Magic and Miracles

100 Years of Moving Image Science and Technology

The Work of the Society of Motion Imaging and Television Engineers

It's Here!

Magic and Miracles has arrived at the SMPTE Home Office!

About the Book

Magic and Miracles 100 Years of Moving Image Science and Technology

Lights ... Camera ... Action!

In 1916, expansion of the nascent motion picture industry was stymied by a lack of technical standards.

Following two failed attempts by industry trade associations, inventor C. Francis Jenkins placed his professional

reputation on the line and invited a number of his industry colleagues to form a motion picture engineering

society, and the Society of Motion Picture Engineers was established.

Little did Jenkins know that 100 years later...

His engineering society, now SMPTE (the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers), would not only still be in existence, but would have grown to include television, with a thriving membership across the globe!


The Society has facilitated the transition of the motion imaging industry to digital systems, championed its evolution to IT and enabled the ubiquitous availability of video content. 


As SMPTE enters its second century, the Society is developing next- gen standards and providing education to its members, as the industry is transitioning to IT-based infrastructures and implementing IP-based workflows.

Richly illustrated and written for nontechnical readers and media pros alike

Using essays contributed by SMPTE Members, descriptions of landmark events, insights into the Society’s standards development work, and archival material that documents the course of moving-image technology evolution, Magic & Miracles commemorates the work of the Society and its members in the development of motion-picture, television, and digital media technology.  


 The book will remain available at its pre-order price — $59.94 for SMPTE Members and $75 for nonmembers — through March 15.  

Limited-Edition Companion Book Also Available!

The Honor Roll and Honorary Members of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers



This is a limited-edition 100 page, hardcover book published in full-color, that showcases the industry leaders and innovators who have contributed their talents to SMPTE over the past 10 decades. 


Perfect for any media technologist. Nontechnical industry professionals, executives, and motion-picture, television, and technology historians will also enjoy this commemorative book of these remarkable individuals. 


The SMPTE Member price is $25, and nonmembers may purchase for $30.



Meet the Editorial Director

Philip J. Cianci Headshot

About Philip J. Cianci

Philip J. Cianci's involvement in high definition television (HDTV) began at Philips Research in 1984 and continued at ESPN during the construction and commissioning of the all-HD digital center. From 2005-2007, he was the editor of the "Transition to Digital" Broadcast Engineering magazine e-newsletter. Cianci authored two Focal Press published books and in 2012, McFarland published "High Definition Television — The Creation, Development and Implementation of HDTV Technology," which documents the global deployment of HDTV. He is assisting the Smithsonian Institution in developing an HDTV archive. Living a dual existence in the parallel universes of creativity and technology, Cianci is forging a body of work exemplifying the intelligent fusion of technology and art at his Frog Hill Creative Sanctuary. His recent work was inspired by his participation in the development and deployment of HDTV. 

What they are saying...

SMPTE Executive Director Barbara Lange

"Magic & Miracles’ is a must-have for any friend of SMPTE and any dedicated enthusiast of the moving image. I think that James Cameron explained it best in his acceptance speech last year when he received SMPTE Honorary Membership. He thanked the Society for its work over the past 100 years, and added, ‘It’s only when you stop and look back over a century that you see how far we’ve come. It’s dazzling. It’s astounding. It’s magic.’ He was right! It has been a magical journey, and we have captured it all with this beautiful new book.”  

Editorial Director Philip J. Cianci

"In ‘Magic & Miracles’ we tell the story of SMPTE and its contributions to motion pictures, television, and digital media — from the advent of 'talkies' in the 1920s to the networked media infrastructures of today. The book is a perfect holiday gift, whether for an industry executive, engineer, researcher, or student.” 

Review in the Motion Imaging Journal