Panel of experts will examine emerging technologies enabling the creation of synthetic humans for entertainment and more nefarious purposes.

LOS ANGELES —  The Hollywood Section of SMPTE®, the organization defining the future of storytelling, will examine the promise, and potential peril, of digital humans and so-called deepfakes at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, November 19, in Hollywood. Held in tandem with the Radio, Television, Digital Newsroom Association (RTDNA), the free event will include a panel discussion of experts in the emerging field of synthetic humans.

Deepfakes are believable human images synthesized through artificial intelligence techniques from completely real and totally non-real or “fake” elements. In Hollywood, digital humans, convincing enough to fool audiences, have been the holy grail of visual effects for decades. Both techniques are designed to trick the viewer, but, whereas digital humans are constructed to entertain, deepfakes can be used to mislead and misinform, often for nonentertainment purposes.

SMPTE Hollywood and the RTDNA will offer a totally real presentation on deepfakes and digital humans. The panel will describe the history of digital humans and deepfakes, the challenges involved in creating them convincingly, and if/how news and entertainment professionals can spot a deepfake.

Presenters include Chaos Group Lab head of research and development Christopher Nichols, who leads the Digital Human League, sponsor of the open source Wikihuman; Corridor Digital’s Niko Pueringer, who has produced short-form Internet content for more than a decade and is an expert in creating and detecting deepfakes; and Shruti Agarwal, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at University of California, Berkeley, who is conducting research in multimedia forensics. Freelance journalist Debra Kaufman (USC Entertainment Technology Center, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wired, Reuters, Bloomberg American Cinematographer, International Cinematographers Guild Magazine) will moderate the discussion.

Kaufman and Linda Rosner are producers of the event.

What: SMPTE Hollywood Section, November Meeting

Topic: Digital Humans and Deepfakes: Creative Promise and Peril

When: Tuesday, November 19, 2019. 6:30 p.m. — Reception  7:30 p.m. — Presentation and Panel Discussion             

Where:  Hollywood American Legion Post 43, 2035 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90068


PARKING:  Limited parking for those with HANDICAPPED placards or anyone needing to park close is available behind the AMERICAN LEGION. ALL other attendees must please park in the lot ACROSS Highland at Camrose Dr/Milner Road. This lot is just in front of Hollywood Heritage’s DeMille barn.

SPECIAL TOUR: A guided tour of the historic American Legion #43, built in 1929 will be made available for early arrivals. Tours will include the modern projection booth with 35/70 mm FILM and featuring Christie 4K DIGITAL Projection. Please indicate on EVENTBRITE your choice of a tour at 5, 5:30 or 6 pm.

SMPTE Hollywood Section meetings are FREE. Non-members welcome.

About the SMPTE® Hollywood Section

The Hollywood Section of SMPTE® was initially organized as the West Coast Section in 1928. Today, as its own SMPTE Region, it encompasses more than 1,200 SMPTE Members with a common interest in motion-imaging technology in the Greater Los Angeles area. The Hollywood Section offers free meetings monthly that are open to SMPTE Members and non-members alike. Information about meetings is posted on the Section website at

About SMPTE®
The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers®, or SMPTE, is defining the future of storytelling. The Society’s mission is to enable the technical framework that allows the global professional community to make media for artistic, educational, and entertainment purposes and to distribute that content for the benefit and enjoyment of people worldwide. As a global volunteer-driven society of technologists, developers, and creatives, SMPTE is engaged in driving the quality and evolution of motion pictures, television, and professional media. The Society sets industry standards that help businesses maximize their markets more cost-effectively, provides relevant education that supports members’ career growth, and fosters an engaged and diverse membership community.

Information on joining SMPTE is available at


The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) is the world’s largest professional organization devoted exclusively to broadcast and digital journalism. Founded as a grassroots organization in 1946, RTDNA’s mission is to promote and protect responsible journalism. RTDNA defends the First Amendment rights of electronic journalists throughout the country, honors outstanding work in the profession through the Edward R. Murrow Awards and provides members with training to encourage ethical standards, newsroom leadership and industry innovation.

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