Why SMPTE/New England Specials are Worthwhile
They're the only place to...
By John Gates, SMPTE/NE Chairperson
I am writing this the morning after the March 2001 SMPTE/New England meeting. We had a "field trip" out west, about 30 miles from Boston, at Wolf Coach (Auburn, MA). While some people think that civilization is pretty scarce between Route 495 and New York City, this meeting was definitely "worth the trip". I'll leave it to someone else, more technically minded than I, to write up the official meeting report, but I want to talk about the value of our SMPTE meetings.
To set the stage a bit: this was a real nuts and bolt meeting, not a theoretical subject with a panel of well known speakers. This SMPTE/New England meeting dealt with test and measurement issues, the specific equipment and procedures for HDTV. It was well planned and well supported by our host Wolf Coach - who deal with these issues every day as they build mobile production trucks of all shapes/sizes/missions. SMPTE/New England Manager Emeric Feldmar and Wolf Coach Executive VP Richard Wolf gathered a very qualified group of vendor engineers who shared their expertise both during the formal meeting and during the informal times before and after the meeting. SMPTE/New England members and guests toured the Wolf Coach facility where they saw this technology in action.
Frankly, when we planned this meeting several months ago, we "knew" that, as important as this topic is, we were not likely to get a great turnout for such a "technical" meeting, especially during March in New England. Boy, were we wrong about that. Now, we did do our homework. We actively reached out to our brothers and sisters in the SBE, our friends in the production and post-production community and to groups like I.B.E.W. Local 1228; the broadcast engineers and production people at many TV stations across our region. Bob Lamm, our web site maven and newsletter editor made sure the meeting was well promoted through those channels. Our individual manager's reached out to their colleagues and employees to encourage attending this meeting. It all worked.
We had New England SMPTE members and guests attend from as far away as Burlington, VT and Waterville, ME. Marty Faubell, VP of Engineering for Hearst-Argyle Television cemented his position as our most frequently attending SMPTE member from outside New England. Vendors came from across the Eastern Seaboard and one fellow even made it all the way from England. One of our SMPTE Eastern Region Governors, Mark Everett, traveled from the Pennsylvania to speak to our members. But, apart from the large number of people attending (over 80) and the large distances they traveled to attend, there is one, somewhat intangible, but very important, value to attending an SMPTE meeting. And that value was very obvious to all last night.
The informal contact and information sharing that goes on at an SMPTE - NE meeting has a real value to you and everyone who attends these meetings. Over and above the useful information shared during our "formal" meetings, there is a real (God, I hate to use this word) synergy that happens when SMPTE members and guests meet one-on-one. Like minded people, from diverse work places, have a lot to learn from each other and, from where I stand, they share it freely at SMPTE - NE meetings, and enjoy doing that.
Stop and think just one minute. You know how busy, straight out, you feel at work every day. You know the stress that comes with your job. You know the feeling that you might never, ever "catch-up". Well, I see relief on the faces of those of you who attend our SMPTE meetings. The chance to speak with and interact with like-minded people and to share information and fellowship and yes, the stress and frustration a bit too. I see joy. I see people at ease with each other.
There you have it. It's really quite simple. Come to a SMPTE/New England meeting and improve both your professional and your personal life. Who could ask for anything more? See you at a SMPTE meeting soon.
-John Gates, SMPTE/New England Section Chairperson
Gates Service Group, Inc.
14 Edgewood Ave.
Beautiful Downtown Natick, MA 01760-5424