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SMPTE 2018 Conference & Exhibition a Success at New L.A. Venue

SMPTE says that its 2018 Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (SMPTE 2018) and the SMPTE 2018 Symposium preceding it were a success across the board.

Held Oct. 23-25, 2018 at a new and more expansive venue, the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles, SMPTE 2018 featured 78 technical presentations selected from a remarkable 156 paper proposals; advanced technology exhibitions; a ceremony recognizing newly elevated SMPTE Fellows; the Annual Awards Gala; a luau reception, an Oktoberfest reception, and a Trick or Treat Spooktacular reception; on-location video coverage by postPerspective; and a daily newsletter published by The Broadcast Bridge.

"We leveraged our new venue to expand the technical and educational offerings at SMPTE 2018, as well as the social and networking opportunities available throughout the event," says SMPTE Executive Director Barbara Lange. "It proved to be a dynamic conference, covering topics including artificial intelligence and its growing influence on the motion imaging industry, the ongoing shift toward IP-based facilities and workflows, the expanding role of the cloud in media production applications, and the promotion of diversity and inclusion across our industry — topped off by a spectacular Awards Gala recognizing the industry's best talent."

On Monday, Oct. 22, the full-day SMPTE 2018 Symposium drew a crowd with the topic "Driving the Entertainment Revolution: Autonomous Cars, Machine Intelligence, & Mixed Reality." The Symposium explored how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, coupled with improvements in picture and sound, are coming together to create fully immersive experiences that will revolutionize the entertainment industry. Intel Automated Driving Group Senior Vice President Douglas Davis delivered the keynote: "Safety Today for the Autonomous Tomorrow."

The day's events also included the annual Women in Technology Luncheon, presented by Hollywood Professional Association's (HPA's) Women in Post Committee and SMPTE. The luncheon featured a conversation with tech entrepreneur and philanthropist Rachel Payne, who is CEO of FEM Inc., a company founded by women whose mission is to serve and empower diverse audiences.

SMPTE 2018 kicked off on Tuesday, launching with the SMPTE Annual General Membership Meeting. SMPTE President-Elect Patrick Griffis joined SMPTE President Matthew Goldman to introduce a strategic business plan, newly approved by the SMPTE Board of Governors, that articulates SMPTE's guiding principles, vision, and mission statements and details a three-year roadmap and investment plan.

The technical conference sessions began with a keynote presentation by 30 Ninjas CEO Julina Tatlock, who is an award-winning writer-producer, virtual reality (VR) director, and social TV specialist. Tatlock provided SMPTE 2018 attendees with a rich and rare perspective on how leading-edge creatives are working with next-gen technologies to redefine the very nature of media and entertainment.

Over three days of technical presentations, speakers and panelists addressed topics such as professional media networking; Internet Protocol (IP)-based solutions and workflows; the Better Pixels Project; managing complex 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 using media asset management (MAM) to better manage metadata.

Midway through the event, 50 dedicated SMPTE 2018 attendees got up early for the 4K 4Charity Fun Run hosted by AWS Elemental, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) company, in Los Angeles' Elysian Park. The race brought in more than $10,000, and a portion of the proceeds will support the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

The SMPTE 2018 Awards Gala and after-party, held in the San Francisco Ballroom of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, marked the end of this year's event. Dean McFlicker, award-winning producer and director at NBC and one of Hollywood's leading marketing experts, served as host of the program, recognizing individuals for their technical achievements and contributions within the media and entertainment industry.

Live video from the Annual General Membership Meeting and video interviews are available for on-demand viewing on the SMPTE YouTube channel. Must-see photos are available on the Society's Flickr page. Video of presentations and technical papers are already available to conference attendees, and they will be available to the general public on Jan. 28 at www.youtube.com/smpteconnect. Subscribers to conference proceedings in the SMPTE digital library hosted on the IEEE Xplore platform will have access to the presentations and papers by Jan. 28.

Next year's event, the SMPTE 2019 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition (SMPTE 2019), will take place from Oct. 21-24, 2019, at the same location — the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles. The call for paper proposals will open in February 2019.

For more information, go to www.smpte.org.

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Michael Raine is the Senior Editor at Professional Lighting & Production. He is also a co-host of the popular Canadian Musician Radio weekly podcast.