It was reported in last month’s report that an accessibility gap exists between studios and exhibitors. Studios put in substantial effort to include accessibility content with their movies. Exhibitors complain that they can’t obtain it.
In this month’s ISDCF meeting, the subject was lightly explored. The eye opener was a comment from Technicolor that they were still getting requests for DTS time code on their digital distributions.
DTS time code is printed on film prints to synchronize DTS CDROM discs carrying the main audio track. The time code is also used to synchronize the DTS Access Disc, a special CDROM which carries the only source of video description (called VI-N in digital cinema) and closed captions for film. When digital cinema was first introduced, there were no standards for including accessibility content with digital distributions. A stopgap solution was introduced by DTS, where DTS time code was added to the digital cinema sound track.
This was no small feat. DTS time code is linked to the film reels, using the film reel number in the timing sequence. The discs are coded to synchronize to this timing sequence. But while digital cinema packaging is organized by “digital reels,” there are many more digital reels than film reels. The DTS numbering sequence based on film reels does not nicely map onto digital reels. Some effort has to go into transferring the DTS time code to the digital cinema audio track in order to properly synchronize the DTS Access Disc with the digital cinema system. In the case of closed captions, the player for the DTS Access Disc then exclusively drives the Mopix