SMPTE Toronto’s BOOT CAMP III: Advanced Technologies—Beyond HD

Its that time of year again when much of Toronto’s Film and Television technical community will make their annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for NAB 2008. With the light shining on Las Vegas over the next week or so, I think that it is important for the Toronto Film and Television technical community to mark their calendars for May 14 and 15, 2008. That will be the dates for the 16th Toronto Technical Seminar and this year it’s titled BOOT CAMP III: Advanced Technologies—Beyond HD.

Priced at $99 for SMPTE members, the two day Technical seminar represents both a tremendous opportunity to learn and an incredible bargain. The last two technical seminars that occurred over the last couple of years sold out for good reason. The content of those seminars was extremely relevant as the conversion to HDTV was well underway in most of the area’s television enterprises. With the standards and practices now well entrenched in the community, this years seminar theme will focus on technologies that go beyond HDTV.

This years speakers, many of them the top technical people in their fields, have been challenged by the organizers to talk about what’s in the future and what the engineering community needs to know when it comes to the future communications and motion imaging technology.

And this year the BOOT CAMP has some new twists. Two HARRIS sponsored keynote sessions are planned. At last nights SMPTE Toronto Meeting it was announced that Mark Schubin, the well-known television engineer, historian, podcaster & journalist will be one of the keynote speakers. As well, Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and former Chief Scientist of Alias Systems will present a keynote. Buxton, who is a designer and a researcher is concerned with human aspects of technology. Both Buxton and Schubin are guaranteed to provide some unique observations into the greater context to which all of the Engineering community works and the role that they play as it relates to technology.

Another highlight of BOOT CAMP III will be the Wednesday evening tradeshow. Its purpose is to allow for the display of some of the advanced technologies presented at the daily sessions.

In reviewing the confirmed speakers I’m looking forward to a number of presentations. ARRI is flying in Dr. Hans Kiening from Germany. Dr. Kiening worked from 2004-2005 as R&D project manager of “ARRISCAN” and is currently responsible for ARRI’s Project 4K+. Dr. Kiening is a specialist in the field of image analysis and sees that the debate about 2K vs. 4K in professional postproduction is awash with expectation, prejudice and contradictory information. In recent presentations he’s focused on making technically-grounded appraisals of the issues.

Eric Heidendahl of Canwest Mediaworks will be presenting a paper. Eric worked on the groundbreaking digital newsroom project where Global Television relies on ORAD virtual set technology at its regional stations, controlled remotely from four production “super centres” that the company is building in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto. It’s a model that centralizes control rooms up to 3,000 km away, and relies heavily on remote control and robotics for production.

Another confirmed speaker that I always learn something from is Charles Poynton. He graduated with a degree in Mathematics from Queen’s University and later studied at the Ontario College of Art. In his long and distinguished career he has contributed to the design and build of the digital video equipment used at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and he introduced color management technology to Sun Microsystems in the early 90’s. He has contributed to many SMPTE and ITU-R standards, including Rec. 601, SMPTE RP 145, SMPTE 170M, and Rec. 709. He was the document editor for SMPTE 274M, the foundation for all of SMPTE’s HDTV studio standards. He’s no stranger to public speaking as he has organized many popular courses and seminars, including HDTV Technology at SIGGRAPH 91, Concepts of Color, Video and Compression at ACM Multimedia 93, and color technology courses at SIGGRAPHs from 1994 through 2004. He now works as an independent contractor, specializing in the physics, mathematics, and engineering of digital color imaging systems, including digital video, HDTV, and digital cinema (D-cinema).

Sitting on the organizing committee I can tell you that the quality of papers and speakers that will provide for the bulk of the content are outstanding. In fact the topics and the people are so good the Organizing Committee is challenged with the awesome task of trimming the content down. Expect a jam packed agenda.

The seminar will take place at Ryerson University’s George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre in a state of the art 330 seat theatre. Up to date information on BOOT CAMP III and information on how you can register can be found at

I’d suggest you get yourself registered. BOOT CAMP III: Advanced Technologies—Beyond HD is bound to be a good one.


New Look, Solid State Memory, CES 2008 Report and VISTA’s Lowered Standards

New Look For Site

Spent a little time this evening changing the look of the site. I’m still learning WordPress and at least the header of the blogsite looks a little more complete. I like the look of the three-column layout so I think I’ll stick with this for a while. I promise I’ll start posting more images in the future but for now I’d just like to continue adding content to the site. I’m learning WordPress and Twitter at the same time and the only comment I got from my daughter is that I Tweet too much. She might be right on that subject but I use tweets when I’m working to provide the fodder for the ….brad’s blog…. postings.

CES 2008 – The Consumer as an Agent For Change

While searching the Internet today I see that an old acquaintance of mine Phil Keeling is still producing a report on CES for the Canadian Satellite Users Association. Titled “CES 2008 – The Consumer as an Agent For Change”, it can be found at I’m glad I found it because there are some things in are in it that will really help me in my work.

Blu Ray and Solid State Memory

While I do believe there is is a spot in the consumer marketplace for Optical Media, I’m not completely sold on the “trash talk” on Blu Ray being the victor with the demise of HD DVD. The question is exactly what did Blu Ray win? In the period of time that it has taken Blu Ray to establish itself I’m convinced that a growing number of people like the idea of carrying around small USB flash drives and I believe that ultimately file based media –without DRM schemes– will be the preferred methodology by which individuals will consume media.

The CES 2008 report specifically cites Shelly Palmers CES blog where he notes;

During CES week, the HD DVD v. BluRay war was called in favor of BluRay. This may be premature or it may be right on the money – in truth, it would be great to have a single optical solution for HD storage. But, while everyone at the show was taking sides and talking trash, some people might have missed the other big story at CES – solid state memory.

You know your jump drive (the little USB thingy you have on your key chain)? It could be up to 8GB, but it’s probably a smaller model. Well, several manufacturers were showing prototypes of jump drive and SSD (Solid State Disc) technologies up to 832GB. Yes, you read it right, almost a Terabyte of data could be hanging on your keychain within a very few months.

What will that mean to you? Well a standard DVD holds one movie and some additional material in 4.7GB and BluRay disc holds about four times as much. But, if you compress a movie to about 2GB where it still looks good, you can imagine a world where any given teenager could be walking around with over 400 full length, HD feature films, 1,200 standard definition films, 2,000 hours of television or 250,000 songs on their iPod or hanging on a keychain or lanyard.” You can find Shelly Palmers blog at

The CES 2008 report also notes some other interesting things that relates to advances in Media Technology. Here they are with links

There is much more in the report and if you didn’t get to CES and you work in the Media Industry this is as good a report as you’re going to get.

Engadget Reports Microsoft Lowered Vista Requirements To Help Intel Sell Incompatible Chipsets claims Microsoft lowered Vista design requirements to help Intel sell incompatible chipsets. The story appears to have some merit based on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer coverage of the case at The story is being reported because there is a class action lawsuit going on lawsuit over the “Windows Vista Capable” program. What’s interesting about this story is I watched Bill Buxton’s “The Design Eco-System” Keynote, at IxDA Interaction 08. Buxton works in Microsoft Research where he defined exactly what the design process is.

It’s interesting. He clearly indicates that design is all about making choices. He sees the role of the designer as someone who actually reduces options and one that narrows the final product. He laments that in a lot of industrial cases design is done after the product is approved,  citing buildings that are often designed internally as they are being constructed. One might conclude that it was probably the the design process that was at play with VISTA, if the class action lawsuit turns out to be true. I know I kept hearing about announced features relating to VISTA being dropped as it was being developed so I think Bill Buxton’s keynote is very astute. You can watch it at 

More later…….