Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers

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"SMPTE" redirects here. For the album by Transatlantic, see SMPT:e.
"SMPE" redirects here. For IBM's System Modification Program, see SMP/E.

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE (/ˈsɪmpt/, rarely /ˈsʌmpt/), founded in 1916 as the Society of Motion Picture Engineers or SMPE,[1] is an international professional association, is the preeminent leader in the advancement of the art, science, and craft of the image, sound, and metadata ecosystem, worldwide. An internationally recognized and accredited organization, SMPTE advances moving-imagery education and engineering across the communications, technology, media, and entertainment industries. Since its founding in 1916, SMPTE has published the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal and developed more than 800 standards, recommended practices, and engineering guidelines.

The Society is sustained by 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. Through the Society’s partnership with the Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA), this membership is complemented by the professional community of businesses and individuals who provide expertise, support, tools, and the infrastructure for the creation and finishing of motion pictures, television, commercials, digital media, and other dynamic media content. Information on joining SMPTE is available at

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

SMPTE strives toward its goal through its Three Pillars: Membership - Promoting networking and interaction Standards - Developing industry standards Education - Enhancing expertise through the Motion Imaging Journal, conferences, seminars, webcasts, and Section meetings

Medical Diagnostic Imaging Test Pattern

SMPTE standards documents are copyrighted and may be purchased from the SMPTE website, or other distributors of technical standards. Standard 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.

Related organizations include

SMPTE Innovation[edit]

SMPTE Color Bars© Television Test Patterns have set THE consistent reference point for more than four decades to ensure color is calibrated correctly on broadcast monitors, programs, and on video cameras and displayed beautifully for consumers.

SMPTE Time Code© gives every frame of video its own unique identifying number, makes digital editing possible, and enables the association of other data to make audio and video even more meaningful, accurate, and repeatable, whether in post for a major studio release, in hard news environments or live sports production. It even synchronizes music and is often used to automate lighting, pyrotechnics, video, and other effects in live concert production

SMPTE Digital Cinema standards — from those for higher frame rate capture and production, with high-performance, fast compression, and pristine projection, to others supporting efficient, interoperable workflows, better security, and a consistent and engaging movie-going experience — ushered in the era of digital cinema and are enabling its rapid expansion. The newer SMPTE Digital Cinema Package (DCP) standards are used to conform the recommendations among different tool vendors and producers.

SMPTE Timed Text© is accelerating the transition of broadcast content to the Internet and makes it more easily accessible to tens of millions of people in the U.S. with disabilities. SMPTE Timed Text is also the basis for subtitles and captions in the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem’s UltraViolet™ format for commercial movie and television content and is used by several video services and Internet video players.

SMPTE Transport of High Bit Rate Media Signals over IP Networks creates a standardized framework for the transport of video over Internet Protocols (IP) networks. This framework is vital for future-proofing content creation and distribution infrastructures as the media and entertainment industries undergo massive transitions to the IP-based enterprises that facilitate multipoint transmission, a critical enabler in monetizing content and advertising in new ways across multiple screens, such as computers, smart phones, and tablets.

Industry Awards and Honors[edit]

On 9 January 2014, SMPTE added a seventh Emmy to its collection: SMPTE received an Emmy Award for Technology and Engineering for 2013 by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) in recognition of the Society’s work on development, and standardization of the High-Definition Serial Digital Interface (HD-SDI) standard: Read more

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) Oscar statuette for contributions to the advancement of the motion picture industry (1957).

NATAS Citation for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development for the standards work associated with the compatible One-Inch Type C videotape format and for the technical development of the Universal Video Tape Time Code (1974-1975).

Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) Citation for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development for expeditiously achieving the difficult task of obtaining industry agreement on the One-Inch Type C Continuous Field (1977-1978).

NATAS Honor for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development for the standards work associated with the compatible one-inch Type C Videotape Format (1978-1979)

NATAS Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development for early recognition of the need for a digital video studio standard, acceptance of the EBU (European Broadcast Union) proposed component requirement, and development of the hierarchy and line lock 13.5 MHz demonstration specifications, which provided the basis for a world standard (1982-1983).

NATAS Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development for early recognition of the need for a component digital video tape recording standard, development of a recording system based on the worldwide standard for digital component sampling, and coordination with the EBU to provide the basis for a world standard for digital component video tape recording (1986-1987).

AMPAS Board of Governors Special Commendation for the contributions of the members of the engineering committees of SMPTE: “By establishing standards, they have greatly contributed to making film a primary form of international communication” (1990).

NATAS Emmy Award in Technology and Engineering, for development and standardization of digital serial interconnection (SDI) technology for television (1992-1993).

NATAS Emmy Award in Technology and Engineering, for development and standardization of MXF open file formats for the interchange of video and audio material (2007-2008).

NATAS Emmy Award in Technology and Engineering, for pioneering development and deployment of Active Format system technology and system local cable ad insertion technology — digital standards for local cable advertising (2010-2011).

U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 2012 Chairman’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility, presented to SMPTE for its Timed Text Standard for the captioning of video content distributed via the Internet.

Honors and Awards program[edit]

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

Honorary Members and The Honor Roll[edit]

Honorary Membership in the Society recognizes individuals who have performed eminent service in the advancement of engineering in motion pictures, television, or in the allied arts and sciences. Such contributions shall represent substantially a lifetime's work inasmuch as Honorary Membership shall be the supreme accolade of the Society.

When an Honorary Member passes away, their name shall be added to the Honor Roll. The name of deceased individuals who have not been awarded Honorary Membership may also be added to the Honor Roll for contributions which would have been sufficient to warrant election to Honorary Membership during their lifetime.

Victor H. Allen (1975)
Charles E. Anderson (2012)
Thomas Armat (1935)
John Logie Baird (2014)
John L.E. Baldwin (2000)
Joseph Arthur Ball (1953)
Julius Barnathan (1997)
Stanley N. Baron (2010)
K. Blair Benson (1991)
Walter Bruch (1989)
Marvin C. Camras (1990)
John C. Capstaff (1955)
Theodore W. Case (1946)
Leonardo Chiariglione (2014)
Ian Childs (2010)
George W. Colburn (1987)
Jeofry Stuart Courtney-Pratt (1974)
John I. Crabtree (1965)
Edward B. Craft (1946)
Andre Debrie (1955)
Joseph A. Flaherty (1993)
Lee de Forest (1940)
LeRoy E. De Marsh (1999)
Herman A. DeVry (<1950)***
William K. L. Dickson (1933)
Walt Disney (1955)
Ray M. Dolby (1992)
Linwood G. Dunn (1984)
George Eastman (1928)
Harold E. Edgarton (1968)
Thomas Alva Edison (1928)
Elmer W. Engstrom (1966)
Alexander Ernemann (1955)
Ralph M. Evans (1973)
Philo Taylor Farnsworth (1996)
Harvey Fletcher (1959)
Charles R. Fordyce (1984)
John G. Frayne (1967)
William Friese-Greene (1931)
Leon Gaumont (<1946)***
Charles P. Ginsberg (1976)
Peter C. Goldmark (1977)
Alfred N. Goldsmith (1961)
Wesley T. Hanson, Jr. (1979)
Albert S. Howell (<1950)***
Frederick Eugene Ives (1928)
C. Francis Jenkins (1928)
Herbert T. Kalmus (1958)
Edward W. Kellogg (1950)
Stefan Kudelski 1988)
Eugene Augustin Lauste (1931)
Louis A. A. LePrince (1931)
Jean Acme LeRoy (1931)
Nathan Levinson (1953)
George Lucas (2014)
Louis Lumiere (1928)
Kenneth M. Mason (1981)
John A. Maurer (1978)
C.E. Kenneth Mees (1957)
Pierre Mertz (1971)
Oskar Messter (1960)
George A. Mitchell (1971)
Masahiko Morizono (1994)
Albert Narath (1969)
Robert W. Paul (1938)
Edwin Stanton Porter (1942)
Kerns H. Powers (1995)
A. Reeves (>1935)***
Frederick M. Remley, Jr. (1991)
Frank H. Richardson (1944)
Robert Richter (1972)
Rodger J. Ross (1989)
Loren L. Ryder (1980)
Michael J. Sherlock (1997)
Max Skladanowsky (1970)
Sidney P. Solow (1981)
Robert M. Smith (1996)
William H. Smith (1988)
Earl I. Sponable (1957)
Kenjiro Takayanagi (1988)
Lloyd Thompson (1962)
Alexander F. Victor (1964)
Samuel L. Warner (1946)
William T. Wintringham (1977)
Roland J. Zavada (1995)
Vladimir K. Zworkyin (1950)

Progress Medal[edit]

The Progress Medal instituted in 1935, is SMPTE's oldest and most prestigious medal, and awarded annually for technical contributions to the progress of engineering phases of the motion picture and/or television industries.[3]

David Sarnoff Gold Medal[edit]

Eastman Kodak Gold Medal[edit]

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. This award was discontinued in 2008.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ [1]
  3. ^ List of SMPTE Progress Medal winners

External links[edit]