Some ideas for best common practices when mastering DCPs

Before sending a hard drive with a DCP at least check the DCP with the free or full version of Fraunhofer Easydcp Player. That way you will see if the DCP fails the basic tests done by Easydcp player like “Check file hashes” and that the disk works and have the correct DCP on it. The Doremi and Sony (with recent firmware) accept NTFS disks, otherwise, an ext2/ext3 Linux disk could be used.

If a movie uses a workflow like the movie Inception where there is no Digital Intermediate (DI) and the film is color timed photochemically in a film lab, the color timed print has to be scanned and fine tuned for 2.6 gamma 12 bit linear DCI P3/XYZ color space to make the DCP. The offline edit or an SD videotape should not be used to make a DCP for theatrical distribution.

A DCP should be made from the DCDM with correct XYZ colorspace and 2.6 gamma made from the Digital Intermediate (DI) that has been graded on a DCI P3/XYZ color space projector with 14 foot-lambert of light. The DCP is normally made from the emulation of how the 35 mm print will look on a digital projector. This emulation (3D LUT) is baked into the DCDM. The resolution should be 2048×858 or 1998×1080.

A DCP could also be made from a file-based master in 10 or 12 bit, Rec. 709 HDTV colorspace graded on an HDTV monitor. The Director of Photography should approve of how this looks in the movie theatre because an HDTV monitor is not ideal because you don’t typically have 14 foot-lambert and a dark room when grading on an HDTV monitor. The resolution should be 2048×858 or 1998×1080. If you grade the film in rec. 709, the movie could have less bright colors in the 35 mm version than in the DCP version.

The sound must be 5.1 (85 dB). If the theatre you will screen the DCP at accepts a stereo mixed DCP you could deliver that, but otherwise it has to be 5.1.

The Digital naming convention must be used to name the DCP.

5 thoughts on “Some ideas for best common practices when mastering DCPs”

  1. Thanks for your posts. Some great information!!!

    Couple of questions:

    Can Doremi and Sony servers read ext2? If so, that seems like the universally compatible way to go?

    My DCP looks quite dark on my computer screen using Stereoscopic Player. Should I be worried, or is this normal? On trial version of easyDCP player the density is better, but obviously the colours are off, because of the XYZ.

    I’m trying to get into local cinema for some testing, but would like to get everything right before that, as it’ll most likely be one time change.

  2. Both Sony and Doremi can use ext2 harddrives. I have not tried stereoscopic player or the OpenDCP software. With Fraunhofer Easydcp what you see in the preview window on a 2.2 gamma screen looks like what you get in the cinema.

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