Converting a video to a DCP in DCP-o-matic

DCP-o-matic main advantages are:

  • It is free
  • Includes a quick audio normalizer
  • Includes a quick LCR upmixer
  • Has automatic scaling to fit flat and scope containers
  • A picture is automatically made into a 10 sec video
  • Testing in DCP-o-matic player with soft subtitle support. Jump to this part

I have also written tutorials on how to make DCPs in
Davinci Resolve Studio and
Fraunhofer Easydcp Creator Plus

Converting a PSA/commercial video file to a DCP in DCP-o-matic

Sometimes cinemas get sent material that they want to play as DCPs:

  • A picture, usually a movie poster
  • A PSA with an intro from the filmmaker
  • A commercial

These files are often jpeg/TIFF, mp4, or MOV video files in 1920×1080 format. A quick way to convert these kinds of files to the DCP format and test them is the free software DCP-o-matic/DCP-o-matic player.

Example: A 1920×1080 PSA video file in h264/stereo that will play with the Flat commercials.

Download and install DCP-o-matic

Download from the DCP-o-matic website

Choose new film and import the file

Choose File – New Film

Choose a name and folder

Open the video file
Click on Add file(s)

Choose source file settings

Scale to:

I leave it at the automatically chosen setting 1.78 (16:9 or HD)


The video file is a normal HD progressive video file so I leave it at None. If it was an old interlaced clip, I would choose a deinterlacing filter like YADIF.

Colour Conversion

I leave at the default Rec.709 2.2 gamma setting. If the clip was 2.4 gamma, I would change the setting.

Choose DCP settings

Click on DCP

Flat or Scope container

Check that Container is set to DCI Flat in Video.

If I wanted to play the PSA with a Scope trailer or feature I would choose DCI Scope as the container. The ISDCF name will automatically change to F or S when I change the container.

Content type

Choose Content Type:
Advertisement, Trailer, Feature, Short or Public Service Announcement (PSA). The ISDCF name will automatically change to PSA.

Interop or SMPTE

Choose Standard. Either Interop or SMPTE. I use SMPTE.

Frame Rate

I use the same frame rate as the source video file: 24 FPS.
The frame rate should be the same as the video file. Most players/servers will play 24, 25, and SMPTE 30 DCPs.

JPEG 2000 Bandwidth

The default setting is 150 Mbit/s. The video file I am converting is a 10 Mbit/s low bit rate h264 video file so I leave it at the default setting. I can choose between 50-250 Mbit. If the source is a Prores video file with a high bit rate of 400 Mbit/s I would choose the max 250 Mbit/s rate.

Fill in the additional ISDCF name fields (optional)

If the DCP is only going to be used at your local cinema this step is not so important, but if you are sending it to someone else it is nice to use the full ISDCF name.

Click on details “After use ISDCF name”. Fill in the missing fields.

I then click on “Use Copy as name” and change 30 to 51.

Test4_PSA_F-178_EN-XX_INT -TL_51_2K_NULL_20211107_NUL_SMPTE_OV

Check if the video looks correct

Go back to content

Scale to: 1.78 (16:9 or HD) looks correct. The video is 1920×1080 and will be shown in 1998×1080 DCI Flat with padding on the sides.

Content and DCP have the same frame rate.

It looks OK

If I had chosen DCI Scope as the container, DCP-o-Matic would have scaled the video file to 1525×858 to fit inside the 2048×858 Scope container.

In scope, the HD video will have more black padding on the sides.

Normalize the audio (optional)

Click on Audio

Click on Show Graph of audio levels

Use Gain to Normalize the audio to a level that fits the ad sound level (around -20 integrated loudness).

Sometimes it is not possible to use gain to normalize the audio to the level you want like -20. The integrated loudness could be -30.
If you work in a cinema you could check which fader level to use in the auditorium and then use a custom fader level macro in the playlist.
If you need to reach 82 LEQ ( about -20 integrated loudness) you can use Izotope RX 9 standard that a peak limiter that can be useful when normalizing audio. Read more in this post.

Convert stereo to LCR (optional)

Click on DCP

Go to Audio

Channels: 6 – 5.1
Processor Mid-side processor

Show audio

Check the loudness level again. The integrated loudness is now 20.88

I only use the mid-side decoder in DCP-o-matic. For a normal 5.1 upmix I recommend using a professional upmix plugin as I wrote about in this DTS neural upmix tutorial

Make the DCP

Jobs – Make DCP

The folder with the ISDCF name is the DCP and can be ingested on a Cinema player/server/TMS via an Ext2/NTFS hard drive.

Test the DCP in DCP-o-matic player (optional)

The DCP can also be tested in DCP-o-matic player to check sync and to check soft subtitles.

Download DCP-o-matic player from the DCP-o-matic website

Open the DCP folder with the ISDCF name

Test4_PSA_F-178_EN-XX_INT -TL_51_2K_NULL_20211107_NUL_SMPTE_OV

Decode at lower quality

On slower computers, you need to lower the image quality to have smooth playback.

View – Decode at quarter resolution

Example checklist:

  • Is it in the correct Flat or Scope format?
  • Are the subtitles too close to the edge of the picture?
  • Is the sound in sync?
  • Are the subtitles in sync?


If you want to validate the hash checksums on a downloaded DCP you can use:
Tools – Validate

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