To DCP or not to DCP?
I've been submitting my latest short to a bunch of festivals near me and one that I've been accepted into lists DCP as a suitable delivery format (alongside ProRes and h264) which is not something I've ever looked into. As I've moved over to Windows (and have been editing and grading in Resolve), I can no longer make ProRes files (though I am thinking of emailing to ask whether they could handle a DNxHR) and thought maybe I should look into it.
However, everything I've read says it's incredibly difficult but all the programmes I've looked at seem fairly straightforward. Now, chances are I won't be able to test it in the cinema (if they did it for me, they'd have to do it for everyone) but that's true of whatever file I give them. Is it really more trouble than it's worth or should I just send them a h264 and cross the DCP bridge when I actually have to?
An additional question also, if that's alright. All of my exports read a colour space of YUV and all I see in a lot of boxes on source colour is sRGB, Rec. 709 and so on but no mention of YUV. Are they two things that are completely different or should I not be using YUV for my exports (DCP making aside as I'm aware you're supposed to export an image sequence in XYZ).
[Patrick Slee] "As I've moved over to Windows (and have been editing and grading in Resolve), I can no longer make ProRes files (though I am thinking of emailing to ask whether they could handle a DNxHR) and thought maybe I should look into it."
It would be rare for a festival to accept anything other than what they specify, as it makes work for them -- 99 times out of 100 its all volunteers with very little technical knowledge.
If you can't make a ProRes directly, then it would be incumbent to find a way. If you still have an Apple product kicking around, it would still make sense to load something like Compressor4 on it -- pay the $40 or whatever for the ProApp, and transcode.
If you have no experience making and testing DCP, its not a thing to try to deliver under a deadline. There are plenty of open source offerings, but it takes some trial and error to arrive at a bullet-proof deliverable. Rewolve will opene and play a DCP for evaluation -- for 15 seconds. Then it's unusable unless you invest in the easyDCP player from Fraunhofer, and that is not cheap.
f you are unclear on the matter of working and delivering in a variety of colorspaces and the notional differences between what is encoded as RGB and YUV, then there is a lot of background research still to do. YUV is a color encoding strategy that is based on luminance and color-difference, rather than Red/Green/Blue primary components. Sometimes you will see it expressed as Y'CbCr. The Y' means it is also indexed to a gamma coefficient.
Keep It Simple.
"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.
I'm all for keeping it simple! I'm well aware that my knowledge is lacking in areas but I'm building on it every day. I always thought that RGB and YUV were separate colour spaces (which is appears they are) which is why I was a little confused when YUV wasn't a source input option on the couple of DCP creation tools I looked at. Especially given that, when I did a bit of reading, a lot of the articles I read said that YUV is the most common and is the broadcast standard.
Anyway, on the ProRes issue, I do have my old Mac machine (I still do my sound design, mixing etc. in Logic) and put the DNxHR through Adobe Media Encoder and there was a distinct loss of saturation and contrast when I did so which put me off going down that route. As for the festival, I completely take your point however, with this one, the festival isn't actually handling the technical side themselves as the venue has its own staff given it's history in my city. They actually updated the acceptable formats a few weeks ago adding DCP and a wider frame rate support that they didn't initially know about so I reckon it can't hurt to ask them (they've said any technical questions are to go directly to the cinema's team).
RGB and YUV are encoding methods, not colorspaces... don't confuse this!
I'll echo Joseph, and advise not to try to learn how to make a DCP on race day. You're right in that it's not hard with current tools, though there are a bunch of things you can get wrong with no easy way to test outside of a cinema.
I got bitten using the Resolve DCP thingy once. It was all so simple, one button press, bam! mail off my drive, call it done. The cinema called to confirmed that it all looked good, except for the massive DaVinci watermark in the middle of the screen. Turns out you've got to pay for that feature.
If and when you do want to make a DCP, the best free workflow I've found is to use Resolve to transcode your film into a JPEG2000 image sequence, then use DCP-O-Matic to package the image sequence with your audio. The few gotchas are ensuring the frame rates match, and that you do the correct audio mix-up if your film was mastered in stereo instead of surround.