What is DCP?

What is a DCP?
DCP stands for Digital Cinema Package. A DCP is a set of files representing digital moving-image content i.e. picture, sound, subtitles & metadata, packaged on a hard-drive for playback on a Digital Cinema server system. It is designed to be the digital equivalent of a 35mm film print. DCP’s are created following the strict guidelines set out in the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI). This is done to insure compatibility with all Digital Cinema equipment.

What is DCI?
DCI is an acronym for Digital Cinema Initiatives. The DCI was created in 2002 as a joint venture between the major motion-picture studios and exhibitors to establish and document specifications that would insure uniform, high-quality technical performance, reliability and quality control. The formal standardization of the DCI specifications is overseen by the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE).

What is DCI Compliance?
DCI Compliance refers to products and services that conform to DCI specifications.

What is a Digital Cinema Master or DCDM?
DCDM stands for Digital Cinema Distribution Master. The DCDM is made using the original finished picture-data from the DI process – normally 10-bit DPX files. To create the DCDM the data is encoded into 12 or 16-bit Tiff files for picture and 24-bit WAV files for audio. The DCDM provides the uncompressed master elements that enable the creation of the Digital Cinema Package (DCP).

What is a KDM encryption and why don’t I need this?
KDM is an acronym for Key Delivery Message.  A KDM is a special electronic key that contains a code which “unlocks” an encrypted DCP.  The industry standard is to supply non-encrypted files for theatrical DCP trailers.  This makes placement more likely, as a complicated encryption and key security system undermines ease of use and there by runs the risk of delays or even denial of placement at local venues.  It is also generally considered overkill since all modern Digital Cinema servers have built-in systems that prevent theft and/or duplication.  These systems are designed for one-way ingestion of files.  No exporting capabilities exist through these systems.

What are MXF Files?
MXF stands for Material Exchange Format. It is a file wrapper enclosing both the content and associated metadata. Picture and sound content may be stored as one or more MXF files. Each file contains JPEG2000 compressed image information and corresponding 12-channel, 24-bit, 48/96 kbps audio information.

What are XML Files?
XML is an acronym for Extensible Markup Language. It is a common computer language used to markup data with simple, readable tags.

What is a CPL?
CPL stands for Composition Playlist. A Composition Playlist consists of an ordered sequence of reels each referencing sound or picture files. Each reel is analogous to a film reel. The CPL controls the order and timing of the play-out of the reels.

What if a Film has Subtitles in More Than One Language?
We have the ability to make supplemental DCPs with different language versions without re-encoding the entire project. Multiple language versions can be created simultaneously.

Why should I pay for someone like Digital Trailers to convert my video to DCP?
Some movie-making software now supports output to DCP format, so some independent filmmakers and distributors are considering that option; however, none of them have the level of specialty training and experience our conversion techs have.  Most people don’t realize that there are many different Digital Cinema systems in use around the globe (both projectors and servers).  Each of these systems have slight differences that could cause DCP files to not ingest or playback correctly.  Digital Trailers and our technicians have worked with our exhibition partners to run extensive testing on all standard North American Digital Cinema projection equipment.  Understanding the differences of these systems and access to test facilities allows our technicians to maximize compatibility among the greatest number of North American Digital Cinema projection systems.  In the end, what you are paying for is the security of knowing your content will get to your specified delivery locations on time and work when they arrive.