DCP (Digital Cinema Package)
These days, commercial theaters aren’t showing actual 35mm film. There’s no teenage theater employee up there in the projector room lugging heavy film reels onto sprockets and transferring projectors as each supply reel runs out.
Today, nearly all commercial cinemas project films digitally. And if you want your video projected at a theater, you need it to be in the correct digital format.
In other words, you need a DCP.
What Is a DCP?
We can provide you with a DCP “print” of your video. The DCPs we master are professionally-encoded for seamless playback in theaters. For a free consultation on a DCP (DIGITAL CINEMA PACKAGE), call now on 312-243-1929 or use the form at the bottom of this page. You can also get an estimate for your DCP or Video project:
Let’s Get Technical
Technically speaking, there’s a few things to go over with DCPs. Let’s start with… frame rate!
The Academy standard frame rate for DCPs is 24fps. These days, most theaters can also play back 25fps and 30fps. If you have a master file that’s 24 (or delivered to us as 23.98), your DCP is going to be compliant in all theaters. If your master is 25 or 30 (or delivered as 29.97), you’re probably going to be okay in most theaters.
With a DCP that’s 25 or 30fps, we recommend checking with any theaters or festivals you know it will be playing at to confirm compliance.
What, I need it on a hard drive?
Well, yeah, most of the time you do. We can transfer your final conversion to either a USB 3.0 flash drive, external USB 3.0 drive, or a CRU hard drive. What’s the difference between these you ask? Price and speed are one thing. CRU drives are the fastest, followed by external USB drives, and in last place are flash drives (projectionists hate these). CRU drives are the biggest and come in a case. Flash drives are tiny so you can ship them cheaply. All DCP drives are formatted as Linux 2/3.
Many festivals these days accept and even prefer uploads of your DCP. We can gladly do that for you as well.
Somebody has to watch this, right?
Unfortunately, a DCP isn’t going to QC itself. The general rule is that glitches aren’t introduced in the DCP creation process and that it will reproduce whatever is good or bad in the original file. However, we have found that a QuickTime file can have hidden or barely visible corruption issues that can be made worse when encoded to DCP.
Keeping all of this in mind, it’s a good idea for someone to view back a DCP before you show it to 300 people. This is something we can do for you along with providing a full QC report. You are also welcome to view the DCP in our office at no fee. DCP screening in a nearby theater environment can be arranged with at least one week notice.
What do we give to DKP?
We do our best work mastering from a QuickTime file in the ProRes 422 HQ codec. Also good codecs are Uncompressed (big), Animation (pretty big), ProRes 4444, and DNxHD. Not recommended, but usabable, are MPEG4s and QuickTime files in the H.264 codecs. These will result in lower quality, but we know sometimes you have to use whatever is available. Our aim is to make your DCP look as good as possible.
Please provide your file in the frame rate in which it was edited. 24fps and 23.98fps are both acceptable to DKP to master your DCP at 24fps. The same is true with 29.97fps and 30fps. If you need to convert your video file to 24fps due to theater requirements, we strongly suggest hiring DKP to do this for you. You really don’t want to try this at home!
What about sound?
DCPs can be created either with 5.1 surround sound or stereo. Both are in spec, but it’s best to have 5.1. Most theaters can handle stereo and convert it to a psudeo 5.1. But there are some that require surround sound and nothing but surround sound. If your file is stereo and your theater is requiring 5.1, we can help you mix it to surround using a variety of methods from cheap and easy to a full 5.1 mix.
For mastering audio, 5.1 files can either be delivered embedded in the QuickTime file or as separate mono .wav or .aif files. We can also take a .wav file containing all six tracks.
Are you running a film festival and looking for a DCP partner? Look no further! We can be your portal for receiving and verifying DCPs as well as offering a bulk rate to your filmmakers who don’t currently have a DCP. Please contact us to discuss further!
Screening Your Film in a Theater?
You need a DCP From DKP
Serving Chicago and the World
We are proud to be the most knowledgeable DCP provider in Chicago. If you’re local, we especially want to work with you.
If you’re not local, we still want to work with you—but please be aware, we may be pretending to be better looking than we actually are!
For a free consultation on a DCP (DIGITAL CINEMA PACKAGE), call now on 312-243-1929 or use the form to the right.
You can also get an estimate for your DCP or Video project: