Tips on converting Film Festival programmes to the DCP (Digital Cinema Package) format.

This year I converted all films that was not 35 mm or DCPs at the Films from the North 2011 section at Tromsø International Film Festival 2011 to DCPs. In total I made 33 DCPs (about 10 hours) in two weeks. I was also responsible for screening the DCPs at the film festival. I checked the sound level on each DCP in the cinema theatre and wrote down what level they should be played back at. I also wrote down what audio preset should be used (5.1 or 2.0 with Pro Logic decoding). If you are converting to the DCP format for screenings where you will not be present I recommend using standard cinema level 5.1 sound mixes.

Here are some tips if you are thinking about converting a film festival programme to DCPs:

    I recommend using batch processesing when making DCPs of short films, I used Fraunhofer Easydcp + to make 1-5 DCPs each night.
    Have a tested worfklow before the festival films arrives. It must cover both interlaced and progressive material. Standard definition and high definition. Stereo and 5,1 sound. Material that has subtitles outside the safe zone and material that does not use a standard resolution. . .
    Use different quality control stages, I recommend two computer screens so you can look at the material fullscreen 1:1 . I recommend using the RGB parade scope in Apple Color/Resolve to check how the source is color corrected/graded. I recommend checking the DCPs in a movie theatre, preferably the screen you will screen the film at or one that is suited.
    Find out how much the picture is cropped at the theatre where the films are screened. Also check for a 1920×1080 1.77 preset.
    If using 25 fps or 30 fps DCPs, check if they work in the theatre that will be screening the films.
    If using DCPs with stereo sound make sure the theatre has Dolby Pro Logic 1 or 2 decoding or something similar to get the speech in the center channel. If a stereo soundtrack is played in stereo everyone on the right side of the screen will hear speech coming from the right and those one the left will hear it coming from the left.
    In total I made 33 DCPs (about 10 hours) in two weeks. I always had 1-5 DCPs being made each night that I tested the next day. I could convert 1,5 hours from one day to the next with easydcp + on a quad core computer. Some people uploaded their films as Prores quicktime to a FTP server or used Filemail Corporate instead of delivering on Digibeta or HDCam. This helped speed things up.

How to make a SMPTE 25 fps (or 30,50,60 fps) DCP (Digital Cinema Package) with Fraunhofer Easydcp 1.4

UPDATE: In Easydcp 2.0 you can make DCPs from (Prores 422) Quicktime files. Prores 422 exported from Color do not get darker.

Tested a 25 SMPTE DCP made with Fraunhofer Easydcp Creator 1.3 beta on a Doremi DCP-2000 cinema server. It worked, I am not sure if all cinema servers supports 25 fps SMPTE DCPs yet. I know the Doremi and Sony does. Update: Have also tested a 30 fps DCP on a Doremi DCP-2000. It also worked. But it may not work on all projectors. To convert the sound in a 29.97 (no inverse telecine) video file to 30 fps you could use the cinema tools tips from this post:
How to make dpx and wav files that can be converted to a DCP (Digital Cinema Package) with Fraunhofer EasyDCP Creator using Final Cut Studio 2 or 3

Links:

Fraunhofer Easydcp Creator

Final Cut Studio 3 with Apple Color and Soundtrack Pro (Discontinued in 2011)

Note: Check that the DPX sequence from Color matches your monitor. You may have to compensate that the picture gets darker.

Update: To export a DPX sequence from After Effects follow this step by step guide.
In Apple Color:

To export a image sequence from Apple Color you have to work with a supported file format like Prores 422 HQ.
MPEG Streamclip is good tool to convert file formats like VOB, WMV, MPEG to Prores 422 HQ.
MPEG streamclip

MPEG streamclip can also do a quick deinterlacing if the clip is interlaced.
Alternative deinterlacers are:
JES deinterlacer, Final Cut/Compressor, Color, Adobe After Effects.

To convert a WMV file you have to have Flip4mac WMV player Pro:

Step 1.

Export a TIFF or DPX image sequence Hopefully from an 10 or 16 bit application like Apple Color or Adobe After Effects. Quicktime Pro 7 is as far I know not capable of more than 8 bit.
Note: Check that the DPX sequence from Color matches your monitor. You may have to compensate that the picture gets darker.

In Apple Color:
Import shot. I let Color match the timeline to the clip. This way the framerate will be the same as the clip.

Change the Project Settings
Render File type: DPX
Width and Height : All DCI digital cinemas have two presets:
Scope (2.39:1) = 2048 x 858 and
Flat (1.85:1) = 1998 x 1080. HD
(1.77:1) 1920 x 1080 will fit inside the Flat preset with perhaps some empty space on the sides.
I let Color scale my clip to the preset.

Broadcast Safe: If you turn this off you will see in the RGB parade scope if material is graded with values above 100 and below 0. The material should be graded so black is not below 0 and white is not above 100. Everything below and above will be clipped. If you turn broadcast safe on everything will be forced inside the legal 0-100 values.

Choose a render folder with a lot of free space. Each frame is about 8 mb.

Sometimes you want to fix the geometry. Scope film inside a HD container (1920×800) will have to be zoomed and RED (2:1) material in 2048 x 1024 does not fit either of the presets.

Example: zooming in on a scope film inside a HD container. Choose 2048×858 in project setting and zoom in on the Geometry tab.
Remember to check that the project has the correct framerate.

Finally you want to export the image sequence:
In the Render Queue. click on the the clip, click add selected and start render. Then the start render button will turn into rendering,

Step 2.

Make the sound files

Drag the video file to a multitrack project in Apple Soundtrack Pro

Click on the sound to highlight it and export it (cmd + e)
Use these settings:
Exported Items: Selected
File Type: Wave File
Create multiple mono files
Bit depth: 24 bit
Sample Rate: 48 kHz

Watch out that you have not just selected a part of the sound.

Step 3

Make the DCP

Start Fraunhofer Easydcp 1.4

Choose a Project name
2K
uncheck “Use interop instead of SMPTE packing”
Choose framerate 25 fps
and Create

Add picture track

Choose the first DPX image from the Color render to select the image sequence

Add sound track

Use the sound files from Soundtrack Pro export

 

Drop the track files in the new reel window.

Give the project a name and double click the perforation to the right of the name input field to edit the composition settings. Choose content type, eg. Feature or Trailer.
Choose a annotation text
Choose a Content title,

uncheck Options – Automatic pillarboxing -/letterboxing.. If you have a valid resolution.

Check that the frame numbers match and click the Generate DCP button.

Sometimes the frame count is off, but this can be fixed with the offset option.