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Oliver Peters
OT: DCI 2K Flat question
on Aug 23, 2015 at 4:27:08 pm

This is probably not the right forum, however a lot of folks here with good across-the-board knowledge. Plus this relates to films being cut with FCPX. The question relates to how best to crop or pad a 16x9 master for 2K DCI Flat (DCP).

Here's the dilemma. The final master is 1920x1080 16:9. The DCP spec for 2K Flat is 1998x1080 1.85:1. So you can either fit, fill or stretch. If you fill, then it's a slight blow-up and you have common sides, but with a cropped top/bottom. Or you can slide it down to have a common top and have all of the cropping come off of the bottom.

I don't want to stretch the image, so the other viable approach is to use fit, so you have a common top/bottom, but with pillarbox sides (black edges on left and right side of frame). I've poked around in some forums and see no clear consensus about which way is the best solution. I've seen a few forum posts in some projection forums that state that pillarboxing will negatively affect the apparent contrast in the projected image. Does anyone know if this is true?

In see some DCPs done on projects that I've cut or graded, the result in the theater looked to be more cropped than using fill conform would indicate. It looks like some additional masking is occurring in the projection. Yet, from these projection forums that doesn't sound like its an option. Supposedly the projectionist can only choose between scope and flat.

Thoughts on the best way to create a DCP in this situation? Thanks,

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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David Lawrence
Re: OT: DCI 2K Flat question
on Aug 23, 2015 at 5:02:28 pm

Hi Oliver,

I recently made a DCI 2K flat DCP from 1080p/24 source and had to figure out the same things your asking. It's quite a rabbit hole! In the end, I just let the DCP software handle the padding and noted the format so the projectionist could adjust the curtain to mask the pillars.

Are you making your own DCP or are you being asked to hand off a 2K flat formatted file? If you're making your own, check and see if the software will do the pillar boxing for you.

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Warren Eig
Re: OT: DCI 2K Flat question
on Aug 23, 2015 at 5:09:06 pm

I was just curious, could you create and XML and have Davinci Resolve do the correct ratio output for you before going to the DCI program?

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Oliver Peters
Re: OT: DCI 2K Flat question
on Aug 23, 2015 at 5:27:04 pm

[Warren Eig] "I was just curious, could you create and XML and have Davinci Resolve do the correct ratio output for you before going to the DCI program?"

There are a number of ways to handle the AR correction. The blow-up and repo is pretty clean in X, so I'm inclined to create a new 1998 x 1080 master file in X. I'm trying to avoid cropping, so the question is really two-fold: 1) whether pillarbox edges introduce other issues, and 2) whether there's additional cropping caused by the projector, sort of like safe title issues in broadcast.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: OT: DCI 2K Flat question
on Aug 23, 2015 at 9:33:54 pm

There is usually an additional crop in a theater – a piece of steel in the projector optical path with a keystone-shaped hole in it. Its shape is different for every theater and depends on the actual placement of the projector. So you should observe safe are for theatrical release as much as for broadcast.

By the way Flat is 1.85:1. It was there long before 16:9 which is 1.78:1 so DCI favoring flat over 16:9 is no surprise.


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Oliver Peters
Re: OT: DCI 2K Flat question
on Aug 23, 2015 at 5:20:56 pm

[David Lawrence] "Are you making your own DCP or are you being asked to hand off a 2K flat formatted file? If you're making your own, check and see if the software will do the pillar boxing for you."

I only completed the grading and delivered a 1920 x 1080 master file. The DCP (currently just for a small screening) was produced by an outside vendor and the project was handled by the client. In screening the result, we both felt the cropping was very noticeable. I'm investigating the best approach when he has the DCP redone. In addition, I have another film close to completion and looking at what to tell the producer on that one.

On this second one, I can prep a 1998 x 1080 master file in whatever form it needs to be, including selective shot-by-shot vertical adjustments, where needed. My druthers would be to avoid cropping and pad left and right, but I don't want that to create other issues.

As far as DIY, Adobe Media Encoder uses a built-in Wraptor plug-in and you can select the scaling method.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: OT: DCI 2K Flat question
on Aug 23, 2015 at 6:49:04 pm

[Oliver Peters] "In screening the result, we both felt the cropping was very noticeable."

Noticeable to you and the client who know what the full frame looks like? Or noticeable to an undiscriminating member of the audience? I can't imagine that a typical viewer would care.

They might notice if it dropped below 16:9, but really, would they care?

And if they did, I guarantee that a typical audience member would prefer no pillars, even if they're masked by the curtains. They're used to seeing wider aspect ratios, so losing the top and bottom is vastly preferable.

Haven't you guys seen this with your less sophisticated relatives? (I'd say parents, but mine are in their late 70s and high-level technologists who know more about stuff like than most of us ever will. They HATE when people use "parents" to mean "bumpkins.")

Like me, you're surely the ones who set up new TVs (and computers and microwaves and every other damn thing) for the rest of your extended family. Man, they SCREAM when I set up a picture with pillars. I can't live with myself if I let it stretch, so I zoom, and everybody's happy.


[Oliver Peters] " sort of like safe title issues in broadcast."

Are there actually graphics that'd get lost if you cropped top and bottom?

Subtitles are one thing, but even there, I think that makes it MORE likely that you could get away with zooming the SHOT as long as the subtitles aren't zoomed. As long as the titles are sharp, THAT's where their eye will spend most of the shot, and they won't notice a zoom that YOU might notice because you know what the shot "really" looks like.

I put "really" in quotes, because what's "real" is ultimately irrelevant for the audience, who'll only notice if it's pillared enough that the picture drops much below 16:9...because that they WILL notice I think.


Which still begs the first question. Have you shown it to civilians?


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Oliver Peters
Re: OT: DCI 2K Flat question
on Aug 23, 2015 at 7:10:56 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Noticeable to you and the client who know what the full frame looks like? Or noticeable to an undiscriminating member of the audience? I can't imagine that a typical viewer would care. "

Noticeable to the client and me. The client was DP/editor/producer. I understand the point about the audience, but the more I see 16:9 material converted to 2K DCI, the less I like it. I guess I'd rather frame for scope and end up that way.

[Tim Wilson] "Are there actually graphics that'd get lost if you cropped top and bottom? "

Yes. There were animations at the top and bottom of the frame that were clipped. It could be that the DCP itself was cropped that way, but that's part of the answer I'm trying to find.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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David Lawrence
Re: OT: DCI 2K Flat question
on Aug 23, 2015 at 8:46:44 pm

[Oliver Peters] " I understand the point about the audience, but the more I see 16:9 material converted to 2K DCI, the less I like it. I guess I'd rather frame for scope and end up that way."

Me too. The difference between 2K flat and HD 16:9 doesn't sound like much but makes enough of a difference to be annoying. Here's where I wish 2K was the HD standard but that ship is long gone. Scope is definitely the way to go for a true cinematic aspect.

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Michael Gissing
Re: OT: DCI 2K Flat question
on Aug 24, 2015 at 2:09:39 am

I have made DCPs from 16:9 master HD files and make the jpeg2000 files as flat ratio. I never crop but prefer to leave the pillar boxes on the sides and clearly label as 16:9 with pillar box.

Stretching looks weird and docos are never framed to crop globally. So it needs shot by shot reframing to optimise for head room and there is never a budget to spend that much time setting a cropped 1998 x 1080.


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Eric Santiago
Re: OT: DCI 2K Flat question
on Aug 24, 2015 at 12:01:55 pm

I agree that in broadcast home setups the pillars tend to distract the norm.
But Ive walked into many different types of cinemas from art-house to IMAX and honestly once Im captivated cropping is the least of my concerns.
Its the awful scaling that bugs the hell out of me.
Its nice to see that tv spots are getting better at cinemas.
Sorry Im a bit of a 4K plus freak that way ;)


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