Digitization At The Cinema


The "A-Cinema Trust" project, initiated by the Cinémathèque Leipzig, is a response to the Digital Cinema Initiatives.

The DCI, an umbrella organization of American film studios, operates the standardization and enforcement of the same DCI standards for digital cinema.

This development is accompanied by a monopoly and only takes into account the interests of the film market, particularly global corporations.

Members of the DCI are: Buena Vista Group / Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Pictures.

Who loses out are small cinemas, film festivals, and special forms of film screenings, such as open-air venues (also known as "drop-outs") lacking the necessary capital expenditures, despite what various programs can afford. Furthermore, this kind of standardization is a regulation of access to films from other distributors, if they follow the DCI specification. We see the diversity of the cinema landscape in danger, and have therefore decided to develop an alternative: the "A-Cinema", the "All-cinema."


The "A-Cinema" will differ in the technical solution of DCI. Our goals are:

- Independence

- Sustainability / Expandability

- Low-budget financing

We want to continue to decide what films go into our program and open, unrestricted access to the cinema projections.

A closed system is, in our view, not technically useful. Not today, as prescribed standard high definition format has to be defined in the next few years' time.

The discourse on cinema projectors and servers are priced, the lottery winners are reserved; therefore we meet the challenge with a clear idea: A cinema server is - quite simply - a computer.

More difficult are the details; that's where the Technology rubrick comes in.

Screening Capability

“A-Cinema” will allow the playback of both formats of the D-and E-Cinema.



Short-term goals are to have the ability to screen films in both major formats (JPEG2000/MXF/DCP and h264/MP4), allowing relatively carefree screening, in excellent quality, with conventional standard techniques. This is fairly common and therefore cheaper to purchase and maintain.

What will not be attainable in the first phase is to improve the color depth to 12bit/Sample. The target is initially 10bit/Sample.


With the development of computer technology in the next few years (and this period will be shorter than the amortization period of large cinema servers) it could yet be possible to exceed the quality standards of DCP.

In the long term, the DCP format will be replaced by a more environmentally friendly, and even higher quality format with higher color depth (16bit/S).