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The New Face Behind SMPTE

Barbara Lange found herself in a curious position: balancing the tried and true patterns of a long-running event and incorporating her own perceptions of the event’s goals and direction with rapidly changing technologies.  On October 26-28th, members of the SMPTE community as well as anyone interested in learning about the changes affecting the film and television industry will experience the fruits of their new executive director’s labor at the 2010 SMPTE Annual Technical Conference and Expo.


“It’s important to keep the conference invigorated and fresh, while maintaining the tradition of presenting high quality content,” said Lange.  “There have been so many changes to the digital media eco-system, with new things coming out almost daily affecting the industry.  How do we deal with these changes from a technology standpoint?  We’re packing the agenda with a lot of material focusing on these changes.”


Everything from the broadband versus bandwidth battle to the complexities of mobile device and 3D production will be touched upon during the three day conference.  Lange hopes that including these topics of mass interest will attract a larger non-member crowd.

“I’m also working towards networking opportunities,” said Lange.  “Our exhibit floor is nearly sold out, and this space provides a chance for people to network.  We heard from our exhibitors that they felt pushed off to the side during previous events.  Although you can’t have a conference without a program, you need to have time for the exhibition space, and provide that chance to network.”


The concept of a digital eco-system also seeps into the structure of this year’s SMPTE Annual Technical Conference and Expo.  With new tools being used to create content and changing devices for output, one of Lange’s goals is for people to become empowered by understanding the interconnectivity of these various tools and devices.


“People need to see how the new technologies are fitting together into the workflow,” said Lange.  “For instance, with 3D you have to think differently about how you plan out and approach content.  The acquisition and capture is different than 2D.  The output can be sent to a variety of devices, such as the iPad.  And the iPad itself is an amazing tool that leads to other innovations.”


In addition to an invigorating program and networking and exhibition exploration, SMPTE will be announcing some new products at this year’s conference.  Two such products include the SMPTE Digital Leader, which has been designed specifically for post facilities to aid in applying leader and footer to D-Cinema Distribution Masters (DCDM) reels, prior to encoding and encryption, that may be used for quality checks of the final distribution package.  Another new product is the Digital Projection Verifier, or DProve.  This is a projection performance alignment and picture verification tool that has been developed for digital cinemas so they may achieve RP40 mpw digital vision.


The Annual Technical Conference and Expo is just one activity in SMPTE’s yearly agenda.  The due diligence and due process committee, comprised of students, professionals and organizations, meets four times a year to discuss standards and practices affecting the workflow process of all technologies.  Recently this committee has developed standards and processes for the 3D home master to eliminate confusion in the marketplace and provide a common plug and play set up for the end consumer.


Although there have been many summits and expos presented on the subject of 3D, not many focus on the technology aspect of 3D.  Therefore SMPTE members have been able to participate in four 3D sessions that deal with every aspect of 3D workflow, from acquisition to presentation.  After the success of these regional day seminars, Lang has been working on developing traveling sessions to reach members country-wide.


“There’s a lot going on in this industry,” said Lange, “and we at SMPTE have a great role to play in this changing environment.  We have a great opportunity to begin to bring order to change.”


To learn about this year’s program and to register for the event, visit: