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Digital Cinema Lab (DCL)

The Digital Cinema lab has relocated to the University of Southern California campus!

Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre
 3507 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Tel: (213) 743-1600

Parking (USC Map Grid indicators) 
 USC Map PDF
 Entrance off Jefferson Blvd and Royal St: Gate 4 (G3)
 Parking Structure D (G4) 
Norris Theatre (E4)

Brief History

The Digital Cinema Laboratory opened at the historic Hollywood Pacific Theatre in October 2000 to perform research and establish benchmarks regarding standards for digital cinema distribution and exhibition. The DCL has been host to myriad meetings, discussions, tests and demos surrounding digital cinema. ETC and the DCL are often credited for providing the catalyst that made digital cinema a reality rather than a theoretical discussion.

In November 2006, after digital theaters began rolling out in earnest, ETC moved the lab to the Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre on the University of Southern California campus in downtown Los Angeles, where the DCL could continue providing a testing facility at the same time providing a platform for training the next generation of film creators.

DCL Mission

To be a global leader in providing a test bed for digital cinema distribution and exhibition, as well as for the growing use of digital cinema technology in image creation and post production.

To evaluate proposed technology solutions for quality, robustness, and interoperability.

To reach out to the creative community and bring their needs and their artistic and critical skills to bear on solving problems in the transition to digital cinema.

To work with efforts underway around the world, so that digital cinema labs can share test materials and procedures.

To be a showcase for the best in cinema presentation.

Interoperable Master Format

The goal of the Interoperable Master Format (IMF) project is to develop a voluntary specification for an interoperable set of master files (and associated metadata) to enable standard interchange and automated creation of downstream distribution packages. We hope to create a voluntary specification that will be handed to SMPTE in the Fall of 2010 to kick off a formal standards-setting process.

Some of the benefits of the IMF should be:

* Single, interchangeable master file format

* Automated packaging & delivery

* Minimize storage

* Simplify post production transcodes

The IMF will store one master set of file based elements to be assembled for any downstream distribution using multiple Composition Play Lists (Recipes), similar to what is used in present day Digital Cinema Packaging (DCP). The broad concept of a high quality, uniform IMF should lower costs, improve time-to-market, and increase interoperability of existing production processes and needs. Of course, a IMF file-based workflow could be implemented and customized by any content creator, service provider, or distribution partner.

Specification Development Process The Entertainment Technology Center is hosting regular discussions related to the IMF among the majority of the major studios — the epicenter for the issues the IMF is trying to solve. The specification process is designed to solicit additional input and commentary from outside companies and individuals. For example, other ETC member companies get regular briefings and opportunities to provide input. In addition, companies and individuals who are not members of ETC but who are in the industries who may use or may be affected by the IMF will be briefed periodically and will have an opportunity to provide feedback via email reflector on an ongoing basis. How to get Involved The ETC and the IMF Tech Committee briefs the industry and seeks input from outside companies.

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Data & Analytics Project

The Storytelling Cipher: Mapping Precise Story and Character Mechanics to Box Office Returns

Our Data & Analytics Project held “The Storytelling Cipher: Mapping Stories & Characters to Box Office Revenue” Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

This study leverages the Dramatic taxonomy of film narrative to infer which scene-level character and story attributes generate more box office returns, by genre. We are extending this study to ads and movie trailers.

The project researchers used machine learning to map 70+ story attributes for 300 films to their box office returns to extract which story mechanics or character features in film generated the most revenue. This was the first time granular story and character mechanics have been used to predict box office returns, which opens up many avenues to make more data-driven creative and development decisions throughout the industry.

What’s a good story? The question has been hanging without a scientific answer since the dawn of man. It seems that a story’s lack of clear mathematical structure and universal taxonomy would relegate such classification of stories to the qualitative – and highly subjective- empire of critics and … people.

Until now.

The event presented results from the research, discussed applications for the development and creative process, and outlined next steps.

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