Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers

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 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.

Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
  • /ˈsɪmpt/, rarely /ˈsʌmpt/
Formation1916 (1916)

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

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

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.
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