At last night’s meeting of the ISDCF (Inter-Society Digital Cinema Forum), John Hurst of CineCert announced that CineCert has received a 1 year renewable contract from DCI. The contract will give a special credence to compliance tests that CineCert performs for manufacturers, upon equipment meant to be in compliance with DCI Specifications.
CineCert will issue a Pass Report to the manufacturer (assuming the equipment passes). The manufacturer then can pass that report onto the individual studios, and to end users, as they see fit. The critical aspect is that reports submitted from CineCert will be acknowledge as valid by the studios, which has been a problem for exhibitors.
[Edit: 14 Oct. – And then there are three – DCI announced today that there will be 3 places to send your gear to: CineCert (contact John Hurst), DMC/Keio University in Tokyo, Japan (contact Naoshisa Ohta) and Media Innovation Center of Venice, Italy (contact Angelo D ‘Alessio). The press release is here.]
John made the point,
It should be clear that we will issue a ‘report of compliance’. This is not ‘certification’, which is a charged word, with specific meaning.
In addition, we understand that there will be other announcements about contracts with other labs from DCI in the near future.
Why is this important? There are a few reasons.
Primarily, clients who are involved with VPF agreements obligate themselves to use DCI Compliant equipment. If they don’t, then they can get cut off. This has happened before when early-adopting customers of Avica or XDC could not get movies because their servers couldn’t play JPEG 2000…only MPEG-2.
And consider the poor manufacturer who has to promise that their equipment is DCI Compliant. If they are a public company, they are wary of making such statements since Sarbanes-Oxley regulations prohibit them from taking profit on items that have unknown liabilities. Not having anyone to test for certification puts them in a difficult ‘unknown liabilities’ situation.
And, finally, for the industry itself. In olden times, one recieved a film and one did the best possible with it. The Laws of Physics decreed that the film would degrade, but there was little that the cinema could do to keep the quality up.
Digital can change that. Light, Color, White Point…all those fun SMPTE Standards can be checked for and maintained. (Link to a list in pdf of all completed SMPTE DCinema Documents.) Equipment known to be compliant is the first step to a better picture (and sound~!) for us all, and a level playing field for all cinemas.
Part Two; the implemation of a set of standard quality control procedures built into the cinema’s processes. You can read about that at our sister company’s site: DCinemaCompliance