How I converted all the short films at a film festival that were not DCPs to DCPs

In 2011, 2012 (2013,20142015) I converted all the short films (30) for a film festival that were not DCPs to the DCP format. In 2012 I used Easydcp Creator 2.0 that supports Quicktime files so the process was very simple. The DCPs was mostly 25 FPS SMPTE DCPs, but there were also some 24 FPS and some 30 FPS SMPTE DCPs.

Here are some tips if you want to do this for your festival:
– When using only DCPs the people who make the films can know that their film will not be shown on different equipment. Instead of using time and money on scalers and videocassette decks you can make sure the screen follows DCI specs, is 14 fL, has good enough intra frame contrast ratio and that the sound follows the 85 dbc per channel standard. The main advantages is that Scope films will be shown in Scope and will not letterboxed and that 5.1 sound is not a problem.

-Ask for 24, 25, 30 FPS 1998×1080, 2048×858 or 1920×1080 Prores 422 Quicktime files. The stereo track or 5.1 track from the Quicktime could be used to make the DCP. But I prefer separate 5.1 mono 24 bit 48 hz audio tracks. Scope should be 2048×858.
We accepted videocassettes that we captured with HD-SDI, but I don’t see why a festival should accept them anymore.
Videocassette formats like HDCAM is only 8 bit and do not have 2K resolutions and are often in stereo. The Prores codec can be bought cheaply with Apple Motion from the Apple App store and is 10 bit, has 5.1 sound, is 4444 and has 2K resolutions. This makes it better than HDCAM SR masters which are usually 1920×1080. There are hardware players for 422 Prores files (AJA KI) and Prores files can be converted directly to DCPs in Fraunhofer Easydcp Creator 2.0.
I also converted h264, DV and other formats. But I don’t see why a festival should accept them either, they involve a lot of extra work in Adobe After Effects.

-Ask them to upload the films using a filemail corporate account or FTP server.
Why use a physical medium at all, downloading the films is much easier. Zipping the files and using a fast wired connection to the internet is recommended.

-Have a deadline for submissions so you have enough time to convert and test the DCPs.

-Stereo DCPs should be played with Dolby Prologic 1 or 2 like stereo videocassettes. Alternatively you can tell the people on the submission form that films with stereo soundtracks will be normalized and converted to 5.1 with the DTS neural upmix Pro Tools plugin on the auto setting. Note: You should not make a fake center channel by mixing the right and left channels, this will make the movie sound like it is in mono. The volume setting for each film should be checked and written down.

-Fraunhofer Easydcp Creator 2.0 can convert Prores Quicktime files to DCPs in 2-3x real time on cheap quad core computers. If you buy a quad core computer together with a non profit license for easydcp creator, the cost could be justified because videocassette rental fees would be less for the festival or the quality of the screenings would be better.

I have run Easydcp Creator on a mac mini

http://store.apple.com/us/buy-mac/mac-mini

 

This is the text I used with the submission form:

Deliver on mac or windows hard drive or send it with this corporate file mail account:
(link to corporate filemail upload page)

SD file: Deliver as a 10 bit Prores 422 HQ Quicktime file and it will be converted to a 24 or 25 FPS Digital Cinema Package (DCP).

HD file: Deliver as a 10 bit Prores 422 HQ Quicktime file and it will be converted to a 24 or 25 FPS Digital Cinema Package (DCP).

DCP: ZIP file with the DCP.

File format: Prores 422 HQ 10 bit Quicktime. Cineform Quicktime.
Image sequence: DPX 10 bit linear (After Effects), TIFF 16 BIT (After Effects).

Frames per second: 23.97, 24, 25, 29.98 fps.

Specifications:

Resolution:
1:1.77 = 1920×1080
1:1.85 = 1998×1080
1:2.39 = 2048×858

Color space: Rec.709/SRGB or DCI XYZ 2.6 gamma

Sound:
Quicktime with 5.1 sound: 24 bit, 48 hz, L, R, C, Lf, Ls, Rs
mono wav files: 24 bit, 48 hz

Quicktime with stereo: 24 bit, 48 hz,

Subtitles:

If you deliver a 24 FPS or 25 FPS Prores/image sequence you can supply a SRT file with the subtitles.

Safe zone:

Do not have text too close to edges of the picture

More info: knut.erik.evensen@gmail.com

Notes:

-To make it easier to convert all films, only accept 1920×1080, 1998×1080 and 2048×858 Prores 422 Quicktime files with separate mono 24 bit, 48 khz audio 5.1 tracks.

Posted in: DCP

5 comments

  1. I have a 24fps video file and a 24fps audio file.

    I created a DCP but the sound was completely out of sync.

    keep in mind that the original files were 23.98 and the audio the same. I got an export video file from davinci and a frame rate conversion from protools.

    I ran the 23.98 vid and audio in final cut they match but the 24 fps davinci vid and 24 protools audio don’t match in FCP. you have any experience or work around for this?

  2. Berlin Film Festival accepts DCP and QuickTime ProRes 422 files for short film submission. Which would be of higher quality and or which would you suggest I submit in?

  3. A DCP is better.
    Prores can look good, but a DCP will be the safe choice.
    You know the frame rate will be correct.
    You know scope will be screened in scope and not letterboxed scope.
    You know it will have 5.1 sound.
    You know the brightness and contrast will not be off.

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