Digital Cinema FAQ

What is a DCP?

DCP is an acronym 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 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.

How Does a DCP Work?

A DCP usually arrives at a cinema theater on a CRU hard-drive or USB Flash drive. The DCP is ingested into the theater’s Digital Cinema Server. Once verified, it is played off the server through a Digital Cinema Projector.

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 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 DCDM?

DCDM is an acronym 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?
KDM is an acronym for Key Delivery Message. A KDM is a special electronic key that contains a code which “unlocks” an encrypted film.

What is KDM Encryption?

Encryption is a security measure used to prevent films from being stolen and duplicated. DCP’s are encrypted in a manner that allows them to be played only on a specific Digital Cinema server at a predetermined time. A KDM is sent to the projection site to unlock the DCP for the screening engagement. It is not a necessity to have a DCP encrypted.

What are MXF Files?

MXF is an acronym 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 is an acronym 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.

Can I Supply the DCP Hard Drive?
indieDCP has a policy of supplying DCPs on Linux formatted industry standard CRU hard drives. These are designed specifically for digital cinema. Customers may supply one of these approved hard drive units. These hard drives have been tried and tested world-wide and are preferred by digital cinema projectionists.

How Long Does the DCP Creation Process Take?

Normal turn-around time from the delivery of approved source material(s) is 2-3 business days.

Given That There is Inexpensive / Free Software That Allows Users to Make DCPs, Why Should I Have indieDCP Create My DCP?
Our DCP will look better, be delivered faster and, above all, it will actually work.

DCP encoding and the DCI standard are both very complex and there is a lot that can go wrong. Commercial software is only doing a rough conversion and you will not be viewing the DCP correctly. The industry standard DVS CLIPSTER encodes a feature film up to 4-times real-time and lets us make all the basic checks necessary along the way before performing a full cinema QC. Home-made DCPs can take days to encode and probably will not work or will contain errors. It’s a bad idea.