The best common practice to deliver a Digital Cinema Package (DCP)

The best common practice is to deliver the DCP in a Cru Dataport DX-115 hard drive caddy with USB 2/3 adapter. These hard drive caddys loads directly into a lot of digital cinema equipment. Like Dolby/Doremi and the new Sony media block.

Standard DCP deliverables are made from these parts:

The Cru Dataport DX-115 harddrive carrier/caddy:

Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB 3.5 Inch Hard Drive or similar :

The Cru Dataport Docking Station DX115 USB 2/3 with USB 2 cable, universal power supply

To transport these safely you could use a Pelican 1400 Case:

Together these could look something like this:






Upgrades to the old DX115 package

Replace the USB 2 cable with a USB 2/3 cable.

Use a more robust Solid State Drive (SSD) and a smaller Pelican 1200 case:

Together these could look something like this:

Pelican 1200 cables

Pelican 1200 dx115

Pelican 1200 case

Alternative 2
You could use a USB 2 /USB 3 hard drive like the Rugged Lacie mini 500 gb.

or a modern SSD portable hard drive like the Samsung T3 250 GB USB 3.1

in a smaller Pelican 1120 case

Together these could look like this:
rugged 1120 photo

You are allowed to deliver DCPs on USB 2 hard drives, but the DX-115/movedock adapter also works with equipment that does not supply the standard power on the USB 2 port. You can supply a Y cable with the lacie rugged hard drive to support powerless USB 2 ports. (Cinemas with non-standard USB2 connections most likely have their own adapters.)

Alternative 3

Fast USB 3 flash drives like the Corsair Flash Voyager Slider

in a Pelican 1010 microcase

Together these could look like this:

These USB 3 flash drives are fast, but you will only get USB 2 transfer speed on older digital cinema equipment. But a USB 2 transfer speed of 25-35 MB/sec is still much better than the 5-10 MB/sec transfer speed you get on some older/cheaper flash drives. If the cinema transfers the content on the flash drive to their own DX115 hard drive they can get 60-100 MB/sec USB 3 transfer speed to the DX115 and 100 MB/sec speed from the DX115 to the digital cinema equipment.

Alternative 4
Cru DX115 DCP kit #2 with 500 GB hard drive

The physical medium specification for DCPs

The physical medium specification for DCPs is a USB 2 external hard drive formatted as MBR Ext 2/3. Doremi and Sony support MBR NTFS (and others), but the recommended format is the linux format Ext 2 or Ext 3 with a inode size of 128 that is read and executable only.
Source: ISDCF Disc File Format

To format Ext 2/3 harddrives I have used:
-a PC running Ubuntu Linux
-Ubuntu Linux run from a USB pendrive made with USB linux creator.
-Ubuntu run in virtualbox on a mac. Read more here.

You can copy the DCP to a inode 128 read and executable only EXT2/EXT3 hard drive in many ways.

This is one way:

In terminal. Install gparted.
sudo apt-get install gparted

Run gparted
sudo gparted

In Gparted

Click on “Device” – “Create a partition table”
Choose msdos.

Use add partition and format the drive as ext2 or ext3.

Note the name of the partition (like sdb1) and format it again in terminal with -I 128 inode.

sudo mke2fs -t ext3 -I 128 -L DCP123 /dev/sdb1

sudo mke2fs -t ext2 -I 128 -L DCP123 /dev/sdb1

Run Terminal
Run sudo Nautilus in Terminal to get a root GUI file manager.
Then copy the dcp directory to the harddrive in the Files/Nautilus file manager.
Then make the dcp directory read only and executable:
In Terminal use the chmod command on the folder you made.
sudo chmod -R 755 /media/kese/harddrivename/foldername

To make the ext 2/3 partition without reformatting you can use gparted/parted.

In gparted:
Make a dos partition table

Use Add a partition table and write down the start and end values, then cancel and exit gparted.

In terminal. Install parted.
sudo apt-get install parted

Start parted on the disk you used in gparted
sudo parted /dev/sdb

run mkpart
choose primary, ext2, and the start and end values from gparted like 1MiB and 3905MiB.

quit parted

then format the partition with -I 128 inode

sudo mke2fs -t ext3 -I 128 -L DCP123 /dev/sdb1

sudo mke2fs -t ext2 -I 128 -L DCP123 /dev/sdb1

Note: If you are formatting it on a Mac (Mac OS Sierra) with Paragon NTFS ore Paragon EXTFS for mac make sure to format it with a MBR partition table.

Choose the hard drive in Disk Utility
Unmount the partition
Choose Erase on hard drive
Format: Windows NT filesystem/Extended Filesystem 3
Scheme: Master Boot Record

You can run chmod -R 755 on DCP folders in a terminal on Mac OS Sierra.

If you are formatting a 1 partition MBR NTFS hard drive in Windows using Computer Management – Storage – Disk Management you can right click a hard drive and see in the Volumes tab if the partition style is Master Boot Record.

Cinema DCP players often use the Linux OS and it does not natively support exFAT formatted hard drives.

Do not use folders inside folders like this: /DCP/MYFILM.

Use only 1 partition on the hard drive.

The name of the folder will not be shown when ingesting the DCP on a Doremi.

23 Replies to “The best common practice to deliver a Digital Cinema Package (DCP)”

  1. An external (USB connection) hard drive is great for portability, but its data transfer rate will be less than 10MB/sec. So if your content is a trailer or a short movie it won’t take that long to transfer.

    However, a full 120GB DCP file will take longer than 3 hrs to transfer + the verification time on top of that! If the theatre has the time to transfer it – great. But don’t expect to just drop it off the night before a screening.

    A friendly reminder from your independent cinema’s projectionist.

    10MB/s x 60/s = 600MB/min. 120,000 MB / 600MB/min = 3 hrs, 20 min!
    Verification is typically 1/2 the time it takes to transfer so let’s say an additional 90 min.
    You’re now up to almost 5 hrs (and I’ve been generous in the transfer rate)!

  2. It is true that a USB 2 pendrive can have really slow transfer speeds like 5 MB/S or 10 MB/S, and if a doremi server is busy playing a movie the transfer speed will be 10 MB/S for all sources. But USB2 is faster than 10 MB/S, it can reach 40 MB/S.

    A USB 2 harddrive usually have a transfer speed of 20-40 MB/S on a Doremi server and a 80 GB feature film will transfer in an hour with verification.

    A CRU Sata harddrive docked in the server or a gigabit ethernet transfer will have a transfer speed of 80-100 MB/S of a 80 GB feature film will take 20 minutes with verification.

  3. If having problems you should check that the harddrive is MBR,
    you could also use a Linux live USB key and make the directory with the DCP read only and executable like I described in the post.

  4. True, I have found that Dolby servers will only play nice with drives formatted “Master Boot Record”.

    I use format MBR for all DCP delivery using Ubuntu.

  5. Hello. We have a MacPro running the latest version of OSX and have been using the trial version of easyDCP to create some tests prior to purchasing the full license. The problem we are now having seems to be the compatibility between the Mac and the Linux formated external drives that we are trying to load the DCP files onto. Any suggestions? We’ve tried two different versions of Linux and they keep crashing. One suggestion was that we network a PC to the Mac and simply use that to transfer onto the external drives. Again, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have to think that other people have solved this problem.

  6. I run Easypeasy Linux on USB pendrive made with USB linux creator. You should be able to copy from windows and mac harddrives in linux to the linux harddrive.

  7. I run a dolby dss200. I need to make room for new content but do not have a Linux computer nor do I know anything about its operating system. Anyway to use a windows or mac system to transfer content ( trailers, unencrypted ) to an external HD?

    Thank you!

  8. I am only familiar with the Doremi server, with the new sofware on those servers you can plug in a linux formatted harddrive and tranfer DCPs to that. But it seems you can FTP to your DSS-200 and look in a folder called generatedPackages where you can find the DCPs on the server (according to this dcinema forum thread)

  9. I received an answer to my question and wanted to share it in case others have the same need.

    The top link is the only freeware partition format tool that works for EXT2 and 3. You want to format your drive for EXT3. Once you download the tool, it is pretty easy to figure out. Just remember that you have to hit the apply button whenever you make a change. (that screwed me up for a while)

    The second link is for an ext2 volume manager…that’s so you can give a drive letter to the drive and drag and drop dcp files to and from it on your computer.

    Don’t be discouraged if you have to format it a couple of times … it usually works the first time, but I’ve had to re-format a drive a couple of times before the dolby would recognize it.

  10. Hi to all!
    First thank you for all great stuff you put on your blog.

    I did it from Macintosh with VirtualBox and Gparted LiveCD – tested with USB connected drive.

    1.Install VirtualBox for OS X
    2. Install Oracle Virtual Extensions pack (gives U support for USB2.0 speed in VirtualBox)
    3. Download “Gparted Live cd” from sourceforge
    4. Make VM and run GpartedLive CD.iso and assign USB to VirtualMachine
    4. Do all same steps as in this blog post.
    5. Shutdown virtual machine
    5. Install OSXFuse (while installing check box “support for MacFuse”
    6. Install fuse-ext2 – gives you support for read write EXT2/EXT3 on OS X
    7. Copy your DCP

    Hope it helps some one.

  11. I used final cat pro for my final cut. then used Wraptor (Only for mac) to export film via compressor 4. Upoladed (Via USB 3) to sony 2K/$K projector and got great result. Used just regular portable Hard Drive.
    But i would like to have one that can be uploaded to doremi server. So with all those parts named do they come with power supplies?


  12. Hi,
    Do you think the pelican 1200 case will fit the CRU + HD + adapter + power plug and cables?
    Os just the pelican 1400?

  13. Hi Knut! Your blog is still such a great resource. Thanks also for linking to the great AE plug-in j2k which I use all the time.
    I’m not knowledgable in Unix at all, but I recently installed Ubuntu on an old Dell to be able to format devices in EXT3 with an i-node of 128 which is something Tuxera or the likes don’t seem to do on a Mac. Some festivals demand ‘DCI-compliant’ EXT3 i-node 128 carriers. I really wonder which D-Cinema server won’t ingest from an NTFS formatted drive..
    An avid Unix user told me the following command will format a device in EXT3 with an i-node of 128 all at once:

    sudo mke2fs -t ext3 -I 128 -L DCP 0/dev/sdb1
    where sdb1 is the port in which you’ve plugged your external storage device. To check where it is, type the command ‘mount’ first.
    “-L DCP” creates a volume label named ‘DCP’, you can pick your own name of course
    If your drive needs to be unmounted first,
    type sudo umount /dev/sdb1

  14. Hi Knut! Great info! I put some info on preparing a DCP on a dedicated website i made. It has some info on a way to format to ext3 and on sound in DCP as well. Look at

  15. Hi Knut! Thanks so much for your post, it’s very helpful. I’m a total newbie and I’ll be formatting a hard drive for the first time to put a DCP on it and I’m wondering if using Neil Oseman’s method is safe:

    “Once Ubuntu was running, I right-clicked the LaCie Rugged in the list of drives in the lower left of the desktop and chose format from the contextual menu. To get more than the default options, I clicked Disk Utility in the dialogue box that came up. I could now select EXT3 as the file system (leaving the other settings at their default values). When I clicked format, Ubuntu didn’t seem to be doing anything, but after a few minutes the Disk Utility showed that the volume had been created.”

    Or do I need to go through your method to be on the safer side?

  16. Hi,
    Has anyone done a ext3 MBR, inode 128 and chmod 755 using on a Win10 system
    EaseUS Partition Master and then paragon ExtFS for Windows to copy your DCP to the drive.


  17. Well over my head here…
    But I have created a DCP file for my local theater…

    They have a Doremi? server and Christie 2K projectors.

    I put the file on a normal cheap flash drive and nothing showed up at the theater… What should I do differently to transport my DCP to the theater? We have 15 student films scheduled to play in 3 days and I need help.

    I downloaded the trial easyDCP to be sure my DCP file would play and it did.

    Thanks for any help!

  18. Sounds like you have a GPT or Exfat flash drive. I updated the post with a description on how you can check if you have a 1 partition Master Boot Record NTFS hard drive/ USB pen in Windows. The people working at the cinema should be able to copy the content to a working flash drive.

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