What is the SMPTE DCP?
The Digital Cinema Format
The Digital Cinema Format is a file-based framework that allows high-quality versions of motion pictures, called Compositions, to be efficiently represented and played back on digital playback servers and projectors. The delivery of these Compositions are packaged into what is known worldwide as a Digital Cinema Package or its more common acronym; DCP.
The DCP, its assets and their corresponding video/audio/text based data sources are governed by a suite of SMPTE standards which regulate the constrained application specific implementation of said assets which compose the package.
In simpler terms, the SMPTE DCP is built upon the Interop DCP but with further enhancements and explicitly defined constraints. The specification is published as a formal suite of standards by SMPTE under the 21DC Technology Committee.
The SMPTE DCP can be categorised based on the level of features used that are offered within the standard. This categorisation is denoted by an increasing letter. A, B, C etc. Given the nature of Industry adoption, the current baseline for when someone infers SMPTE DCP is 'SMPTE DCP Bv2.1 Application Profile' or Bv2.1 for short. The feature set of this profile is summarised in RDD 52 SMPTE DCP Bv2.1 Application Profile, which can be opbatined from IEEE here: 10.5594/SMPTE.RDD52.2020.
Standards give manufacturers of equipment and software detailed instructions they can use to make sure that their products are built to a common specification - helping to eliminate problems with interoperability. They are drawn up by international committees of experts after consideration and debate which helps to ensure that all the requirements are captured and considered and nothing is left out. The complete list of all standards associated with the SMPTE DCP can be found below.