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DCP files

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nick avalianiDCP files
by on Jan 11, 2011 at 11:24:32 am

Hello Forum

what DCP files mean and how can I make it out of Final Cut Pro

I was told to deliver DCP files to movie


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walter biscardiRe: DCP files
by on Jan 11, 2011 at 12:40:04 pm

Digital Cinema Projection files is what I believe you are referring to.

You can make them via a third party application around $800, but quite honestly unless you absolutely know what you are doing, I would not recommend this. This is the digital equivalent of making a film print of your feature.

We were looking at this process but then found it was quite expensive and there are upwards of a dozen different DCP formats. If you don't deliver the correct DCP format for the theater / projection system, they will not be able to play your film.

So you have to be prepared to make multiple DCP versions of your film. It gets very expensive very quickly.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" Winner, Best Documentary, LA Reel Film Festival...

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nick avalianiRe: DCP files
by on Jan 11, 2011 at 12:43:56 pm

Thanks for response

so there is no way to do it from Final cut pro? or what are softwares I can do it with? I heard of wraptor with compressor is it good enough? I will find out with theater the format, i can interact with them everyday.

Does DCP files played in projector have big difference from Blue ray disc from quality point of view?


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Alan OkeyRe: DCP files
by on Jan 11, 2011 at 2:55:23 pm

Try contacting Russel Lasson, a Cow forum leader. He specializes in Digital Cinema. He posted an article a while back stating that QuVis, the creator of Wraptor, had gone bankrupt.

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nick avalianiRe: DCP files
by on Jan 11, 2011 at 2:57:23 pm

Yes it gone bankrupt I also know it and its raptor is only for compressor 3.0.4 it does not work with new version of compressor

I found this

how correct it may be

u can build a DCI compliant JPEG2000 digital cinema package using only open source tools with the work-flow outlined here. This post assumes you have all the necessary tools compiled and installed.

* You can find the list of necessary tools here: Open Source Tools
* You'll probably want to read up on compiling and installing the tools for your operating system

There are 4 main steps to creating a DCP:

* Content normalization - Getting your content into JPEG2000 frames or MPEG2 and PCM WAV files.
* Colorspace Conversion - Converting content into the XYZ colorspace. This only needed for JPEG2000.
* MXF Container - Putting MXF wrappers around your content.
* XML Descriptors - Generate XML files to describe content for ingest and playback.

For the purpose of this work-flow, we'll start with a 1920x1080p MPEG-4 file, called sample.mp4. You will need to have all of the tools compiled, installed and executable. The actual steps may vary slightly depending on your OS. The following are based on linux and you'll need to adjust them for your needs.

1. In the folder where sample.mp4 is located, create some directories to organize the intermediate files.

Code: [Select]
#mkdir audio
#mkdir tiff
#mkdir j2k
Content Normalization
The first step is getting your content into the right format. It is generally best to get your original source as close to the specification as possible. That is, while ffmpeg can convert the frame rate from 29.97 to 24fps, resize or change the aspect ratio, it is better to do this during editing or filming. If your editing package can export to a TIFF and 24-bit 48khz or 96khz uncompressed PCM wave files, then go to the next section. Your software may also export to JPEG2000. However, unless it will perform XYZ colorspace conversion and is DCI compliant, you'll want to export to TIFF.

1. De-mux the video into TIF frames. This command will create 24 TIF files per second in the tif folder. The %06d tells FFmpeg to create a 6 digit padded file name for each frame, 000001.tif, 000002.tif, etc.

Code: [Select]
ffmpeg -y -i sample.mp4 -an -r 24 -vcodec tif tif/%06d.tif
2. De-mux the audio into a wav file.

Code: [Select]
ffmpeg -y -i sample.mp4 -acodec pcm_s24le -r 24 -ar 48000 audio/sample.wav
A limitation of FFmpeg is that it doesn't allow you to write individual tracks, so you if want 5.1, 6.1, etc you'll need to split your sound into separate audio tracks with a program like audacity or quicktime. You can also use SoX (Sound Exchange) to split the audio tracks.

Code: [Select]
sox sample.wav left.wav remix 1
sox sample.wav right.wav remix 2
sox sample.wav center.wav remix 3
sox sample.wav lfe.wav remix 4
sox sample.wav surrleft.wav remix 5
sox sample.wav surrright.wav remix 6

Thanks jonathanj.

XYZ Colorspace
Now that we have an image sequence in the correct frame rate, we need to adjust the color from the original colorspace to the XYZ. You can use OpenDCP to do the color conversion and jpeg2000 creation in one step.

Use the tool opendcp_j2k to convert the TIFF sequence to a JPEG200 frame sequence. It takes an input folder containing your tif images and an output folder to save the XYZ color converted JPEG2000 images. You can set the frame rate and profile as well.

Code: [Select]
opendcp_j2k -i tiff -o j2k -r 24 -p cinema2k
MXF Container
Now, we have all of the content in the correct format for digital cinema. The next step is to place these inside media containers, in this case MXF. This part is a simple step to perform, but why it needs to be done can be a little confusing to understand for a lot of people. This is because it is easy to confuse the difference between and codec and a container. A codec is the method of encoding or decoding data, which in most cases is a way of compressing or decompressing data. The container only describes how elements are stored into a single file. The elements in a container could be anything, even other containers. A single MXF file could contain encoded audio and encoded video, but in the case of digital cinema, the audio and video elements are stored in separate MXF containers. As a result, you'll have an MXF file containing one or more audio files (wav files) and another MXF file containing one or more video files (jpeg frames).

We can use opendcp_mxf create the MXF wrappers.

1. Create the audio MXF file.
You can supply a single wav file on the command line or if you have multiple channels, a folder containing wav files. When supplying a folder, you to need map each wav file to the correct channel. This is done by prefixing each wav file with the channel number, so the software knows how to assemble them.

01 Left
02 Right
03 Center
04 Sub
05 Left surround
06 Right surround

So, we would simply prefix the file names.

Code: [Select]
01_sample.wav (left channel)
02_sample.wav (right channel)

In our original example, we only have one audio file. We want to specify that we are using 24fps with the -r argument.

Code: [Select]
opendcp_mxf -i audio/sample.wav -o -r 24
2. Create the video MXF file.
This will take all the jpeg frames in a directory and place them into a single file.

Code: [Select]
opendcp_mxf -i j2c -o -r 24
XML Descriptors
We now have two nice and neat MXF files. In a lot of cases, you'd have a single MXF that contained the audio and the video and that would be it. You'd give the MXF file to somebody and they could play it. However, in digital cinema, we need have a few more steps that are needed to tell the digital server what to do with the MXF files. This may sound redundant and just adds another level of confusion. However, we can quickly see the advantage with an example. Let's say you want to distribute your film worldwide in multiple languages. The video is going to be the same for all of them, just the audio would be different. So, rather than creating a single huge file for every language, we can keep them separate. We can use the same video MXF and include one or more audio MXFs, which can be linked together using XML files. This saves a lot of space and time.

We need to create 4 XML files, the composition playlist (CPL), package list (PKL), assetmap, and volume index. We can use OpenDCP to create these XML files.

OpenDCP will create all of the XML files in one step. You supply the MXF files and any additional tags. Only the --reel is mandatory.

Code: [Select]
opendcp_xml --kind feature --title SAMPLE_DCP --reel
That is it, you should now have a working DCP. The final step would be to get the content onto each server. That varies depending on the server. Some have utilities that upload the content over the network, support CD/DVD, USB drives, etc. If you using a storage medium, like a USB drive, you'll need to have it formatted in a way that it can be read by the server. A lot of servers use linux, which would use the ext3 format.

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Russell LassonRe: DCP files
by on Jan 11, 2011 at 8:04:10 pm


Creating a DCP can technically be done using open source tools, but beware, it can be quite complex and challenging. If you're looking for a DIY project, I would suggest building a tree fort in the back yard, but if you're more handy with a computer and open source than with a hammer and nails, then making your own DCP might be right up your alley.

I've been creating DCPs professionally for almost three years using Qube Master Pro. If you're interested in getting a quote from me for a project, let me know. I'm very good with pricing. If you decided to do it on your own, make you're nice to the guys at your local theater and bring them treats or something as the only way to see if your DCP worked is on a DCI system. You'll get to know those projectionists quite well:)

As far as Wrapper goes, it looked quite promising for basic projects until QuVis went south. It surprises me a little that there hasn't been someone to step in to that market space. It is a difficult thing to sell and support at the price I guess.

I know several people who have used Blu-ray in theaters. It looks pretty good, but the bigger challenge is getting the audio set up right with the right levels and surround if you have it. If you're only doing one screening then Blu-ray is a viable option, but if you're actually releasing in theaters, then a DCP is much more reliable and theaters prefer it as it can be automated and reduces potential problems.

Let me know if you have some more questions.


Russell Lasson
Colorist/Digital Cinema Specialist
Color Mill
Salt Lake City, UT

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nick avalianiRe: DCP files
by on Jan 11, 2011 at 8:12:45 pm

Thanks for reply

unfortunately I do not have additional budget for it, Today I interacted with theater and they told me they prefer blue ray, I do not know why but I think they do not have special projector supporting DCP. it is 500 seats theater not big one.

Regarding blue Ray what is best tool to write on blue ray for best quality both video and audio?

Despite this I am going to dig in DCP workflow as far as I feel in future theaters will have such projectors


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Russell LassonRe: DCP files
by on Jan 12, 2011 at 12:47:01 am

Easiest way to burn a blu-ray is to use the Compressor template. Might not be the best quality you can achieve, but I think it's quite good for being included in FCP. It's also easy to use. To get better quality than that, you'd have to spend some money. I haven't figured out how to do a surround mix this way though, just stereo.

As far as the theater goes, they could have just an HD projector for the preshow and advertisements that they'll use to play your film. They could still be using film for other features.


Russell Lasson
Colorist/Digital Cinema Specialist
Color Mill
Salt Lake City, UT

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Terrence MeiczingerRe: DCP files
by on Jan 30, 2011 at 6:34:46 pm

I figured I'd reply to this thread, since I've been doing some work on open source DCP stuff. The referenced step workflow has been tested on Dolby and Doremi servers with success. The problem is there are a lot of variables that can come into play. For example, I've been using the workflow flawlessly, but just recently somebody had issues where the images were all messed up. It turned out their source content was encoded in YCrCb and not sRGB and that particular scenario hadn't been dealt with. So, in that case there is an additional conversion needed. I don't think EasyDCP deals with YCrCb images either.

So... It is getting better and it can be done, but it may require some investigation. If you give yourself time to experiment and deal with these issues it can be rewarding to tackle yourself. If you are on a tight schedule, you might want to go the professional route.

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chris youngD-I-Y DCP Creation using OpenDCP
by on Feb 16, 2011 at 3:44:44 am

My goal was to make OpenDCP work on a Sony SRX R-320 and after numerous attempts -- as an independent filmmaker, I am elated to say it worked perfectly! It wouldn't have been possible if Terrence Meiczinger hadn't developed OpenDCP.

Admittedly, a few weeks ago I didn't know much, if anything, about creating DCP files… let alone a stereoscopic 3D-DCP. I had recently finished work on a self produced and directed short film, "Dead of Nowhere", that I was able to make largely in part utilizing the crowd-based funding site Indiegogo. I used a Final Cut Pro / 2K Cineform workflow to edit and finish my film. I shot my film guerilla style in one day, handheld on location with the Element Technica Dark-Country beamsplitter rig, recording to a 1-Beyond Wrangler. When I learned that it was going to cost somewhere between $1,500 and $3,000 to have my ten minute film encoded in order to have it shown in a realD™ equipped theater, I knew I had to find an alternate "indie" solution to create my DCP.

After investigating all of the commercial solutions (easyDCP, Doremi, etc.) and speaking with several "indie-friendly" post houses -- all of whom bid out of my price range… I stumbled onto OpenDCP.

While the notion of using an open-source command-line tool, still in development, isn't for the faint of heart, and I am by no means a Unix Pro, the process was pretty simple once I understood how the OpenDCP tools worked.

There have been plenty of how-to posts, so I won't get into a lot of detail here… but basically after getting my film into a Left Eye / Right Eye TIFF sequence at the correct aspect ratio (1998 x 1080), the frame rate at (24p), ensuring that my audio was the exact same length (intrinsic value) and the correct sample rate (24bit), it was a fairly straight forward process to convert to XYZ jpeg2000 (.j2c) using opendcp_j2k and then using opendcp_mxf to wrap the stereoscopic-picture and main-audio elements into separate mxf files. After figuring out that I needed to be sure to have the digest (-d) and annotation (-a) tags set in opendcp_xml, it was then just a simple matter of getting these files onto a drive to load into a cinema server.

Now, don't get me wrong, this will probably not work the first time. I had to make several trips back and forth to the theater, trying various DCP versions (interop and smpte) and hard drive formats (I settled on NTFS).

If you're an indie-filmmaker, trying to get your film digitally packaged for exhibition and don't have the money to spend, or are the kind of person (like me) that enjoys learning about every step of the process -- I couldn't recommend a better, more rewarding way of creating a DCP.

More information about OpenDCP and DEAD OF NOWHERE can be found here:

OpenDCP Link:

Short Film:



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Peter OlejnikRe: D-I-Y DCP Creation using OpenDCP
by on Feb 16, 2012 at 5:18:08 pm

What I don't understand is why hasn't there been profile packages developed for various theaters?

There should be software that allows filmmakers to simply drag a profile -- much like in compressor -- that matches projectors in AMC theaters, or Showcase Cinema instead of trial and error, but that would make too much sense. 

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Terrence MeiczingerRe: D-I-Y DCP Creation using OpenDCP
by on Mar 18, 2012 at 6:27:22 pm

First, with the vast amount of screens and theaters, it would be a monumental task to have a profile for each theater, especially when many theaters have mix of equipment. Second, there is no need to begin with. The whole idea behind the SMPTE and DCI specifications is to ensure all content providers, vendors, and exhibitors are in compliance to a single standard. However, just like many things it takes time for everyone to reach compliance.

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Hari krishnanRe: D-I-Y DCP Creation using OpenDCP
by on Apr 7, 2013 at 12:42:20 pm

Is it possible to create MPEG 2 encoding TIFF/DPX/BMP RGB/YUV/YCbCr images (which is not dci spec) in Opendcp. if yes how? .. if No will any up-gradation will come for this?

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Sebastian LeitnerRe: DCP files
by on Jul 25, 2012 at 8:13:48 pm

hey there!

i just finished my first DCP with openDCP and it's kick-ass. i tested it in a big cinema that had a DOREMI 2k4k server with a DOLBY DP8 processor. 5.1 surround played beautifully and picture was marvelous as well - i delivered on a NTFS hard disk.

openDCP in the latest version has a GUI, which is perfect for anyone. the only thing you need is your movie as a TIFF sequence (best settings, best depth, sRGB colorspace) - do them in after effects or FCP, do not use quicktime or another 3rd party tool, they might be faster but quality is not as good.

your sound can either be stereo or up to 6 descreet channels (5.1) - you can mux everything together in the very self-explaining openDCP.

worldwide DCI standards are: 24p on a ext3 formatted esata harddisk read here.
BUT it depends on the DCP servers what actually plays. SONY and DOREMI both are able to play 25p as well as read NTFS disks, which is a dream, because formatting a disk to ext3 (linux) is tricky (even on linux, because you need to fit all the specs which are not that standardized on every linux distribution).

thank you, openDCP, for this great way for indie-filmmakers to actually deliver DCP movies to the world!
p.s. in our case we had to stick to 25p because the quality of any sound stretch was insufficient. even with pitch correction.

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