Adobe Starts Initiative to Develop Open Format for Digital Cinema Files
Posted Apr 14, 2008

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced that it plans to lead an initiative to define an industry-wide open file format for digital cinema files to streamline workflows and help ensure easy archiving and exchange. Adobe intends to leverage its successful Digital Negative Specification (DNG) file format as a foundation, and Adobe plans to work with a broad coalition of leading camera manufacturers, including Panavision, Silicon Imaging, Dalsa, Weisscam, and ARRI — along with software vendors, including Iridas and The Foundry, and codec provider CineForm — to define the requirements for an open, publicly documented file format that it plans to call CinemaDNG.

Adobe is currently working to develop the requirements of the CinemaDNG workflow and intends to subsequently publish a specification for the file format based on collaboration with companies throughout the industry.

"With the CinemaDNG initiative, Adobe is extending its leadership in developing open, interchangeable formats for digital still cameras into the realm of digital cinematography," said Jim Guerard, vice president of Dynamic Media at Adobe. "By taking a proactive role and working collaboratively with leading digital cinema manufacturers, Adobe is helping to define an industry-standard approach that benefits the entire filmmaking ecosystem. Filmmakers will be able to adopt digital cinema cameras with confidence, and camera manufacturers will be able to provide specialized functionality while ensuring instant file format compatibility with existing workflows."

Many filmmakers are foregoing film in favor of digital cinema cameras and workflows that offer improved creative flexibility, lower costs, and significantly faster turnaround times. However, those new workflows involve complex hardware and software, with projects passing through multiple vendors along the production pipeline. The proliferation of disparate, vendor-specific raw file formats has the potential to erode some of the advantages of digital cinema. By proactively leading the development of an open, public, and enduring standard that can be adopted throughout the production pipeline, Adobe and other companies through the CinemaDNG initiative are helping to solve an important, emerging workflow issue.

Advantages for Filmmakers
As a publicly documented and open file format, CinemaDNG would offer several advantages for filmmakers. They could avoid roadblocks caused by incompatibilities in workflows that involve multiple devices, vendors, and file formats. They could adopt digital cinema cameras while minimizing the risk that proprietary or camera-specific file formats would be unsupported in the future, because CinemaDNG would provide an open, durable, standard format that would be available for many years to come. Filmmakers could also rest assured that they have access to a robust archival standard for the new generation of raw-capable digital cinema cameras. CinemaDNG would also provide the foundation for an editing workflow that would allow filmmakers to use the highest quality source material.

Advantages for Manufacturers
For camera manufacturers and software developers, CinemaDNG is intended to help remove a key obstacle to the adoption of new products by providing reliable, instant compatibility with existing workflows. Manufacturers may be able to reduce development costs by eliminating the necessity to develop proprietary formats and conversion utilities. CinemaDNG is also planning to deliver support for proprietary metadata, helping manufacturers to differentiate their product offerings from competitors'.

"Experiencing a smoother, more streamlined workflow is, without exception, a good thing and open standards are a great way of accomplishing it," said Bruno Nicoletti, chief technology officer at The Foundry, a leading visual effects software developer in London. "The Foundry supports Adobe's plan for CinemaDNG, which will make the adoption of raw digital camera data much easier for everyone in our industry."

"We are working hard on establishing a realistic and workable method of getting raw data from the camera to post," said Marc Shipman-Mueller, product manager for Cameras & Lenses at ARRI, a top digital cinema camera manufacturer in Munich. "An industry wide standard for raw data can only help in this future oriented process that will provide multiple benefits for the users of raw data."

www.adobe.com