SMPTE Awards: Kudos, a Jam, and the 'Resolution Blues'

Honorees included Bill Feightner, Milt Shefter, Tom Scott and Keliichi Kubota.

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers capped its conference Thursday night with an annual awards ceremony, which was followed by a jam session featuring the musical talents of the organization's membership and staff.

This close-knit group of technology leaders honored its own, including respected image scientist Bill Feightner, CTO at Colorfront and a co-founder of Efilm, who was awarded the Technicolor/Herbert T. Kalmus Medal for commitment to the highest standards of quality and innovation.

“I’ve been called a nitpicker,” he admitted, while promising to continue to maintain high standards. He also thanked his Efilm co-founder, industry vet Joe Matza, for the idea to start the company.

“This will not be a lecture on the digital dilemma, I promise,” Milt Shefter joked, receiving the Archival Technology Medal. He is co-author and co-editor of The Digital Dilemma, an impactful report on the industry's archival challenges in the digital era, published by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Science and Technology Council.

John Hurst of CineCert, accepting the Excellence in Standards Award for his digital cinema work, thanked SMPTE for “singling me out as a nerd among nerds.”

NHK’s Keiichi Kubota received SMPTE’s hightest recognition, the Progress Medal for contribution to developments including HDTV. “Now we are facing the next transition to Ultra HDTV,” he said. “I feel fortunate to be able to witness two huge transitions.”

Additional honorees included two-time Oscar-winner Tom Scott (best sound for The Right Stuff and Amadeus), who received the Samuel L. Warner Memorial Medal; ESPN’s Chuck Pagano, the David Sarnoff Medal; R. Norman Hurst, the Digital Processing Medal; Edward J. Giorgianni, the Kodak Educational Award; John Footen, the Workflow Systems Medal; William C. Miller, the SMPTE Presidential Proclamation; and Peter Collis, Tim Dwight, Bruce Follmer, Eric Gsell, and Oleg Nikolayevich Raev, Citations of Outstanding Service to the Society.

During an "in memoriam" segment, attendees paused to remember members including sound innovator Ray Dolby, who died in September.

Also during the ceremony, the Journal Award went to Wayne E. Bretl. Journal Certificates of Merit were awarded to Brian Long, Roger Schwenke, Peter Soper, Glenn Leembruggen, Martin S. Banks, Jenny C. A. Read, Robert Allison and Simon J. Watt.

Fourteen engineers were inducted as SMPTE Fellows: Paul R. Beck, Siegfried Foessel, Paul Gardiner, Friedrich Gierlinger, Douglas Greenfield, George C. Hoover, R. Norman Hurst, Chris Johns, Pierre-Anthony Lemieux, David Siegler, Ted Szypulski, Steven D. Tiffen, Jim Whittlesey and Barry Zegel.

Joshua P. Berkowitz received the Louis F. Wolf Jr. Memorial Scholarship.

The ceremony was hosted by SMPTE Fellow David Wood, who was also part of the ‘second annual SMPTE Jam' that followed the ceremony. Wood sang Johnny B Goode and performed with a band that included Disney’s Howard Lukk, Sony’s Brian Vessa, Dolby’s Pat Griffis, CNN’s Michael Koetter, and many others.

Following a week during which the group examined the technical issues of high resolution imagery, SMPTE member Richard Welsh performed a song he wrote for the occasion, dubbed “The Resolution Blues.”

It was a hit with the crowd, with lyrics included, “So I give you all the 4K; Now you say you need 8; I say, ‘that's like 24 megapixels; you say ‘that’s just great.’ “

Honoree John Hurst operated the mixing board for the set, wrapping this week’s conference that attracted more than 2,000 attendees.


Twitter: @CGinLA