SMPTE conference to address multi-platform challenges
Issue: October 1, 2010

SMPTE conference to address multi-platform challenges

HOLLYWOOD - SMPTE’s Annual Technical Conference & Expo ( will take place on October 26-28, but the day before the event, the organization is hosting a pre-conference symposium dubbed the “Digital Media Ecosystem Essentials Seminar.” On Monday, October 25, the pre-conference symposium will address many of new challenges presented by the multi-format world.

SMPTE’s Pete Lude, who also serves as senior VP of solutions engineering for Sony, explains that “content is not just sent out for theatrical or television,” anymore. It also is being delivered to mobile platforms, and for store & forward download. “It’s being subjected to not just conversions, but to changes in aspect ratios and color spaces. It’s having metadata changed in the course of its transmission, and it’s having new things, like digital rights management overlays, put on to it.”

Content creators, says Lude, “really need to know how this might affect the ecosystem in the future and how programming might be distributed in ways that could affect the upstream processes for the content distributors.”

The full-day event will focus on the different ways content is being distributed to consumers, beyond traditional broadcast and cable, and will focus on the multiplatform world. Several papers will be presented on digital rights management. And, the Ultra Violet Project will be discussed, which allows consumers who buy a DVD to have access to a downloadable file from a different service.

“It’s unclear what the implications will be for a post house [when] creating content that is owned by same person but distributed over different platforms,” says Lude. 

Peter Symes, SMPTE’s director of standards and engineering, also points to two new products that will be discussed at the annual conference.

The Digtal Leader was designed for post houses to insert into the beginning or end of content as a way to check quality after different post processes. Ultimately, a post house would receive an eight second sequence of high-quality TIF images that it would add to the front or tail of a digital movie. Regardless of the compression or encryption that a piece of content would go through, these files would serve as a reference of what the material should look like. 

Digital cinemas would also have a quality assurance solution in the DPROVE product, which would contain the same collection of test images, allowing operators to make sure the presentation has been optimized.