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Universal Pictures tests DCDM specification with ‘Serenity’

FotoKem, Doremi Labs and Christie Digital Systems have produced the first Digital Cinema Distribution Master (DCDM) of a major motion picture that conforms to the specifications of the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI). The DCDM was then used to generate a Digital Cinema Package (DCP), ready for distribution.

"Serenity" was used by Universal Pictures to test the workflow required to create a DCP. FotoKem created the DCDM directly from 2K digital intermediate files, while Doremi Labs assembled the files along with the audio into a digital cinema distribution package. Christie provided the DLP Cinema projector for the tests.

The DCI specifications are the result of collaboration between seven major studios, including Disney, Fox, MGM, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros., to develop uniform guidelines for the digital projection of motion pictures. Three years in development, the final DCI standards were published last July.

The successful completion of the DCDM and the DCP on "Serenity" in compliance with the DCI standards marks a major milestone in the move toward all-digital projection for motion pictures.

FotoKem created a DI test for the film and the original 2K scans were readily available for conversion to a DCDM. FotoKem designed a hardware and software pipeline for making the conversion into XYZ color space as defined for digital projectors.

FotoKem then delivered about 132,000 16-bit TIFF files, each representing one frame of the film, to Doremi Labs where they were converted to JPEG2000 files and wrapped with the audio into a Media eXchange Format (MXF) file on the Doremi Mastering Station.

This final encrypted file represents the Digital Cinema Package ready for distribution to theaters equipped with Christie Digital projectors.

While films have been digitally displayed in the past, "Serenity" is the first to be projected in the JPEG2000 format.

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