Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) (/ˈsɪmptiː/, rarely /ˈsʌmptiː/), founded in 1916 as the Society of Motion Picture Engineers or SMPE,[1] is a global professional association, of engineers, technologists, and executives working in the media and entertainment industry. An internationally recognized standards organization, SMPTE has more than 800 Standards, Recommended Practices, and Engineering Guidelines for broadcast, filmmaking, digital cinema, audio recording, information technology (IT), and medical imaging. In addition to development and publication of technical standards documents, SMPTE publishes the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, provides networking opportunities for its members, produces academic conferences and exhibitions, and performs other industry-related functions.

SMPTE Membership is open to any individual or organization with interest in the subject matter.

SMPTE RP-133 small
Medical Diagnostic Imaging Test Pattern

SMPTE standards documents are copyrighted and may be purchased from the SMPTE website, or other distributors of technical standards. Standards documents may be purchased by the general public. Significant standards promulgated by SMPTE include:

SMPTE's educational and professional development activities include technical presentations at regular meetings of its local Sections, annual and biennial conferences in the US and Australia and the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal. The society sponsors many awards, the oldest of which are the SMPTE Progress Medal, the Samuel Warner Memorial Medal, and the David Sarnoff Medal.[2] SMPTE also has a number of Student Chapters and sponsors scholarships for college students in the motion imaging disciplines.

SMPTE is a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization.

Related organizations include

Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
  • /ˈsɪmptiː/, rarely /ˈsʌmptiː/

Film format standardization

SMP(T)E'S first standard was to get everyone using 35mm film width, 4 sprockets per frame, 1.37:1 picture ratio. Until then,there were competing film formats, now theaters could all run the same films.

Film frame rate

SMP(T)E's standard in 1927 was for speed at which sound film is shown, 24 Frames Per second.[3] Before this it was determined by the hand cranking speed of the cameraman.

3D television

SMPTE's Task Force on 3D to the Home produced a report on the issues, challenges and suggested minimum standards for the 3D Home Master that would be distributed after post production to the ingest points of distribution channels for 3D video content. A group within the standards committees has begun to work on the formal definition of the SMPTE 3D Home Master.[4][5][6]

Digital cinema

SMPTE, instituted in 1999, a technology committee for the foundations of Digital Cinema : DC28.[7]

Honors and awards program

The SMPTE presents awards to individuals for outstanding contributions in fields of the society.

Honorary membership and the honor roll

Recipients include:

Progress Medal

The Progress Medal, instituted in 1935, is SMPTE's oldest and most prestigious medal, and awarded annually for contributions to engineering aspects of the film and/or television industries.[8]

Recipients include:

David Sarnoff Gold Medal

Eastman Kodak Gold Medal

The Eastman Kodak Gold Medal, instituted in 1967, recognizes outstanding contributions which lead to new or unique educational programs utilizing motion pictures, television, high-speed and instrumentation photography or other photography sciences. Recent recipients are

  • Andrew Laszlo (2006)
  • James MacKay (2005)
  • Dr. Roderick T. Ryan (2004)
  • George Spiro Dibie (2003)
  • Jean-Pierre Beauviala (2002)

See also


  1. ^ The name was changed from Society of Motion Picture Engineers (SMPE) to Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) in 1950 to embrace the emerging television industry.
  2. ^ "Honoring the Contributions of Leaders - Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers".
  3. ^ TWiT Netcast Network (2017-03-30), How 24 FPS Became Standard, retrieved 2017-03-31
  4. ^ Hollywood gears up 3D TV effort
  5. ^ "New SMPTE 3D Home Content Master Requirements Set Stage For New Market Growth". Archived from the original on 2009-05-02.
  6. ^ "Welcome to the SMPTE Store - Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers".
  7. ^ See Charles S. Swartz (editor). Understanding Digital Cinema. A Professional Handbook. Elsevier, 2005, p. 7.
  8. ^ "List of SMPTE Progress Medal winners". Archived from the original on 2009-01-05.
  9. ^ "SMPTE Progress Medal Historical List Recipients | Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers". Retrieved 2018-02-20.


  • Charles S. Swartz (editor). Understanding Digital Cinema. A Professional Handbook. Elsevier, 2005.

External links

Advanced Authoring Format

The Advanced Authoring Format (AAF) is a file format for professional cross-platform data interchange, designed for the video post-production and authoring environment. It was created by the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA), and is now being standardized through the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).

Arthur V. Loughren

Arthur V. Loughren (September 15, 1902 – December 14, 1993) was an American electrical engineer who played a prominent role in the development of NTSC television.

Loughren was born in Rensselaer, New York, and received his BA (1923) and EE (1925) degrees from Columbia University. He then worked at General Electric in its vacuum tube engineering department 1925-1927; radio engineering department 1927-1929; RCA engineering department 1930-1934; and radio receiver engineering section 1934-1936. In 1936 he joined Hazeltine Corporation, during World War II helped develop IFF equipment for the Navy, and afterwards directed its research on color television. He died at his home in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Loughren was a fellow of the Institute of Radio Engineers, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. He received the 1953 SMPTE David Sarnoff Medal Award "for his contributions to the development of compatible color television, including his active work on the principle of constant luminance; for his participation in color video standards activities; and for his guidance in compatible color television", and the 1955 IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award "for his leadership and technical contributions in the formulation of the signal specification for compatible color television". Loughren was president of the Institute of Radio Engineers in 1956.

Broadcast engineering

Broadcast engineering is the field of electrical engineering, and now to some extent computer engineering and information technology, which deals with radio and television broadcasting. Audio engineering and RF engineering are also essential parts of broadcast engineering, being their own subsets of electrical engineering.

Broadcast engineering involves both the studio and transmitter aspects (the entire airchain), as well as remote broadcasts. Every station has a broadcast engineer, though one may now serve an entire station group in a city. In small media markets the engineer may work on a contract basis for one or more stations as needed.

Carey Villegas

Carey Villegas is a visual effects artist who was nominated at the 83rd Academy Awards in the category of Best Visual Effects, for the film Alice in Wonderland. His nomination was shared with Sean Phillips, Ken Ralston and David Schaub. Also for Alice in Wonderland, Carey won the 2010 Golden Satellite Award for Best Visual Effects and was nominated for the British Academy Award (BAFTA), Critics Choice Award, Saturn Award, and the Visual Effects Society Award (VES) for "Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture".

In 2004, as a Visual Effects Supervisor, Carey was nominated for a Visual Effects Society Award (VES) for "Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture" for Bad Boys II. And in 2015, as the Senior Visual Effects Supervisor on Disney's Maleficent, Carey was nominated for another VES Award for "Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture". He was also nominated for a 2014 Hollywood Post Alliance Award (HPA) for "Outstanding Visual Effects in a Feature Film".

Carey is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS), the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the Visual Effects Society (VES), the International Animated Film Society, and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).

Charles Wyckoff

Charles Wales Wyckoff (1916 – May 9, 1998) was an American photographic innovator, a photochemist specializing in high speed photography, also noted today for his innovations in the field of high dynamic range imaging.Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he was a graduate of Dartmouth College. He later did postgraduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Harold Edgerton, graduating from MIT in 1941. After World War II he worked with Edgerton to develop techniques to photograph atomic experiments in the Pacific Ocean. With little resources in the field, he solved chronic fogging problems during tests in the Marshall Islands in 1954, thus saving the entire photographic record of the project. He was later engaged by CBS to analyze the famous Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination. In 1975, with Edgerton and Robert Rines he made headlines by allegedly photographing the Loch Ness monster.He was a Life Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. In 1967, he was made a Fellow of the Society for Imaging Science and Technology.

Cinematography Mailing List

The Cinematography Mailing List is a website and collection of mailing lists founded by Geoff Boyle in November 1996. The CML is run on a volunteer basis by professional cinematographers "to promote the free exchange of ideas among fellow professionals, the cinematographer, their camera crew, manufacturers, rental houses and related businesses."

The Cinematography Mailing List maintains 21 separate mailing lists covering a variety of cinematography related topics, including lists for general film production, high definition cinematography, lighting, post-production, documentary work, etc. Membership for the lists is free for cinematographers and related industry professionals. A separate mailing list is available for film students (CML-basics).

The CML website holds an archive of all past discussions which is available only to registered members. A book version of the archive titled 'CML - The First Five Years' which includes all the discussions on the CML from 1997 to 2001, was released in 2005 and is used as a cinematography reference much like 'the ASC Manual' or David Samuelson's 'Hands-On Manual for Cinematographers'.

The CML has over 11,978 members worldwide, including members of the American Society of Cinematographers, the British Society of Cinematographers, the Canadian Society of Cinematographers, etc. as well as representatives from most major equipment manufacturers, including Kodak, Fujifilm, Aaton, Arri, Panavision, Sony, Panasonic, etc. The volunteer cinematographers who oversee the mailing lists are called "listmums" instead of moderators.

In 2000, Geoff Boyle was presented an award by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers for "his contributions to communication and education among cinematographers, through the Cinematography Mailing List (CML), which he founded." [1]

In 2006, Geoff Boyle was awarded the British Society of Cinematographers Bert Easy Technical Award for his work with CML.


A foot-lambert or footlambert (fL, sometimes fl or ft-L) is a unit of luminance in United States customary units and some other unit systems. A foot-lambert equals 1/π candela per square foot, or 3.426 candela per square meter (the corresponding SI unit). The foot-lambert is named after Johann Heinrich Lambert (1728–1777), a Swiss-German mathematician, physicist and astronomer. It is rarely used by electrical and lighting engineers, in favor of the candela per square foot or candela per square meter.

The luminance of a perfect Lambertian diffuse reflecting surface in foot-lamberts is equal to the incident illuminance in foot-candles. For real diffuse reflectors, the ratio of luminance to illuminance in these units is roughly equal to the reflectance of the surface. Mathematically,



is the luminance, in foot-lamberts,
is the illuminance, in foot-candles, and
is the reflectivity, expressed as a fractional number (for example, a grey card with 18% reflectivity would have ).

The foot-lambert is used in the motion picture industry for measuring the luminance of images on a projection screen. The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recommended, in SMPTE 196M, a screen luminance of 16 foot-lamberts for commercial movie theaters, when measured "open-gate" (i.e. with no film in the projector). (Typical base density of 0.05 yields peak white of about 14 fL.) The current revision of SMPTE 196M specifies 55 candela per square meter (nits).

The foot-lambert is also used in the flight simulation industry to measure the highlight brightness of visual display systems. The minimum required highlight brightness varies based on the type and level of Flight Simulation Training Device (FSTD), but is generally 3–6 foot-lamberts for most devices qualified under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) regulations.

Military specifications for illuminated switches, panels, and displays, such as MIL-PRF-22885 and SAE AS7788, also require luminance measurements in foot-lamberts. Luminance levels can vary from hundreds of foot-lamberts for sunlight readable switch displays per MIL-PRF-22885 to only a few foot-lamberts in night conditions for panels in accordance with SAE AS7788.

John Belton

John Belton is a Professor of English and Film at Rutgers University. He earned his PhD from Harvard University and specializes in film history and cultural studies. Belton has served on the National Film Preservation Board, as Chair for the Archival Papers and Historical Committee of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and authored numerous books. In 2005-2006, he was granted the Guggenheim Fellowship to pursue his study of the use of digital technology in the film industry.

John E. Volkmann

John E. Volkmann (Chicago, 1905 - Princeton, New Jersey, July 9, 1980) was a sound engineer and architect.

Mr. Volkmann received a BS degree in 1927 and an MS in 1928. He worked his entire professional career at RCA, working on acoustics, large scale loudspeakers and stereophony, writing numerous technical papers and receiving several patents.

He was the architect of historical RCA Studio A located on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee. The building was designed specifically to incorporate the musical techniques of the Nashville Sound. It also is the last remaining gym sized facility of three that he was a principal architect on.He is cited as receiving an additional professional degree from the University of Illinois in 1940.He transferred to RCA Laboratories in 1964 and retired from there in 1970. He was, amongst others, responsible for the development and design of the sound systems for the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

He was a Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), the

Acoustical Society of America (ASA), and the Audio Engineering Society (AES). He received the AES Gold Medal in 1966.


KLV (Key-Length-Value) is a data encoding standard, often used to embed information in video feeds. Items are encoded into Key-Length-Value triplets, where key identifies the data, length specifies the data's length, and value is the data itself. It is defined in SMPTE 336M-2007 (Data Encoding Protocol Using Key-Length Value), approved by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. Due to KLV's large degree of interoperability, it has also been adopted by the Motion Imagery Standards Board.

Roderick Snell

Roderick Saxon Snell is a British electronics engineer, born 1940, who co-founded Snell & Wilcox in 1973, working full-time for it from 1988. The company grew to about five hundred people in the late 1990s. Snell remained on the board during the period 2002-2008 when for financial reasons the company contracted, became part-time after that and left the new company in 2011.Snell is a visiting professor at the Business School of the University of Kingston, Surrey, a fellow of the Royal Television Society, and a governor of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).

He received the SMPTE highest award, the Progress Medal, in 2006 for his numerous contributions to television technology, and the British Kinematograph, Sound and Television Society has presented him their presidential award in 2000.

Snell, a keen amateur helicopter pilot, co-founded Snelflight in 1998 as designers of indoor model flying machines. Recent models include the world's first jump jet and the world's smallest remote controlled flying novelty.

Snell is the great grandson of the architect Henry Saxon Snell. He married Cecilia Gordon Clark, daughter of Alfred Gordon Clark in 1972; they had three children. Cecilia Gordon Clark died in 1999 and he subsequently married Helen Paul. Snell's second son, Arthur Snell, was British High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago from 2011 to 2014.

SMPTE 2022

SMPTE 2022 is a standard from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) that describes how to send digital video over an IP network. Video formats supported include MPEG-2 and serial digital interface The standard was introduced in 2007.The standard is published in seven parts.

ST 2022-1:2007 - Forward Error Correction for Real-Time Video/Audio Transport Over IP Networks

ST 2022-2:2007 - Unidirectional Transport of Constant Bit Rate MPEG-2 Transport Streams on IP Networks

ST 2022-3:2010 - Unidirectional Transport of Variable Bit Rate MPEG-2 Transport Streams on IP Networks

ST 2022-4:2011 - Unidirectional Transport of Non-Piecewise Constant Variable Bit Rate MPEG-2 Streams on IP Networks

ST 2022-5:2013 - Forward Error Correction for Transport of High Bit Rate Media Signals over IP Networks (HBRMT)

ST 2022-6:2012 - Transport of High Bit Rate Media Signals over IP Networks (HBRMT)

ST 2022-7:2013 - Seamless Protection Switching of SMPTE ST 2022 IP DatagramsSMPTE 2022 is an important technology enabling the transition of broadcast systems to IP networking.

SMPTE 2059

SMPTE 2059 is a standard from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) that describes how to synchronize video equipment over an IP network. The standard is based on IEEE 1588-2008. SMPTE 2059 is published in two parts:

SMPTE 2059-1 – Defines signal generation based on time information delivered by the IEEE 1588 protocol.

SMPTE 2059-2 – Defines an operating profile for the IEEE protocol optimized to the needs of media synchronization.SMPTE 2059 is an integral part of emerging professional IP video broadcast technology and standards.In May 2016, the Audio Engineering Society published a report describing synchronization interoperability between AES67 and SMPTE 2059-2.

SMPTE 2071

SMPTE ST 2071 is a suite of standards published by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) that define a framework, protocol, and method of service discovery for the control of objects within an Internet of Things. The standards focus on the interoperability and discoverability of objects within the network, and treat media as first-class citizen. The standard also describes a programming methodology that allows objects to describe their behaviors (features) to other objects over the network and allows objects to change their behavior dynamically at runtime. Application developers developing to the SMPTE ST 2071 standards focus on writing their applications to the behaviors they wish to support and not the object or class of object that implements those behaviors.

SMPTE 2110

SMPTE 2110 is a standard from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) that describes how to send digital video over an IP network. The standard differs from previous IP video standards in that video is transmitted in uncompressed format and audio, video and ancillary data are carried as separate streams. SMPTE 2110 is intended to be used within broadcast production and distribution facilities where quality and flexibility are more important than bandwidth efficiency.

SMPTE 2110 is specified in several parts:

ST 2110-10 - System architecture and synchronization. Synchronization is based on SMPTE 2059.

ST 2110-20 - Uncompressed video transport, based on SMPTE 2022-6

ST 2110-21 - Traffic shaping and network delivery timing

ST 2110-30 - Audio transport, based on AES67

ST 2110-31 - Transport of AES3 formatted audio

ST 2110-40 - Transport of ancillary data


SMPTE 292 is a digital video transmission standard published by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) which expands upon SMPTE 259 and SMPTE 344 allowing for bit-rates of 1.485 Gbit/s, and 1.485/1.001 Gbit/s. These bit-rates are sufficient for and often used to transfer uncompressed high-definition video.This standard is usually referred to as HD-SDI; it is part of a family of standards that define a Serial Digital Interface based on a coaxial cable, intended to be used for transport of uncompressed digital video and audio in a television studio environment.

The “M” designator was originally introduced to signify metric dimensions.

It is no longer used in listings or filenames. Units of the International System of Units (SI) are the preferred units of measurement in all SMPTE Engineering Documents.

Serial digital interface

Serial digital interface (SDI) is a family of digital video interfaces first standardized by SMPTE (The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) in 1989. For example, ITU-R BT.656 and SMPTE 259M define digital video interfaces used for broadcast-grade video. A related standard, known as high-definition serial digital interface (HD-SDI), is standardized in SMPTE 292M; this provides a nominal data rate of 1.485 Gbit/s.Additional SDI standards have been introduced to support increasing video resolutions (HD, UHD and beyond), frame rates, stereoscopic (3D) video, and color depth. Dual link HD-SDI consists of a pair of SMPTE 292M links, standardized by SMPTE 372M in 1998; this provides a nominal 2.970 Gbit/s interface used in applications (such as digital cinema or HDTV 1080P) that require greater fidelity and resolution than standard HDTV can provide. 3G-SDI (standardized in SMPTE 424M) consists of a single 2.970 Gbit/s serial link that allows replacing dual link HD-SDI. 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI standards were published on March 19, 2015.These standards are used for transmission of uncompressed, unencrypted digital video signals (optionally including embedded audio and time code) within television facilities; they can also be used for packetized data. Coaxial variants of the specification range in length but are typically less than 300 meters (980 ft). Fiber optic variants of the specification such as 297M allow for long-distance transmission limited only by maximum fiber length or repeaters. SDI and HD-SDI are usually available only in professional video equipment because various licensing agreements restrict the use of unencrypted digital interfaces, such as SDI, prohibiting their use in consumer equipment. Several professional video and HD-video capable DSLR cameras and all uncompressed video capable consumer cameras use the HDMI interface, often called clean HDMI. There are various mod kits for existing DVD players and other devices, which allow a user to add a serial digital interface to these devices.

Wilbur B. Rayton

Wilbur B. Rayton was president of the Optical Society of America from 1933–34.Born in 1884, Wilbur Rayton was a charter member of Optical Society of America. He spent his career as a member of the Bausch & Lomb staff but also taught at the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics from 1929–1931.

In 1926, he served on a committee (along with T.R. Wilkins of the University of Rochester and Loyd A. Jones of Eastman Kodak) that outlined possible courses to be offered in the proposed new Institute of Optics. He was also active in the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and designed cameras for that organization. In 1926, he developed a petrographic microscope.

Rayton's lens design skill did much to advance astronomical observation. He specialized in designing objectives for high-speed cameras for astronomical spectrographs. In 1937 Rayton designed a lens that was described as the "world's fastest". Its speed was f:0.59—6.5 times faster than the f:1.5 lenses used in minicameras of the day. Astronomer Milton Humason used Rayton's lens to observe star clusters beyond the Milky Way Galaxy. The lens cut the time it took to make spectrographic readings of remote objects in half.

When the Journal of the Optical Society of America began publication in 1917 Rayton published an article in the very first volume on reflected images in spectacle lenses. In all, he published five articles in JOSA including one that described the needs of the criteria of optical glass for the budding U.S. optics industry.

Rayton died in 1946.

Windows Media Video

Windows Media Video (WMV) is a series of video codecs and their corresponding video coding formats developed by Microsoft. It is part of the Windows Media framework. WMV consists of three distinct codecs: The original video compression technology known as WMV, was originally designed for Internet streaming applications, as a competitor to RealVideo. The other compression technologies, WMV Screen and WMV Image, cater for specialized content. After standardization by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), WMV version 9 was adapted for physical-delivery formats such as HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc and became known as VC-1. Microsoft also developed a digital container format called Advanced Systems Format to store video encoded by Windows Media Video.

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