Motion Picture Film Reproduction Master DPX Capture for Exhibition [MPD-R7]

Record Type: Digital Output from Motion Picture Film Source

Expected Use: Reproduction Master

Product Name: Motion Picture Film Reproduction Master DPX Capture for Exhibition [MPD-R7]

Product Purpose: The purpose of this product is to provide Presidential Libraries and exhibits staff with high-resolution captures for exhibits and public programs.

Nature of Source Material: All 35mm and 16mm film elements (black and white or color) with or without sound in stable condition as demonstrated by a determination of “Medium” or below on the At Risk Assessment Guide.

Possible File Derivatives: These files are created for customers external to the Moving Image and Sound archival unit, who are responsible for producing their own derivatives. If the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) does not already have a 4K ProRes 4444 MOV (QuickTime File Format) or HD (High Definition) AVI (Audio Video Interleaved) for this item, one may be created by the lab before the product is delivered to the customer. The DPX (Digital Picture Exchange) sequence is not retained.

Other Information:

  • The integrity of the source aspect ratio will be retained.
  • Unless project parameters require it, this file will not be altered in any capacity except for one-light color timing to be employed at the initial capture stage.

File Properties

Container Format

The capture process may result in two separate files linked by metadata.

Image Data

  • DPX (Digital Picture Exchange) as defined by Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) 268M-1994, ANSI (American National Standards Institute)/SMPTE 268M-2003, SMPTE ST 268-1:2014, and/or SMPTE ST 268-2:2018.
  • Uncompressed


Audio Data (if present)

File Specifications

Image Data

  • Bit depth: 10 bit or 16 bit
  • 4K Resolution: 4096x3112
  • 2K Resolution: 2048x1556 or 2048x1536
  • Color space: 4:4:4
  • Color model: RGB
  • Byte order: Big endian


Audio Data (if present)


Typical 4K image file sequence size: ~102.7 GB/minute or ~6 TB/hour (16 bit)

Typical 2K image file sequence size: ~25.7 GB/minute or ~1.5 TB/hour (16 bit)

    Quality Control

    Item Level Evaluation: Manual Quality Analysis

    DPX technical metadata may be examined and validated using software like the FADGI-developed embARC tool. Visual quality control (QC) may be performed using DPX editing/playback software and a professional monitor. In order to perform automated aspects of visual QC, the DPX sequence must first be transcoded to an uncompressed or other high-quality video file. Test plans are limited by software capabilities. NARA is continuing to improve and refine its QC processes.

    Equipment/System Evaluation

    NARA implements scheduled service and calibration protocols according to manufacturer recommendations as well as on an "as needed" basis.


    NARA saves DPX sequences in folders named to associate the files with external sources of descriptive and technical metadata. The folder name is a unique identifier composed of the item’s record group, series, item number, and reel number (ex. 255-HQ-199-R2). NARA uses the BagIt file packaging specification to generate manifests of the files in a DPX sequence, as well as checksums for each individual file.

    The following technical aspects of the DPX sequence and files are evaluated during metadata QC:

    • Resolution (4096x3112, 2048x1556, or 2048x1536)
    • Color Model (RGB)
    • Bit Depth (10 bit or 16 bit)
    • Endianness (Big endian)
    • Transfer Characteristic (Value 1-Printing Density or Value 2-Linear)
    • Total number of files (match against sequential numbers in file names to make sure no frames were dropped during scanning)


    NARA units preparing public exhibits and programs sometimes require high resolution scans of motion picture materials. NARA may create a 4K ProRes 4444 MOV or HD AVI derivative from the DPX file sequence before it is delivered to the customer. At this time, reproduction master DPX sequences are not retained.