The Organizations of Digital Cinema

This section of the course briefly looks at several of the organizations which established the current reality of Digital Cinema. The main course will take a more in depth view.

Entertainment technology has been converting from analog manipulation and reproduction of sound and image and broadcast for over 3 decades. The professional audio business began seeing products in the middle 70's, and digital video products arrived late that decade. The conversion to digital television broadcast began late last century and still continues today.

A piece of film has tremendous advantages. It can capture the broadest range of colors of any media, and it can store these colors for long time with tools that have been available for 100 years. These tools will be available, or easily made, for many more hundred years.

The same is not true of a hard disk. The machines that stored magnetic data in the 60s are not available today, nor are the magnetic based hard drives of the 70's or 80's. It would be difficult and economicly unfeasible to make them today. Soon, the disks we bought in 1999 will be nearly impossible to use.

This type of change prompted the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) to form the ASC Technical Committee. It is fitting to begin our discussions of the Organizations of Digital Cinema with this group, since they begin the technical aspect of moviemaking. And, as Curtis Clark, the chair of that committee said at its inauguration, “We’re not in competition with what SMPTE does because we are filling a much-needed function that was missing before our Technology Committee initiative. We are focusing on the workflow’s application functionality, procedures and usage and how they impact the practical work of cinematographers and directors.”

So, of course, we will discuss the SMPTE, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, as well as other standards group, manufacturers and exhibitor groups, and groups who help these groups transfer the ideas and needs to each other.

Here is the basic list, and you well certainly see others as you study the materials of the course.

  • ASC, AMPAS, DCI
  • NATO in the US; DIRE in the EU
  • SMPTE, ISO
  • CIE, CNC, CST, FFA
  • ISDCF, EDCF; ICTA
  • Fraunhoffer Institute, CineCert
  • CinemaCon, ShowEast, CineEurope
  • IBC & NAB
  • Others

We will look at the manufacturers and their particular efforts in another section. First we will get a view of these groups, then a view of the technology that they are trying to corral.

Last modified: Sunday, 2 November 2014, 2:01 AM