Adobe has announced that it's beginning an initiative to create an industry-wide open file format for digital cinema files, which it says will streamline workflows and help ensure easy archiving and exchange.

Adobe intends to use its Digital Negative Specification (DNG) file format as a foundation, and Adobe plans to work with a broad coalition of leading camera manufacturers, including Panavision, Silicon Imaging, Dalsa, Weisscam, and ARRI -- along with software vendors, including Iridas and The Foundry, and codec- provider CineForm -- to define the requirements for an open, publicly documented file format that it plans to call CinemaDNG.

Adobe is currently working to develop the requirements of the CinemaDNG workflow and intends to subsequently publish a specification for the file format based on collaboration with companies throughout the industry.

Many filmmakers are foregoing film in favour of digital cinema cameras and workflows that offer improved creative flexibility, lower costs, and significantly faster turnaround times. However, Adobe says that those new workflows involve complex hardware and software, with projects passing through multiple vendors along the production pipeline. The proliferation of disparate, vendor-specific raw file formats has the potential to erode some of the advantages of digital cinema, says the company.

As a publicly documented and open file format, Adobe says that CinemaDNG would offer several advantages for filmmakers. They could avoid roadblocks caused by incompatibilities in workflows that involve multiple devices, vendors, and file formats. They could adopt digital cinema cameras while minimizing the risk that proprietary or camera-specific file formats would be unsupported in the future, because CinemaDNG would provide an open, durable, standard format that would be available for many years to come.

Filmmakers would also have access to a robust archival standard for the new generation of raw-capable digital cinema cameras. CinemaDNG would also provide the foundation for an editing workflow that would allow filmmakers to use the highest quality source material.