As the IBC Show returns after a three-year in-person hiatus, SMPTE President Hans Hoffmann reflects on the industry’s obvious need for networking and the society’s latest progress in educational work streams and inclusivity.

Contemplating the first in-person IBC show since 2019, the excitement of Hans Hoffmann - President of SMPTE is palpable.

“The expectations of attendees and the media industry as a whole are extremely high,” he says. “Everyone is keen to see, touch and learn about recent innovations. There is an obvious need for networking, for opportunities to share and to discover where the industry is heading.”

Hans Hoffmann

Hans Hoffman, President, SMPTE

Moreover, it is clear that there is plenty of innovation to catch up on - not least that instigated by SMPTE itself, which has been continuing to lead the way to IP-based media production infrastructures through its standards programmes, such as ST2110, and collaboration with partners including VSF, AMWA and EBU through the Joint Task force on etworked media.

Hoffmann also reflects on the society’s role in standardising HDR, describing the technology as ”a game-changer for how consumers are immersed with new levels of visual quality” - and its development of the Rapid Industry Solution (RIS) for on-set virtual production.

Virtual production is also part of -SMPTE’s far-reaching conference programme. Creative technologist Brian Gaffney moderated a session entitled ’Virtual Production - Still bleeding edge?’­, where the topics included virtual art departments, technical management and controls, and the creative process.

Another session highlighted by Hoffmann is The Art of the Possible: Moving media workflows to the cloud, where Larissa Goerner -Senior Director Product Line Management, AMPP at Grass Valley and co-chair of the SMPTE Advisory board Media in the Cloud - moderated a session exploring how live, near-live and file-based media workflows are being achieved in the cloud, with a focus on the workloads that are possible today and those which may not yet be fully suitable for the cloud.

Building skills for the future workforce

Both through panel sessions and its own stand presence at IBC2022, SMPTE is also reflecting on the development of more educational workstreams to assist the industry in building skills and knowledge in emerging fields.

Hoffmann says: “We recognise that the industry at large is seeking their workforce of the future, and we know the work of reaching potential media professionals and technologists starts early - in university, higher education and early career stages. We are proud of the society’s remarkable success in setting up new student chapters in Germany and India, underlining the fact that SMPTE is a truly global organisation.”

Following on from the formation a few years ago of the SMPTE Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), the organisation has also taken a further significant step by revising some of the language used in its documents to articulate ideas and concepts.

“SMPTE is proud to be among the industry bodies that have made recommendations on the removal of offensive language from engineering and other documents, and to provide that resource to other groups as well,” he says.

Summing up his feelings as the IBC show returns, Hoffmann observes that: “the speed of change is high, and so is the need for communicating, building communities, and informing and providing strategic direction. I am confident that IBC is ready to take on this challenge [in the] new normal. IBC2022 will be undoubtedly an epic event. Going forward, I think we can expect this already stellar event to continue to evolve.”

For more information about the SMPTE, one of IBC’s owners, visit the SMPTE website.