As you learn about SMPTE, and all that gets accomplished by the engineers who put the standards together, remember that it is a volunteer group.

The National Center of Cinematography (CNC) in France has stated in their June 2007 document “Digital Projection in Cinema” that ‘ is clear...that the SMPTE standard would have force of law on an international level.’

We learn about the CNC later in the course. This section looks at the organization known as SMPTE. To begin, go to the website at: <>. Click on the ‘About SMPTE’ tab, then read the ‘About Us’ section. Remember the name: Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers.

Early film history goes back much further than 1916. You can research this on your own time, but the basic data is that devices known as the zoetrope were modified to project pictures in motion in the 1860's. In 1895, the Lumières brothers hand cranked their 35mm projector in Paris for what is considered the 1st paying-public showing of a motion picture. In the time between then and 1916 (when SMPTE was formed), there were at least 20 different formats, probably more, some at 11 or 13 or 17.5 mm, several at 60mm, a few at 70mm, and different sizes in between. Playing at different speeds was an issue as well.

Now read the ‘History’ section of the same page, with this background in mind.

Pull the ‘About SMPTE’ tab again, and read the ‘Foundation’ page. Notice the Purpose.

Explore the different parts of the site for at least 5 minutes. You will notice that the there are pages and activities that deal with different parts of the Purpose. Clue to a test question. Notice Education.

In the year 2000, a study group dealing with Digital Cinema was formed for the purpose of setting standards in this new field. The group was designated DC28. In the 8 years since there have been thousands of hours spent by hundreds of people. (There has been a reorganization of the committees of SMPTE - the name of the Technical Committee is now 21DC.)

The results are a series of protocols. [Refine this word in your course glossary.] These protocols deal with the picture and sound quality of a movie presentation, plus many details of how a movie gets delivered securely from the post-production facility to the projector and screen. There are 43 Standards, Recommended Practices and Engineering Guides, divided between Digital Cinema 1) Distribution Master, 2) Packaging, 3) Operations, 4) Quality, 5) Source Processing and 6) Other.

We will cover some of these details in further sections of this course. But since this course is actually just an overview, we won't go into too much more now. Just make certain to notice that this organisation also has a lot of sections dealing with disseminating information and also, sectinos dealing with students.

Ah~! And about that quote that started this section. The SMPTE DC28 work will be submitted to another group named the ISO, the International Standards Organization (which we will also study later.) The presumption is that the work of SMPTE will be so complete that the ISO can take them in whole and make them into international standards. From there, the standards organizations of the different countries can use them as the basis of their countries compliance laws. So, in the case of France for example, where the each cinema needs an operating permit which shows that they have complied with the rules of their standards bodies, the CNC is saying that the SMPTE work will reflect into the rules in France since the SMPTE work will become ISO standards, and in their view, will take on the force of law.

You will not be tested on the following information, but to see the full scope of the work done by SMPTE to create standards for Digital Cinema, as of June 2008, the following SMPTE standards had been adopted and published:
SMPTE 428-1-2006 D-Cinema Distribution Master (DCDM) – Image Characteristics;
SMPTE 428-2-2006 D-Cinema Distribution Master – Audio Characteristics;
SMPTE 428-3-2006 D-Cinema Distribution Master Audio Channel Mapping and Channel Labeling;
SMPTE 428-9-2008 D-Cinema Distribution Master - Image Pixel Structure Level 3 - Serial Digital Interface Signal Formatting;
SMPTE 429-3-2006 D-Cinema Packaging – Sound and Picture Track File;
SMPTE 429-4-2006 D-Cinema Packaging – MXF JPEG 2000 Application;
SMPTE 429-6-2006 D-Cinema Packaging – MXF Track File Essence Encryption;
SMPTE 429-7-2006 D-Cinema Packaging – Composition Playlist;
SMPTE 429-10-2008 D-Cinema Packaging - Stereoscopic Picture Track File;
SMPTE 430-1-2006 D-Cinema Operations – Key Delivery Message;
SMPTE 430-2-2006 D-Cinema Operations – Digital Certificate;
SMPTE 430-3-2008 D-Cinema Operations – Generic Extra-Theater Message Format;
SMPTE 430-4-2008 D-Cinema Operations - Log Record Format Specification;
SMPTE 430-5-2008 D-Cinema Packaging - Security Log Event Class and Constraints;
SMPTE 430-6-2008 D-Cinema Operations - Auditorium Security Messages for Intra-Theater Communications;
SMPTE 430-9-2008 D-Cinema Operations - Key Delivery Bundle;
SMPTE 431-1-2006 D-Cinema Quality – Screen Luminance Level, Chromaticity and Uniformity;
SMPTE 433-2008 D-Cinema - XML Data Types

Last modified: Friday, 10 December 2010, 3:44 PM