New SMPTE Workgroup

New SMPTE Workgroup formed for integrating Digital Cinema Additional Frame Rates into the main standards documents.

A new Work Group has been started in SMPTE 21DC, under IMAGO chairmanship, to integrate the Additional Frame Rate standard that was created in 2009 into the main standards for DCDM and DCP. It took some time of negociations to get this going but now we are starting and the first meeting is planned for Thursday july 28. The group leadership includes Mr Kommer Kleijn SBC for IMAGO, Mr. Siegfied Foessel from Fraunhofer Institute Germany and also chairman of the IEC/ISO JPEG committee and Mr. Peter Wilson from HDDC who has lead the EDCF Technical Support Group for 12 years and now is an SMPTE fellow.

In 2004, IMAGO initiated the work of requesting more flexibility in Digital Cinema presentation frame rates, essentially 60 fps, to allow image quality to progress. Soon several other organisations (EDCF, BBC and others) joined the effort. Indeed, higher frame rates are a scientifical need if we want spatial image resolution (image detail and sharpness) of moving images to be able to progress in the future. Additionally the rates of 25 and 50 fps were implemented to allow original work to be shown at its native speed to respect the original work, and also to allow for better economics for many European and Asian productions.

This work resulted in the publication in 2009 of the SMPTE standard ST428-11 titled 'Additional Frame Rates for Digital Cinema', adding the speeds of 25, 30, 50 and 60 fps to the previously established speeds of 24 and 48 fps. The Additional Frame Rates (AFR) standard was confirmed as an international standard by ISO in 2011.

However, in 2009 the additional rates were published in a separate document, a part from the main stadards documents that describe the main image parameters for Digital Cinema. This was done at that time in order to avoid any slow down on progress for the main documents that were also not finished at the time the AFR work started in 2006. Today the spread of the information over separate documents has become confusing for the users, especially now that the new speeds are widely supported and work on the vast majority of presentation equipment sold and installed today. The IMAGO CCTC recently conducted a survey among server manufacturers in order to examin this. This report can be found here: http://www.imago.org/index.php/technical/item/462-frame-rate-support-of-digital-cinema.html

The time has come now to start hte work of integrating the additional rates into the main standard documents. Those interested in the matter and who are members of SMPTE, please feel free to join our group.