Here are six beautiful countdowns complete with some random V.O. (‘Lifeguard’…final mix’…etc.), the requisite flash frame of a pretty 1960s-ish woman and the curious private language found in the world of leader: the letters CF stand for ‘check frame’ and the beeping sound on the number 2 is called a ‘sync-pop’. And then there is the Hieroglyphic known as SMPTE. What does it mean? According to a random source on the internet:

‘SMPTE Universal Film Leader is a retro stock motion graphics clip that shows the classic countdown leader that opens a movie or film in the old days. The numbers flashed run from 8 to 2. This 3840×2160 (4K) is useful for movies scenes, games, films, music videos, and the like.’

In other words, it’s film leader. But I still didn’t know what SMPTE actually meant. So, according to yet another random source that I consulted it stems from the following:

In the mid-1960s, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers(SMPTE) replaced the Academy Leader with a new style, called the SMPTE Universal Leader, designed for both television and theatrical projection applications (though it did not gain widespread acceptance theatrically).

I’m not sure why this new, fancy leader didn’t gain widespread acceptance. Were audiences not ready for the change? Or was it a turf war between the Academy and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers?

The thick plotters…


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