Charles Poynton is an image and colour scientist. He specializes in the physics, mathematics, and engineering of digital colour (color!) imaging systems, including digital still cameras, digital video, HD/HDTV/UHD/4K/8K, digital cinema (D-cinema) and digital intermediate (DI) systems. He is involved in engineering high dynamic range (HDR) imaging and wide colour gamut (WCG) systems. He does technology forecasting, systems modelling, algorithm development, video signal processing architecture, colour characterization and calibration, and image quality assessment. He has experience serving as an expert witness (including testifying), and he reads and writes code. At present he is a Ph.D. candidate at Simon Fraser University.
While at Sun Microsystems in Mountain View, California, from 1988 to 1995, he initiated Sun's HDTV research project. He launched the effort that established square sampling (“square pixels”) as the standard for HD, and thereby established the number 1080 now found in HD and d-cinema standards. Prior to joining Sun, Mr. Poynton designed and built the digital video equipment used by NASA to convert video from the Space Shuttle into NTSC for recording and distribution.
Mr. Poynton is a Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), in 1994 was awarded SMPTE's David Sarnoff Gold Medal. He has organized and presented many popular courses and seminars. He wrote the book Digital Video and HD Algorithms and Interfaces, now in its second edition.
He lives in Toronto with his wife Barbara, a psychotherapist.