Creating Digital Cinema Packages for free
Digital Cinema Packages are the gateway to digital cinema projection and distribution and is a specifically designed set of video, audio and metadata files which have been agreed upon by the Digital Cinema Initiatives as a global standard. You can download a pdf of the standard here.
It used to be that creating a DCP was a very expensive process reserved for only those with large budgets and big audiences. Now, through open source generosity, anyone can make an DCP file and get their film on the big screen with ease and for free.
I’ve previously posted about DCP creation here and you can check out a great 40 minute podcast from the Coloristo’s on the topic. If you want a super quick overview, also including the use of KDM’s (encryption keys) to protect your DCP check out ARRI’s guide.
For a very quick summary: DCP is video (JPEG 2000 with XYZ colour space inside an MXF wrapper), audio (Wav files in MXF at 24bit 48khz) and XML files that hold it all together. For a deeper explanation check out colorist Nikolai Walman’s DCP explanation here.
How To Make A Digital Cinema Package For Free
So you’ve finished your film and you can’t wait to see it projected in all it’s glory on the silver screen, now how do you actually make a DCP?
The filmbakery has posted an excellent explanation and step by step guide to creating DCP files for free using open source OpenDCP. It’s a brilliant, simple and informative read so if you want click by click instructions jump over and get started.
Before you do here are a few things you should know before you get creating:
1. Creating the image sequence, from your digital masters, into TIFF, BMP or DPX will take up a lot of space.
2. Converting the image sequence to JPEG 2000 images will take a lot of processing power.
3. One of the great benefits of image sequences is that if you need to change a portion of your film, a shot or scene needs fixing, you only need to re-render that shot or scene and replace those images in your sequence without having to re-export the whole film.
4. The best format for your delivery drive (or USB stick) is Linux EXT.
5. One of the main benefits of DCP is the XYZ colour space, which has a much greater gamut: