Taking its place on the digital highway, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers kicks off its 135th Technical Conference and Equipment Exhibit, “Integrating Technologies in the Digital Era,” today at the L.A. Convention Center.

The conference, which runs through Tuesday, will focus on a wide range of topics, from the traditional areas of films, TV and computer imaging to such specialized issues as multimedia, integrating technology in the digital era, film and the environment, film formats and widescreen TV.

Jim Clark, Silicon Graphics’ chairman of the board, will present the keynote address Saturday during the conference’s opening ceremonies.

One of the highlights of the conference is expected to be the invitation-only demonstration of the new prototype high-definition “telecine” from Broadcast Television Systems and Kodak.

Based on the use of solid-state CCD image sensors, the telecine was designed to make a machine capable of transferring 16mm and 35mm film to video signals in all of the proposed HDTV transmission standards.

It features innovative digital control and signal processing and provides high-definition 1125/1250 and 525/625 signals, electronic sizing and repositioning.

BTS will also be showing the first high-definition digital recorder to use standard professional metal particle 19mm video cassettes, jointly developed in conjunction with Toshiba.

The recorder is based on a universal digital high definition cassette format developed by the two companies and presented to SMPTE for adoption as a world standard.

In addition to the technical sessions, there will also be an equipment exhibit featuring the latest products and innovations.