'Hancock' dressed in 4K

Digital Cinema Package goes out to theaters

Sony's "Hancock" is being distributed in 4K for digital cinema, which has prompted some fresh discussion about the resolution.

For the Will Smith starrer, Sony created a 4K Digital Cinema Package, or DCP, which is the set of files that are compressed, encrypted and packaged for digital- cinema distribution. In digital distribution, the DCP essentially is the equivalent of the film print.

2K is the commonly used resolution for digital cinema. 4K contains four times the amount of picture information.

"In a 4K projection-equipped cinema, (a 4K DCP) means you get the 4K image, and it delivers the higher-frequency, higher-detailed stuff," said Chris Cookson, president of Sony Pictures Technologies.

Opinions vary on whether 4K offers a noticeable difference for today's theatergoers. But proponents argue that the resolution has value beyond what is screened in today's cinema.

"Even if there wasn't 4K cinema today, I would be interested in 4K just to make sure that I save as much information as I historically saved when I was shooting and cutting on 35mm film ... and putting that in the vault," Cookson said. "In 2K, you lose a fair amount of information compared with what was on the original film."

Sony makes the only 4K digital-cinema projectors on the market. There are about 200 installed in theaters domestically, plus about two dozen in evaluation. There are nearly 5,000 digital-cinema-equipped auditoriums in the domestic market. (partialdiff)