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SMPTE announces 2023 honourees

The annual awards honour those contributions to media production and distribution by those whose work often goes unseen by the public

SMPTE will bestow 17 honours on 35 individuals and organisations at its annual Awards Gala in October.

“One of the great joys of SMPTE is to honour the work of those who often go unseen by the public,” explained SMPTE executive director David Grindle. “Without whose contributions to media production and distribution, that same public would not enjoy the media they do.”

The organisation’s highest award, Honourary Membership, will be conferred on Philipp Lawo in recognition of his “pioneering of audio and media networking technology, which has significantly advanced broadcast facilities and live production including the world’s largest live sporting events”, said SMPTE.

The Progress Medal recognises outstanding technical contributions to the progress of engineering phases of the motion-imaging industries. This year, the Society will recognise John Christopher Gaeta for his contributions to Virtual Cinema, Volumetric Capture, and ‘Bullet Time’ in the original Matrix film trilogy.

SMPTE’s Natalie M. and Herbert T. Kalmus Medal recognises outstanding contributions that reflect a commitment to the highest standards of quality and innovation in motion picture post-production and distribution services. It will be presented to Douglas Walker for his contributions to the motion picture industry, including as chief architect of the OpenColorIOv2 open-source project, and his work on the implementation of the Common LUT Format (CLF), a cross-platform mechanism for communicating complex colour management transforms.

Rolv Gjestland will receive the Samuel L. Warner Memorial Medal, which is presented for outstanding contributions in the design and development of new and improved methods and/or apparatus for motion picture sound. Gjestland will be recognised for his contributions to cinema auditorium design in all presentation aspects, including sound and picture.

Michael A. Dolan will be honored with The David Sarnoff Medal for his significant contributions to the development and implementation of the ATSC 3.0 digital transmission standard’s IMSC1 IP-based closed-captioning standard.

The Excellence in Education Medal will be presented to Dr Wolfgang Ruppel for his contributions to media technology education in Germany, particularly during more than 15 years leading the engineering department at RheinMain University.

OpenColorIO will receive the Workflow Systems Medal for its open standard colour management solution, designed for media production, emphasising visual effects and computer animation.

The Digital Processing Medal, which recognises significant technical achievements related to the development of digital processing of content for motion pictures, television, games, or other related media, will be presented to Karlheinz Brandenburg in recognition of his fundamental contributions to developing MPEG digital audio compression systems.

The Camera Origination and Imaging Medal will be presented to Rudolf P. Koppe for developing the technology that enabled the transmission of full bandwidth HD camera signals over existing triax cable, allowing a rapid transition to high-definition television production in the studio and at remote locations.

Richard D Wright will be honoured with the James A Lindner Archival Technology Medal for more than three decades of leadership in audiovisual preservation, which has contributed significantly to developing quality standards in large-scale archival digitization initiatives.

SMPTE’s Excellence in Standards Award recognises those who have been actively involved in advancing the Society’s standards, activities, and processes. This year’s award will be presented to Florian Schleich for his work as SMPTE standards vice-president and chair of the 35PM technology committee.

The Presidential Proclamation recognises individuals of established and outstanding status and reputation in the motion picture and television industries worldwide. Wendy Aylsworth will be recognized for her decades of service to the production technology industry and her trailblazing work, which paved the way for women in such male-dominated fields as aerospace engineering, production engineering, and animation technology and operations, said SMPTE. Peter Wharton will be posthumously recognised for his numerous contributions to SMPTE and the broadcast technology industry, including his passion for mentoring and creating opportunities for underrepresented groups within the industry.

Fourteen new SMPTE Fellows will be recognised at this year’s Gala for attaining an outstanding rank among engineers or executives in media and entertainment through their proficiency and contributions to the motion picture, television, or related industries. These individuals are Mark Aitken, John Ellerton, Martin P Feldman, Cristina Gomila, Frank Governale, James L Helman, Polly Hickling, Ievgen Kostiukevych, Madeleine Noland, Peter H Putman, Charles Q Robinson, Chris Arley Seeger, Simon Thompson, and Kelly T Williams.

The SMPTE Awards Gala will take place in the Ray Dolby Ballroom within the Ovation Hollywood, on Thursday, 19th October.