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SMPTE is the worldwide leader in motion-imaging standards and education

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), is the leading technical society for the motion imaging industry.

SMPTE members are spread throughout 64 countries worldwide. Over 200 Sustaining (institutional) Members belong to SMPTE, allowing networking and contacts to occur on a larger scale. Touching on every discipline, our members include engineers, technical directors, cameramen, editors, technicians, manufacturers, designers, educators, consultants and field users in networking, compression, encryption and more.


SMPTE was founded in 1916 to advance theory and development in the motion imaging field. Today, SMPTE publishes ANSI-approved Standards, Recommended Practices, and Engineering Guidelines, along with the highly regarded SMPTE Journal and its peer-reviewed technical papers. SMPTE holds conferences and local Section meetings to bring people and ideas together, allowing for useful interaction and information exchange.

SMPTE strives toward its goal through:

  • Membership: Promoting networking and interaction
  • Standards: Developing industry standards
  • Education: Enhancing education through seminars, exhibitions, and conferences
SMPTE History

In the early 1900's, the soon-to-be motion picture industry was unorganized, lacking structure and leadership. Equipment was built differently according to each manufacturer, and standard practice was nonexistent.

At the same time, a world war was threatening, and the army saw a need for motion pictures for training and recording military events. The U.S. government attempted to bring order to this demanded industry by creating a body to lead development in motion pictures. The government looked to an inventor from Washington D.C. named C.F. Jenkins to chair the organization. Jenkins had developed the first motion picture projector in 1895 along with Thomas Armat, as well as several unique imaging devices, such as an underwater camera, and a panoramic camera for aerial views.

After two unsuccessful attempts at starting this organization, Jenkins met with two of his close colleagues to discuss a solution. Jenkins, E.K. Gillett, and N.I. Brown gathered on the Boardwalk of Atlantic City one day during the spring of 1915. They discussed past failures to generate an organized group to lead the motion picture industry, while recalling the successes of other engineering societies.

One year later, in July of 1916, the three men along with seven additional engineers met in Washington D.C. A unanimous decision was made to create a society of engineering specialists in the motion picture field. A constitution was then created, and Jenkins was named chairman of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers (SMPE).

In October of 1916, the group ratified the constitution, established committees, and elected Jenkins as president. The "T" was added to the Society in 1950 to embrace the emerging television industry. Today, SMPTE is recognized as the global leader in the development of standards and authoritative practices for film, television, video and multimedia.

To accomplish its educational goals, SMPTE organizes annual conferences and seminars. It also publishes the highly regarded SMPTE Journal, which is recognized around the world for its well-researched technical papers, tutorials, practical application articles, standards updates and SMPTE Section Reports.


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