SMPTE 2013 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition Drives Progress Toward Next-Gen Images and Audio
"UHDTV drove much of the conversation this year, and we saw creative approaches and innovative thinking everywhere, from the preconference technical symposium and 4K/UHDTV demo area through three days of presentations and the conclusion at our honors and awards ceremony," said SMPTE Executive Director Barbara Lange. "Key players in the worldwide media and entertainment industry came together to discuss state-of-the-art technologies and techniques for working with moving images, often breaking new ground in the journey toward even better consumer experiences with media."
More than 2,000 people attended the technical conference and exhibition, which drew world-renowned technology thought leaders from motion picture studios, broadcast and distribution networks, production and postproduction communities, software companies, systems integrators, manufacturers, distribution providers, over-the-top providers, and others leading the evolving motion-imaging industry.
The preconference SMPTE 2013 Symposium, held Oct. 21 and titled "Next-Generation Imaging Formats: More, Faster, and Better Pixels," featured technical and business tracks, as well as a first-of-its-kind demo room, all focused on the next generation of image formats. The day-long event addressed higher frame rates, wider color gamut, and increased dynamic range along with 4K (UHD-1) and 8K (UHD-2) resolutions.
The conference and exhibition itself launched with a keynote by Thomas Gewecke, chief digital officer and executive vice president for strategy and business development at Warner Bros. Entertainment. He stressed that industry members have an opportunity to redesign what entertainment experiences will be and thus must act to drive innovation.
Building on this imperative, conference sessions covered topics ranging from the cloud and immersive audio standards to image processing and multiview production. With respect to the latter, Disney's Howard Lukk described a new "hybrid 3D" approach that uses a prototype trifocal camera system, and ARRI's Johannes Steurer presented a "motion scene camera" that incorporates a time-of-flight sensor to generate depth information.
NHK's Hiroshi Shimamoto reported on development of a 120 fps 8K 12 bit CMOS image sensor that the broadcaster recently built into an 8K compact camera. During his presentation on lens considerations for digital cinematography, Larry Thorpe of Canon treated attendees to a preview of "The Human Voice," a 30-minute short shot with the Canon C500 camera in 2K 12 bit, using Cooke S4/i Prime lenses and Canon zooms.
Complementing these presentations and sessions, the sold-out exhibition hall featured displays and demonstrations from leading technology and solution providers. While Cisco® hosted a display showing imagery using its 4K HEVC compression in 6 Mbps (1000:1 compression of the original file) in 4:2:0 color depth, Fusion-io showed playback of 4K uncompressed imagery at 120 fps on a Sony® 84-inch 4K display from an HP® Z820 workstation equipped with four Fusion-io ioFX cards with 1.6 TB capacity.
On the final night, 2012 SMPTE Progress Medal recipient David Wood served as master of ceremonies for the annual awards ceremony, bestowing this year's Progress Medal honor on NHK's Keiichi Kubota. The society celebrated numerous other luminaries with awards recognizing their unique contributions to the industry, and 14 SMPTE members were raised to prestigious Fellow status. The evening concluded with the second annual SMPTE Jam, which featured the "Resolution Blues," written by SMPTE Governor Richard Welsh.
About the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
The Oscar® and Emmy® Award-winning Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), a professional membership association, is the worldwide leader in developing and providing motion-imaging standards and education for the communications, technology, media, and entertainment industries. An internationally recognized and accredited organization, SMPTE advances moving-imagery education and engineering across the broadband, broadcast, cinema, and IT disciplines. Since its founding in 1916, SMPTE has published the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal and developed more than 650 standards, recommended practices, and engineering guidelines. More than 6,000 members — motion-imaging executives, engineers, creative and technology professionals, researchers, scientists, educators, and students — who meet in Sections throughout the world, sustain the Society.