Digital Cinema Initiatives, LLC was formed in 2002 with members including Disney, Fox, MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal and Warner Bros. Studios. Its purpose was to establish and document specifications for an open architecture for Digital Cinema components that ensures a uniform and high level of technical performance, reliability and quality control. It published the Digital Cinema System Specification in July 2005 (freely available at their website) and established a set of technical specifications that allowed the industry to roll-out Digital Cinema. It is a measure of the DCI’s success that now well over half of the world’s cinemas are digital.
There are three levels of images, all with a 1:1 pixel aspect ratio, 12-bit 4:4:4 sampling in X´Y´Z´ color space.
|Level||Picture Size||Aspect Ratio||Frame Rate|
The specification includes requirements for JPEG 2000 image compression, X´Y´Z´ color space and a maximum playout bit rate of 250 Mb/s. To prevent piracy by copying the media files there is AES 128 encryption (Advanced Encryption Standard able to use keys of 128, 192, and 256 bits to encrypt and decrypt data in blocks of 128 bits). There is also forensic marking to deter and trace the bootlegger’s camcorder pointed at the screen. Such schemes include Philips’ forensic watermarking or Thomson’s NexGuard watermarking.
DSM → DCDM → DCP → DCDM* → Image and Sound
DCI describes a workflow from the output of the feature post production or DI, termed the Digital Source Master (DSM), to the screen. The Digital Cinema Distribution Master (DCDM) is derived from the DSM by a digital cinema post production process, and played directly into a digital cinema projector and audio system for evaluation and approval.
The approved DCDM is then compressed, encrypted and packaged for distribution as the Digital Cinema Package (DCP). At the theater, it is unpackaged, decrypted and decompressed to create a DCDM* with images visually indistinguishable from those of the original DCDM.