ISDCF has been active in testing the SMPTE DCP distribution format, both the packaging of compositions and its playback in systems. With interoperability established with picture and sound, a major focus of testing has been subtitles and captions, both open and closed. No testing of Interop DCP has taken place, as the format already benefits from interoperable implementations.
Universal Pictures may now feel differently. Its combo live action and animation movie “Hop” hit the cinemas end of month with a surprise in every digital cinema package. The movie wouldn’t play on Dolby and Sony servers, which probably comprised half of the screens that the movie was released to. Interop closed captions were sited as the culprit. Apparently there is room for interpretation as to how closed captions are packaged and played back.
One can point to the lack of testing to prove the interoperability of products with particular packaging software. But there’s another finger to point in this case, and that’s to Universal itself. Apparently Universal chose to master “Hop” using a new service, and didn’t allow time to adequately QC the masters. The mistake was learned during CinemaCon, and created quite an uproar. Hopefully the lesson has been learned. One can rely on the testing of others, or one can rely on their own testing. With millions of revenue at stake, a little QC work ahead of time can go a long way.