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.