Metro Vancouver engineers trying to revive local SMPTE chapter

Jim Nelson and Oliver Eichel of the Western Canadian subsection of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).

Ever wonder where time coding, colour bars or the countdown before a film originated?

They were all standards put in place by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).

With the organization now over a century old, area members of SMPTE were among the exhibitors at the Western Association of Broadcasters (WABE) 2018 Convention in Richmond, BC this week.

Oliver Eichel, chair of the Western Canadian subsection of SMPTE, is hoping to revive a chapter in Greater Vancouver.

“It’s a good way for people to network and learn about the technology and stay on top of it, because technology moves very, very quickly in the industry now,” Eichel told Broadcast Dialogue. “There is a need for a better way of getting information to everybody because tech moves so fast and you can only learn so much from Google.”

Eichel, the director of broadcast operations, engineering and IT for B.C. public broadcaster The Knowledge Network, says driving membership amongst younger engineers can be challenging in impressing the value of one-on-one networking

“My perception is there may be a challenge with younger engineers who think they can get everything online and they may not see the value of one-on-one communications with their peer group. That’s the challenge of keeping an organization like SMPTE going,” said Eichel.
“The value of the one to one is that you can get an answer to a problem very quickly. You can pick up the phone, send a text, send an email…the competition amongst the engineering group is different than the other technologies, they have a culture of sharing.

Eichel believes the need for SMPTE is more acute than it’s ever been with the rapid advances in wireless technology and frequency spectrums.

“You can go online, but how do you get to the chase really quickly? The easiest way to do that is join some fellow engineers who work in the local area, who have experience and you share knowledge and learn as you go along.”

For more information on membership in SMPTE, visit

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