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Los Angeles—Mar 19, 2004

DCI Announces Completion and Availability of “StEM Mini-Movie” for Digital Cinema Testing

Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) has completed post-production work on the Standardized Evaluation Material (“StEM”), which will be used for a wide variety of digital cinema testing programs. The “StEM”, or “Mini-Movie” project was a collaborative effort between DCI and the American Society of Cinematographers. The “StEM Mini-Movie” is now available in several formats to other companies and organizations to use in a wide variety of compression, projection, transmission and other test bed applications.

“We expect this DCI test material will be widely used by vendors and standards organizations from around the world for years to come,” said Walt Ordway, DCI’s Chief Technology Officer. “We feel that with the completion of this project, DCI has made another significant contribution to furthering the ‘digital future.’”

“Our purpose is to help DCI assure that standards recommended for digital cinema enhance the movie-going experience and maintain the integrity of the art form,” said Curtis Clark, ASC, Chairman of the organization’s Technology Committee. “This test material will provide a standard way to evaluate the capabilities of digital projectors and compare them to film, along with image compression technologies critical for digital cinema distribution.”

DCI began this project by identifying what would be needed to test various aspects of the DCI technical specification. “We established two primary criteria,” said Howard Lukk, DCI’s Director of Technology and the project’s post-production executive. “First, we wanted elements in the image that would be technically challenging for the compression test. Second, we wanted the original images to be captured on film from which we would digitally scan the completed ‘Mini-Movie’”.

A world-class team of ASC cinematographers artistically designed and filmed the “Mini-Movie” during a two-day shoot last August on the back lot at Universal Studios. More than two hours of film were captured in both 35 MM and 65 MM formats. This footage featured a number of scenes with a variety of lighting conditions, colors, textures and other variables of photographic definition including confetti, rain, fog and others. During the carefully managed post-production process, the thousands of feet of film were edited down to the 12-minute “Mini-Movie,” which was processed and scanned at 6K horizontal resolution to retain the richness of the details in the film images. It was then down-resolved to both 4K and 2K digital formats, which DCI will use in its testing. An HD version is also available, as well as a 35MM answer print version.

There is no plot in the completed “StEM Mini-Movie,” but the wedding scenes, shot during daylight, at night, during rain and in other variable settings, will serve as a robust test of image quality for digital projectors, compression systems, and other elements of a digital cinema system. The “Mini-Movie” also includes a 30-second segment of 4K CGI material from Walt Disney’s “Treasure Planet.”

Information regarding the StEM Mini-Movie or the DCI Technical Specifications can be obtained by contacting Walt Ordway, DCI’s Chief Technology Officer.
About Digital Cinema Initiatives, LLC: Digital Cinema Initiatives, LLC (DCI) was created in March 2002, and is a joint venture of Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Universal and Warner Bros. The primary purpose of DCI is to establish and document specifications for an open architecture for digital cinema that ensures a uniform and high level of technical performance, interoperability, reliability and quality. See www.dcimovies.com for more information. Digital Cinema Initiatives, LLC Directory page About The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC): The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the art of filmmaking. Since its charter in 1919, the ASC has been committed to educating aspiring filmmakers and others about the art and craft of cinematography. The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Directory page
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