SMPTE has announced the full conference program for the SMPTE 2018 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition (SMPTE 2018). SMPTE 2018 will be held from Oct. 23-25 at a new location: the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles. The SMPTE 2018 Symposium on Oct. 22 will precede the annual conference, which is one of the leading places for the exploration of media and entertainment technology.
Co-chairs of the SMPTE 2018 technical conference program committee are SMPTE Fellows Thomas Edwards, vice president of engineering and development at Fox, and SMPTE Education Director Sara J. Kudrle, product marketing manager for playout at Imagine Communications. The technical conference program will include 78 paper presentations spread over three days — this year in up to three concurrent sessions rather than just two.
“Every year, the SMPTE Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition delivers an unprecedented lineup of sessions and popular networking events. Presenters and attendees alike are world-renowned technology thought leaders,” said SMPTE Education Vice President Richard Welsh, CEO and co-founder of Sundog Media Toolkit. “With a record number of paper proposals submitted this year, SMPTE 2018 will be better than ever — promising unparalleled opportunities for professional development, relationship-building, and mind-sharing. The conference is a must-attend for anyone working on the technical side of media and entertainment and looking to future-proof their organization and career.”
Preconference Events on Oct. 22
On Monday, Oct. 22, the conference and exhibition will be preceded by the daylong SMPTE 2018 Symposium — Driving the Entertainment Revolution: Autonomous Cars, Machine Intelligence, and Mixed Reality. Chaired by Michael Zink, vice president of technology at Warner Bros., the Symposium will provide attendees with a fresh and uniquely rich perspective on the future of entertainment experiences. Intel Corporation Automated Driving Group Senior Vice President Douglas Davis will present the keynote, titled “Safety Today for the Autonomous Tomorrow.” Davis will discuss the potential of autonomous vehicles in saving lives by reducing or eliminating human error on the roads. He also will consider how consumers’ embrace of autonomous vehicles may potentially provide a massive new passenger economy and, in turn, propel a transformation that impacts a variety of industries. Further Symposium details and registration information are available at smpte2018.org/symposium.html.
The annual Women in Technology Luncheon, presented by SMPTE and the Hollywood Professional Association (HPA), will also take place Oct. 22. Luncheon tickets are available separately or as an add-on to SMPTE 2018 conference registration. Lunch will also be provided for Symposium attendees who do not attend the Women in Technology Luncheon. Monday’s events will conclude with an Evening Luau reception. The Luau is included in packages that include Symposium registration, and tickets may also be purchased separately as an add-on to other registration types.
Overview of Technical Sessions
Papers presented over the three-day SMPTE 2018 conference will address topics including professional media networking; Better Pixels Projects; managing complex, seemingly unmanageable workflows; evaluating image quality for brighter displays, immersive visual experiences and high-dynamic-range (HDR); AI algorithms and why they will become a must for any content producer and provider; the evolution of streaming services; the cloud; the metamorphosis of today’s encoding technologies; advances in display technologies; and taming metadata by harnessing the power of media asset management (MAM).
The three-part session Better Pixels, chaired by Sally Hattori of Twentieth Century Fox Film and David Long of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), will go beyond physics and engineering to consider the holistic quality of experience for the human observer adequately. Presentations will include HDR Image Analysis for Better Storytelling, Production and Distribution Technologies for a Better Pixel Ecosystem, and Image Processing Technologies for Better Pixels. Presenters will include Andrew Cotton and Simon Thompson of the BBC, JD Vandenberg of The Walt Disney Studios, and Edward G. Callway of AMD.
Another three-part session, Artificial Intelligence, will ask the question, “Is AI more than automation in our industry?” Chaired by Yvonne Thomas of Arvato Systems, the session will explain why AI algorithms will become a must for any content producer and provider and an integrated component in our system landscapes. Presentations will offer practical examples of AI’s use in the media industry and will show how to create and develop machine-learning practices to ensure the highest-quality metadata. Presenters will include Ray Thompson of Avid, Thomas Gunkel of Skyline Communications, and Christopher Witmayer of NASCAR.
Chaired by Mark Zorn of HBO USA, the companion sessions Will Blockchain Solve All Our Problems in M&E? and Exploring Security and Blockchain in New Media Space will provide use cases exploring whether there is a practical use for blockchain in media and entertainment and if operators can embed security technologies that will protect against new threats. Presenters will include Leigh Whitcomb of Imagine Communications, Shruti Tripathi of Techtel, and Eric Diehl of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Increasing video resolution, high frame rates (HFR), and numbers of 360-degree cameras are pushing the boundaries of storage solutions. From acquisition to postproduction to archiving, now more than ever, storage remains an essential component of the media industry. The session Storage: From Production to Archiving, chaired by Massimiliano Gasparri of elev8+ Inc. (formerly eCare Manage), will present case studies, survey results, trends, and insights on the future of digital storage for the entertainment industry. Presenters will include Thomas Coughlin of Coughlin Associates and Brian Campanotti of Cloudfirst.io.
Many recent advances in professional media production, such as HDR and Ultra HDTV, are being driven by display technology. In the session Advances in Display Technology, chaired by Peter H. Putnam of ROAM Consulting LLC, presenters will explore new ways to format and show electronic images in the home and at the cinema, and perhaps even in viewers’ heads. Presenters will include Trevor Canham of RIT and Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Scott Daly of Dolby Laboratories, and SMPTE Past President Peter Ludé of Mission Rock Digital.
The continued adoption of the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards for professional media over managed IP (internet protocol) networks will likely be a popular focus of discussion at SMPTE 2018. Thomas Edwards of Fox Networks Engineering and Operations and SMPTE Finance Vice President Hans Hoffmann, who is also of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), will chair a four-part IP session that includes Practical Implementation of SMPTE ST 2110, Timing and Documentation of IP Plants, Higher-Level IP Functionality, and Advances in IP. Presenters will include Robert Porter and Gareth Sylvester-Bradley of Sony Europe Limited, John Mailhot of Imagine Communications, and Jean Lapierre of Matrox.
Scott Barella of PESA will chair the session Encoding: The Never-Ending Story, with presenters taking a look at the new wrinkles confronting codec developers — UHD, streaming, HDR, and mezzanine compression — as the tug-of-war between bandwidth, bit rate, and “buck$” continues. Presenters such as Jill Boyce of Intel, Gary Clow of Videastream, and Julien Le Tanou of Ericsson Media Solutions will offer the latest technical developments from the front lines of encoding.
The Cloud will be the subject of a multi-part session chaired by Willem Vermost of the EBU, with papers covering a wide range of media production applications making use of the cloud’s flexibility, scalability, and sharing ability. Attendees will discover how the building blocks of the media industry are moving away from dedicated 19-inch equipment in a rack and toward a dematerialized version in the cloud. Presenters will include Jack Wenzinger of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Karsten Schragmann of Arvato Systems, Naruaki Kato of NHK, Julie McDonald of Nimble Collective, Christopher Witmayer of NASCAR, and Alex Giladi of Comcast.
Chaired by Blue Collar Post Collective (BCPC) President Kylee Peña, also of Netflix, the session Image Quality will answer the question, “What does image quality look like?” Presenters will explore the various issues at stake for the present and future of evaluating image quality, from black levels and visibility thresholds to monitoring across platforms and assessing brightness and contrast in an HDR setting.
In three sessions chaired by SMPTE Secretary/Treasurer and industry consultant John E. Ferder — The Global Impact of OTT, I Want My OTT! Meeting the Growing Demand for OTT Services, and Rollin’ on the OTT River: Avoiding the Rocks and Shoals in Your Content Delivery Stream — presenters will examine the explosion of global internet users and the development of OTT penetration in the world’s largest markets. Papers will also describe the latest approaches and innovations for the improvement of delivery of OTT content to the ever-growing number of subscribers, as well as new techniques in monitoring, transmission schemes, and piracy prevention.
Managing the seemingly unmanageable is the essence of a session on File-Based Workflows, especially as workflows continue to evolve and the size and complexity of productions continue to increase. Chaired by Massimiliano Gasparri of elev8+ Inc. and SMPTE Education Director Sara J. Kudrle of Imagine Communications, the session will include papers covering new tools, techniques, and technologies for managing even the most complex workflows.
The session Innovating People: Management, Culture, and Inclusion, chaired by John McCoskey of Eagle Hill Consulting and Kylee Peña of Netflix and BCPC, will explore the often-overlooked importance of understanding, caring for, feeding, and nurturing the most essential resource in a media and technology organization: people. Presenters will examine the roles of culture, core values, and inclusivity as tools to help understand and address the requirements of today’s workforce.
New immersive technologies such as omnidirectional videos or augmented scene displays mandate new forms of storytelling. The session Living in a Virtual World, chaired by Siegfried Foessel of Fraunhofer IIS, will highlight observed user behavior in omnidirectional videos and offer guidance for immersive virtual-world experiences.
Renard Jenkins of PBS will chair a session on Production and Postproduction, with presentations including “Berlin Leichtathletik-EM: Lessons from a Live, HDR, HFR, UHD, and Object-Based Audio Sports Event” and “Case Study — The Mother of All Tests for UHD Introduction at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.” Jenkins will also chair the Image Acquisition session, featuring presentations such as “In-Camera, Photorealistic Style Transfer for On-Set Automatic Grading” and “Creative Grading — Or Why a New Way of Broadcast Camera Control Is Needed.”
Presenters will channel Rod Serling from “The Twilight Zone” in the sessions The Future of Light and Sound and The Future of Time and Space, chaired by William Redmann of Technicolor. Presentations include Sound and Fury: Bringing Dolby Atmos to the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), Architectural and Engineering Considerations for Direct View LED as Applied to the Cinema, Beyond SMPTE Timecode, and Broadcast Channel Origination as a Service.
SMPTE 2018 Special Events
In addition to a wealth of technical sessions and exhibitions of advanced technologies, SMPTE 2018 will include special events that offer numerous opportunities for face-to-face interaction between attendees, exhibitors, and speakers. The first day of the technical conference, Oct. 23, will include the Fellows Luncheon, open exclusively to SMPTE Fellows and Life Fellows, as well as the SMPTE Annual General Membership Meeting in the morning and Oktoberfest Reception in the evening, both open to all registered attendees. On Oct. 24, all registered attendees are invited to a Trick or Treat Spooktacular reception in the exhibit hall. The SMPTE 2018 Annual Awards Gala on Oct. 25 will treat guests to a red carpet, reception, and dinner honoring industry leaders. The announcement of honorees is available here: https://www.smpte.org/news-events/news-releases/smpte-announces-annual-awards-recipients-2018. Awards Gala tickets are available at an additional charge or as a stand-alone purchase.
SMPTE 2018 registration includes the keynote presentation, access to the exhibition hall and all conference sessions, lunch each day of attendance (a first for 2018), and evening events including the Welcome Luau reception (Monday), popular Oktoberfest Reception (Tuesday), and Trick or Treat Spooktacular (Wednesday). SMPTE 2018 will conclude with Thursday's SMPTE Annual Awards Gala, available at an additional charge.
Tickets for many SMPTE 2018 events are limited, and early registration is encouraged. Attendees also can save by taking advantage of the SMPTE group room rate at the Westin Bonaventure, where a limited block of reduced-rate rooms will be available through Sept. 28, or while rooms remain available.
Additional information about SMPTE 2018 and registration is available at www.smpte.org.