Adobe Rolls Camera on New Digital Cinema Standard

Adobe on Monday announced what it hopes will become a new industry standard for digital cinema files, CinemaDNG, in Las Vegas at the National Association of Broadcasters Show. Defining an industry-wide open file format will streamline workflows and serve to ensure easy archiving and exchange for video editing professionals, according to Adobe.

The prospective standard is based on Adobe’s Digital Negative (DNG) format for raw digital still images.

Joining Adobe in the initiative are camera manufacturers, including Panavision, Silicon Imaging, Dalsa, Weisscam and ARRI, as well as software vendors Iridas and The Foundry. CineForm, a codec provider, rounds out the partnerships, all of which will work to define the requirements for the open standard, which will be available to manufacturers at no charge.

“To ensure broad adoption, CinemaDNG will be a product of open discussions with manufacturers and customers throughout the industry. We also expect this collaboration to speed adoption,” said Michael Coleman, product manager for after effects at Adobe.

So Many Cameras, So Many Formats

As filmmakers opt for digital cinema cameras and workflows due to their greater flexibility and lower cost over traditional film, new problems have emerged, according to Adobe. The new workflows come with complex hardware and software for projects that pass through multiple vendors during the production process.

CinemaDNG is intended as a solution for the “proliferation of disparate, vendor-specific raw file formats,” which have the potential to erode certain benefits associated with digital cinema, the company said.

“CinemaDNG will allow the open exchange of RAW camera data and can eliminate the workflow constraints of proprietary formats. The goal is to simplify these workflows and make it easier to incorporate pristine original camera data into creative workflows,” Coleman explained.

CinemaDNG creates advantages for flimmakers, according to Adobe. CinemaDNG could help them avoid roadblocks resulting from incompatibilities in workflows involving multiple devices, vendors and file formats. It will also lead to improved resolution.

It may also minimize the risk associated with making the switch to digital cinema cameras because it would replace the proprietary or camera-specific file formats that may not be supported across brands. The initiative could also give filmmakers peace of mind that they will have access to an archival standard for the latest generation of raw-capable digital cinema cameras.

Crowded Environment

The open standard in aimed at benefiting manufacturers, which have often seen adoption of digital cinema cameras stymied by obstacles. With CinemaDNG, these new products will provide greater reliability as well as instant compatibility with existing workflows, Adobe said. It could also help camera makers reduce development costs by eliminating the need to develop a proprietary format and conversion utilities. Adobe also plans to provide support for proprietary metadata to assist manufacturers to “differentiate their product offerings from competitors.”

While CinemaDNG is intended for professional cameras initially, Coleman told TechNewsWorld the company anticipates that the new standard will eventually migrate to consumer-related markets.

“The cameras that support RAW data today are professional cameras, but we expect this capability to move into other markets over time. By leading this effort now, Adobe is building a foundation for our customers’ future workflows,” he said.

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