Challenge: Getting DCP Succeffuly to the Theater

DCP projection is quickly becoming the standard distribution and exhibition standard all over the world. If you are reading this post, you probably have a need for a DCP.

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DCP in Theater

DCP (Digital Cinema Package) is a file, or a set of files, very similar in technicality to a DVD. Like a DVD, a DCP comprised of compressed video and audio packaged together. However, one of the main differences between a DCP and most other distribution delivery items, is that the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives) standard for DCP projection covers not only the actual files themselves, but it also sets the standard for several other key components, such as the color target, gamma and overall brightness of the screen.

We are going to get into some of the technical projection aspects in later posts. In this, we are simply going to focus on the basic steps that are needed for a successful DCP creation and delivery.

So now that you know something about DCP (it’s a set of files and a standard), the next thing to know is that DCPs get loaded on digital cinema servers. These are dedicated servers made by several digital cinema companies that specializes in manufacturing this type of equipment. These servers prefer receiving a certain type of drive, called CRU. Most DCP servers can also ingest from USB drives, however this process takes longer to load, is generally unreliable and prone to failures. You definitely want to adhere to CRU drives.

The last important aspect about DCP is security. DCP by design was not intended to be playable on PCs, in order to add another layer of security against the growing piracy issue. That is no longer the case, as there are many PC-based DCP players in the market today, however, this technology is still mostly used by film industry people and enthusiasts. You will not generally find DCP playing capabilities in widely commercial multimedia players, like QuickTime, Windows Media etc. since the intent is for DCP to not be playable outside of theaters. If you think about it, DCP is the de facto distribution file, and is compressed at high enough quality to be a terrific source file for digital content pirates around the world.

Regardless of the constraints of DCP playing at your parents house or not, to protect and to prevent unauthorized access and exploitation of the content, DCPs are normally being equipped with KDMs (Key Delivery Message), which is an authorization file that is required to enable servers to play DCPs. KDMs are set for a specific time and duration. A KDM can allow access for 3 hours at a specific time and day, or can be open for an entire year. Generating KDMs is an added operation and requires coordination between the DCP creation vendor and the exhibition venue.

Choosing the right vendor for DCP creation is very critical to having a successful screening and distribution. There is much more to discuss about creating DCP successfully.

Please contact us at (323) 461 3715 or here for more information about DCP creation for your content. We can provide help with fast turnarounds, great prices and most importantly – great support.

1 Comment

  1. Tikhincit on 14 January 13, 3:30am

    my significant other is the prteicoton/technical manager of an 8 screen multiplex. I’ve been taking to her about how they show third party movies/clips/presentations. the dcp route is if your show needs integrating with their TMS (theatre management system) would appear this happens extremely rarely, the common way is to pipe a 1080 movie into the projector directly using a media player with and hdmi output. this can go straight into some projectors allthough some need and hdmi-dvi conversion. they’ve used domestic blu ray players (a lot can play many formats via USB memory stick ie. divx, mb4) as well as disks. another great option would be a ps3 as they are cheap, automatically update codecs etc, can play pretty much anything you throw at them and have both analogue and digital outputs. (and blu-ray)if the projector can’t handle any of these directly, you can pump the signal through their upscalers which will basically only serve as a signal/input conversion.I’m by no means an expert, but this is the way I’ll go when I come to show my short. the shows if seen like this look as good as anything else I’ve seen screened. it also keeps it easy for the projectionist as well as avoiding the minefield that dcp seems to be.hope that’s an insite into a different approachn.

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