Section Chairman  started the formal proceedings by remaining us that it was 81 years ago when a UK Section of SMPE – no television in those days –....  and how that in recent years there has been an increasing need for an UK organisation to focus those who are working with the technology of the moving image.

He outlined the Objectives of SMPTE  -  Members –  as a place here those working in deafened forms and a varieties of industries can come together – and meet informally  (and without the interruption of phone or email) to talk about what is happing in our ever changing world.  Education by hearing speakers and seeing what is happing elsewhere in the world of the moving image. The formation of Standards by which all – including the consumer- benefit from the interoperability that they provide.

Chris emphasized how all thse things are strengthen by having members in the Society – the UK has a renowned skill bases so we should have a strong voice and the SMPTE having a base in the UK we can use our voice and strength around the world.

  • We aim to deliver what the UK group sees as our needs
  • We want to facilitate education and informing of our new technologies
  • We aspire to become a strong force in driving and directing the evolution of television engineering , motion pictures and content on multiple devices

He called on Roderick Snell, SMPTE Fellow, past governor of the Society and one of those who have led R&D and manufacturing of TV products for 40 years.

 Roderick spoke of what SMPTE has meant for him as an individual member – promoting his career and putting him in touch with others in this industry. He saw the level of interest and inherent innovation in the UK meaning that SMPTE UK section can become a major force and great asset to SMPTE members worldwide.  As a small business man, he saw how SMPTE and its standardisation activity meant that his company could have more weight Standards setting as a multinational – and that having standards advanced the whole industry to everyone’s benefit.

Chris then thanked the Richard Welsh – who as Governor EMAE, Central South America, and Hawaii had initiated the vote to become as section, the members who had overwhelmingly voted in favour, and the board of managers – and particularly Peter Weitzel Hon Secretary and Treasurer- for their enthusiasm and direction.
The Section was declared Inaugurated.

The meeting split into two groups:-

One group entered the Dolby ATMOS™ theatre- one of two in the UK - here Peter Weitzel Hon sec and Treasurer welcomed and outlined the importance of meetings to the society and how the UK Section was meeting at company’s premises - where people work.
He introduced a short video by Barbara Lange SMPTE Executive director speaking on the world wide aims and activities of the society and conveying good wishes to the very dynamic UK section.

Peter pointed out that this was the second meeting- the London Olympics meant that we had a privileged viewing and behind the scenes with NHK/BBC Super HI-vision in August.
Because of the overwhelming interest in the new section there is a full session of Meetings – both in London and across the UK.  Outside London  In the first year one meeting serving members near Cambridge and Ipswich in the East of England, and another for those in an arc from Royal Wootton Bassett to Southampton including Newbury and Basingstoke in the south central England.   In addition the Region Seminars will be presented in both London and at MediaCity: UK in Salford.

He pointed out that SMPTE UK Section is working with kindred societies (and there were representatives of all of them at this event) and SMPTE UK meetings would not clash with their local activities.  Peter said he was very pleased of the links being forged on Standards with the Digital Television Group and their work on the Task Force for Innovation in Television

Finally he pointed out that the  Section was looking to providing signposting and support to  graduates  who are joining our industries  which are growing and fragmenting , as well as Students – though their courses and via NaSTA for those not on “media based” courses.

All of this activity is what is suggested by members and highlights why we need to attract more members and those members to take an active part in SMPTE UK meeting its aims.

He handed over to  Matt Desborough  Director of Production Services at Dolby – who demonstrated ATMOS™ with audio only ......followed by  a very creepily atmospheric clip from “The Woman in Black” and then  illustration  of how ATMOSTM Objects  are added to the 7.1 Bed – using a dynamic  sequence from ”Planet of the Apes”.   These clips promoted many questions and discussion. 
As a look at the future we saw 60 Hz High Frame Rate 3D material- both “Carousel “which enabled the image Specialists to see the features of HFR, and ”Low Rider” – just for its entertainment values – which is why films are made.

The other group of Members and guests continued their conversations over Beer and Pizza with trips to see the Gadget bar – showing hand held devices and a few laptop which were showing different forms of AV material using Dolby Plus.


 Most made the journey in to the brick arched basements to see the Digital Visions Nucoda Film Master software with Precision Panel to highlight the advantages of grading and finishing on a Dolby PRM-4200 Professional Reference Monitor, and to show the new ACES workflow developed by the Academy and currently being standardised by SMPTE.

After about 40 minutes groups swapped around and the conversations got even more intense with the second delivery of Pizza by Keri Middleton of Technicolor.

And after the second screening there was still lively conversation continuing well into the evening – until the lights were turned out.

The Board of Managers has received many offers for help as the SMPTE UK membership grows.  


Our thanks are due to
Dolby who made their new Headquarters available for this meeting
Matt Desborough at Dolby and his team of Industrial trainees - - with special to Reuben who projected the clips so well and flexibly.

Tim Harris and his team from Digital Vision for demonstrating the Nucoda grading systems – which they had carried through the streets of Soho   and down the stairs into the basement.

The refreshments were funded by BSkyB and Technicolor who served the pizza.

Photos of the event where taken by John Emmett and Tim Harris

The Registration, memento badges and Inaugural Program where done by Peter Weitzel.