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DCP issues for a newbie

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Adriano Castaldini
DCP issues for a newbie
on May 9, 2017 at 11:21:08 pm

Hi everyone,
I'm in a big trouble: I've made a video with Davinci in Prores4444 1920*1080 @25fps (pal) using Rec.709 as color space. It was clearly video oriented.
Now, the video has been selected for a theatre premiere with a (not well specified) Christie projector. Tha bad thing is that they ask to me a DCP file!
First of all, I know nothing about projectors... Anyway I have to make something.

So, questions:
1. The video is @25fps, but I've read that the DCP standard is 24fps, so my question is: is it possible to maintain the 25fps rate, or I need to convert to 24fps? If so, is it better to "conform" the video and stretch the audio, or is it possible in Davinci to "convert" the file to a new framerate without changing the duration?
2. The video is well graded in Rec.709, but I've read somewhere that the color spaces of projectors are P3 or XYZ or Rec.2020 or whatdamnelse... Does it mean that I have to do an all-new-grading-from-zero, or is there a method to convert directly from my Rec.709-based-grading to P3-relative? (NOTE THAT I HAVE ONLY DAVINCI 12.5, AND NOT EASYDCP - In the sense that in Davinci Deliver tab I've found the easyDCP option, but I haven't paid for any license.)
3. The frame size of my video is 1920*1080, but I've seen that the DCP standard is 2K (full, flat, scope). Is there a possibility to maintain the size of 1920*1080, or the Christie projector could not work or distort the image? If so, which format should I use and which method should I follow?

Please, note that I have Davinci Studio 12.5 (and Premiere and FCPX and Compressor) but NOT easyDCP.

Please, I need your help guys.

Thanks a lot


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Michael Gissing
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on May 10, 2017 at 12:57:27 am

DCP can handle many frame rates including 25 but in my experience a lot of cinemas are a decade behind and many only safely handle 24fps. You might need to ask a lot of questions to determine if 25 is OK plus what sort of formatted drive to send the file on. Cinemas are a technical dogs breakfast so ask.

If 25 is OK then you can export a jpeg2000 from Resolve that creates a DCI compliant color space and fits the 1920 x 1080 inside the DCP flat spec so little pillars on the side so there is no distortion and the full 16:9 frame is displayed. Safe data rate is around 125. Check the Deliver page options

There is open source software like OpenDCP to create a compliant DCP. I've used it with mixed success. http://www.opendcp.org/ . Others may have advice on various alternatives. I do know that people with Adobe CC have access to a DCP creator in Media Encoder that handles everything.


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Joseph Owens
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on May 10, 2017 at 4:02:06 pm

[Michael Gissing] " Cinemas are a technical dogs breakfast so ask."

Completely correct.

If this is a one-off, approach the cinema manager directly; if they have a one-sheet of acceptable formats, then comply with that and pick the best solution. You may be able to deliver in something other than a DCP -- H.264, ProRes, BluRay, these are all options that producers are not necessarily aware of, but ask for anyway, something along the line of "Just give it to me on a "Hard Drive." Give what to you? "A Quicktime."

1920x1080 will work, 1998 is a format, 2048 is a format. Pick your pillarbox.

Some theatre servers have issues reconciling frame rate and SMPTE vs. InterOp protocols.

Test, test, test, test... and then test it again. It will fail somewhere for some reason and usually for different reasons in different circumstances.

jPo, CSI

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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Chris Wright
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on May 10, 2017 at 4:23:01 pm

openDCP
https://www.provideocoalition.com/diy-dcp-don-starnes/


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Adriano Castaldini
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on May 10, 2017 at 5:05:31 pm

Hi everyone, and a huge THANKS to all you.

I surely will test, but not too much because just tomorrow I'll have my unique test-day (a couple of hours in the morning...)

Today I've tried a cool stuff named DCP-O-Matic. Do you know that? With that software the starting point can be the Prores444 I've just rendered: it converts videos into DCP folders.

What do you think about? Do you prefer openDCP?

Anyway, once obtained the DCP folder, how to play it on Mac?

Again, thanks guys!!!


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Joseph Owens
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on May 10, 2017 at 7:46:08 pm

[Adriano Castaldini] "Anyway, once obtained the DCP folder, how to play it on Mac?"

You need player software, the DCP is not decipherable by Quicktime or many other container decoders. For one, it needs to be able to unpack the CPL and PKL XML files. DO NOT attempt to edit the DCP in any way. Even the name is encoded in such a way that it is keyed to the internal integrity of the package.

Glad you got what you needed on the BMD Resolve website.

I don't know of any free players. Personally, I use the Fraunhofer easyDCP plugin for Resolve.

jPo, CSI

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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Adriano Castaldini
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on May 10, 2017 at 8:33:05 pm

...very pricey... :(


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Adriano Castaldini
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on May 10, 2017 at 9:41:23 pm

Sorry if I disturb again with a silly question: I tried to use DCP-O-Matic. In the menu you can choose between Make_DCP, Make_KDM, Make_DKDM. Make_DCP is self_explanatory, but I can't understand what are KDM and DKDM? Are them useful for my simple purpose (preparing a DCP projection)?

Thanks a lot.


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Joseph Owens
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on May 11, 2017 at 3:05:36 pm

KDM refers to the certificates necessary to provide authorization to decode the DCP if it is encrypted. Most free DCP authoring packages don't offer this option. If its a one-off presentation it likely doesn't need to be encrypted -- its a layer of complication you likely don't need.... and it gets complex because you need to get certificates from the theatre for its server and then authorize showings, &c., &tc.

jPo, CSI

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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Drake Silver
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on May 11, 2017 at 3:34:16 pm

Hi guys,

Can anyone tell me... if I export a recent short film we made, 24fps, Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1 out of DaVinci Resolve using Easy DCP, will it be essentially a DCP?

It's for a film festival that will only except Blu-Ray or DCP... can't get the Blu-Ray done in time, so looking to to a DCP, which of course is better anyway... but it is safe - as in will it definitely work the other end?

Any potential problems?

Is it really 'Easy' as the name suggests?

Do I need to make sure of anything?

And finally, how do we deliver it to the cinema, on just a portable hard drive?

Thank you so much for any valuable feedback.


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Joseph Owens
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on May 11, 2017 at 10:29:50 pm

I you don't have time to make a BluRay, you really don't have time to make a DCP... and export it, and test it...

jPo, CSI

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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Mike Most
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on May 11, 2017 at 5:42:50 pm

If you don't understand this stuff, why do you insist on doing it yourself? You really should be seeking out someone who can do this for you, do it correctly, and charge a reasonable price to do it, rather than getting in over your head just to save a few bucks.

I don't know when it because "normal" that everything in this industry should be "free." If you want a car you have to pay for it. If you can't afford it you either rent one, borrow one, use Uber, or go without. Same thing with just about everything else - except, it seems post production. Do yourself a favor and do some research. Find someone who can make your DCP and go back to what you really need to be involved with - namely the creative end of all of this.


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Adriano Castaldini
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on May 12, 2017 at 3:46:25 pm

Dear all! Thank you so much for your help.
Yesterday I had my tests in the theatre, I had 23 video-tests with me, and I must say that I am very happy with the results:
1. the DCPs I've made with DCP-O-Matic had exactly the same colors of the original prores444xq from Resolve;
2. 25fps perfectly handled by the Christies;
3. having a Mac the only Christie's compatible file system was FAT32 (ExFat did not work) so I've made a splitted-reel-DCP that worked perfectly;
4. having my original prores' audio in stereo, I tried various audio variations (DCP-O-Matic gives the possibility to maintain the original stereo or even build various "fake" multi-channel alternatives), so I tried with stereo, 3-front-channel, and 5.1. With my surprise, the best solution appeared to be 3-front-channel (probably because of the type of audio material used in the original video, but also - perhaps - the space of the theatre, and - almost surely - the quality of the theatre's audio system).

So, I'm very happy to have had my test-day, with DCP-tests made in few hours by myself, so I HAVE TO THANK ALL OF YOU!!! YOU GUYS SAVED MY DAY!!!

Now, as I said, I'd like to learn about color spaces: I want to learn when/why using Rec.709 vs P3 vs Rec.2020, and XYZ, and ACES, etc. So please tell me if does exist a manual, a guide or something to start learning this things.

Thanks really much!


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Aaron Owen
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on Aug 1, 2017 at 10:18:09 pm

So you've got a DCP that you are ready to send out... That's only half the battle. If you want the DCP to be read on any digital cinema playback system in the world, there's still some work to do.

You've got to put it onto a Linux formatted drive according to theISDCF spec (master boot record, ext2 or ext3 filesystem, inode size at 128) and ensure that the package was transferred onto the drive without getting any read or write errors that would cause the server's validation process to fail.

That's where DCP Transfer comes in. Check out the guided tour:







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Aaron Owen
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on Aug 1, 2017 at 11:13:27 pm

So you've got a DCP that you are ready to send out... That's only half the battle. If you want the DCP to be read on any digital cinema playback system in the world, there's still some work to do.

You've got to put it onto a Linux formatted drive according to theISDCF spec (master boot record, ext2 or ext3 filesystem, inode size at 128) and ensure that the package was transferred onto the drive without getting any read or write errors that would cause the server's validation process to fail.

That's where DCP Transfer comes in. Check out the guided tour:







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Michael Gissing
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on Aug 2, 2017 at 1:10:29 am
Last Edited By Michael Gissing on Aug 2, 2017 at 1:14:53 am

I had extremely poor compatibility with Australian cinemas when I delivered ext3 or ext2 formatted drives. Most use a Windows based ingest system so the most reliable format turned out to be NTFS format. There was also a great deal of older servers that couldn't handle frame rates other than 24.

The problem I found with DCPs was the cinemas lack of conformity to specs and their poor tech support. Mostly it's a kid that sells ice creams and popcorn doing the ingest and they had little idea how to articulate back other than it didn't work or the sound was distorted (it wasn't - just glitchy when 25 is played back at 24).

So I don't don't any more. There are companies that admitted to me they have data bases on specific cinemas so they know what to send that will work. Nearly always that turned out to be old Interop 24 on an NTFS drive.

edit: Oh and you never get your usb cables back. I ended up using 128gig thumb drives.


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Aaron Owen
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on Aug 2, 2017 at 2:59:32 am

USB 3 thumb drives are a great way to go. Just make sure you put a tag on them with the relevant information (film title, encryption status, running time, credits offset, frame rate, etc) as theaters have lots of drives and they can easily get mis-placed.

As for the actual drive format, NTFS will work if you ::know:: that the drive will end up at a multiplex with a library management system (LMS) or another sort of theater management system (TMS). The problem with this approach is that this isn't a universally recognized format. If your DCP drive ends up being plugged into a rented projector/server combo at a film festival, or is sent to a single screen theater where it's plugged directly into the playback server for ingest, it won't work.

Every time I've seen issues with a drive that is formatted ext2 or ext3, it's been because of the inode size. DCP Transfer checks the all the parameters of the drive format against the ISDCF specs to ensure universal compatibility.

Cinema Mastering & DCP Authoring
cinematiq.com | dcp-transfer.com


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Michael Gissing
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on Aug 2, 2017 at 3:06:06 am
Last Edited By Michael Gissing on Aug 2, 2017 at 3:08:01 am

[Aaron Owen] "The problem with this approach is that this isn't a universally recognized format."

The problem with the universally recognised format is most theatres that I supplied in Australia couldn't use the ext2 or 3 formatted drives. They made a mockery of a prescribed format by simply not supporting it. None of them would plug the disk directly into the server. All of them used the TMS and most of them didn't have a simple bit of freeware to read a Linux formatted drive. I emailed them the software but they refused to put it on the TMS Windows machines.

So it is misleading to talk about ext as a universal format when many theatres won't ingest from them. The whole point is you have to ask - never assume.


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Aaron Owen
Re: DCP issues for a newbie
on Aug 2, 2017 at 4:18:36 pm

My understanding is that Deluxe Technicolor ships Hollywood movies to theaters worldwide on drives formatted to the ISDCF standard as Deluxe was the creator of the so-called standard based on many rounds of trial and error. I may be wrong about this, (especially in regards to Australia) but if a theater ingests from a Deluxe drive, it's probably formatted that way.

Cinema Mastering & DCP Authoring
cinematiq.com | dcp-transfer.com


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