Tag Archives: standards

3D@Home Content Creation Pushing Quality

Message from Steering Team 1 Chair, Jon Shapiro

Dr. Jim Cameron’s 10 Rules for Good Stereo

Rob Engle’s Top Recommendations for Creating Quality 3D

Ray Hannisian, Head Stereographer, 3ality Digital

Bernard Mendiburu’s Ten Rules for Quality 3D

See also: Mendiburu’s Introduction to 3D Cinematography

Ray Zone’s 10 Tips

3D@Home’s white paper page includes such topics as MPEG’s 3DTV standards and a paper on 3D Subjective Testing.


All this is fine for TV, but it is also important for getting 3D to the big screen, if only for film festivals and alternative content.

3D@Home Content Creation Pushing Quality

Message from Steering Team 1 Chair, Jon Shapiro

Dr. Jim Cameron’s 10 Rules for Good Stereo

Rob Engle’s Top Recommendations for Creating Quality 3D

Ray Hannisian, Head Stereographer, 3ality Digital

Bernard Mendiburu’s Ten Rules for Quality 3D

See also: Mendiburu’s Introduction to 3D Cinematography

Ray Zone’s 10 Tips

3D@Home’s white paper page includes such topics as MPEG’s 3DTV standards and a paper on 3D Subjective Testing.


All this is fine for TV, but it is also important for getting 3D to the big screen, if only for film festivals and alternative content.

Silver Screens – French Quality Officially Declines?

The CNC is the group who sets the the “AFNOR” standards for French cinema (and TV). This is the group who wrote in 2007 that once the SMPTE specifications for digital cinema technology are finalized that they “would have the force of law” in France and on the international level. (See: Force of Law; France Issues DCinema Document)

And yet, this very group is about to allow ‘silver screens’ to be within the actual standard with the reasoning; that commercially, silver screens have become a de facto standard. This is the equivalent of allowing the old 625-line/50 field per second interlaced video as an acceptable HD TV standard because there are so many TVs of that nature in the field. The reality is that silver screens – actually, aluminum painted screens – for passive 3D systems (the ‘cheaper’ RealD and MasterImage systems) cannot provide the mandated levels of light except to perhaps 10 seats in the theater. The fall-off in quality from using silver screens is the number one worst aspect of 3D presentations. And when a 2D movie is played on them, the results are a disaster: dark and gray patches, diminishing light to every seat except the one “measured” position, screens that cannot be cleaned, and which get darker in fewer years than the normal screen.

You can see the reply by several French cinema organizations at the following link: Respecter la lumière dans les salles obscures

Roughly translated that is: Respect the light in the darkened theater. 

The players are no slouches. They are the technical organizations of every stage of the movie making process. It seems that they are respectful, but they are forceful. What they didn’t say was that was that the CNC should be embarrassed. What they didn’t say was that the artist and technology groups will create a grass roots education plan if they continue with the abdication of standards in the theater for financial reasons. 

We are looking for a better english translation, but until we have one, this will have to suffice:

Respect the Light in Darkened Theater 22 June 2011

The CNC is about to sign a decision to amend the technical specifications – Requirements for Registration – of cinema theaters. The proposed text refers to the French standard for digital cinema, but with the “amputation” of the article about the difference in luminance (point 5.1.2 of the standard 27100).

That article provides that the difference in luminance between the brightest spot and the lowest point of a bright image on a screen can not exceed 25%. This aspect of the standard is essential. It guarantees the respect of light and contrast of the image desired by the director and the cinematographer and allows that all the spectators in the same room see the same film.

The exception to this standard is clearly intended to allow the spread of “silver screens” designed primarily for 3D projections. At this time, three large French circuits equip themselves large amounts of these screens …

In the event that a classic 2D projection is performed on a silver screen, over 80% of the audience of a room would not see the film in the technical and with the ‘artistic intention’ that the directors, producers and technicians have designed.

This proposal is a dramatic decline in the quality and respect of the works: we sacrifice the quality of films, and the moral rights of authors, on behalf of the immediate profit potential of 3D, and seriously risk the experience in the auditorium.

We request of the CNC:

• to reverse its decision and enforce the entirety of the standard French NF S27100 particularly on point spreads luminance, taken by the international standard ISO digital cinema,

• to define together the means to monitor the implementation of this standard after a systematic inspection of the CST.


ACID Fabienne Hanclot 01 44 89 99 71 / 

AFC Carolina Champetier 01 42 64 41 41 /

ARP Florence Gastaud 01 53 42 40 00 / 

CST Laurent Hebert 01 53 04 44 00 /

the FICAM Hervé Chateauneuf 01 45 05 72 47 / 

SACD Agnes Mazet 01 40 23 45 11 /

SRF’s Cyril Seassau 01 44 89 99 65



For our earlier articles on the flaws of using silver screens see: 
Scotopic Issues with 3D, and Silver Screens
23 degrees…half the light. 3D What?  


There are many FIPS standards, since they are the codification for the use of all non-military computers allowed by the US government, which spans many fields. The security standards referenced by SMPTE and the DCI group are the 140 series which were passed in May of 2001 known as 140-2. There are four levels defined in this series beginning with Level 1, ascending with higher components of physical security to Level 4. Level 2 defines physical tamper evidence and role-based authentication, Level 3 adds tamper resistance, identity authentication and different physical and logical separations between different interfaces as data goes between them, complicated with security going back and forth. Level 4 adds more physical security, and focuses on attacks coming from the environment such as Side Channel and Cache attacks. 

Currently, Digital Cinema uses Level 3 of FIPS-2. But FIPS has begun the final steps of their process to supersede FIPS-2 with FIPS-3, expected to be finalized for implementation in 2011 or 2012. DCI specifications (and SMPTE and ISO (the International Standards Organization which incorporated the DCinema SMPTE standards note for note) require that DCI Compliant equipment move with the current FIPS standard. What came as a surprise though was an “Annex A” that was changed in advance of FIPS-3 which changed 3 salient points of the way that keys are utilized in the process.

There has been a DCI statement recently that allows a “grandfathering” of equipment that has passed compliance under the “old” rules. (Compliance Test Plan Change Policy Statement) But manufacturers are still preparing equipment for compliance that will not make it under the old rules. As of now there are several manufacturers of projectors who have passed through the DCI Compliance process, but there are no servers (though some have FIPS compliance already.)  

Michael Karagosian of MKPE Consulting points out: 

A surprise was introduced in January of this year when NIST changed Annex A of FIPS 140-2, the NIST specification for which DCI currently requires compliance.  The transition period for this revision is taking place right now, in this calendar year.  NIST says that after December 31 of 2010, it will no longer accept test results from products that comply with the older version of FIPS 140-2.  

There are some notable exceptions to this deadline that benefit the digital cinema community.  But one very significant issue remains regarding dual use of the asymmetrical key-pair in the media block, for which the December 31 deadline is still intact.  The primary use of the media block key-pair is to encrypt and decrypt the KDM.  But the DCI spec calls for other uses of this key-pair, as well.  The dilemma presented by FIPS 140-2 is discussed in my report in the September issue of the SMPTE Journal, which is online at http://mkpe.com/report/.

To summarize the problem:  SMPTE 430-5, one of the standards that establishes the DCI-compliant Security Log, requires that the media block certificate (public key) be used to digitally sign the media block security logs.  This behavior is mandated by the DCI specification, in addition to other DCI-specified uses. The older version of FIPS 140-2 allows this multi use of the media block key-pair through its normative reference to FIPS 186-2.  However, the newer FIPS 186-3 forbids the multi-use case.  FIPS 140-2 Annex A was updated in January 2010 to now require conformance with FIPS 186-3.  Further, a NIST discussion paper on their website requires compliance to FIPS 186-3 after December 31, 2010.

Below is the relevant text taken from SMPTE 430-5, FIPS 186-3, and the NIST discussion paper:

* From SMPTE 430-5 Security Log Event Class and Constraints, Section 6.2:
“Each Signature shall be signed with the Digital Cinema Certificate of the Security Device that generates the Log Record or sequence of Log Records.”
(A copy of SMPTE 430-5 can be purchased from the SMPTE web site at http://store.smpte.org/product-p/smpte%200430-5-2008.htm.)  Note that the other uses mandated in the DCI spec of the media block’s Digital Cinema Certificate is to create the KDM and to establish a TLS session between media block and projector.

* From FIPS 186-3, page 11 (http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/fips/fips180-3/fips180-3_final.pdf):
“However, a key pair used for digital signature generation and verification as specified in this Standard shall not be used for any other purpose.”

* From NIST DISCUSSION PAPER: The Transitioning of Cryptographic Algorithms and Key Sizes (http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/ST/key_mgmt/documents/Transitioning_CryptoAlgos_070209.pdf):
“New implementations designed to conform to FIPS 186-2 may be tested by the labs until December 31, 2010, after which only implementations claiming conformance to FIPS 186-3 will be tested for validation.”

If no action is taken by DCI, the result will be that the DCI specification will be in conflict with itself after December 31.  The DCI spec will call for compliance to FIPS 140-2, which will no longer allow the media block key-pair applications that are also required by the DCI specification, including the KDM as it is defined today.

That was written to the InterSociety Digital Cinema Forum on 3 October 2010.

Against that background, DCI issues a document on 11 November 2010:
DCI Informational Bulletin NIST Standards Evolution & FIPS 140-2 to FIPS 140-3 Transition 

Another analysis of FIPS-3: 
Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-3 

Sayonara CD-ROM: SMPTE

Subject: NEW! Online Subscriptions to SMPTE Standards

As of November 2010, SMPTE is pleased to provide customers with new online access to its Standards documents.  Through a password-protected online service, users will have online access to all relevant documents plus the added benefit of access to new documents as soon as they are published.

Subscriptions will be available to Individuals and Institutions, Member or non-Member, with discounted rates for Individual and Sustaining SMPTE members (and the Individual Member rate is reduced from the CD subscription).  Full details at http://www.smpte.org/standards/subscriptions/ .

For new or renewing subscribers the new products are now offered in the SMPTE Store http://store.smpte.org/category-s/58.htm.  SMPTE will discontinue distribution of Standards and other documents on CD-ROM.  All existing subscribers who would normally have received the October 2010 CD-ROM as part of their subscription will receive access to the online service until the anniversary date of their subscription.  An individual notice will be sent to these subscribers within the next two weeks.

We are excited to be taking this next step in making SMPTE documents available to the industry in a simple and timely manner; please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.

Peter Symes
Director, Standards and Engineering
Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers


Purpose and Contact

There are many tangential groups who create and capture and manipulate the bits, from one lens at the capture point to the other at the exhibition point. There are a lot of specialty magazines and blogs and a lot of distractions in one’s own field to keep focused upon.

We feel that there is a blank spot for people who want to get the highlights of the many various and closely aligned segments that are just outside their daily purview.

Thus, Industry Online.

Our goal is to focus more on tech news and white papers than on commercial press and sales press releases. We won’t have advertising, but we will allow vendors to post special sales (when that directory and page is set up.)

The idea for this tool was formed when Marvin Hall gave a seminal SMPTE presentation at NAB 2007 which spoke to the issues that Modern Video/Film had to go through on each piece that they take in, massage and kick out. Clearly, among the pages of standards and constant deadlines, among the headlong-rush of technology in every particular sub-category, there seems to be a need for cross communication. 

Since we are all forced to be computer experts and help protect copyright interests, we’ll also attempt to keep an eye out for important security information.

And, of course, training—the field is not only fast moving, but we are requiring IT and digital expertise in places where mechanical skill was more important. The long hours of creating standards, and the benefits derived, will be for nought if they and best practices aren’t passed along.

So, we thank you for this opportunity. Your editor began in the pro-audio world in the 70’s. Since then he has sold, installed and trained people on entertainment technology equipment in film and TV studios around the world. He remembers how complicated and expensive motion tracking and 16 gig RAIDs were in the 90’s. In 2002 he was part of the installation groups who installed the first hundred digital cinema systems for the Star Wars II release. Since then, hundreds of HD-SDI cables and projectionist training hours later, he presents this journal.  


If you see something interesting, pass it along. If you want to cut out a space to broadcast a message, please feel free to use this forum. Also, we take advice well. Please make any comments, requests or complaints to:

Charles ‘C J’ Flynn

OpsCenter Technologies, Inc.  |  Cheyenne, WY
Internet Marine, SARL    |    Sophia Antipolis, FR

cjflynn @ ops center tech .com <remove spaces, of course>

This news magazine is part of the OpsCenterTechnologies online publishing empire (sic – in many ways).

DCinemaTools was introduced in June of 2009, but not live until mid-January 2010.