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Fall Survey Results
From the September Questionnaire

By Phil Ozek

In our September mailing we included a survey in which we asked the local membership a number of questions dealing with the local chapter. Although there were only twenty-three responses, those that did respond are helping us by providing important feedback on what’s important to them. To those that responded I thank you! To those that did not respond I will simply say our phones and network connections are open and we await your kudos and criticisms.

Total number of respondents: 23, Percentage of membership responding: about 10% (This figure is based on an approximate September member count of 230. The current membership roll is 266.)

The Questions:

1. In order of importance please number the following:

  • Local Meetings: 13
  • Journal: 8
  • Conferences: 1
  • Professional Development: 1

It is clear to the majority of those that responded that the organization and holding of local meetings is most important. Every year, SMPTE/NE makes an enormous effort to construct a meeting calendar that both interesting and educational to it’s members. In order to continue this trend, we are asking for your help. If you know of a topic that would be of interest to the localchapter let us know! All ideas are welcome and, who knows, maybe your idea will result in a meeting for next season.

2. I attend local meetings:

  • Yes: 14
  • No: 9

This result parallels the answer to question one. While we understand that every member cannot attend every meeting, we are asking those that have not attended a meeting recently to check out one of our upcoming meetings. Who knows, maybe you'll run into that old colleague of yours that you haven't seen in how many years?

3. If you answered no, why not?

  • One respondent had a conflict with classes.
  • Three answered they live too far away.
  • Two answered no time/schedule conflicts.
  • Two answered they had very focused interests not represented at meetings.
  • One commented they would make an effort to attend future meetings.

In the works for next season is a plan in which the local meetings will be held on a set date every month. For instance, the third Thursday of every month. It is hoped that such a schedule will allow more members to pencil in SMPTE/NE meeting dates even before the meeting location and topic is known.

4. Over the course of a season (ten meetings) I usually attend ___ meetings.

  • Three answered zero
  • Five answered five
  • Four answered one
  • One answered six
  • One answered two
  • One answered seven
  • Two answered three
  • Two answered eight
  • One answered four
  • One answered all if they’re in town
  • Two did not answer the question

5. What I like most about the local meetings is:

  • Eight did not respond to this question.
  • Five responded seeing old friends/peer group association.
  • Four responded learning about new things, facts, technologies.
  • Two responded topics/networking.
  • Four responded meeting industry people/products.

6. What I like least about the local meetings is:

  • Eleven did not respond to this question
  • Two responded nothing
  • Two responded distance from VT/location & parking
  • Two responded not enough emphasis on applications/craft
  • Two responded too video oriented/not pertaining to their interest area
  • One responded scheduling the meetings after work
  • Two responded one topic/self-promoting meetings
  • One responded not having a planned series of meeting for the ensuing year

Let me attempt to answer some of the concerns here:

To the folks from Vermont, I agree there is a distance problem and to my knowledge I can’t recall a meeting being held outside of the Boston area. While we are SMPTE/NE, the majority of our membership is from the Greater Boston area. Perhaps in the future we'll be able to teleconference our meetings to the other New England states. Everyone's thoughts on this matter are welcome.

To those that responded regarding not enough emphasis on applications/craft I will say this may be true to a certain extent, however, we have not intentionally ignored this.

Case in point: Last September High Output in conjunction with the Gates Service Group held a special Saturday workshop on "Moving Lights." Moving lights are remote controlled lights that are used in all types of productions. Unfortunately, only about a half-dozen people showed up for this event. We will not overlook meetings dealing with applications/craft in the future, however, we will not hold such meetings unless we can adequately promote them in advance within SMPTE/NE and other organizations.

Two respondents indicated that SMPTE/NE's meetings were too video oriented and that perhaps we forgot about the "Motion Picture" in SMPTE. I must agree to this to a certain point. Yes, a majority of meetings are devoted to video/electronic issues and meetings devoted to film have taken a backseat.

We have not, however, totally forgotten about film. For instance, last November we held a meeting at the Salem Maritime Museum where we were screened a locally produced film Where Past is Present. This had to be one of the greatest SMPTE meetings I have ever attended. The film was beautifully shot and edited, the soundtrack was rich and vibrant, the speakers were very interesting, the theater was comfortable and, unfortunately, only about fifteen to twenty people showed up.

This was a missed opportunity for those active in the film community to help spread the word about this event. Film will not be forgotten but, we need your help. If you have an meeting idea for next season dealing with film issues let us know and, more importantly, let us know how to better promote such an event.

In response to the last three replies:

1. Aside from special Saturday workshops, meetings are, and will always be held after work. Quite simply, there is no better alternative time for holding meetings.

2. To the person who replied that some meetings deal with only one topic and might be self-promoting our response is that one topic meetings are held if the topic is timely and can, indeed, fill up the two hours or so that a typical meeting lasts for. As for some meetings being self-promoting, we do try to avoid the appearance of such promotion and believe that this is not a problem. Once again, if you have an idea for a meeting/presenter let us know!

3. While having a line-up of meetings for the coming year is a daunting challenge we will attempt to do so for next season.

7. I'd like to see more meetings on this topic:

  • Eleven did not respond to this question
  • Six responded digital compression/tapeless systems/server applications
  • One responded TV uplinking
  • One responded serial digital video
  • One responded desktop video conferencing
  • One responded wideband video distribution/display
  • One responded formats and standards interfacing
  • One responded historical overview of motion picture and television technology
  • One responded film projection/sound playback

We'll consider these and other ideas when we plan next season's meetings this summer.

8. I receive meeting notices:___Always ___Sometimes ___Never

  • Nineteen responded always
  • Four answered sometimes

As always, let us know if your mailing address has changed, etc.

9. If you answered sometimes or never in question #8 please elaborate:

  • Two responded they receive the notice too late
  • One responded they changed their mailing address

In regards to late meeting notices let me respond. We’ve sent out meeting notices weeks in advance only to have very few people show up at the meeting. On the other hand, some last minute meeting notices have drawn the biggest crowds. What do you think? How soon would you like to receive your meeting notice? Let us know.

10. Comments/Suggestions?

  • Eighteen did not respond to this question
  • One responded use e-mail when available
  • One responded don’t fall back on the same people all of thetime
  • One responded more social events suitable for spouse
  • One responded more stuff on non-broadcast/production such as video conferencing, projection and display technology
  • One responded having a historical context as part of new technology meetings would help educate producers and engineers.

    Phil Ozek is Section Chairman of SMPTE/New England. He can be reached at (617) 942-2000, Ext. 2518,

Posted: February 199
Bob Lamm, SMPTE/New England Newsletter/Web Page Editor