ISDCF has another Plugfest on the horizon. On June 4th and 5th it will conduct further testing in the effort to learn industry readiness for SMPTE DCP distribution, and more. Included in the test program is the continued testing of subtitle rendering on Sony and DLP projectors, audio routing, and a check that the latest DCI Compliant servers will actually work in a cinema.
In fact, all of the ISDCF tests go beyond DCI Compliance tests in the effort to learn if the product will actually work in a cinema. DCI members aren’t fond of this point, as they like to think that their testing program is all that is needed. But several distribution execs were railing at CinemaCon about how certain products that passed CTP as DCI Compliant won’t play a movie in the cinema. This happens because studios continue to distribute Interop DCP distributions, which are not DCI Compliant. Hopefully, the reader will get the irony.
When using an Interop DCP on a DCI Compliant server, the DCP may ingest without error, but the KDM may not work properly. This is because both SMPTE DCP and Interop DCP use the same SMPTE KDM format today, and it is the KDM that indicates whether or not the DCP is SMPTE or Interop. The correct formulation of KDMs is discussed further in ISDCF Document #5 at
Audio routing has received a lot of discussion in earlier reports. This is another area where DCI draws the line as to what it will test. DCI tests that a product will correctly respond to the digital label for an SMPTE-standardized sound track. But it won’t check that the device can be configured to output the sound channels in a useable manner. For example, audio channels in Interop DCPs are not routable based on metadata in the DCP. In order to get everyone to do things in the same way, audio channel wiring in cinemas follow that described in ISDCF Document #4 at
But a product can pass CTP without being capable of routing each channel of audio to the proper output.
This Plugfest may be the first where 96K-sampled audio will be tested, which appears to be another area that DCI doesn’t test. ISDCF will also test forensic audio marking. DCI does conduct tests on audio marking, but there are some conditions when selective marking is used that need further validation.
There are rumors that Hobbits will be lurking around this Plugfest, while some HFR material packaged in the manner planned for Hobbit’s release will be tested. This is the start of a new phase for ISDCF, with a major studio using the Plugfest as an opportunity to test new formats for new movies.
Last but not least, further demonstrations of Theater Key Retrieval (TKR) will be conducted.
We’ll report on the results in the next issue.